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Warhorse Studios Talks Gameplay, Story Details for ‘A Woman’s Lot’ And Looks to the Future – Exclusive Interview



Warhorse Studios has been kind enough to answer some burning questions ahead of the upcoming, final DLC for Kingdom Come: Deliverance, ‘A Woman’s Lot’.

With the title entering its second year after release, the response by fans has been mostly positive, as the gritty and punishingly realistic medieval game takes role playing adventure to a new level. Since its release, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has had a multitude of post-launch content added including three story expansions and other, more minor, content add-ons.

The fourth and final expansion, ‘A Woman’s Lot’, which is out next week, is perhaps the most ambitious and creative DLC for the game. In order to learn more about this new adventure, OnlySP got in touch with Warhorse PR manager Tobias Stolz-Zwilling:

OnlySP: Kingdom Come: Deliverance ‘A Woman’s Lot’ marks the fourth and final expansion for the game. However, will there be any further, possibly smaller post-launch content similar to the ‘Treasures of the Past’ maps or the additional voice packs?

Stolz-Zwilling: With “A Woman’s Lot” we are getting close to the end of our DLC roadmap (below). The last mosaic will be the modding tools, however how exactly these will look like is still something we are discussing internally.

OnlySP: Opposed to the other expansions, ‘A Woman’s Lot’ features a new perspective, from the eyes of Theresa. Given that KC:D is a character-driven RPG, it seems to invite new possibilities and limitations, so how will this shift in character affect gameplay in terms of interactions and mechanics?

Stolz-Zwilling: That is correct. The player will be able to relive the moments before/while and after the attack on Skalitz from the perspective of Theresa. Same as Henry in the beginning, she is not skilled in swordfighting. Theresa is more of a stealthy archer when it comes to combat. Then there is Tinker, her loyal dog and a new feature for Kingdom Come: Deliverance, who will of course do everything to protect Teresa.

OnlySP: While we’re talking about Theresa, has adapting the core mechanics to fit her character created any unexpected challenges?

Stolz-Zwilling: Yes, because all animations and models were created for Henry. As Theresa has another set of “bones” (in terms of animations), we had to reshoot most of the motion capture movements and animations to make them fit for Theresa.

OnlySP: The previous three expansions built on Henry’s relationships, skills, and growth within the community of the world of KC:D. Since ‘A Woman’s Lot’ is set during the opening moments of the base game, will players be able to interact with Henry and will there be repercussions from the main game?

Stolz-Zwilling: That is a very good question—and yes! You are very right. Not only will the player meet Henry and his family, but there will also be more interaction with already known characters from Skalitz. But there is even more. In “A Woman’s Lot” there is also a big new questline for Henry as he meets his old friend Johanka in the Sassau Monastery. Johanka has strange visions and the player has to find out what they mean.

OnlySP: Speaking of, exactly how much of the original story will be revisited as part of Theresa’s story arc? And how long might the average player take to play through all of the new content introduced as part of ‘A Woman’s Lot’?

Stolz-Zwilling: It’s less revisiting rather than offering an alternative “timeline”. We all know that Henry fled to Talmberg after the attacks, but how did Theresa manage to survive, and how did she finally save Henry from the Bandits. But in terms of revisiting… the player will interact with Skalitz and its people, before it was attacked. The DLC has three elements, a questline playing as Theresa, a questline playing as Henry, and a new dog companion for the entire game. As this DLC is the biggest, the player can expect something between 10-15 hours of gameplay, however, this heavily depends on the playing style.

OnlySP: ‘A Woman’s Lot’ also introduces a companion mechanic with Theresa’s dog, Tinker. With Tinker able to sniff out enemies, treasure, and other points of interest, will these mechanics be upgradable throughout the DLC.

Stolz-Zwilling: Yes, Henry will get a new RPG skill called “Houndmaster” which determines the “tricks” his dog will be able to perform. However, if you don’t treat your dog well, he can scatter and run away.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

OnlySP: Also, how does Tinker react in terms of combat and travelling? For example, will Tinker be able to keep up once on horseback?

Stolz-Zwilling: The dogs will protect their owner, so whenever you get attacked, they will try to defend you. But you can also proactively send them to attack people. However, the dog counts as your extended arm. So, if you send him to attack innocent people, you will trigger the crime system as if you would attack the person by yourself.

OnlySP: If Tinker should be critically injured or run away from neglect, is the player able to get a new dog?

Stolz-Zwilling: No, the dogs return after a while and join Henry/Theresa again.

