A while back PC Gamer published a piece on upcoming open world RPG Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which I backed in 2016, and for which I await release since they announced it for February 13. It has been in development roughly since 2011, and it was delayed a few times since, which bodes well for a polished game.
However, the PC Gamer article goes into details that I haven’t seen in other articles about the game, specifically about the complex systems for roleplaying and quest completion:
“If you need to find a murderer in a monastery (and you will) then to get inside, you’ll have to roleplay a monk. That means going through the initiation ceremonies and following a strict daily schedule. Your routine, the halls you wander, the labored process for making whatever poultices Bohemian monks made in the 1400s, the gobs of art are all as true to the era as the developers at Warhorse Studios could make them, even if accurate is boring. […] You can use the wait system to pass the time, but if you can’t figure out where you’re supposed to be and when, then the ‘monk police’ will punish you. Screw up enough and you can get ejected. The quest won’t end if you do though. You can always just kill everyone. I mean, the murderer is in there somewhere.”
This is both worrying and exciting to learn about. It is probably just a minor or side quest in the game, and if even a side quest can be this rife with possibilities and details, I can’t begin to imagine what the main quest must play like. It reminds me of the Beyond the Beef side quest in Fallout: New Vegas, which was dissected by the excellent Game Maker’s Toolkit. But then New Vegas was and remains a diamond in the rough: bug-ridden to this day, full of engine-based issues, prone to a lot of crashes. Kingdom Come could suffer from the same issues due to its complexity and ambition.
I believe it won’t, for the following reasons: it has been in development much longer, which means it is being polished as much as possible; it is a CryEngine game, which are usually rock-solid and stable in terms of performance (Prey as the latest example of it); it is the first game by Warhorse Studios, helmed by Daniel Vávra, who directed the critically-acclaimed Mafia games (not the third though), so they are definitely trying to hold on to the audience and establish a franchise.
Kingdom Come is a truly rare thing in today’s industry: a fiercely single-player, story-driven action-roleplaying game that strives for a hyper-realistic immersive simulation of 14th century life in a European country long since gone. Dispensing completely with fantasy and the usual overblown heroic antics associated with RPGs, it will be refreshing at the very least.