A well-loved tabletop RPG series, Pathfinder will finally be turned into a video game with Pathfinder: Kingmaker. Working with games industry veteran Chris Avellone, who has written for Fallout: New Vegas, Divinity: Original Sin 2 and more, developer Russian developer Owlcat Games hopes to deliver an authentic Pathfinder experience.
Promising over 80 hours of gameplay (including main storylines and side quests), Pathfinder: Kingmaker allows players to “claim” the fantasy world of Golarion “as their own.” This includes customizing characters with powers and classes, choosing whether they will run a kingdom as a villain or a heroic champion of the people and getting stuck into the political side of things, with rival factions and NPCs all having their own agendas.
In addition to these features, which build on the tabletop version of Pathfinder, Pathfinder: Kingmaker will also feature same-sex romances which are another staple of the franchise. As the Kickstarter campaign for the game comes to a close, we spoke to Chris Avellone about the inclusive romance gameplay and his work on the project.
Chris Avellone Explains Why Pathfinder: Kingmaker Will Feature Same-Sex Romances
J Station X: Can you explain why it’s so important to include same-sex romances in the game?
There’s a few reasons. Most important, everyone deserves to love and be loved in return. Also, if that’s how a player wants to role-play, then a good gamemaster is accommodating to player’s intentions. Lastly and (maybe this is a more pragmatic reason, and another reason I like Pathfinder) it’s a part of the Pathfinder franchise itself – it’s in the very first module of the Kingmaker Adventure Path, in fact.
JSX: Is the team worried that Russian laws regarding LGBT characters could impact Pathfinder: Kingmaker? Overwatch and FIFA 17 have both been affected by those laws after featuring LGBT-related content.
No. The developers and I are aware of those laws, and we’re not letting it affect our decisions with romances and who you can romance in Kingmaker. We’re including same-sex relationships, open relationships, and gender-specific romances depending on the personality of the characters involved, and we’re not even limiting it to the companions – we’re expanding it further in what I feel is an interesting way (I’d say more, but I don’t want to give any spoilers).
JSX: What steps are being taken to make sure that same-sex relationships are done ‘right’ and are represented well in the game?
For me, it’s just drawing from experiences in real life and listening to friends who have gone through similar relationships (and are still in them). When possible, finding someone to ask and discuss the spectrum with if you’re not familiar with it (or preferably, hire them to write the element), is also important, otherwise your character’s voice can come across as false or forced.
I’ve written homosexual and bisexual characters before (Gann in NX1, Sharon Cassidy in FNV, various NPCs), and I feel the best way to approach it isn’t by defining them solely by their sexuality, it’s starting with the individual first and let their personality shine through, and their sexuality is part of the whole of the individual.
It’s also important not to neglect the RPG setting the relationship takes place in and the nature of the individual (for example, Gann in NX1’s view of the world is defined by his ancestry, so he sees people differently than you or I would see them, since their physicality isn’t as important as what they dream, because that’s what beauty is to him) or the politics of a certain faction of the world (in Fallout New Vegas, homosexuality is accepted in Caesar’s Legion but not as much in NCR). I think this grounds the character in the world and makes both the character and world more interesting.
Lastly, I tend to treat sexuality as Iain M. Banks does in his Culture novels. If you haven’t read them, check them out.
Thank you to Chris Avellone for answering our questions. Pathfinder: Kingmaker will be released on Windows PC, Mac and Linux in 2018, you can support the game on Kickstarter here.
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