OnlySP: While Silver Skalitz will play a large role in this expansion, will the player be able to explore the open world as Theresa or be able to interact with any returning characters previously only encountered as Henry?

Stolz-Zwilling: The player will not be able to roam the world, as Theresa gets her own map within the Kingdom Come: Deliverance map. Once the “timelines” meet again, the player will continue playing as Henry.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

OnlySP: During PAX East 2019, it was said that some of the DLC will be playable as Henry and that he will receive his own dog. Will players be able to name their own dog, and will this be filtered into the main game or will this be solely part of the expansion?

Stolz-Zwilling: No, Henrys dog “Mutt” can’t be renamed, but it’s true that he will follow through the base game (after he gets the dog from Teresa), however the dog is a DLC feature.

OnlySP: It was also recently announced that Kingdom Come: Deliverance Royal Edition as well as ‘A Woman’s Lot’ will be delayed on consoles by several weeks. If you don’t mind us asking, what were the main reasons for this brief delay?

Stolz-Zwilling: Is “production issues” a good enough answer?! 😊

OnlySP: Finally, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has become a huge success with a lot of love still being poured in through quality control and content. Is there anything that the team at Warhorse Studios is excited for in the future or would like to tell fans?

Stolz-Zwilling: To come to an end, actually. Warhorse Studios and the idea of KCD lives since 2011, maybe even a little earlier. To see everything come together, to see the people love and support the game… to see the success of this project makes us really proud. Let’s see what the future brings.

‘A Woman’s Lot’ will be available from May 28 on PC. Meanwhile, console players will have to wait a little longer—June 11, to be exact—to get their hands on the new content.

For more on Kingdom Come: Deliverance and the world of single-player gaming, be sure to bookmark OnlySP and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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E3 2019

How Final Fantasy XV’s Lead Game Designer is Making a Rhythm Game — An Interview With No Straight Roads Developer Metronomik



No Straight Roads game art 5

Wan Hazmer’s journey is an interesting one. Having worked at Square Enix on games such as Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy XV, Hazmer left the studio in 2017 to start his own development studio, Metronomik. The studio’s first game, No Straight Roads, is a music-based action-adventure game where players must fight the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) empire as an independent rock band.

OnlySP had the opportunity to speak with Hazmer about the game’s inspiration, gameplay, and art design.

OnlySP: What inspired you to make No Straight Roads?

Hazmer: I am a big rhythm gamer. I used to be really good since Beatmania 1 so that’s more than 15 years of experience playing rhythm games. I used to go to the arcades every week and spend like $50 just to play music games. (Laughs) Whenever I invited my friends to play rhythm games with me, they always said “I’ll just watch you play.” It baffles me because everyone loves music; I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love music. I think the problem is the way [music] participates in gameplay. Music is only used in two ways in games: soundtrack or rhythm games. I think everyone has rhythm sense. If I were to give you a guitar, and you didn’t know how to play the guitar, of course you’d admit you’d have no rhythm sense.

I feel like, when you listen to a song maybe five times, then you’ll know when the chorus is supposed to come even before it comes. I want everyone to use that musical instinct to play the game and that’s why we have the enemies follow the music. The input, the participation that you have in the game isn’t a pure action game. Other inspirations also include other rhythm games. Rhythm games’ stories are something I like as well, like Space Channel 5, Guitaroo Man and even games that put a lot of emphasis on music. I think you noticed that the outer stars remind me of Jet Set Radio. The word ‘radio’ is in Jet Set Radio despite it not being a rhythm game. [Jet Set Radio] was such an influence and I still have the soundtrack.

No Straight Roads game art 2

OnlySP: How would you say your experience on other games contributed to No Straight Roads?

Hazmer: Back when I was working on Final Fantasy XV, one of the biggest things about the game was that we had to make sure that Final Fantasy becomes relevant again. [Part of that] falls into how you travel in the world so we thought “What is one of the most current way of travelling romantically?” and we thought “road trip” and it’s the core experience in Final Fantasy XV. We spent a lot of cost and effort into making sure that that core UX does its job. We had to photograph an AI, Prompto, and that was actually very difficult to pull off. Can you imagine an AI taking a photograph of you? He’s a very bad photographer at first, but he gets better and better. The user experience is an emotional connection to the game.

