Kingdom Come: Deliverance

People were willing to play Grimoire despite Cleve doing nothing but shitposting for twenty years instead of making his game.

Were they, though.

Hah, okay, some people. There’s one person playing right now! What are the bets it’s Cleve?

I have been following Dan Vávra and his work for 20 years. Literally. Ever since I first saw his columns in local czech magazine Score where he wrote about development of Mafia. He writes about games to this day (in the latest issue of Level he was writing about Shenmue 3 and Death Stranding, because one of his inspirations behind insisting on making Mafia heavily storydriven and movie-like were Shenmue 1 and MGS). I read pretty much every interview with him or article by him.

He is a good guy, but he is not easy to like on surface. He can totally be sarcastic edgelord and he comes across as arrogant at times, too. He does have conservative bent (likes guns and czech-style gun control, dislike socialism and large governments, for example). Extremely sensitive to political correctness, which to him is just another type of censorship. So when he felt he got accused of racism, he flipped out and acted like an asshole.

German gamestar did a good journalistic job looking into the controversy. Both Dan Vávra and Martin Klíma - cofounders of Warhorse - provided their statement on the matter:

Chrome google translate does great job translating those for the most part.

Few days ago it was second anniversary of release so Tobi (CM) did a 6 hour long stream with several various developers from the team, including Dan,Jan Valta (composer), Pierre Hanneuse (character artist), Joanna Nowak (inhouse history researcher) and others. You can see who these people are for yourself:

Personally I find this whole hubbub annoying, because here is a brilliant RPG made about small slice of my country’s history and so much of the discussion around it is centered on meaningless nonsense.

That is kinda what I remember, it being almost a nothing argument in the end but that the biggest hubbub was perhaps an overreaction by the developers to the criticism.

He could have calmly just said, “We may address some of this stuff in a future DLC.” (Which he sort of did with A Woman’s Lot.) But noooooooo he chose to go berserk.

I don’t say no to free. Well, except free syphilius. Or gmail.

Man, is there an english translation of that available? I saw him post on twitter about Shenmue - he (and you) have extremely similar taste in games to me. Which makes me think that I should perhaps find some time to play Mafia (1 and 2), which I largely dismissed at release as a lower budget GTA clone.

Kingdom Come Deliverance is an exceptional game which anyone into RPGs, open worlds, history, world building immersion, realistic melee combat - will find a lot to enjoy. It’s a very ambitious game with some rough edges but it largely succeeds and offers a unique experience.

They are much more like Godfather, the game, as in more mob like and more realistic from that point of view. Remembering the second one, it’s episodic, as in chapters. And they are more tuned to simulations of low level mobsters on up. Really not like GTA in any way except open world mayhem, and even then, not quite the same. To compare, GTA to me felt like simulated crime, but in more of a mayhem and shenanigans way. A lot of show and glitz and (to me) doing things just to up the ante of craziness. Not quite as crazy as Saints Row, but still. The Mafia games can feel a bit more on rails due to the comparison.

Due to the much more simulated environment of being a mobster, they were both endearing games. If you like The Godfather, they should be high on your list.

I’ve only played the first Mafia, haven’t played the second one yet. But it was the first game where I really felt the “photography” and “acting” played a big role. The camera angles, and the facial expressions on actors were a big part of the epic crime story. It wasn’t really like GTA because the city was just there as a giant level for each mission, but the missions themselves were still linear missions. So instead of creating the level for each mission, they created a giant city and then set all the missions in that city. It worked really well, I thought.

But I’m not sure how it will hold up today. I tried to go back recently but it wouldn’t run on my machine. At least the Steam version wouldn’t, which is what I have. I imagine the facial expressions won’t look good, the virtual acting won’t be as impressive, etc.

This is a good reminder though that I do need to play Mafia 2 sometime before THAT game becomes too old.

Mafia II graphics still hold up quite well! Dare I say, I think it’s a better looking game than Mafia III.

There isn’t, I tried translating it but it is long and I am too lazy so I gave up after first part. Still, here it is, excuse my czenglish:

When I started at Illusion Softworks in 1998, the world was quite a bit different than it is today. Western games were mostly using proven templates, so when you wanted story you had point and click adventures or isometric RPG. If you wanted action, you had shooters like Quake or Blood. If you wanted storydriven “action adventure”, there were very few candidates, and those that existed, weren’t all that great. I had the idea of making a game that would combine action, open world, movie-style storytelling and as that’s not enough, car chases. Meaning, something nobody has created yet. Not only was this extremely difficult to create (which we naively didn’t realize at the time), nobody knew what to imagine under such concept, since there was nothing like it yet. GTA3 was not even in development yet, Driver was yet to ship, some kind of city action game was being attempted by a team in Russia and by us, group of newbies in Brno. At the time when the most complex animation in the game was a grenade throw, it was quite a difficult task explaining to other team members that we will absolutely need motion capture and several hours of animated cutscenes. The prevailing opinion of the time was that story in an action game is about as important as story in porn.
And then Metal Gear Solid came out.
Just to be clear, even back in 1998 the first Playstation was already an old, slow machine. Its rough polygon count with jumping textures and errors in perspective were laughable compared to 3D accelerated graphics on PC. And Czechland was pretty much completely a PC only country. Only few crazies owned consoles because it was not as easy to pirate games for them. So when I bought a Playstation, I was considered crazy by colleagues. And I bought it for only one reason. A friend of mine, PC pirate magnate to whom I went for burned CDs bought PSX and showed me an intro from some random japanese videogame. And my mind was utterly blown. It was exactly what I wanted to do. Movie-like camera, perfect editing, mature storytelling, hollywood-like production. So I ran and bought modded PSX and this friend burned the game for me. Metal Gear Solid.

