David Horák has known the people around Kingdom Come: Deliverance for a long time now, even before Warhorse Studios was founded, but he did not join the team until 2015 and became one of our designers who worked on the quests and story.
He was born in Prague and grew up in its outskirts. Do you have any questions to David Horák and his job as a designer? Don´t worry, you can ask community questions right here.
You can find a Spanish translation of this interview here.
1) Where can we usually find you lurking in the holy halls of Warhorse?
At the very end in our designers lair.
2) How did you hear about Warhorse?
Actually, I was on first meeting between Dan Vávra and Martin Klíma, when a historically accurate RPG was just an idea in Dan’s head. But I was not on board from the start, I joined the team 2 years ago.
3) Why did you choose to work on Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
Because it is the best job ever!
4) Describe your position. What is it about being a designer?
I have a little different position on KCD than on a Mafia game, where I wrote quests. My first part of work on KCD is reviewing quests and all texts from other designers and feedbacking them (this part is almost done), and the second part is writing shouts and barks for NPCs and Henry for every possible situations (I hope this part is done too).
5) Have you ever worked on a videogame before?
I had a part-time job for Illusion Softworks at the beginning of my game dev career, and then a full-time job in Illusion Softworks, which was later bought by 2K and renamed as 2K Czech a few years later. I worked as one of the designer on Mafia 2 under Dan´s lead and I wrote a script for budget game Chameleon. And, of course, I had a lot of other different jobs, too.
6) Which job would you not want to do?
Whatever job in a corporate company. I tried it a few times and it did not work for me.
7) Please describe Warhorse Studios:
I am amazed by all the talent here every time I walk through our offices, by the creative and passionate people I have the privilege to work with. And in the back of my head I always think: “Omg, what am I doing here with my poor skills…?”
8) Describe your usual day at the studio?
Coffee, reading some text, coffee, writing some text, coffee, and again coffee. Yeah, it sounds boring, but it is fun… Did I mention coffee?
9) What are you currently working on?
I am reviewing Henry´s diary entries, which will reflect on how the player goes through the game and which highlights all his choices and what they caused later on. So, in case you hate Henry’s diary, you know who is responsible: I am.
10) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
I wrote around 20 different versions of a bark: “Please, don´t kill me!” It was very painful.
11) What is the most important characteristic a designer must have?
Simply the constant awareness of the very basic rule: think what a player could do in each moment, because no matter how obvious you make it, often what you want them to do is the exact opposite of what they will actually do. And be aware of memes having power in game writing: “arrow to the knee”!
12) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
Except everything? Sound for sure. Our sound department composed outstanding music and mixed awesome sound effects.
13) Who´s your favorite character from Kingdom Come: Deliverance and why?
Cumans. We wrote a few funny situations and dialogues or just one liners in their language, so if you happen to be Hungarian, you’ll have a blast.
14) What is, according to you, the best thing you designed for the game?
The crime system (in collaboration with Martin Ziegler) - it is possibly the most branching dialogue tree in the game.
15) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
It was possibly Jumping Jack on ZX Spectrum. Pure history. From this time I draw 8x8 and 16x16 pixel art of various heroes for imaginary games.
16) What was your most touching video game moment?
This will be the most selfish answer ever: a reaction by one player of Mafia 2. She screwed up my quest when Vito Scaletta (M2 hero) kills Tommy Angelo (M1 hero) 3 times in a row because she always started to cry. Then I knew that the quest works as I intended!
17) Which videogame character or figure is the best?
Lemmings. I even dreamed about those little unstoppable bastards.
18) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
Because I don´t enjoy looking at male butts, I rather chose a female characters in third-person games. In combination with most underestimated classes, because it is challenging.
19) What would a perfect game according to your wishes look like?
“Geez, is it 3am now!?”
20) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
Going to the cinema with friends, watching movies and TV series on Netflix, playing games, grabbing a beer in a pub, and sometimes home improving.
21) If you weren´t a designer, what do you think you would be doing?
Comics letterer, as I did before Warhorse. Second best job in the world!
22) Your favorite music playlist
Nine Inch Nails is my long-term favorite band, I was on all of their concerts here in the Czech Republic and in nearby countries. And I found few new great bands like Rabbit Junk, 16Volt and to me, the very entertaining Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker from Canada.
23) Your favorite movie or book?
Ugh, I have a looong list. Started with Blade Runner, Alien(s), Princess Mononoke and on the writers side I’ll go with Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Richard Stark, etc.
24) What species is your spirit animal?
25) Your travel tip?
I really love Prague, but I highly recommend Znojemské vinobraní. It is great celebration of the end of harvest. Everybody in the wonderful city Znojmo prepares for this event during the whole year. There is a huge historical parade based on a 14th century visit by king Jan Lucemburský with his wife Eliška, there are a lot of concerts, knight tournaments, shops with handmade wares and great fireworks at the end. And unlimited amounts of tasty young wine at every corner. Czech it out!
26) What’s your guilty pleasure?
Walking in Prague.
27) What was your greatest mistake?
In the games on my mind: I didn´t read the script for Chameleon half a year later again, which I should have done. There are a few dialogues that could have been much better. It is my big fault and I apologize deeply to all my coworkers on this project.
28) What will be your famous last words?
29) Is it possible to buy you with candy?
No. But “please” works quite well on me.
30) What is your kryptonite?
Home cleaning. I will be the first guy in the world who will install any new system, which on simple button press cleans the whole flat with a bunch of showers and, hopefully, it will get dry before I get back from work. I hope somebody is already working on that.
31) Who is your favorite historic character?
Nicola Tesla. His inventions really changed the world, even though lots of them will never be known to the world.
32) Which is your favorite historic event?
Velvet revolution… Freedom!
33) You have to fight in medieval times… who are you? Which weapon do you choose?
I want to be the man with the boomstick.
34) Knights or Samurai?
Knights. I think seppuku is bad for guts.
35) What was your favorite subject and your most hated one at school? What were your grades in history?
I loved math and literature. And I hated chemistry and surprisingly history – those damn dates!
36) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
I think nobody mentioned it here, but the game is improving every single day, it is far away from the beta version now. Of course, a lot of things still don´t work well, but it is great to see something being polished – even for me. We are working very hard on the game and I hope you will like the result.
Do you want to know more about David Horák and his job as a designer? You can ask your questions here.