Global Developers: An Interview With Warhorse Studios

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First of all, introduce yourselves for those who don’t know and let us know a little bit about what Warhorse Studios does.

Jiří Rýdl: Everyone knows me as J.R. and I am one the mar­ket­ing guys at Warhorse Studios. We are in­de­pen­dent de­vel­op­ers stu­dio from Prague, de­vel­op­ing me­dieval re­al­is­tic RPG from 15th cen­tu­ry named Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is being built in CryEngine; how hard is it for a smaller team to deliver a high level of visual fidelity?

Thanks to Cryengine we can fo­cus on cre­at­ing graph­i­cal as­sets for the game, it is ac­tu­al­ly a big help. On the oth­er hand, be­cause we are (re)creating the land­scape ac­cord­ing to the real world, we need to cre­ate a lot of as­sets and that takes a lot of time 🙂

insert 1 warhorseHaving been through crowd-funding and also having members of the team that have worked on high profile AAA games, would you recommend crowd-funding and how does it compare to gaining backing from a publishers or investors?

We are talk­ing about com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent worlds here. Cant say that one is bet­ter then oth­er, it is more about your project and your ap­proach to the com­mu­ni­ty. The main dif­fer­ence is prob­a­bly that in case of Kickstarter cam­paigns the com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the play­ers starts al­ready in the be­gin­ning of de­vel­op­ment. That means you some­times have to an­swer “don’t know” to some ques­tions, but it is very im­por­tant to stay hon­est and rather ad­mit that we don’t know.

What advantages and disadvantages does being based in the Czech Republic bring to game development?

The over­all costs of pro­duc­ing game in Czech Republic are low­er than for in­stance in US and we have a lot of tal­ent­ed peo­ple here thanks to large num­ber of both art and IT uni­ver­si­ties. On the oth­er hand, the coun­try is small, so you need to sell the games in oth­er coun­tries and even game about Czech his­to­ry must be in English.

How difficult was it setting up you own development studio?

It was dif­fi­cult to find an in­vestor in the first place. When this mis­sion was ac­com­plished, thanks to Dan Vavra’s and Martin Klima’s ex­pe­ri­ence it was not so tough to find the right peo­ple and start the work al­most immediately.

When and how was the decision made to crowd-fund kingdom come Deliverance? Is it something you could ever see a publisher backing or was it a matter of wanting independence?

Probably both. First it was a re­ac­tion to pub­lish­ers re­fusal. We want­ed to know, if peo­ple re­al­ly don’t want to play RPG game with­out all the mag­ic and drag­ons as we were told. And be­cause we were suc­cess­ful, it gave us some lev­el of free­dom, lim­it­ed of course by re­sources like mon­ey, but most im­por­tant­ly, time. We still have big plans though!

Kingdom Come: Deliverance has a grounding in real history, how historically accurate do you try and make the game and what sacrifices of historical fact have been made (if any) to make the game play better?

We stud­ied old maps, chron­i­cles and books, we did thou­sands of pho­tos of the real ar­chi­tec­ture, weapons or flo­ra and we talked to uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sors for months. We have a full time re­searcher with ap­pro­pri­ate ed­u­ca­tion who is work­ing with sev­er­al con­cept artists to cre­ate prop­er­ly ac­cu­rate guide­lines for graph­ic artists and an­i­ma­tors. So yes, want to be re­al­is­tic as much as pos­si­ble! On the oth­er hand, for in­stance the sto­ry of a young black­smith try­ing to get his re­venge in the mid­dle of civ­il war was made by Dan Vavra, not by the his­to­ry books, be­cause chron­i­cles are about kings, not com­mon folks.

There has been a lot of negative press coverage surrounding central and eastern European games and developers in the past year. Do you think there is a misunderstanding of European culture and history taking place?

We have got a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back both from press and the play­ers from all over the world and that is im­por­tant to us.

How does the team like to unwind after a hard days development on the game?

We play com­put­er games, some­times board games, we have a soc­cer team or we just go to grab a few beers af­ter the work hours. Nothing special.

I’ve seen there are going to be large-scale battles taking place in Kingdom Come: Deliverance; will these be based on real historical battles?

No com­ment 😉

Do you think games are judged too greatly by USA standards and all the cultural hang-ups that go with that?

It is sim­i­lar with movie in­dus­try, how many movies from Czech Republic have you seen last year, for in­stance? We all hope we can change that with Kingdom Come: Deliverance like we (de­vel­op­ers from Czech Republic) did with Operation Flashpoint or Mafia.

What was the hardest part of the game so far to get right, is there one aspect that gave you most trouble?

J.R.: Probably the com­bat sys­tem. We build a mo­cap stu­dio es­pe­cial­ly for cap­tur­ing real-life move­ments of the pro­fes­sion­al sword­mas­ters and our pro­gram­mers and an­i­ma­tors spent a lot of time to trans­fer the feel­ing of real com­bat into the game. I be­lieve it works!

When can we expect to see Kingdom Come: Deliverance hitting stores?

Summer 2016.

Finally where can we find you and find out more about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?

You can meet us at Gamescom in the pub­lic hall 10.1 B031 or vis­it our web­site, where you can find info how to play the Tech Alpha your­self!

The fol­low­ing two tabs change con­tent below.
John Sweeney is a ter­ri­bly British man with a back­ground in en­gi­neer­ing. He writes long-form ed­i­to­r­i­al con­tent with analy­sis of gam­ing, games me­dia and in­ter­net cul­ture. He also does the oc­ca­sion­al video game ret­ro­spec­tive with a week­ly col­umn about Magic the Gathering thrown in for good mea­sure. He also does most of our in­ter­views for some rea­son, we have no idea why. A staunch sup­port­er of free speech and con­sumer rights; skep­ti­cal of agen­da dri­ven me­dia and sus­pi­cious of un­ac­cou­table au­thor­i­ty but al­ways hope­ful for change.
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