It wouldn’t be surprising to walk into a Warhorse Studios office and see the word plastered on every surface. Though that’s not entirely likely, authenticity is certainly on everyone’s mind when it comes to Kingdom Come: Deliverance. At E3, I had the opportunity to sit with the team for a preview and discuss their ambitions at length.
The team frequently made comparisons to The Witcher and Elder Scrolls when trying to nail down the scope of the map but, while those exude the bold detail of fiction, Deliverance is recreating a true to life medieval setting. With time progression taken into account, the terrain is nearly identical to the real life counterpart upon which it is based. At one point, the team even had to change the color of the chickens to white when someone noted that brown breeds didn’t exist there in that period.
Don’t let this talk of chickens fool you though, there is still a game to play and the player interaction is receiving the same attention to detail as the environment. The big reveal leading up to E3 was the unique battle system the team built from the ground up. It’s physics based, complex, and looks like it will take some dedicated time to master. A central reticle let’s you choose from 5 points of attack and you can tap into up to 20 combos (learned by leveling up) for every type of weapon. You can close the distance between you and an opponent and tap into a new group of attacks and even take the engagement to the ground.
Deliverance is no button masher, so you must be mindful of stamina and utilize “perfect block” mechanic to counter attack. Enemies have access to every ability you do as well, so attentiveness during combat is a must. Pre-combat can be as tense as conflict itself, with users having to try to prepare for any and all types of attacks. Will you dress a bit down for mobility? Prepare for stabbing damage? Layer cloth for blunt attacks? These things and more will weigh on the player’s minds and lend to the authenticity so prevalent in Deliverance.
The immersion doesn’t stop with visual aesthetics and combat. The developers have started work on an intricate music system that is aware of in game events. The goal is to have 3 hours of symphonic music with pieces that can be connected to each other in a sophisticated manner depending on the mood of in game events. It’s not fully in place in the alpha yet, but will be on target for the final release.
As it stands, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an ambitious video game with scary potential. With that immense potential comes skepticism as well. Will all these different ideas mesh well? Will the authenticity and complexity alienate too much of the gaming community? We’ll have the final answer in Summer 2016, but look for a hands-on preview with the updated Alpha that features an expanded map, grave digging, lock-picking, archery, and alchemy systems.