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Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader learns from Owlcat’s “past mistakes”

Post-mortems of the team's two Pathfinder CRPGs helped it minimise bugs in Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader, according to an executive producer

Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader, Astra Militarum background - a regal woman with proud expression, facial scars, and a cybernetic implant in the side of her face

In an exclusive interview with Wargamer, Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader executive producer Anatoly Shestov states that “really, really long internal post mortems” of developer Owlcat’s previous titles fed into its upcoming Warhammer 40k CRPG. Both Pathfinder: Kingmaker and Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous shipped in notoriously buggy states, and Shestov says the team has “taken our time to analyse past mistakes”.

He adds: “In terms of technical solutions, we’ve made informed decisions about how we should tactically approach different aspects of the game and how much quality assurance should be given to different aspects… As a result, you can see that there are almost no critical problems in the alpha we delivered for players.”

Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader - lineart of sleek, barbed Aeldari space craft exiting a webway gate

Wargamer played the Rogue Trader alpha, which consists of the game’s huge second act and is currently available to people who pre-ordered the premium ‘Developer’s Digital Pack’. While some systems, like ship to ship combat and colonisation, are far from finished, we agree that bugs were fairly tame for an alpha build.

Shestov says that almost the entire studio got involved with polishing the alpha build before it went to customers: “not just the QA team, not just developers, but the full team of game designers for like, two weeks, just playing the game, just finding things that weren’t behaving as intended and fixing them”.

Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader, Astra Militarum background - a regal woman with proud expression, a robotic left arm, holding a heavy-bolter

He cites the audio team as an example: “Our sound engineers played it for two to three weeks straight. They’d be like “Guys, on this particular moment, we’ve got like, bad amplitude, we need to fix this””. That attention was evident in our alpha play through: the inferno pistol and boltgun already sound like the Emperor of Mankind’s fiery wrath.

Shestov adds that Owlcat is also “not the same team” that began development on Pathfinder: Kingmaker: “we started as a team of less than 10 people“. Now over 50 are working on Rogue Trader. “It’s almost like a fantasy party that becomes bigger and bigger throughout the journey to defeat the final villain”, he adds.

There’s more news to come from our Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader interview with Shestov, so keep your eyes peeled.

It’s early days for Owlcat’s latest CRPG, but we have high hopes that it might earn a spot on our list of the best Warhammer 40k games. We love the companions, some of the dialogue is up there with the best Warhammer 40k books, and the prospect of making ourselves a nuisance for all the different Warhammer 40k factions of the Imperium of Man is tantalising.

If you were a fan of Owlcat’s Pathfinder CRPGs, why not check out our guides to Pathfinder classes and Pathfinder races for inspiration for your next character, whether that’s on the tabletop or on PC?