Warhammer 40K: Renegade Navigator Outer Darkness Discussion

At the end of an unforgettable 2023 for enthusiasts of role-playing games, Owlcat Games, known for titles such as Pathfinder: Kingmaker and Wrath of the Righteous, unveiled Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader. This release marked the inaugural cRPG set in the iconic universe crafted by Games Workshop, hitting the shelves last December.

Earning an impressive 8 out of 10 rating in Wccftech’s assessment, author Francesco Deo Meo shared his thoughts:

While not a die-hard follower of the franchise, Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader captivated me right from the start, providing an enjoyable journey for over 50 hours of gameplay. Although the Owlcat creation may not draw as broad an audience as Baldur’s Gate 3, it stands as a robust cRPG that falls just shy of being a must-have title of 2023, mainly due to minor polish issues and less engaging features like space combat.

Fast forward six months, we sat down with Owlcat’s Executive Producer, Anatoly Shestov, to delve into the game’s ongoing maintenance efforts (aimed at resolving some of the earlier mentioned polish concerns) and the newly revealed Void Shadows DLC. This expansion promises 15 additional hours of narrative content, a new romanceable ally, and various fresh elements upon its launch on August 8. Below, find the full transcript of our conversation.

Could you discuss the feedback from fans and the commercial performance of Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader thus far?

Upon the game’s release in December, we were pleasantly surprised by the positive response from players. While some expressed dissatisfaction with certain companion choices, story decisions, and other elements, the overall acclaim praised us for delivering one of the most faithful adaptations of the Warhammer universe to date, not just in the realm of CRPGs. This validation was truly gratifying.

While we didn’t achieve every goal we had set, we remain committed to supporting the game, addressing not only bugs but also enhancing performance, user experience, and nuances throughout. To date, we have issued around 10 patches, each aimed at different aspects of the game.

We are on the verge of realizing the game we envisioned – one we want to play, replay with different approaches, and further immerse ourselves in. For instance, our recent update included Steam Deck support certification. This enhancement wasn’t merely for the players but driven by our internal desire to refine the controls, ensuring a more intuitive and comfortable gameplay experience. With player feedback and internal analysis, we believe we are on the right track.

In the near future, a substantial 1.2 patch is scheduled for release, featuring extensive balance adjustments and bug fixes to address overpowered strategies that detract from the game’s core experience. Additionally, we aim to uplift less popular play styles and inefficient builds to foster a more balanced and engaging gameplay environment.

Our focus is on scrutinizing every aspect of Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader from our gameplay encounters, refining and enhancing each component based on our team’s experiences and player input. Apart from ongoing DLC development, we are dedicated to infusing every segment of the game with additional attention and care from our developers.

Mention was made of interface enhancements. Does this encompass improvements to controller interactions?

Indeed, we have revamped the overall controller interaction scheme, resolving numerous issues and enhancing the gameplay experience for controller users. While it may not be flawless, substantial efforts have been made to refine controller usability.

When can we anticipate the deployment of this patch?

While I cannot commit to a specific release date, the patch is slated for this summer. Closer to the rollout, we will ensure the community is promptly updated with the necessary information.

The recent unveiling pertained to the initial Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader DLC, Void Shadows. How would you elaborate on its content and contributions to the game?

Void Shadows, our inaugural DLC, is a testament to our commitment to exploring narratives beyond the battlefield within the Warhammer cosmos. Focusing on the Genestealer Cult and Death Cult Assassins, this expansion delves into the preparatory and aftermath phases of warfare – the unseen intricacies that shape lives, interactions, and responses in the Warhammer world.

This DLC serves as a fertile ground for storytelling, allowing us to delve deeper into the Voidship, its inhabitants, and their connections with the main protagonist. We strived to portray a multifaceted narrative, steering clear of simplistic black-and-white portrayals of factions and characters. Our aim was to craft an emotionally rich and compelling storyline.

