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A couple days back, Chris Avellone joined Owlcat Games' developer livestream to talk about their recently released cRPG Pathfinder: Kingmaker. Unfortunately, due to some technical issues, I don't think it's possible to watch a VOD that includes Chris' portion of the audio. However, in order to promote the livestream, GOG has put together this fairly meaty Owlcat Games Q&A, so we can at least check out that. A few sample questions:
Q: Any chance for expansions with new adventures and companions to be added in the future?
[Owl Cat Games] I don’t want to spoil our future announcements but yes! Let me just say that with the game’s focus on companions, the new characters we have planned are exciting and unpredictable
Q: It looks like a Real Time with Pause (RTWP) game. What were some of the lessons you took from other RTWP games when developing this one? Was there anything you were trying to replicate or avoid?
[Owl Cat Games] We deeply analyzed both classic games and modern ones in the genre. To be honest, RTWP can get a bit messy especially with the full party and dozens of enemies on the battlefield. So our main focus was to highlight the major information during the battle such as critical hits, danger conditions, characters with low HP, etc.
[Owl Cat Games] Another challenge was that playstyles can vary greatly from player to player. Some people like to see as much information as possible. Others prefer to role-play even on the battlefield. So we try to give as many options as possible to let the player customize the battle information they want to see.
Q: How did you approach balancing combat and storytelling / roleplaying? Many RPGs lean heavily into the realm of action games these days, while roleplaying aspects are less prominent.
[Owl Cat Games] Storytelling was always a main focus for us. All other game aspects are devoted to supporting the plot,but balancing is always a challenge. We didn’t want to adjust the difficulty based on the players current level of progression and considering the open-world nature of the game, sometimes battles may be really challenging. Yet we are constantly examining all the feedback we get from players to fine-tune and balance the game.
Q: Will the game have multiple solutions to problems (I mean like actual multiple solutions) or will the quests be more linear?
[Owl Cat Games] The direct answer is yes, almost every event has several ways to solve it. The main storyline also has a lot of different options for progression and the game has several major different endings, not counting the dozens of different minor outcomes.
And then, there's the latest hotfix that addresses a number of issues and explains how the game's artisans work. Here's a bit on the latter:
We have noticed there were a lot of questions and misunderstanding surrounding our game’s crafting feature, the artisans, so we’ve decided to clear things up a little bit.
As a kingdom’s artisans become better at their craft, they can reach ever higher degrees of mastery, mechanically represented by different tiers. The quality of gifts they present to the player depends on their tier, with their finest work – the masterpiece – serving as the reward for reaching the artisan’s highest tier.
To increase an artisan’s tier, you need to complete their respective quests, but that is not the only requirement. You also need to improve your newborn country, so that the artisans have access to better tools and materials – that is, you need to rank up the different kingdom stats associated with the artisan.
As already mentioned, once an artisan’s mastery reaches the highest tier, they will present you with an item of great power – the masterpiece. At the moment, some players may experience an issue where an artisan tells the player they’ve started work on a masterpiece even though not all the necessary requirements have been met. This will be fixed in one of the nearest updates.
Also, we are currently working to make the process of improving an artisan’s tier more obvious and reactive.