I also wanted to make sure that [No Straight Roads] has a UX that everyone can adhere to and that’s something that is very relevant. With relevance, we talk about rock vs EDM. It’s a classic tale of “my taste is better than yours.” And another is “your music can change the world” is our big core UX. We have the transformation of the props into weapons. We also have three channels of music: backing, melody, and rhythm. We multiply that by that by three genres of music rock, EDM, and a boss specific genre [for the demo, it was disco]. Depending on the situation, depending on the story, depending on how you perform, we actually switch one of the channels to EDM, one channel to bass, and one channel to rock. There’s a lot of music going on in the game and we only do it if we know that it is going to sell something for the UX. That’s something I got from my Final Fantasy XV experience.

OnlySP: How was it like creating the music and implementing it in the game?

Hazmer: I am very lucky to have four composers who are very talented. One of them is Falk [Au Yeong]; he’s the music director. He actually used to work with me on Final Fantasy XV where he was a mixing engineer for the music. When you travel to Hammerhead, for example, a gas station in Final Fantasy XV, when you enter a diner the music starts changing a bit. We were discussing dynamic music for a long time. We also have James Landino who is working on the EDM tracks—he [worked on] Cytus [2], Kingdom Hearts, and Final Fantasy as well. We have Pejman [Roozbeh] who is more of a funk/disco kind of guy, and Andy [Tunstall] who worked on rock.

What I love about working with these four composers is that they know the technicalities involved with implementing music in games. What we do is we come up with the concept for the boss first. We have a DJ who thinks he’s the center of the universe and he’s going to spin some planets. After that, we pass it to the musicians. They compose really great music and they pass it back to us and they understand that there are three channels and the programming involved. There are a lot of times when you make a video game, you outsource the music in the last minute. I really wanted the musicians to be involved from very early on so they are actually involved in the game design process as well.

OnlySP: In the demo, I noticed I got to play as two characters. Are there only going to be those two characters?

Hazmer: Yes. The concept seems like there could fit another person here. (Laughs) You can only control two characters, but there’ll be a bunch of bosses. You can actually play couch co-op as well, so one person can be Mayday and the other Zuke.

OnlySP: About how long would you say the game would be?

Hazmer: 10–15 hours. When you defeat a boss, although there are some RPG elements in it (like giving buffs to your weapons), but I don’t want to go with the New Game Plus route, so I’m [following] more of a Sonic or racing game [style] where once you complete a particular level, you can actually challenge the level again in a different difficulty. So there will be difficulties where you’ll have to parry almost everything in order to survive. For example, when you’re playing the game you only hear rock when you’re almost defeating a boss, you can play an entire boss fight in rock.

No Straight Roads gameplay screenshot 1

OnlySP: How did you go about selecting the genres of music for No Straight Roads?

Hazmer: First of all, we came up with interesting bosses in the game. My co-founder, Daim [Dziauddin], he’s really big into storytelling and he always wonders why people play music. We didn’t want this game to be a game about a bunch of bosses, who are awesome and big and that’s about it. Every single one of these artists has a reason to play music. From there, we see what kind of genre fits them very well. For example, we came up with a DJ who is egocentric and he thinks that he’s the center of the universe and, bam, the sub theme is space. From there, we figured we can do some disco and some Flash Gordon kind of things, and that’s how the genres came about.

OnlySP: Are there any plans to add in some post launch content?

Hazmer: Definitely. This is still all in talks, so it is not confirmed at all. I would love to collaborate with other games or different artists so that we can get their branding into the game [such as a being a boss in the game]. That’s one of the dreams for this game. Once we finish the game, I really want to collaborate, organically, with many different musicians.

OnlySP: Of the genres of music that are not in the game, what would you say would be the first one you’d want to put in post launch?

Hazmer: Oh wow. That’s quite difficult. I kind of like jazz in a way so jazz would be nice. Jazz and EDM would be really cool. (Laughs) I really like jazz, so I think a jazz boss would be really cool.

No Straight Roads game art 3

OnlySP: What influenced the art style for No Straight Roads?

Hazmer: I made a lot of realistic games and wanted to run away from realism. We thought that the characters in the game [don’t] have to be a human skin color. So we were looking at a lot of American cartoons like Steven Universe. The other thing is the funky art style of games that don’t take themselves too seriously like Tim Schafer games like Psychonauts. Sometimes ugliness is beautiful and beauty is ugly. In terms of the poses for the characters, we love ourselves some Jojo. (Laughs) Poses for us are very very important.

For all the latest from No Straight Roads and more from the world of single-player gaming, be sure to bookmark OnlySP and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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