Creating a game in which player choice and decisions plays a huge role isn’t easy. It’s not just making sure that the choices matter and are meaningful near the beginning. It’s also about making sure that those same choice are honored and effective far down the line no matter what you do or how your actions deviate from one path or another. Owlcat Games will be the first to admit it didn’t necessarily get this all the way right the first time it tried in Pathfinder: Kingmaker, but that’s why in its sequel, Wrath of the Righteous, Owlcat is going out of its way to make sure that player choice is functional throughout the game and has weight in ways it didn’t before.
We got to take part in a conversation with Owlcat Games ahead of the second backer beta launching for the game on Steam, and still available to late backer pre-order players. In this upcoming beta, players will be able to enjoy four lengthy chapters of the epic RPG and feature new content such as Crusade gameplay, new sidequests, a new living weapon companion, changing weather system, and more.
When asked what the developer prioritized with the lessons learned from the launch and maintenance of Kingmaker, Owlcat Games Creative Director Alexander Mishulin brought up the handling of player choice and the effort the team made in ensuring its quality for Wrath of the Righteous out of the gate.
“The launch of Kingmaker was a little bit rough, so this time around we planned quite a lot of time to polish the game,” Mishulin told us. “More specifically, there are some systems in the game to ensure it will not be breaking in certain ways. For example, there is a system that maintains all of the decisions in the entirety of the game and its purpose is to make sure that throughout the game, any combination of the player’s decisions are addressed properly.”
It’s not just relevant to the player’s quest and the narrative of the game, either. Companions play a bigger role in Wrath of the Righteous. Various characters have likes, dislikes, and temperaments about the way in which the player acts. A part of that is responding to your decisions, giving them proper reactions to the choices you make, and making the player consider how their actions will affect those strong allies within their company. It even includes getting involved in how they interact with each other.
“We wanted to put a beam of focus on our companions in the game,” Mishulin continued. “We gave them more spotlight this time around and they react to more of the player’s decisions. They are more talkative, conversate and argue with each other, and you’ll get to know them better than characters we had before.”
Indeed, while Kingmaker didn’t lack for unique party members the player could pick up on their journey, Wrath of the Righteous aims to flesh out the world and the player’s interaction with it in a higher quality and functional way. With the second beta now available and release date set for the game, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is looking like a grand follow-up in Owlcat’s adaptation of the popular fantasy-fiction RPG universe. As we move towards its official launch date later in 2021, stay tuned for further details and updates leading up to the game’s release, or check out our previous hands-on preview to see how the game has played so far.