The importance of a good leader for a kingdom can’t be understated, but fortunately your new kingdom has you to guide it.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker is an adaptation of the pen-and-paper RPG of the same name, putting players into the Pathfinder universe in the form of an isometric RPG. Kingmaker, of course, focuses on the Kingmaker campaign and puts building a kingdom at the center of a massive RPG story. The intention from developer Owlcat Games is to bring the table experience of the game, which they played themselves for hours on end, to a full 80-hour RPG.
Kingmaker was built around three core concepts: being true to Pathfinder, giving the player an interesting story, and letting them build their own kingdoms. The developers told us that it was extremely important to give players the chance to succeed and fail on their own merits while telling a compelling tale along the way. Players are going to understand how heavy the head that wears the crown really can be.
As the title says, the game centers around the trials and victories of running a kingdom. Kingmaker is unique in that how you run your kingdom comes down to your decisions. You can be as hands-on as you want to be as a leader, micromanaging the economy, taking on every problem that comes your way, expanding territory, run a 25-hour day being a leader. You can also just let a council take care of the minutiae of running a kingdom while you adventure out and slay monsters or kill bandits.
You can jump in and out of the decision-making as you see fit. Sometimes you just want to take a break from the sword of Damocles dangling above your head and go on some quests, sometimes you are tired of questing and want to take control back from your council.
As you continue your adventure, you gradually pick up the 11 companions that join you on your journey, who also join you in running the kingdom. Missions come in that are not necessarily for a king to handle and just require someone to go lay down the law, allowing you to send your companions to take care of things. Sending the right person for the right job is important, meaning a good leader has to delegate correctly.
It might not always be a good idea to pass off decisions, though. In one quest, you are given the option to increase your military spending in terms of research and development. Eventually, a potion is happened upon that vastly increases your military strength at the cost of making your soldiers mindless zombies filled with bloodlust temporarily. I wasn’t told what the consequences of this quest were, but I am going to guess that the zombie path isn’t going to end well.
Since the Kingmaker campaign was a pen & paper RPG, it had short descriptions for a lot of things that the developers including writer Chris Avellone expanded upon for the game. One example they gave was a tower along the path which had a single paragraph in the source material. When working up the documents for the game, Owlcat expanded that paragraph to several pages.
Your kingdom starts small, but you start expanding through quests, story progression, and military action. A larger kingdom means more responsibilities, but it also means more opportunities for quests and adventures, as well. While I didn’t get a chance to go hands-on with the game, the developers guided me though a number of quests and mechanics and I’m excited to see more.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker was Kickstarted just over a year ago and is releasing on September 25 on PC.