Interview: Owlcat Games – Developer Behind the Pathfinder Franchise

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous 1 Million

Owlcat Games is not a new developer when it comes to CRPGs. If you are a fan of CRPGs then chances are that you have already played their brilliant first title Pathfinder: Kingmaker which is essentially based on the classic tabletop RPG Pathfinder. Owlcat Games is currently working on its next project Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. The Kickstarter campaign for the game is a huge success with the project securing most of its stretch goals as well. We recently had the opportunity of an interview with Owlcat Games and we secured the opportunity to get to know more about the developer and their brand new project Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. Answering our questions is Andrey Tsvetkov who is the Head of Publishing at Owlcat Games. Read on the interview and if you are a console gamer, there is fantastic news for you in the interview below.

GH: Tell us a about Owlcat Games. How did the studio pick CRPG as its major genre?

AT: The core members of Owlcat Games are the industry veterans who started their careers back at the beginning of the 2000s. Many of us grew up playing CRPGs that will later become what we call classics. We loved those games and brought the memories of those adventures throughout the years. And we always wanted to make our own game in the genre. The team leads got to know each other while being a part of a Russian game studio Nival and developing the critically acclaimed titles such as Silent Storm, Heroes of Might and Magic V, and Allods Online.

Later they joined Mail.Ru Group gaming division and worked on MMORPG called Skyforge. With the success of Pillars of Eternity and the following renaissance of the CRPG genre, we have decided to make the game that we have always dreamed about—that’s how the idea of Pathfinder: Kingmaker was born. We have played tabletop Pathfinder a lot, and to our surprise, no one has ever developed an RPG based on this fantastic universe. So we decided to do it.

We named our new studio Owlcat Games and launched a Kickstarter campaign to fundraise for the development, and the feedback was overwhelming. We have also managed to get Chris Avellone on board, who appeared to be a huge fan of Pathfinder as well. And that’s how the journey started.

GH: The Kickstarter campaign for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous has been a huge success and the game has managed to reach many of its stretch goals as well. Did you expect to reach the goal amount in such a short time?

AT: We are excited about the amount of support we are getting from our community. For us, it is a sign of trust, and this is very important to us, taking into account the Kingmaker rough launch time. Honestly, we didn’t expect that level of hype during the first days of the campaign. The results were way beyond our expectations—the initial goal was reached in 15 hours.

Of course, we had a bunch of stretch goals ready at hand, but still, it was a pleasant surprise. I believe that the main reason behind this success is the reputation of the studio, backed by our passion for Pathfinder RPG and hundreds of hours spent on post-release patches for Pathfinder: Kingmaker. I hope we proved ourselves as the developers who fulfill their promises.

GH: Since Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is termed as an indirect sequel of Pathfinder: Kingmaker, how much are the stories inter-linked with each other?

AT: Although we say that Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is an indirect sequel to Kingmaker, it mostly applies to the game mechanics and the shared Age of Lost Omens setting. We have also improved on the technical aspects of the game, including the updated visuals. When we talk about the story, these are two stand-alone adventures, and the storyline of Wrath of the Righteous doesn’t pick up the one from the previous installment.

But don’t worry: we have planned some special appearances of the well-known characters from Pathfinder: Kingmaker. With a dedicated social goal unlocked, the players secured the opportunity to see some familiar faces, and these encounters will be more interesting and impactful thanks to our supporters. I would like not to share the details at the moment to avoid spoilers.

GH: How much will the gameplay of Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous differ from that of Pathfinder: Kingmaker? Were there any additions or removals from the gameplay based on community-feedback from Pathfinder: Kingmaker?

AT: The gameplay won’t change dramatically, as the game is still a classic CRPG based on the first edition of Pathfinder rules, and those who have played Kingmaker will feel themselves at home. But we are bringing in some new features and improvements. There are two major features that we are introducing in Wrath of the Righteous that I’d like to highlight the most.

