Kingdom Come: Deliverance Will Be More Like Skyrim Than You Think
After consistently making the "most anticipated RPG" lists several years in a row now during an extended development cycle, we're finally inching closer to the Kingdom Come: Deliverance release date.
Although the setting and imagery may look familiar, developer Warhorse Studios is billing Kingdom Come as a very different kind of open-world RPG, devoid of the whole "save the world" story line -- or even any dragons and magic at all!
Yep, there's no wizard college to enroll at, no dragon souls to devour, and no cabal of evil vampires to overcome this time around. Instead, this non-traditional RPG is focused on medieval combat realism as your nobody peasant protagonist explores the kingdom of Bohemia.
That description may bring to mind Mount And Blade far more than The Elder Scrolls, but while you won't be eating 87 raw potatoes during combat to heal up between sword swings, there are more similarities here between Kingdom Come and Skyrim than you might expect.
Kingdom Come Open-World Map Exploration
Easily the strongest comparison between the two games comes in the wide-open map, where exploration is encouraged. In both games, you can abandon the main quest to go do your own thing across a massive world.
Kingdom Come's map is a solid 16 square kilometers, with around a thousand points of interest to discover from end to end. As with Skyrim, there's total freedom to do whatever you want and go where you please, although there may be more consequences to stumbling around blindly this time around while you have other business to attend.
Warhorse has a major hurdle to overcome on this front. Even with a wizard's guild, flying dragons, and deadly giants, Skyrim's sense of open exploration was tempered by the fact that all that open space frequently didn't have interesting or memorable encounters.
Cull out all the fantasy elements, and you've got to work doubly hard to give players a reason to find all of those 1,000 locations across Bohemia.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance Game Mechanics
During all that open-world exploration, main character Henry will leave behind his father's smithy to engage in a whole lot of first-person combat with a classless leveling system.
Sounding familiar at all? There are also some echoes of that Elder Scrolls franchise staple where character skills improve as you use them, from swinging a sword to learning a new language.
Although there's no magic or enchanted items to be found, many of the same types of systems that Skyrim players are used to will be present, like learning alchemy at a monk's abbey to create potions and poultices.
Be sure to also prepare yourself for what is sure to be the biggest similarity between the two games: bugs. Lots and lots and lots of bugs.
Sadly, it's just part and parcel to the open-world experience these days (Skyrim is still seriously buggy seven years and five re-releases later). We've seen 'em popping up big time in all the early Let's Play Kingdom Come videos, and it's a good bet there will still be plenty of bugs left at launch before the first patches arrive.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance Mods
While it still isn't quite clear just how much Warhorse is going to officially support mods, you should expect to see quite a few arriving not long after launch.
Like Skyrim and the Mount & Blade series, Kingdom Come is more than ripe for some major modding action, as Bohemia certainly isn't the only setting where this style of gameplay will work well.
I'll be legitimately surprised if there aren't Warhammer, Game Of Thrones, and Star Wars mods for KC:D within the first six months.
For all its praise, Skyrim had plenty of flaws, and one of the big complaints was how the world reacted to your character. Specifically, how the guards and shopkeepers reacted to your character when dealing with the UI and the many easy ways to accidentally piss people off.
Who out there didn't end up inadvertently fighting off the town guard after being ambushed by vampires or brigands and having the nerve to defend yourself? Did you accidentally grab an owned item when you meant to grab something else sitting right next to it? Cool, that whole town is trying to kill you now, and they don't seem to care that you are trying to save the world.
From what we've seen of the beta gameplay, Kingdom Come: Deliverance doesn't seem to be straying too far from that particular pitfall of open-world games. Accidentally hitting the wrong person or grabbing the wrong item can be an all-too-frequent occurrence.
There are some changes to how the guards are called, however, with the typically omniscient town soldiers no longer able to telepathically discern that you stole something. People have to actually see you take the object, and it takes time for them to run and get the guards, so that's a plus.
NPCs are also slated to react differently to you based on your standing and even what you wear, so you might get away with things if you are dressed like an aristocrat and the locals like you.
I'm more concerned about accidentally stealing from this guard when trying to talk to him than fighting off a bandit (thanks to ESO for the screenshot).
Diverging RPG Paths
Of course, there are plenty of other ways Kingdom Come will diverge from Bethesda's staple of the RPG scene, starting with character creation. For instance, you play as one specific character with a set backstory, rather than scrolling through the endless race and facial feature options that kick off Skyrim.
There will be slight differences between the platforms as well, with HDR support running at 1440p on the Xbox One X offering up enhanced particle effects, but only 1080p possible on the PS4 Pro (while PC players laugh at both those crowds).
Regardless of platform, so far all signs point to better storytelling narrative and more interesting ways to handle situations based on what skills you develop with Kingdom Come, and there will be less hand holding going on.
While the size of the open-world map may bring to mind Skyrim, there's no GPS system, mini-map, or arrow icons over the NPC locations in KC:D.
We can expect a different experience from both single combat and large-scale battles as well, although based on the footage so far, it seems no less clunky than Skyrim's combat. Armor also plays a much bigger role here, changing how you move, what you can see, and drastically altering how much you hurt an opponent based on where you hit them.
Perhaps most interesting of all is that NPCs don't stand around waiting for you to do things -- if you ignore a situation to go take care of a side quest, you can come back to discover the locals took care of the problem themselves, and they won't be pleased that you ignored their issue to gallivant across the countryside on your own business.
Right now the comparison seems to be that KC:D will be to Skyrim as Arma is to Call Of Duty. While there there may be some rough-around-the-edges issues to overlook from this smaller developer, we're still expecting an experience that will satisfy the hardcore RPG fans when the Kingdom Come: Deliverance release date of February 13th, 2018, arrives.
Let us know if you share our cautious optimism, and whether you think Kingdom Come: Deliverance will topple Skyrim or fail to dethrone the open-world RPG king!