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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Divine Divinity - How Lar Tried To Save It

Default Divine Divinity - How Lar Tried To Save It

February 13th, 2012, 21:09
Lar has a fascinating piece on his blog, titled How I tried to save Divine Divinity. This is one for fans of the business side of gaming or who are interested in the history of Divine Divinity or Larian. It's quite long but I enjoyed it - Lar's intro explains the situation:
Back in 2001, Divine Divinity was in serious trouble. Several people at our publisher, CDV, wanted to kill the game because it was late, and our publisher’s producer needed help defending the game at an important internal publisher meeting. The goal of that meeting was a re-evaluation of their entire portfolio, and I was asked to write up a list of what I considered to be the strong and weak points of the first Divinity.
Back in 2001, Divine Divinity was in serious trouble. Several people at our publisher, CDV, wanted to kill the game because it was late, and our publisher’s producer needed help defending the game at an important internal publisher meeting. The goal of that meeting was a re-evaluation of their entire portfolio, and I was asked to write up a list of what I considered to be the strong and weak points of the first Divinity.
I figured it might be interesting to share the mail I sent to the producer with you.
More information.
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February 13th, 2012, 21:09
Very insightful. Great for those who think they understand game development (or want to) but haven't actually done it.
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February 13th, 2012, 22:32
very good read, thanks!
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February 14th, 2012, 00:06
yes, fine read
This made me like these guys +33%
btw, I dropped Divinity2, and wanted to let my gf play the expansions , but once I got into it, it felt really nice
the NPC interactions are sweet,
I really like how they placed more emphasis on the noncombat gameplay.
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February 14th, 2012, 00:18
Good thing he succeeded. It would have been a crime had Divine Divinity not been released.

Then of course Dragon Knight Saga would never have been created, and that would have been an even bigger crime…
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February 14th, 2012, 00:47
I don't know - I kind of prefer Divine Divinity 1 to DKS (not counting the last 20%). The fact remains, however, that Lar is one cool cat - very passionate about his work.
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February 14th, 2012, 00:56
I loved Divine divinity but didn't really care for the DKS. It seems like the switch to 3D just lost something. DD had great atmosphere that just didn't feel the same in the DKS.

Thing I disliked the most in DD was the HUGE amount of hack and slash all over the map. His comment about better monster AI would have helped alot but still loved the game.
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February 14th, 2012, 01:12
I don't understand why they don't go back to isometric view, and maybe combine the two, now that they have both engines.

If its not broken, why brake it?
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February 14th, 2012, 01:25
I really liked DD, isometric view with point and click is the only RT gameplay I like. FPP/ OTS view with WASD key movement loses me every time.
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February 14th, 2012, 01:39
I'm sure I would have appreciated DD even more if I had played it back in 2001 instead of nearly 10 years later. Regardless, that final area definitely lowered my opinion somewhat.

I still think I would have liked DKS more though. I've never been a big fan of the isometric view, unless it's a party-based game.
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February 14th, 2012, 03:17
I didn't like DD all that much. It reminded me a lot of Diablo, which I've never been able to enjoy. I liked DKS much more.
In general you want the player to “think” he’s smart while always making sure that whatever he tries, he’ll stumble into it.
I really love it when a game pulls this off. Deus Ex did this very well and Human Revolution seems to be doing a fine job, too, except for the boss fights. When the player has to hit GameFaqs to progress, it means this didn't happen.

Hehe, the weak points are long and detailed. The strong points are short. Developers need to focus on what's broken and fix it while salesmen need to focus on what works and play it up. I think Lar has a lot more developer blood in him than salesman blood - at least when this email was written.

P.S. The first two paragraphs in the quote are the same! Ironic for a game named Divine Divinity.
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February 14th, 2012, 03:53
This is a very fascinating and relevant piece, even more so as I'm currently playing DKS for the first time. Thanks for posting!

I've certainly enjoyed Divine Divinity a little more than the sequel, though I have yet to finish DKS or move into the expansion part. I must be getting close, being level 34 odd!

The world is just that little more interactive in DD whilst the skill system is a bit more interesting for me. These aspects and the ability to pause seperate it from the Diablo II clones. I'm also not a big fan of the twitchy jumpy nature of the combat in DKS which seems somewhat inevitable with its gameplay style. Thankfully the humour, wonderful music and exploration make up for it.

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February 14th, 2012, 09:14
DKS is fantastic with one caveat and that is too many flying fortresses, but I think Lar already knows about this flaw. Otherwise it is fantastically entertaining RPG.
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February 14th, 2012, 13:15
Someone once wrote that DD is the only game where one has to do dishwashing in order to proceed.
So far I don't know any other game like that either.

A similar thing is true for making Honey. Only the Ultima series had this kind of possibilities, and to a small extend the Gothic games as well, as far as I know.

Crafting has almost always been limited to weapons and armor since then.

But apart from that : This dishwashing experience is only a small part in it.
I still wish that DD would be expanded one day for the things that remained unused in it. Like the character of "Der Adler" (English "The Eagle"), or the places one cannot travel to because they were cut from he main game.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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February 14th, 2012, 14:03
Nice :

You'll be happy to hear then that the notorious project E goes top-down with its camera and everybody working on it is sick of hearing - in Divinity 1 we did things like this so whatever you do, it needs to be better
I'll let the game speak for itself - we're not that far from announcing it anymore

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February 14th, 2012, 14:59
I liked DD; but was not overly found of the graphics. I had just upgraded from a 17inch crt that died permaturely to something (I think 19inch crt; or 19inch lcd) and I found that some of the rendered objects hard to identify. I started the game when it came out (2001? 2002?) and went quite far (2/3 maybe) but then put it on hold for a year or two and then finished (2003? 2004?).
-
My thought was that the mechanics were quite fine and the story ok (though I found it confusing). What I really liked were the quests and humor; but as i just said above the graphics were a bit of a turn off. I greatly enjoyed DKS so now I'm unsure if project E will be like DD or DKS or a mixture.
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February 14th, 2012, 22:03
DD a much much better game than diablo in all depth-action wise diablo was better…but the dialogs, the whole rpg feel and live world in a crysis..brilliant stuff.
it's one of my top RPG's.
(DK was fun, but it was obviously not as in depth as DD-probably from money reasons)
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February 14th, 2012, 23:41
Originally Posted by you View Post
I liked DD; but was not overly found of the graphics.
I absolutely loved the graphics. Beautiful, quirky, lovely 2D art.

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