Recently, Russian-based developer Owlcat Games has launched and secured funding for their highly anticipated Kickstarter campaign for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. Based on the Paizo Pathfinder Adventure Path, Wrath of the Righteous features one of Paizo’s most epic campaigns thanks to the brand-new Mythic Rules sets released for the tabletop setting, pitting players against an invading demon army in the Worldwound and beyond. Since it’s release in 2013, countless players have been able to explore the depths of the demon world in an epic battle between good and evil, making it the perfect fit for Owlcat Games' follow-up to their first Pathfinder RPG game, Kingmaker.
Owlcat Games is hoping to take players on another ride into the world of Golarion, with Wrath of the Righteous being the continuation of the Pathfinder brand from Kingmaker.
“We are following the same approach that we have used for the Kingmaker,” creative director Alexander Mishulin said in an exclusive interview with TechRaptor. “Our players can be considered as playing this AP with us (the Owlcat Games team) as a GM. And as many GMs do, we supplement the original story with the stories of our own. E.g., with the companions’ quests. We are providing additional choices to the player, and consequences to their actions. And the most significant change we made to the original AP is that we allow players of any alignment into the adventure.”
This approached served Owlcat Games well with Kingmaker, which has gone on to be a minor success for the team despite a rocky start. Today, Kingmaker has become a more polished isometric RPG from its initial release, with a whole new Enhanced Edition version of the game following the footsteps of contemporary titles such is Divinity Original Sin 2.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous – Mythical Adventures
For Wrath of the Righteous, the plan by Owlcat was to continue the legacy of diverse adventures found in the Pathfinder setting.
“Wrath of the Righteous telling a completely new story, based on the different Adventure Path, and the story changes the mood of the game significantly,” said Mishulin. “The game is about fighting demons, and demons like to kill and torture their victims. Because of this, the game is darker and more epic, as the enemies are much more powerful. The player also will be able to become more powerful.”
To capture the epic feel of Wrath of the Righteous, Owlcat will be focusing heavily on adopting the Mythic Rules from the tabletop to the computer screen, offering a brand new gameplay experience that will set it apart from Kingmaker. Mythic Rules were a major selling point for the original Adventure Path, and for high-level play that includes facing demons and demigods, the Adventure Path is tailor made for those rules.
Owlcat is making some adjustments to these Mythic paths for Wrath of the Righteous. The Angel Mythic Path, for example, serves as a champion of good who can protect, heal, and even resurrect allies in the thick of battle. Another extreme would be the foul Lich, an undead with the immense power to raise an army of undead minions, even including their own party companions, and have access to unique spells all their own.
“Our greatest challenge for this game is integrating Mythic Paths with the main plot,” Mishulin admits. “Each Path affects the story significantly and provides players with unique options and opportunities. And in the end, all those choices are coming together for the grand finale.”
In total, six different Mythic archetypes will be available in Wrath of the Righteous, each with their own unique flavor, alignment considerations, and powers to give you an edge against the demon lords. These paths, like Mishulin said, also affect the overall outcome of the game, along with story beats and plot elements, offering an in-depth experience that changes each time the player play the game. The addition of Mythic paths are not the only major changes to the Pathfinder series.
“We are building the game on top of Kingmaker, and we are expanding the number of classes, archetypes, spells, and abilities," said Mishulin. “The game features a new visual style that is more fantasy-realistic, and players will be able to rotate the camera (not just pan and zoom, as it was in Kingmaker). We are improving the combat readability and learning curve, making the game more accessible to new players. Difficulty levels are also improved. Apart from changing creature statistics, we are also tweaking the number of enemies in the particular encounter as well as turning some of the creatures’ abilities depending on the difficulty setting.”
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous – Companions against Chaos
Some of the revealed additions for Wrath of the Righteous include fan-favorite classes such as the Witch and Oracle, and a brand-new race: the ever popular Damphir, which was originally one of the possible options for Kingmaker. Along with these revelations is the first companion for the party: the iconic Paladin Seelah. Mishulin also points out that other familiar faces from the Adventure Path will be making an appearance.
