Why no companions?

Going after all the sidequests replaying the game it seems as if certain situations and characters are set up in a way that in other games would lead to them becoming travel companions. Going to the kickstarters stretch goals was this planned and a case of cut content? It seems, if you could collect them, you’d have your own “band of bastards” from the characters within the base game but for there being no companion system beside Mutt.

Hear me out and spoilers ahead
Ulrich has a speech check to keep him from turning on you which fullon has you ask him to be a companion… but he chooses to leave the game if passed instead.
Heineken hare, if you help him, clears his name and… leaves the gameworld forever to go where Sir Divish writes him a letter of recommendation.
Matthew and Fritz are deadset on becoming bandits with or without you, have an entire quest tree, kit themselves up with implied highway robbery without you, and… end up hanged or being layabouts in privitslavitz. They quibble about tens of grochen while you have an order of magnitude more money by accident then they’re willing to get hanged over.

and there are probably others people can think of with just enough of a quest tree, full rng response and dialogue mapping more in depth than the common randomly voiced NPC, significant resources put towards a quest chain, and then… nothing. Similarly all the mechanics are coded. directional order controls (dog), the dog tethering, NPC tethering with their own AI behaviors (the bandit morcock leaves with you, who tails you at a soft ~10 yards and will fight enemies and spout random dialogue. the only time it seems this code is used in game.)

With the 4 I mentioned alone that covers tank, dps melee x2, and archery. with the ~70,000 grochen to arm, armor, and horse them along with scaling wages to level and equipment you have your lategame money sink and playloop. Throw in the reputation system dictating if they stay with you (ex. ulrich leaving or turning on the group for banditry, matt and fritz like questionable morals and money- hate charity wasted on others, Hare is ok doing the wrong thing for the right reason, etc.) and you’d have a whole other world of gameplay to explore; self contained on top of what exists but adding greatly to every action in the game world. Every fight becomes the scale of band of bastards with permadeath as the stake. Even the final battle of the main quest would have actual stakes if your own men were climbing the parapets at your back instead of nameless NPCs and Sir Bernard (as it sits you can let everyone get killed and still pass the quest by making it to the courtyard yourself.)

I can’t be the only one who sees the ghosts of a planned recruitment system.


Ulrich gets in your way. The dog gets in your way. Companions are a terrible idea. Well, a nice idea, but terrible in practice.

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What would be cool would be to have our own guards, like Radzig has his own soldiers that he can go to battle with

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Not if they implement them right. Companions are a good idea just not as a last second thing to add content. You could have healers, archers, a way to assign tactics, etc etc. Honestly ,Ulrich felt pretty Skyrim-y. The NPCs don’t need to be brain dead idiots they just made them that way.

I just wanted to takeover the Band of Bastards and do shady Merc quests.

“From the ashes” Should have featured that. There are so many bandits and poachers within eyesight if privitslavitz it’s ridiculous. Having a guard house even passively should lead to patrols and the spawn chance of bandits on the road going to near zero. It’d have been nice to be a small quest train; wipe out a few bandit camps with the town garrison = you can fast travel to rovna without being attacked 3 times.

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If it was done well, sure, it could be good, but there’s a few quests where you get people tagging along, and none of them are good. The dog getting in your way is bad enough, but having people constantly following you around would be worse. Even when you have allies, like those random encounters, they mostly just stare at each other.

That said, with the mod tools, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be done. Of course are people even making mods like that? The last time I looked the modding scene was pretty limited.

I just wanted to takeover the Band of Bastards and do shady Merc quests.

Same. I wish that the band was a permanent fixture. Post quest if you passed the final speech checks you should have been able to “patrol” and fight random bandit spawns. Little things like that would have really set KCD apart as a sandbox experience. Even base game little things like if the bandit/cuman hunting quests reset with the spawn locations. All they needed for each one was “I’ve heard reports [the first camp you cleared] has more bandits and [the next tier of this quests guy] could use some help.” Yeah you can farm them anyway, but getting the pittance of money and the clear reputation bonus gives the player a sense of accomplishment. Some more post quest backstory to sir kuno and his band, pulled out of them by a higher reputation score by fighting with them, would have with a little more voice acting turned a ~5 hour linear expansion into an actual new game system.

It less shows the problems with their companion/ally AI and more the general problems with the combat system itself. Under the hood you’re probably seeing enemy unit slotting dogpiling on itself AI vs AI when two groups of npcs are fighting but most are standing shouting insults in combat stances not doing anything. There is also only one AI behavior with only stats governing the difference. It’s why archers will close for melee instead of run away and why in band of bastards Fletcher and the other lightly armored guys are made of tissue paper and have to be carried. Also why every random starving peasant can break your attack chain with perfect blocks and master strike while simultaneously dying in one hit.

Band of bastards had pretty good fights despite the shortcoming of the combat system and I found Ulrich to be a rape train in the one quest he’s your ally. Biggest problem I’ve seen with the big fights is how due to the clunky slow response of the controls you have a habit of hitting your own guys when they bumble in front of you trying to find their place in the enemy slotting. but turning off ally damage is bad for muhrealism so…

I still think “more guys” is a more elegant solution to the combat problem that what the game teaches you currently. You cheeze the systems, use poison, use the broken stealth system, and game being the only person in the world who owns a horse to solve the problem of “1 v _ is a bad idea” when “Have some guys with you” is the “historically accurate” answer compared to meta combat. Band of bastards is more fun than random encounters, but band of bastards is just random encounters with allied troops.

I do wonder how hard it would be to cludge this with the mod tools. It doesn’t seem there is much of a mod community for this game besides retextures and difficulty rebalances from when it launched.

Ulrich died fast in my game, the guy was worthless.

All I know is Hannekin Hare is probably my favorite character in the game, by a LONG shot, and he is hardly given any screen time. I wish there was a way to bring him back for more quests.

There are plenty of games where companions implemented perfectly. “Mass Effect” and “The Outer Worlds”, for one. The only matter is competence and care.

Yes, I’m not saying companions can’t work. They work fine in plenty of games. In this game though, there are several quests where you have allies, and they are all terrible. They give away your stealth. They can’t kill anything, and they get in your way when you’re trying to walk anywhere.


Ally fights are fine when you use the allies properly. The problem is there are so few instances where you have any support it feels more difficult than your standard stealth horse archer murderhobo playloop. It is easy when you stick with your AI companion to beatdown enemies that would be hard fights by standing next to them unit slotted to an enemy and stabbing that enemy to death. This happens exactly ~5 times in the base game with 3 of those in the final quest chain. Not changing your play style is why it feels like the ally fights don’t work. Ulrich or the bastards will go down like flies to numerical superiority the same as you do in these fights when you attempt to go 1 vs 5 without a cheese mechanic build.

One of the things I like is it allows you to do archery the right way. From the back, not melee range legolas style bow vs sword or shooting a longbow from horseback. It’s fun enough playing like that, but it isn’t historical.

Better AI behavior overall would be required to improve the game and make “good” battles. Thats an endemic problem to the game itself, not allies specifically. No one using formations or sticking together makes every battle feel like a barroom brawl. Ok when you’re talking 1 vs 2, but 15 vs 15 to have everyone just run at each other is why people either think the battles are good or suck: the same battle can become ridiculously one sided by pure chance because a few soldiers noclipped behind the enemy lines and stab everyone or something equally dumb happening.

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Chance has won many battles in history. Also stabbing your enemy in the back is a great way to win and a better way to survive.

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