Pathfinder: Kingmaker Console Preview and Q&A – Bringing the Great to Consoles

Jun 11, 2020 11:00 EDT
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Pathfinder Kingmaker is a great game, at least I think it is. Is it perfect? Not at all, but this is a huge game that started from modest beginnings. A successful Kickstarter got Owlcat Games started, with Deep Silver taking up publishing duties. The game was successfully released, generating praise from critics and the audience alike.

Last year we covered the news that Pathfinder: Kingmaker was coming to consoles and since then Owlcat have been working on this console version as well as the Kickstarter for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. Our very own Kai had an interview with Owlcat Games about the game and surprisingly covered some aspects of the upcoming console release of Pathfinder: Kingmaker.

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So, it's actually a little difficult to preview a title like Pathfinder: Kingmaker on consoles because it's the same game you've played on the PC. No, it is. Some bugs have been fixed, giving you a smoother and more bug-free experience. Listen, it's the same game on console, what can I really tell you other than that? If you're unfamiliar with the game, read the review. Here's what Rosh had to say:

Fans of Baldur's Gate who love to explore the deep systems and thick spell books may truly love this game. Fans of unforgiving real-time combat will really enjoy this game. Fans of dense, high fantasy worlds filled with interesting locations and long quests might like this game, too, if they can get their head around the more complicated parts. Pathfinder: Kingmaker is a good game and a really fun experience but players need to know beforehand that it is not a very accessible game. Before playing you should be fully aware of how much of a mental and time sink Pathfinder: Kingmaker instantly becomes, and if that doesn’t put you off, I think you’ll really dig it.

The real talking point is about the differences between the original PC release and the upcoming console releases. In terms of content, they are identical, with the console version being the definitive edition, meaning it comes with the original game and every bit of downloadable content included. It's the gameplay and how certain things have been added and changed to support the use of a gamepad, something that was simply not suitable for the original release of Pathfinder: Kingmaker.

First and foremost comes the inclusion of a turn-based mode. Following on from an incredibly popular mod that enabled turn-based gameplay for this game, Owlcat Games announced it for the upcoming Wrath of the Righteous. When our very own Kai asked about the possibility of a turn-based mode for this console release, the answer was quite telling. Well, now it's confirmed.

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So this now-official turn-based mode is the key new addition to Pathfinder: Kingmaker and the console release. Enabling turn-based mode will drastically help to enable the use of gamepads, which are considerably more limited in function and speed when compared to that of a mouse and keyboard setup.

Owlcat Games haven't removed the real-time option from the game and have made it so players can switch between the two at will, supposedly designing the gamepad support in a way that enables the quick and easy selection of anything you need as easy as possible, from menus when looking at character equipment and stats, to the targeting of an enemy in battle.

All of this is rounded out by one other key feature as well as a few smaller updates. The smaller updates are bug-fixes that were found while updating the game for the console release. If these will be noticed or not by people who have played the game, who knows. What will be noticed is the inclusion of a brand new UI, designed in a way to make it easier to differentiate and select between options for those playing with a gamepad, be it on the PC or on a console.

So, since this was a group session, watching a presentation of the console version a fair few questions were asked. I was beaten to the punch by others on a few questions that I wanted to ask and some others couldn't be answered due to time limitations, but my (and others) key questions and the answers that were given are as follows:

Q: In the adaptation to using a gamepad, how is the console version of Pathfinder: Kingmaker going to work?

A: When I'm moving the cursor in turn-based mode, I use the left analogue stick. However, when I'm in real-time, directing my characters, there is no cursor. We move characters with the left stick and control the camera with the right stick.

We've tried to remove the need to move a cursor around the screen as much as possible. For example, in menus when selecting things or even when selecting a spell, you can press a bumper button to flick between things.

Q: Could you summarise the main differences between the console version and the PC version?

A: In terms of player experience, the biggest aspects are the new turn-based mode, the inclusion of gamepad support and the revamped UI. When it comes to content, the content is the same, though we took the opportunity to fix bugs that have arisen that we didn't get the chance to fix for the enhanced edition.

Q: Have any changes been made in terms of the text? The in-game text and dialogue can be small, so will you be able to zoom in for those sitting further away from a screen?

A: For consoles, we've changed the size of the text in the interface to make it much clearer for those playing on a home TV.

Q: Will the changes made for this version, such as the new User Interface, bug fixes and the turn-based mode be made available for owners of the game on the PC?

A: Yes, simultaneously with the console release, we'll also be releasing a special patch for the PC gamers. They will be receiving the turn-based mode, gamepad support and more, for their versions of Pathfinder: Kingmaker.

Q: Are you planning a version for the Nintendo Switch?

A: The Nintendo Switch is really great for games like this but technologically, it's really tricky. For now, we're making the PlayStation and Xbox versions our priority. After their release, we'll be thinking if it's possible to do a version for the Nintendo Switch.

Q: Are you considering next-gen releases for Pathfinder: Kingmaker on consoles, or do you have any plans to update this version further when the next generation of consoles are released?

A: It would be nice but not for the moment, there aren't any plans.

The console version of Pathfinder: Kingmaker is scheduled to release on the 18th of August, for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with the PC version being updated on the same day through a patch to include all new features that come with the console version.

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