“A couple of characters from the AP also will be featured as companions, and a lot of them – as NPCs. And we are adding more nuance and details to most of the characters in the same way good GM does," he said. "So even the players, who are very familiar with the adventure will find interesting takes on the characters they know.”
Though no other companions have been officially revealed yet, Owlcat is taking inspiration from both the Adventure Path and their own imagination for creating a balanced team to follow you on your crusade.
“There are two sources of characters for the game - the original AP and our imagination,” lead writer Alexander Komzolov said. “First, we peruse the Adventure Path, trying to pick the characters which would interest the players while also serving their roles in the grand scheme of the game’s plot. It’s worth the mention that the game’s plot arc differs from the original Adventure Path plot arc for various reasons. What works great in a tabletop environment might not work for the PC adaptation.”
Wrath of the Righteous had several memorable characters, ranging from the stalwart Half-Orc Paladin Irabeth to the redeemed Succubus Arueshalae. While there is no confirmation of either character becoming a companion, the chances of this are pretty good, considering their prominence in the Adventure Path itself. According to Komzolov, prominent characters will take up major roles in the game, including several companion slots.
“We usually have to tweak the characters one way or the other to fit the plot better," he admitted. “After we’re done with the first part, we often still have vacant NPC roles. These we create ourselves. All in all, the major NPC roles are usually covered with what the AP has to offer, while less important supporting roles are filled with new characters.”
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous – The Kingmaker Connection
A lot of these changes have been long-time requests from the fans of Kingmaker, something that Mishulin is excited to include in Wrath of the Righteous. Some of these improvements and additions have already made their way to Kingmaker: Enhanced Edition, which added some much-needed balance improvements, a few new classes and archetypes, and more into the mix. Mishulin also hopes to address major issues that plagued Kingmaker’s initial release, which was riddled with a lack of polish and bugs for the first few months before patching.
“We had many meetings and debates, analyzing the hot topics, and thinking of better solutions for different game aspects [for Wrath of the Righteous],” Mishulin said. “For example, we will make a whole new learning curve system and implement more context tooltips and tutorials to make the game more accessible for new players, unfamiliar to the tabletop Pathfinder game mechanics without sacrificing any depth of the system itself.”
One major addition will be playing the role of the Commander of the 5th Crusade. Much like the king-building side game in Kingmaker, playing as Commander opens Wrath of the Righteous into a whole new dimension, as the player must muster up forces, gather resources, and recruit powerful allies to fight against the demon hordes. Players can even recover corrupted and lost artifacts and redeem them, making them powerful items that can turn the tide against their foes.
Commanding your army is also not set up as an RTS side game but is instead mainly seen as an extension to the main storyline. Decisions as a Commander have a more direct affect on in-game events. Small decisions, such as setting your alignment, have major consequences attached to them, including the possible gain or loss of party members. It is that kind of care that Owlcat is adding to Wrath of the Righteous based off the feedback from Kingmaker.
Wrath of the Righteous – Marching Forward
Ultimately, Wrath of the Righteous is shaping up to be a worthy sequel to Kingmaker. With their Kickstarter already successful, and further backing from investors like GEM Capital and My.Games, Wrath of the Righteous is certainly an RPG to watch out for when it does release sometime in the future. Several planned stretch goals are already guaranteed, such as the inclusion of the Warpriest class, and planned additions include traits and backgrounds based on the 2nd Edition of Pathfinder, Player Mod Support, romance options, and even a cameo from Kingmaker itself.
The only question now is will players be willing to go on the fifth crusade? Owlcat Games is certainly making a name for itself with the Pathfinder RPGs, and the inheritance of the old-school legacy of isometrics has thrust them into an exclusive group of beloved developers. This goes a long way, as have the additional changes to Kingmaker over the past year that no doubt gives players confidence in Owlcat’s work. Regardless, Wrath of the Righteous will be an epic RPG to look out for in the coming year.