Thursday, 30 January 2014

Dungeons & No Dragons

I am ridiculously excited about this new video game. 

It's called 'Kingdom Come: Deliverance', and comes from the brand new company, Warhorse Studios, based in Prague. They’ve had the crazy idea that there is an audience for an RPG (that’s ‘role-playing game’, for the uninitiated) that has a medieval-esque setting, but approaches the Middle Ages like a grown-up.

In other words, without any of this:

Or this:

And definitely none of this:

Not the most practical set of armour ever devised

The typical formula for an RPG is that you start off as some lowly nobody, and gradually develop your character through a series of missions, adventures, and encounters, until you become a hero of epic renown.

The video game industry, like the movie industry, doesn’t like to stray from tried-and-tested formulas. In this case, thanks to the legacy of Tolkien, the formula involves a brain-crushing dose of magic and monsters that turns the whole thing into a kind of rainbow-coloured pantomime.

Brienne of Tarth, a true warrior maiden...
That’s all well and good, but the world of orcs, wizards, and improbably-proportioned elf warrior-maidens has never done it for me. I mean, I love Skyrim to bits, but I always play as a human rather than some weird talking cat-person (for example), and I have as little to do with magic as possible.

It’s also telling that Game of Thrones is such a massive hit, when magic is all but absent in the first couple of seasons.

Aren’t the Middle Ages exciting enough without all that frippery? Who doesn’t want to be truly immersed in a living, breathing virtual medieval world, complete with all its intrigue, adventures and dangers?

These were the questions asked by the people at Warhorse Studios. ‘Dungeons & No Dragons’ is how they pitched it.

Naturally the big games developers weren’t interested, so Warhorse have launched a kickstarter campaign online. They want to prove that there is an audience for a realistic medieval RPG, with the help of thousands of individual investors (you can invest anything from £3 to £5000).

It seems to be working, too. They reached their initial target of £300,000 within three days, and it currently stands at more than £500,000.

Both the video game nerd and the medievalist inside me are so chuffed about this. The only downside is that we have to wait till late next year to see the final product...


  1. I actually put some cash down on the kick starter for this project I think it looks quite exciting, until then I will content myself with Rome II since CA have finally patched the problems with it.

    1. Yes, I'm glad I stayed away from Rome II until they fixed all those awful bugs...