The role-playing game Pathfinder: Kingmaker was primarily known for two things: First, for its unique game concept, which brings the flair of classic pen-and-paper role-playing games to the computer with their dynamic stories and sustainable decisions. On the other hand for its epic number of bugs, which made the game almost unplayable at the release. The successor Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous remains loyal to the former. He wants to do the latter better.
The predecessor Pathfinder: Kingmaker suffered so much from hair-raising bugs when it was released that unfortunately fewer players played it than it deserved. Even players who were fascinated by the unique concept of the cRPG – including myself – waited until it was too late to buy and the title acidified somewhere between the wishlist and the pile of shame.
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That is why the successor does not follow the first part, but tells a story that takes place in the same universe, but 150 years later in a completely new era. The world was almost completely devastated by a demon invasion. As a brave hero with an illustrious party in tow, you set out to get rid of the evil.
"I know exactly what you think now," says developer Alexander Mishulin from Owlcat Games when he registers my skeptical look. "Demon invasion, hui, you've heard that a thousand times." Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous deliberately chooses a scenario that may be deemed to be exhausted from certain points of view in order to illustrate all the more impressively what makes the game special.
Mythical paths through the game
It should be more epic and darker than in the predecessor. Above all, however, each game run should differ greatly from one another due to the “mythical paths”. After about a third of the game, you have to decide which direction you want to take for the rest of the game. Depending on this, the story, the attitude of your character, his abilities and essential components of the gameplay change.
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As an undead Lich, for example, you make an ominous pact with evil and henceforth walk on a path of black magic and damnation. As judges you strive for justice and righteousness, as crooks for stealth and chaos. And as a heavenly Aeon, you can even travel through time to judge things that will go wrong at some point. Four of these mythical paths have already been announced, but the developers have not yet revealed how many there will be in total.
Kickstarter for a better game
The final number should also depend above all on the Kickstarter campaign, which starts on February 4. “When we start developing a game,” says Mishulin, “we always have an incredible number of ideas. And there are more and more. But at some point we have to draw a line and reduce the scope to a realistic level. ”But this is where Kickstarter comes in, which should enable the developers to do all the things that are haunted by their heads.
The problems with the predecessor were related to this aspect. "You have to be honest," sighs Mishulin when I speak to him about it, "we simply overdid ourselves. In the beginning everything sounded great with all those many, many decisions that you could make as a player and that have an impact in many ways. ”But then the project grew over your head at some point. “At some point we noticed that the players were doing things that we hadn't anticipated. That they made decisions at the start of the game that took effect much later, and in turn collided with other decisions that they made elsewhere. Suddenly nothing matched anymore. Everyth ing went completely out of control. "
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The successor wanted to avoid these problems under all circumstances. After all, a lot has been learned from the mistakes made. "For one thing, we have created a tool within our tools that logs all decisions and their possible outcomes at any time," explains Mishulin. As a result, it is immediately noticeable when something doesn't fit anywhere. "On the other hand, we have programmed a bot that already plays through the game several times a day and sounds the alarm every time something strange happens."
Between Baldur’s Gate and Pen and Paper
Moment? Does that mean the game is already playable? This is exactly what we can get a first hand picture of in the next two hours. The announcement that the successor should be "more epic" than the predecessor can be immediately verified. The second chapter, which we are allowed to play, takes place during the siege of a city. Here you don't just walk around on a map until you meet NPCs with question marks on their heads. Here you feel in the midst of a raging battle: the catapults fire and tear down walls with their projectiles, dragon riders rush down from the air to attack your heroic force, and brave crusaders hurry over with the battering ram to break open castle gates as they leave Battlements are shot at with burning arrows.
Several very different party characters, tons of skills and spells, tactical battles in real time, which can also be paused at any time – it works after "everything in it, everything in it", although the immeasurable complexity in such a short time and in the middle of the action can hardly be adequately assessed.
"We are huge fans of Baldur's Gate," Alexander Mishulin explains his own claim. "And of pen-and-paper role-playing games – we're also big fans of them, as you can easily see," he laughs. Five different pen-and-paper games were currently running in the office, which the employees played in parallel after work. "Our dream has always been to make a game that brings these two passions together."