Pathfinder: Kingmaker Interview

The Pathfinder universe is getting its first CRPG in Pathfinder: Kingmaker on September 25th.

We got to interview Creative Director, Alexander Mishulin and Owlcat Studios, the development team behind the game, and ask them some questions about the Kickstarter process, their post-launch plans, and everything else in-between.

Here’s the full transcript.

You took a unique approach to Kickstarter in that the game was already funded and you opted to make it bigger. How was the Kickstarter process for you and did you fund everything you wanted to bring into the game?

Well, you can never fund everything you want in Kickstarter because the more money you have, the more things you can add to the game. You’re absolutely right, though, we had quite an unusual approach with Pathfinder: Kingmaker. We have the base game but as you know the Pathfinder universe is so huge. So Kickstarter was really a temptation for us, because when we were deciding what to cut from the game to meet the budget, it was difficult to know what to leave out. That’s why we ran for Kickstarter because the money we collected there has allowed us to create the game we really wanted to make.

Specifically the kingdom and the variety of the kingdom. This was included in the base game but the variety was funded by our backers.

Was there any dream-level content you really wanted to add in but didn’t quite manage to fund?

Well, we have fourteen classes in the game but there are dozens of them in the Pathfinder universe and each member of the team has a favourable class, archetypes and things like that. So they all want to add them into the game and right now we’re considering more classes, spells and abilities for the game as downloadable content.

Are you also looking at new areas and new environments to explore, or does your roadmap primarily focus on characters and abilities at the moment?

We have different approaches and different ideas. Right now we’re planning for the first three DLCs. All of them will be devoted to different types of content. Some will add new classes. Some will add new areas and some will … well, that would be spoiling.

Companions are such a massive part of the experience. Can you customize their backgrounds? How much do they actually influence what you’re doing on the screen at any one time?

In terms of mechanics, you may fully customise your character as well as a companion. We’ve got a special pre-narrated build for companions for people who do not want to dig deep inside the mechanical stuff. And every companion will have a special role in the party. So you can play however you want.

So could a companion be on your side, to begin with but depending on how you’ve reacted in a situation could they choose not to journey with you anymore?

If you don’t pay attention to a companion and don’t fulfil their requirements, eventually they will leave your party. Although there are special story twists around some of the companions where they may react in some other ways. While I obviously don’t want to spoil the story, there are some interesting and unexpected events which happen. I hope we’ll surprise our players.

What was it about the Pathfinder IP that was most alluring and interesting to you? 

We were always big fans of tabletop games and Pathfinder has some brilliant features. They made the rules for one of our most favourable and most successful rule sets – 3.5 – so offer very famous and attractive rulesets. The guys behind it were always famous for making great adventures and puzzles. So the reason we love Pathfinder is a combination of these factors.

AM: We’d also worked with Pathfinder for a while with various campaigns so it was an easy choice for us to make a Pathfinder CRPG. We wanted to make a setting that would be familiar to players who love the series as much as us.

It’s interesting that you’ve also worked on a unique, customised engine in order to play this game. What does your engine provide that perhaps other games do not?

Well we took Unity as a base engine for our game and added a lot of toolsets to be able to work on the project. So it’s not a completely new engine.

To be honest, there are not too many engines available on the market and so, at some point, we decided that if we wanted to make a lot of games in the future then it would better to make our own toolsets and not be restricted by other engines’ requirements.

It’s been a fantastic year for RPGs and Pathfinder is shaping up to be up there with the best. Why do people need to get excited about this one?

I think everyone will find something interesting in our game. Pathfinder is an interesting combination of the classic RPG gameplay and Kingdom strategy. It’s full of exploration, finding new territories, visiting people, and then you have the city builder and kingdom management. There will even be some romances in the game which helps create an emotional bond between companions. Hopefully some people will like it.

Thanks so much for your time and I wish you well for launch. 

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