Pathfinder is a household name for those familiar with world of role-playing games, but the uninitiated should know that the franchise has been a marvel in the tabletop space.
With Pathfinder: Kingmaker, the series makes its video game debut-it’s based on the Kingmaker module using Dungeons and Dragons rulesets from its tabletop counterpart. But since this is a single-player RPG, Pathfinder would need a robust narrative to bring its world to life, which is why developer Owlcat Games teamed up with one of gaming’s great storytellers, Chris Avellone.
Avellone has written and designed some of the most critically acclaimed games and memorable stories; from Obsidian’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords and Fallout: New Vegas to CRPG classics like Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale. More recently, he’s worked on Prey, Into The Breach, and is currently working on the System Shock remake and along with Dying Light 2 serving as narrative designer. During a Pathfinder: Kingmaker hands-on session, we were able to chat with Avellone about designing an expansive story for the Pathfinder franchise and staying true to the source material.
As an isometric RPG in the vein of Baldur’s Gate games in that it’s an isometric RPG, Pathfinder: Kingmaker weaves in elements from the original tabletop experience, especially as it relates to traveling across the Stolen Lands. You can experience it yourself when the game launches for PC and Mac on September 25, 2018. The following interview was edited for clarity and readability.
You’ve worked with established IPs, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II and Fallout: New Vegas for example. What exactly drew you to Pathfinder, and how different is it working on this game compared to others?
Chris Avellone: So, with Pathfinder, we used to run pen-and-paper sessions back at Obsidian, and what we did was actually have a campaign in an Ocean’s Eleven-style. It was really cool! We just made an assortment of characters like a con-man illusionist and we try to pull off heists. That was the most recent Pathfinder game I played. I also played the card game, which I also loved. Just the idea of being able to do this really interested me because there hadn’t really been a Pathfinder RPG in the computer space at all.
The other aspect was one thing I’ve always liked about Pathfinder. I feel that when they do their modules and adventure paths, they make a very conscious effort to create an other-world experience. When I read one of their adventures, rather than just seeing what they’re giving me, I’m seeing all the possibilities they present the GM [Game Master], too. So, reading those adventures is sometimes a lot more fun than reading some older modules or other adventures for other systems, because it’s giving you room to breathe.
With Pathfinder, we used to run pen-and-paper sessions back at Obsidian, and what we did was actually have a campaign in an Ocean’s Eleven-style. It was really cool! We just made an assortment of characters like a con-man illusionist and we try to pull off heists.