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Default Larian Studios - An Important Lesson

September 19th, 2013, 07:52
Larian Studios Swen Vincke has posted a new update on his blog going over what he learned with Kickstater, Dragon Commander, and Original Sin.

I have these little notebooks in which I write down my thoughts. Every day I fill a couple of pages with new observations, questions and decisions. Whenever a notebook is full, I put it in a drawer, there to stay until the drawer is full at which point I empty the drawer, and put the notebooks in a box. I really donít know why I bother with it, because I rarely read what I wrote, but I guess it helps me organise my thoughts. It also makes it look like Iím paying attention in meetings Iím not particularly interested in

If youíd take the notebook that says January 2013, youíd see that I listed as major tasks for 2013, the organising Divinity: Original Sinís kickstarter, releasing Dragon Commander and releasing Divinity: Original Sin. At that time, I only had hopes and aspirations and I really didnít have a clue whether or not my plans were going to work.

Taking risks is of course part of the metier of running a game development studio, and thereís only that much that you can do to cover your bets. You know certain things will go wrong, you hope more things will go right. So last night, I started thinking about how we were doing compared to what I hoped for at the start of 2013Ö
More information.
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September 19th, 2013, 07:52
can some1 who read the article post the conclusion? whats the lesson?
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September 19th, 2013, 08:12
Originally Posted by borcanu View Post
can some1 who read the article post the conclusion? whats the lesson?
Here in his own words. Reading isn't hard you know.
When in doubt, finish the game first, then think about releasing it. If that’s impossible, focus on where it matters, and refuse all the rest, no matter how tempting.

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September 19th, 2013, 08:13
Originally Posted by borcanu View Post
can some1 who read the article post the conclusion? whats the lesson?
It doesn't seem to be the fact that it was a huge gamble to produce AFAIK their first RTS and first big non-RPG. But it went well so there's no lesson, right?

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September 19th, 2013, 10:08
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
AFAIK their first RTS and first big non-RPG.
Well, their first game (LED Wars) was actually an RTS. Long time ago, but still
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September 19th, 2013, 10:55
I don't know, I disagree with at least one thing, I don't have the numbers of course, but using more digital platforms beyond Steam clearly seems to be the right decision, that must have gotten quite some buyers they wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Like, for example, me. Bought the game on gog, but if it had been Steam-only, I would have probably waited to get it cheap in the next summer sale or something. Because that's how Steam works. But not focusing on retail makes sense nowadays, I don't even remember the last time I bought something in a box, must have been years now
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September 19th, 2013, 12:12
Dragon Commander outsold Dragon Knight Saga 3 to 1 in its first month and will be profitable
Very nice to know. Very happy for Larian

My next job is to finish and release Divinity:Original Sin, something that given the scope of the game will be quite an undertaking. In a way it’s the one task I’m the most nervous about, probably because I have the feeling that that’s the game where our players expect the most from us.
You got that right there!

Good to see that DC was also a learning experience that I hope will translate to DOS.

Also couldn't agree more with Swen: While I am indeed one of the Dinosaurs who would like retail boxes (at least for the important/memorable games that come out), it is obvious that this is a game for bigger companies… Indies and mid tier/semi independents are obviously better served diverting their resources on the actual product. I am more than happy to forego my retail box preference and maximize my support for companies like these in that manner…
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September 19th, 2013, 12:57
It was a relief to hear that Dragon Commander did well enough to be (or become) profitable. I wasn't too sure seeing how quickly it dropped in the steam sales charts.
Although I understand that they have to focus their efforts, I hope they keep supporting multiple digital outlets, if not at launch, then down the line. Admittedly the lack of a MP lobby for the GOG version was a bit of a fumble that should have been avoided - but I hope the lesson learned is rather that if you will have MP you need to provide a matching service that works on every platform, and ideally across platforms.
Also, 85% dgital to 15% retail - wow, that's a pretty clear message, eh?
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September 19th, 2013, 13:54
Glad it was profitable, we need Larian. Guess the digital age is here, and dinosaurs like me who prefer boxes are dwindling. I always get a boxed copy if I can, got 3 in the mail today in fact(GTA5, Pupeteer, Kingdom Hearts HD)
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September 19th, 2013, 14:06
Originally Posted by borcanu View Post
can some1 who read the article post the conclusion? whats the lesson?
He made exactly the same mistakes he had been ranting at publishers for making in the past.
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September 19th, 2013, 14:18
Not focusing on retail at makes sense nowadays.

I think Larian will feel the true power of digital distribution today when new Humble Bundle is released with Divinity 2: Developers Cut in it.
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September 19th, 2013, 14:46
Originally Posted by Zerotown View Post
Well, their first game (LED Wars) was actually an RTS. Long time ago, but still
It has a metacritic score of 52. Was it a commercial success?

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September 19th, 2013, 14:58
My reading is that retail is out and digital is in. In some ways I'm sad that DC did better than DKS as I very much enjoyed DKS. DC rts portion was not much to my liking. In some sense the base building really spoiled it - i much rather have something closer to TW or King Arthur or at the very least AOW (turn base). The key piont being that you bring the armies into battle; you don't build bases and build more armies. But having said that the overall mechanics for the RTS just didn't work for me. I really liked King Arthur RTS portion and AOW's turn base (TW was fun but i think the first two were much better). If DC had been able to improve the combat portion I would be more favorable towards the game. I think the dragon is the primary reason they went with RTS but no clue why the focused on base building.
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September 19th, 2013, 17:22
Originally Posted by borcanu View Post
can some1 who read the article post the conclusion? whats the lesson?
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September 19th, 2013, 22:19
tl,dr
original sin… news bits …NOW!

i dont like bioware games
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September 19th, 2013, 23:30
Originally Posted by turian View Post
tl,dr
original sin… news bits …NOW!
I hate that word. Though I do want more Original Sin news myself, but it's all quiet on the Larian front.

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September 20th, 2013, 00:11
Have you seen this yet? or that?

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September 20th, 2013, 00:26
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
Have you seen this yet? or that?
No but it would be nice if people submitted it for news last June. Thanks for the links HiddenX.

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September 20th, 2013, 00:50
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
It has a metacritic score of 52. Was it a commercial success?
I'm not sure if it was, but I remember one thing from those days: the game gave Larian a foothold in the game-development business and earned them enough revenue to keep afloat. Coding it and bringing it to the market provided them with a network and experience that helped a lot when Divine Divinity went into production.
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September 20th, 2013, 02:43
I wonder if many of these 'sales' were the kickstarter rewards for D:OS.
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