When I brought it to work, everyone laughed. Old piece of crap! Some console stupidity for kids. But after they saw MGS they shut up. Eventhough the same year Thief came out on PC, which from technical perspective and in “realism” exceeded MGS in some aspects, MGS was still in many ways fascinating. The connection of movie and game worked perfectly, plus the game was filled to brim with various out of the box ideas. Optical camouflage? Check. Giant robots? Check. Telekinesis? Check. Throwing around porn mags to distract enemies? Check. Searching for enemy sniper by cold air coming from his lungs? Check. Necessity to switch controller into second socket because the enemy boss can telepathically “control your mind”? Check.
Thanks to Kojima I could convince others that movie-style storytelling works and isn’t just an unnecessarily difficult to create attachment at the level of porn story.
But I also wanted the game to be somewhat realistic, where it won’t be necessary to murder entire armies. I wanted to have missions completely devoid of violence! A game where at the start you are a simple taxi driver doing his job. And at that time, Shenmue came out. A game where you could go through wardrobe drawers. One by one. A game where you could ask people in the street to tell you the way somewhere and they actually helped you. A game where you could play gambling machines in bars, where you had to go to work to make money, really work there and do the “action stuff” during your lunch break! Another revelation. Which again confirmed it was possible to make games differently.

To quickly summarize the rest, he was a bit disappointed with both Shenmue 3 and Death Stranding - the former because it was exactly the same as if the game came out in 2003, with no advancement compared to the second game, and the latter because despite being interested in Death Stranding’s story, he found the gameplay part too uninteresting. Extremely well done mechanically, but ultimately delivering packages was unfullfilling and he can just watch the story cutscenes on youtube.

Regarding Mafia - it is definitely NOT a GTA clone - it is a serious take on crime drama in a game from, years ahead of its time - when Max Payne 1 was the pinnacle of graphics technology, Mafia came out only 6 months later and exceeded it in many ways, plus it brought its level of tech into an open world, with dozens of driveable vehicles with detailed physics, even wheel support with H shifter and force feedback and insane level of detail. Add to that brilliant soundtrack and great cutscene direction, it was a classic and you need to play it. Although maybe get an unlimited draw distance mod which helps a lot. Mafia 2 was also great. Somewhat shorter and less ambitious than planned, but still featuring great writing and immersive atmosphere in two eras, wintery 40s and summery 50s.

I also enjoyed Mafia 3, although it is has flaws that made many dislike it (main mission design gets repetitive) I still loved its atmosphere and storytelling.

Funnily enough this ain’t accurate. True, you have a large city and even countryside to drive in and explore, but many - if not most - missions in Mafia 1 are custom based and actually take place in unique locations - from memory I can name the farmstead, abandoned prison, a bank, a steamboat, a museum…et cetera, I do not want to spoil everything for Desslock :)

Mafia 1 holds up pretty well, especially with the draw distance mod. It will always look pretty good thanks to photo-based textures and great cinematography.

Mafia 2 even more so, that game will never age. Arriving to Empire Bay during christmasy winter is just pure atmosphere. I am talking about PC versions though, which are vastly superior to console ones.

Do you mean the Godfather game from EA from 2006?
I played that and could not take more than 3 hours. It was arcadey as hell, graphics was super ugly (cars did not even have transparent glass ffs…), it looked worse than Mafia from 2002 and physics was nonexistent. I love Godfather - read the book three times, seen the trilogy three times as well - but the game…nope.

I think he meant a game trying to portray the movie, not the Godfather game from EA. Though I would argue it’s more like Goodfellas - The game if you’re doing the same analogy.

I did not know that. One thing I never did in Mafia 1 was to just roam the city. I think I tried once or twice, but found that there was nothing to do, so I never did it again. So I always assumed that those were places you could get to in the open world, not unique locations, but it turns out I was wrong. For example, there’s one prominent house that’s under construction in the city. The one time I saw that, I thought, that’s neat, but of course, there was nothing to do there in the open world, just to look at it. But then a mission takes place there and you get to chase someone through that place that’s under construction. So I suppose you could say that it was sort of custom built for that mission, but at the same time, you could always see it when you passed by. I always assumed that about other places too, like the airport, but I never tried going there, except for when you go there on the mission.

Ah, my bad I misunderstood. In that case I agree. Funny you say Goodfellas - I would actually say Mafia 1 is inspired more by Godfather, and Mafia 2 by Goodfellas :)

Yes, Mafia is basically linear action game that features the city to increase immersion - not to create mayhem in or do some sidemissions and stuff (although after finishing the campaign, the “free ride extreme” mode unlocks which has extra city based extreme missions: )

Some locations from missions might be visitable, but many are only available during the story missions.

What Rock8man said. Poor phrasing on my part, I honestly didn’t even know Godfather WAS a game. But yes, very much like a mobster game versus … whatever GTA is or was trying to be. I also agree with Rock8’s comment on it being more like Goodfellas.

The problem with Mafia these days would be the save system. Checkpoints only. You all know how much I hate repeating boring content.

On the other hand, the race is patched to provide difficulty options, the only other difficulty peak blocker were the garages, those require being very careful.

Thanks Paul!

Jesus, this game…

I just started playing tonight and in one hour I have managed to:

  • get the shit beat out of me by an old drunk guy, twice
  • fail miserably at picking a simple lock, using up all my picks in the process
  • get arrested for “stealing” an axe the drunk guy wouldn’t pay my father for
  • die in jail

This is supposed to be fun?

You gotta take it easy in the beginning. If you play like Geralt right from the start you’re going to get your teeth knocked out. Eventually you’ll get so powerful the game becomes a cake walk.