For fans of the old Infinity Engine games like Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, playing the isometric fantasy RPG Pathfinder: Kingmaker "is like slipping into a familiar old pair of adventuring boots," we said in our 2018 review. That's a double-edged sword: It's "a good RPG with some unique ideas," we concluded, "but one that ultimately plays it too safe to really stand out from the crowd."
Still, it did well enough to warrant a followup, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, announced in 2019 as an "indirect sequel" that moves the action to a new region called the Worldwound, a wasteland overrun with demons courtesy of a planar tear to the Abyss that opened on the material plane. A Kickstarter followed, and it was a major success, pulling in over $2 million in support—more than double the $909,000 earned by the also-very-successful campaign for the first game.
Today Owlcat announced the start of the first beta test, open to backers of that Kickstarter and the subsequent "Slacker Backer" campaign. The beta will include the prologue and first four chapters of the game, which the developers said adds up to more than 50 hours of "beta quality content"—don't be surprised if you hit a few bumps along the way, in other words.
It sounds quite thorough for as far as it goes, though. The first three chapters included in the beta release will include all quests, all companion storylines, "some" romantic options, and two combat modes, turn-based and real-time with pause. The fourth chapter is less complete, as side quests are missing and some "draft assets" are still in place.
Players will also have the opportunity to dive into the Mythic progression system, which enables the selection of one of six Mythic Paths—Angel, Azat, Lich, Demon, Aeon, and Trickster—which will impact the main narrative in unique ways in the game's later chapters. A total of nine Mythic Paths will be available in the full release.
Access to the first round of beta testing can still be had by preordering the game, but you'll have to kick in at the $114 "Early Access" tier or higher. If that's a bit more than you want to get into right now, you'll still have a chance to stay on top of what's happening, as all beta gameplay from the first three chapters of the game is free to stream on Twitch and YouTube. In fact, developer Owlcat will be (and, if things go according to schedule, already is) streaming beta gameplay itself on Twitch.
Fans can also take part in a "Choose Your Own Story" quest that will begin February 5 at 2 pm CET/5 am PT/8 am ET on Twitch: Viewers with the appropriate Twitch extension installed will vote on choices that will determine the fate of the story's hero. More information on the "interactive community experience" can be found here.