The first one is the Mythic Paths, which brings an additional progression layer on top of the existing one. Becoming a particular mythic character, one of the eight available, will not only affect the storyline but impact your playstyle as each of them has a unique set of spells and abilities that vary drastically. Combining with the expanded roster of classes, archetypes, and races, we give the players the ultimate freedom for character building, that a rare RPG possesses.

The second addition is the turn-based combat mode. We got inspired by the user modification for Kingmaker and decided to include this mode as an option in our new game. It brings the gameplay closer to the tabletop version and provides a feeling of playing at the table.

We also want to help newcomers to get familiar with Pathfinder rules. For this purpose, there is a new tutorial designed to assist with character creation and other intricacies of the system.

GH: Pathfinder: Kingmaker was a huge success. What are your initial expectations from Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous?

AT: We are working hard to make Wrath of the Righteous better than Pathfinder: Kingmaker in almost every aspect. There is a lot of work ahead of us. Apart from major features introduced during the Kickstarter campaign, we have a long list of small quality-of-life improvements that should make the players’ lives easier. We believe that we will succeed and our fans won’t get disappointed.

GH: Will Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous come with any sort of local or online co-op modes?

AT: There were some thoughts about multiplayer, but we have decided not to do that and focus on the best single-player experience possible. We have a solid understanding of the effort the team has to put into this feature, thanks to our work on MMORPGs back in the days. It takes too many resources to execute it the way it should be done, and it is better to invest them into key mechanics of the game.

GH: Will player choices matter in the story of Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous? If yes, how much impact would decisions make and will the final game ship with multiple endings?

AT: The whole game is built around choice. It was the foundation of Pathfinder: Kingmaker, and it is 100% true for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous as well. I won’t spoil anything but can say that each Mythic Path (or the decision to decline the mythic powers and walk a path of a Legend) has a massive impact on both the story and the world. Your choice defines the way the central conflict is resolved, and the world reacts accordingly.

That brings us to multiple endings, of course. Your companions will respond to your actions—they might part ways with you or develop some romantic feelings for your character. With an additional budget that we raised with an appropriate stretch goal, there will be twice as much reactivity as it was in Kingmaker. It means that companions and NPCs will comment on a lot of events, including the ones provoked by your decisions. The choices will also affect the Crusade, as some allies might join your cause or leave your army.

GH: Since Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is a CRPG, I guess console releases are out of the question? Also, if fans demand it, would you consider releasing the game on consoles sometime in the future?

AT: It is no doubt that PC is the traditional platform for the CRPGs, but there are some notable releases on consoles as well. Last year we witnessed the enhanced editions of the classical RPGs introduced to the console gamers. This year we are bringing Pathfinder: Kingmaker to PS4 and Xbox One, and we are very excited about that. We will announce the release date this spring, so stay tuned. As for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, at the moment, we are developing this game for PC, but we might add new platforms in the future.

GH: This might be too early to ask but are you guys planning to release any sort of DLC or expansion for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous post-launch?

AT: We are focused on developing the game as a complete adventure. There are no plans for DLC content right now.

GH: Last time, Pathfinder: Kingmaker was published by Deep Silver. Will Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous be published by an external publisher as well or this time Owlcat Games will publish the game itself?

AT: The game is at the early stage of development, and no decision has been made yet. We will address this matter later.

GH: Apart from CRPGs, which other genre would Owlcat Games like to tackle next?

AT: The team is entirely focused on developing Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. It is too early to talk about any plans for what might happen next. For the moment, we have a lot of ideas we want to implement in a game of the genre we love, and we are excited about the opportunity to do so.

And there you have it. At the time of publishing this interview, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous has 24 hours left for its Kickstarter campaign and the game is inching closer and closer to yet another stretch goal. We are looking forward to playing the game when it comes out because it is appearing to be a great title so far and seeing how many stretch goals the game has achieved, it will be filled with tons of content at launch as well.

Are you looking forward to playing Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous when it comes out? Let us know in the comments section below!

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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