Global Developers: An Interview With Warhorse Studios
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 🙂
Having 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?