An interview with Warhorse Studios!

by on March 18, 2016


continuing my series of interviews following a subject which is in vogue right
now, Kingdom Come: Deliverance. The recent announcement that Warhorse Studios
might team up with a publisher which will lead to the postponement of the PC
version triggered a lot of discussions. I contacted Tobias Stolz-Zwilling,
Warhorse Studios PR Manager, for an interview on this topic and this is what I
found out:
As an introduction,
for those who don’t know yet, who are the Warhorse Studios and what are you
working on?
“We are currently working on Kingdom Come: Deliverance a
realistic and historically accurate RPG which takes place in 1403 Bohemia. You
are the incarnate Henry, a young son of a blacksmith who lives his ordinary life
in Bohemia until his home city gets attacked by a foreign army. Not many
survive and driven by vengeance you are about to investigate these crimes and
bring the culprits to justice.  However
you are no chosen one and there is no ancient prophecy, you are just an
ordinary guy and will never become a king or command an army. You can’t change
history, but all your decisions and actions will have an impact on the world –
and maybe you will emerge a hero. “
Kingdom Come:
Deliverance is an indie AAA game that was partially funded through Kickstarter.
Can you tell me a little about how the game’s concept came to be and what drove
you to use crowdfunding?
“The idea formed over some beers by two guys in a pub.–
pretty much the usual approach for genius Czech ideas. They wanted to create
the story of their European ancestors in a way that no one ever tried it before
– the realistic way. So the idea of Dungeons & Magic in the form of Kingdom
Come: Deliverance was born. The problem was that publishers refused to support
us. Not because that this game won’t be successful but because they weren’t
eager into taking risks by abandoning the main stream. They wanted us to change
the concept which we refused – so now we had a problem. Luckily we found an
investor, only he wanted proof that there is a demand. So together we decided
to go on Kickstarter with the goal of 300000 British Pounds. This would
motivate the investor to put the rest on the table.  It was sink or swim after that.  Failure to make our goal would mean the end
of Warhorse Studios and KC:D –luckily we swam!
After 29 days in February 2014 we ended the project with an awesome
amount of 1.1 million British Pounds. We were the 3rd most
successful Kickstarter Campaign in 2014 and the real development of KCD
started. In October 2014 we released the first Alpha and in March 2016 the
Beta… with the great support of our community we are on track! “
With Hitman changing
its delivering method from launching as a full game to an episodic release,
players are afraid that more and more games will release in an incomplete
state. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a three acts series with each act being
released separately and having its own price tag. It sounds a bit pricey and
something that some of the gamers surely don’t agree with, but your business
model is not exactly the same.
Can you explain how
Kingdom Come model is different from Hitman or any other game that will attempt
to use something similar in the future?
“The Acts behave like different but connected games. Every
game is a part of the overall Kingdom Come Story each with around 20-50 hours
of gameplay new maps features etc. So imagine it more like we are splitting the
Hussite Wars (which we are talking about in Kingdom Come) in logical sections.
Just and only because it’s impossible to cover the entire story in one single
game. So don’t be afraid of the Act system.. it is more like Kingdom Come 1,
Kingdom Come 2 and so on. We might do time jumps, show other aspects of the
war. Add new features and mechanics and so on.”
Recently there has
been talking that the PC release might be held back to line up with the console
version of the game as part of the negotiations with a potential publisher. The
PC community is very sensitive to this matter and frankly I’m a little
sensitive as well. There is a certain skepticism that comes with years of
letdowns that drove gamers like me to a state of insecurity and a fear of being
betrayed. I’m sure you are aware of the false advertisement, the postpones and
various other problems that the PC community had to endure leading some of its
members to even despise the consoles. And now, because of the latest news, Kingdom
Come: Deliverance is heading into a direction that could upset the PC gamers.
What’s your take on this
matter and are there any reassurances that Kingdom Come will be different than
the games I’m doing my best not to name?
“What we want is, and was the plan from the beginning, is to
create the best graphical and gameplay experience for all platforms! So PC gamers
don’t have to fear any kind of downgrade or similar things. We will push each
platform to its limits. And postponing releases has of course negative aspects
like… well… postponing :), but on the other hand it gives us more time to
polish the game and to make it even more beautiful. In general there is nothing
you need to be afraid of. There are many factors we are currently dealing with,
but we’ll announce all release dates and final decisions in June on E3 Los
I don’t have access
to the Beta version of the game but I have been reading a lot of the feedback
and watched some of the videos on YouTube and it seems that there are some
performance issues. Poor optimization is an ever present issue with high tech
PC games. I know the game is currently in Beta and that the optimization is
usually part of the late development process but players get worried
Are there any plans
to make the Beta run smoother and what should we expect in terms of performance
from the final product?
“Of course there are. We are working on patches as we speak.
But you also need to understand what Beta means for us. This is not a Benchmark
for the final game quality but a new testing ground for us to test most core
elements, features and mechanics. Most of them are in the first stages and we
did that on purpose to generate feedback from the community. We are still in a
time frame where we can work on it, change it and tweak many things, but in
order to do that we need to show our ideas and visions. I would rather call it
a Tech Beta. The game is far away from being finished and we didn’t even start
to optimize yet. Once we do that it will run much smoother even on less
powerful devices.”
Both the PC and
console version of Kingdom Come: Deliverance are developed together, neither
being a port of the other. As a PC gamer I feel obligated to ask: are there any
visual differences between the two versions aside from what an adjustable
resolution and the usual settings like anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering
bring to the table?
“ANSWERED IN QUESTION 4. PC Version will look fantastic of
course :).”
As an ending note,
what can we expect from the final version of Kingdom Come: Deliverance and what
is the earliest release estimate?
“What you can expect from Kingdom Come: Deliverance is the
best depiction of medieval life, medieval combat and medieval settings ever to
be shown in a game. You will have to face an epic story that is based on actual
historical events, every fight will push you to your limits and can be your
last one if not properly prepared. You need to think about every choice you’ll
have. Every decision will have a proper reaction and can change the outcome of
the game. You are on an epic quest to unveil the horrible future 1403 Bohemia
must face. The final release dates will be revealed on E3 2016.”
                I want to thank you once again
for taking some time off from your busy schedule to answer my questions. I’m
looking forward to Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s release
and I’m really hoping that when it’s released I won’t have any reason to say
anything bad about the game’s technical state as I felt compelled to do lately
with many of the AAA titles.
                I feel
that the interview clarified a lot of the doubts around this subject reaffirming
Warhorse Studios stand on their game in conjunction with the PC platform. For
those interested, you can find more information about Kingdom Come: Deliverance and its current
Beta Test here.