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Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Dev Diary #6 - Going Mythical

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Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Dev Diary #6 - Going Mythical

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Fri 27 August 2021, 21:57:57

Tags: Alexander Mishulin; Oleg Shpilchevsky; Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

The topic of Owlcat's latest dev diary for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is the Mythic Paths. They're clearly the game's centerpiece feature, so it's only fitting that they're presented by the prestigious Alexander Mishulin himself. He describes each of the core six mythic paths in detail - the Lich, the Angel, the Azata, the Aeon, the Demon and the Trickster. He's a bit more coy about the two that were added as stretch goals, but hints that they might be even more consequential to the game's storyline.

In related news, PC Gamer published an extensive interview with Alex and Owlcat CEO Oleg Shpilchevskiy earlier today. It covers much of the same material as the dev diary but also has some details about the challenges the studio faced after Pathfinder: Kingmaker's disastrously buggy initial release. Here's an excerpt:

"To be honest, the release of Kingmaker was not ideal," says Oleg Shpilchevskiy, who is head of Owlcat Games and also a master of understatement. "It had quite a lot of problems in the beginning."

The Russian studio's first RPG, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, arrived in 2018 beset by bugs, slow loading times, and difficulty that didn't so much bounce up and down as rocket-jump. After release, Owlcat got to work improving Kingmaker, with patches whose notes were so long they sometimes had to be spread over two Steam news posts.

"We had to make a lot of changes," Oleg says. "A lot of fixes in the first two weeks and even first months, which taught us a lot." As well as patching Kingmaker, the studio added to it with DLC (some of it free), and extras like a turn-based mode in addition to its default realtime-with-pause setting (inspired by a popular Kingmaker mod).

Replaying Kingmaker today is quite a different experience than it was in 2018. Turn-based combat means area-of-effect spells actually hit the enemies you want, and your characters don't charge into battle directly over traps that have already been discovered. It's easier to manage your kingdom thanks to crisis points that can be spent to improve the odds of dealing with disasters, while the build points you need for construction and research projects can be bought right there in the kingdom management menu rather than by exiting it, then physically leaving your throne room to find the one merchant in your settlement who sells them.

These days, Kingmaker has a 78% positive rating on Steam and the majority of its negative reviews date from the two months after its release. It's built up a word-of-mouth reputation in CRPG circles as an old-fashioned fantasy sandbox that can be obtuse, but is still worthy of being numbered among the better revivalist CRPGs, alongside Pillars of Eternity and the modern Wasteland and Shadowrun games.

"Games have a peak in sales in the beginning, in the first half a year, and then maybe a short tail of popularity and sales in a year or two, but what we see with Kingmaker is a steady wave of new people coming in," says Oleg, who describes it as a long-tail seller. "And this tail is quite stable, which is really surprising."
It's nice to see Owlcat finally get the respect they deserve from the mainstream media. I wonder if they still have time for another dev diary before the game is released next week.

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