In terms of gameplay, players can anticipate a new first-tier career focused on blade combat and a second-tier career centered around various damage-over-time effects and their manipulation. Accompanying these additions is the introduction of a new companion, Kibellah, a Death Cult Assassin amalgamating these career paths. Void Shadows will also introduce expanded ship customization options, bespoke space battles, and numerous exploration encounters.

I’ve heard rumors of new crew members and officers being introduced. Could you provide more details?

Indeed, we are enriching the Voidship’s tale by introducing new officers, each representing different ship departments embroiled in internal conflicts. The tensions and struggles between these factions will play a pivotal role in the overarching narrative, promising intriguing developments for players to uncover.

‘Our vision for Rogue Trader DLCs is an organic evolution of the initial story’

Could you clarify if the Void Shadows narrative occurs post the primary Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader campaign or at a specific juncture within it?

Void Shadows seamlessly intertwines with the main narrative, serving as an integral part rather than a detached add-on experience. The DLC intricately weaves its events into the second and fourth chapters of the game, offering existing players a natural continuation of their journey while providing newcomers with a more refined and holistic experience within the Koronus Expanse.

Our approach to Rogue Trader DLCs emphasizes an organic growth of the core storyline, expanding into different facets and aspects of the universe and lore. Rather than standalone narratives, these expansions serve to evolve and enrich the foundational story, catering to diverse player interests and explorations.

You mentioned enhancements to space battles. Could you elaborate on this aspect?

With a focus on resolving bugs, introducing new equipment, adversaries, varied space battle scenarios, and more, the Void Shadows DLC brings an array of improvements to this gameplay segment. While space battles remain integral to the experience, they are not obligatory, offering players the choice to engage or skip based on preference. We have strived to imbue these encounters with unique elements and narratives, urging players to reevaluate their perception and engagement with this aspect of the game.

Incidentally, earlier today, a Reddit post commended your game’s space confrontations over those in a strategic title like Battlefleet Gothic: Armada.

It’s heartening to receive such feedback, especially from fans of a beloved title like Armada. Our aim wasn’t replication but rather to distill and adapt the essence of that experience into our CRPG setting. The result is a flavorful interpretation that resonates with certain players, offering a unique touch that may not appeal to everyone but deeply satisfies those it resonates with.

‘We don’t aim to create things that everyone will like. We don’t like compromises.’

Will there be a complimentary update accompanying the Void Shadows DLC launch?

Absolutely. This update encompasses balance adjustments, quality of life enhancements, bug rectifications, abilities and items overhaul, visual polish, improved lighting in specific areas, and substantial AI interaction improvements.

Are you contemplating incorporating more voice acting in the future, or does it pose significant cost challenges?

Integrating additional voice acting remains a costly endeavor, particularly given the vast volume of text in Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader exceeding one million words. While full voiceovers present logistical hurdles, we have already introduced some new voice elements through free patches and are exploring options for further additions. Notably, upcoming DLCs will feature dedicated voice work.

Owlcat’s recent release, A Dance of Masks, concluded the DLC series for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. With five DLCs for that RPG, do you envision a similar number for Rogue Trader?

Our DLC plans are not restricted by a predetermined quantity. We aspire to weave more narratives, adding depth and diversity to the Rogue Trader universe. As long as our community continues its support, we are committed to delivering fresh content for Rogue Trader. Should support wane in the future, we would reassess our strategy. Presently, there are no indications of Owlcat discontinuing its backing for the game.

Lastly, regarding the Nintendo Switch cloud release for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, is there potential for a similar rollout for Rogue Trader?

Expanding to new platforms beyond our current range is a possibility we are open to exploring. While specifics remain uncertain at this stage, we are receptive to enabling broader access to the game if a viable plan emerges. We will evaluate each opportunity diligently to determine its feasibility.

Any final remarks for the Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader community?

We acknowledge the game’s initial bug-ridden launch and have dedicated ourselves to rectifying these issues diligently. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the community for their unwavering support and patience. We urge players who may have hesitated to dive back into the game now – and for any lingering concerns or feedback, please reach out to us on Discord, Twitter, Reddit, or any preferred channel. We remain steadfast in our pursuit of delivering an enriching gaming experience.

Thank you for your insights.

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