#IndieDev Monday: Interview With Warhorse Studios

Back in September I had the opportunity to report on the development of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, a crowdfunded RPG set in the 15th Century created by the Czech company Warhorse Studios.  Unlike most RPGs, Kingdom Come: Deliverance draws on history rather than fantasy to fuel its story.

Since the time of my original article, the game has released the first “technical alpha” run and is continuing its quest to a full release. The technical alpha allows players a glimpse into the world of Kingdom Come before the game is ready for a traditional release. In this version players can explore a small area of the world and complete a very simple quest. There are very basic interactions with NPCs and the player can get a good feel for the world’s potential. There is much to be done to the game before it is complete, but what I have played is very promising!

Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to work with Jiří Rýdl from Warhorse Studios to compile this interview for some insight on the game as well as the history of Warhorse Studios.

Check out the interview with Jiří Rýdl below: 

KCD_alpha_02

APGNation: Thanks for talking with us. To start us off, can you tell us a little about the history of Warhorse Studios?

Jiří Rýdl: It all began in 2011 after a few deliberate months of searching for an investor. Dan was broke and thought about starting a day job, but finally one day somebody called and said that he would like to hear more about the idea for Warhorse Studios, and turned out to be a good match. Later on in 2011 the company was established.

APGNation: Who was the original investor you mentioned?

Jiří Rýdl: The Warhorse investor is Zdenek Bakala.

APGNation: Were you working with Dan at this point (2011)?

Jiří Rýdl: Not yet.

APGNation: How did the two of you meet?

Jiří Rýdl: We were introduced in the old Warhorse office in 2013 by Martin Klima. I met Martin in 2002 at ALTAR Interactive, the developing company of Original War, the UFO series, and Fish Fillets.

APGNation: How many others were involved with the company in 2011?

Jiří Rýdl: I am not sure, but the original team was around 15 people.

APGNation: How did the idea for Kingdome Come: Deliverance come about?

Jiří Rýdl: The setting was the idea of Dan Vávra for a long time.  Dan likes history and because we live in Czech Republic, our history is something we all learn about in school. Times around the Husite Movement in the 15th century were a very interesting time of change.  Changes tend to push heroes into center stage.

APGNation: Can you tell our readers a little more about the Husite Movement?   What conflict was involved in the movement and what were people trying to achieve?

Jiří Rýdl: Well, it would end up being a few hours of talking and it is rather complicated.  Lets make it little bit simpler now. The Husite movement was a theological movement in the 15th century that turned back to the roots of faith according to the Bible. They especially attacked the indulgences. The main person of this movement, Jan Hus, was burned to death for his opinions and public speeches, and part of the movement started to turn radical. Under the leader Jan Žižka they fought a series of battles against larger and much better equipped armies, but never lost. The Husite movement split into several different groups after Žižka’s death, and was finally defeated. The Husite movement was an important part of the Christian Church’s reformation.

APGNation: How does the setting of the Husite Movement enhance the plot of the game?

Jiří Rýdl: If you know the historical background you can enjoy the details in the game — the buildings, existing people, and the real-life events.                                                                                                                              

APGNation: What made the studio choose to make a more historical game rather than a fantasy game?

Jiří Rýdl: Martin Klima, the second founder of the studio, is co-creator of the bestselling pen & paper fantasy game in Czech Republic. He and I spent literarily years with that game, so we do like fantasy settings.  But after all those years with dragons we would like to create something different.

APGNation: What is the name of the Fantasy pen and paper game?  Is it a role playing game similar to Dungeons and Dragons here in the US?

Jiří Rýdl: Dračí doupě, which means “Dragons Lair”. Yes, the game was created after first experience with Dungeons and Dragons in English, but it was little bit different and more connected to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Anyway, after 20 years of development it is a completely different game system. (See http://www.drd2.cz/)

APGNation: What previous games have Warhorse Studios developers worked on and which of these other games have had the biggest impact on the development of Kingdome Come: Deliverance?

Jiří Rýdl: People in Warhorse Studios have worked on many games and game series including; Mafia, UFO, Hidden & Dangerous, Operation Flashpoint, Armed Assault, Forza Horizont, and many, many more. I believe the biggest impact has been Mafia because the lead designer from Mafia, Dan Vavra, is also lead designer for Kingdom Come.

APGNation: Are there any specific similarities between the design elements in Kingdom Come and Mafia?

Jiří Rýdl: I would say it is not about specific elements, but about the players experience — enjoying strong story within the living world and the ability to choose your own style of gameplay.

APGNation: How surprised are you about the success of the Kickstarter and CrowdSource funding — obviously you thought it would work, but did it surprise you that the studio was able to raise over 2 million dollars in only 5 months?

Jiří Rýdl: That was absolutely great! We were sure that the game would succeed, but the overwhelmingly positive feedback was even more than we have dreamed of. Thank you all!

APGNation: Without spoiling the game, can you tell us a little about the protagonist and how his backstory was developed?

Jiří Rýdl: The main character is Henry, a blacksmith who lost his family in the civil war.  He seeks revenge, but there are some bigger changes in the air and his plan needs to change.

APGNation: Players are no doubt anxious to try out combat in the game. Tell us about working with medieval martial arts experts and how that has affected the way combat will play out in the game. 

Jiří Rýdl: We discussed the way people fought in medieval times with several groups of re-enactors, focusing on sword fighting and archery.  They explained to us pretty much everything we needed to know. Of course, a game is a game, and we are not able to implement every aspect of the medieval fight, or the game would be way too hard.

KCD_alpha_01

APGNation: What part of the completed game are you most looking forward to trying yourself?

Jiří Rýdl: I am looking forward to hunting in the woods!

What challenges does Warhorse Studios foresee, or has already experienced, related to developing a game in the Czech Republic but marketing it to the world, especially with such a huge funding response from US and Germany?

Jiří Rýdl: Well, we have to speak in English and we should do better :-] We already have a community manager from Germany, but in the future we will probably need someone focused on US or English-speaking countries in general.

APGNation: Are there any upcoming projects besides Kingdom Come: Deliverance that you would like to share with our readers? 

Jiří Rýdl: We are working on our merchandise shop.

APGNation: Is there anything we have not covered that you would like to add for our followers?

Jiří Rýdl: We are team of people, not a machine — we do our best, but sometimes we need to rest. Thank you all for the support!

We are very grateful to Jiří Rýdl for working with us to create this interview to bring us some insight on Kingdom Come: Deliverance and the history of Warhorse Studios.  We look forward to future talks.

For more information on the game, and to try out the alpha go to: http://kingdomcomerpg.com/game/technology-alpha.

For all the latest news on Kingdom Come: Deliverance and other games follow us @APGNation.

Mary-Ellen Tolliver
Hello Nation! My Name is Mary-Ellen Tolliver; I am 26 years old and live in the great state of Texas. I have always enjoyed games, especially card games and board games. As a kid I did not have video games but I always enjoyed Oregon Trail and Chips Challenge (props to you if you know Chips Challenge!). Now that I am a “grown-up” I am slowly discovering the vast world of digital games and gaming. I have become especially fond of indie games and games with amazing soundtracks. When I am not working I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend, exercising, learning new things, reading, and trying to figure out what amazing paths the future holds. I am looking forward to bringing a novice viewpoint to the APG Nation and learning more about games and gaming.

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