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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Divinity: Original Sin - Two New Interviews

Default Divinity: Original Sin - Two New Interviews

July 10th, 2014, 06:04
I managed to roundup two more interview with Larian Studios Swen Vincke about his recently released game Divinity: Original Sin. The first interview is on Gamasutra.

"We always wanted to make an old-school PC RPG with multiplayer," says Swen Vincke, the founder of Larian Studios. "We never managed to sell it to a publisher in the past; every time we proposed, it was refused."

I've called him to ask after Divinity: Original Sin, Larian's recently-released isometric cooperative PC RPG. It's proven remarkably successful despite — or perhaps because of — its nostalgia-tinged design, which draws inspiration from German pen-and-paper roleplaying games as well as '90s-era PC RPGs like Baldur's Gate.

The Belgian studio Kickstarted Original Sin (to the tune of just under $1 million) last April despite competition from prominent, concurrent Kickstarter campaigns for isometric RPGs like Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar and inXile's Torment: Tides of Numenara.

Larian managed to beat them both to market, launching Original Sin on Steam's Early Access service in January before bringing it to retail at the end of June. Now it's the top-selling title on Steam and Larian's fastest-selling retail release to date; the studio is well on its way to recouping the roughly $4 million it spent on the game's development.

"We never expected it to be this successful," says Vincke. "It's all due to Kickstarter and Early Access."
The second interview is on PC Gamer.

PC Gamer: How do you guys feel post launch? You said you're still working on the game, but what's the vibe at Larian right now?

Swen Vincke: It's funny because everybody's still so focused on doing the patching that we haven't had time to celebrate yet. Everybody took some breaks to get some sleep, and most of us took a long weekend, but now we're focusing on the patch, and we're going to have our first [release] party next week. It will be a big one, and then we're going to go on a big holiday and then there's going to be a huge party. Right now, actually, everybody's like, "Okay, we released, so we continue to work on it." It's a rather funny feeling to be honest. We're very happy obviously.

PCG: It's the only project that Larian has right now, right? You're not working on anything else.

Vincke: No. This was all-in for us, so we said, "We have one shot at making a good RPG. This is going to be the one, so we'd better not fuck it up." That was basically the attitude, so it was stressing. But we're happy now of course.

PCG: What kind of things are you looking at in the big update?

Vincke: We basically have two types of things. We're doing hotfixes where we see problems that we can fix right away for people, and then the patch will contain some extra content. Balancing fixes. We'll introduce the AI personalities—that was one feature that didn't make it fully for release. [Right now] you only have no personality or random personality, which is rather clunky to play with, or the loyal personality which basically does everything you do. We will add five or six AI personalities, and they have distinct opinions about things, and so it's basically your partner. [And] people will be able to create their own personalities.

They make decisions based on certain type of personality, and it makes the game quite different, actually, because then it's really like playing with a human being, to a certain extent.
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July 10th, 2014, 06:04
Looking forward to trying out the personalities. Hope we can change them on the fly, if it turns out we don't like the one we picked, considering we all probably have saved games by now we'd rather not abandon. I already have personalities in my mind I'm roleplaying in dialogues, so I'd like to try to replicate those as closely as possible. If I can't, I may go back to no personalities.

Have spent some real time with the game now, and I'm liking it a hell of a lot. This one has my vote for GotY so far, hands down.
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July 10th, 2014, 08:25
The game is real gem. It has personality and good gameplay.

If it continues to sell well, I can just see Infinity Ward, EA and all those console mills releasing half baked "old school" bandwagon junk.
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July 10th, 2014, 08:28
I wish they had implemented 4-6 player cooperative multiplayer, though.
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July 10th, 2014, 09:18
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I wish they had implemented 4-6 player cooperative multiplayer, though.
I haven't used it, so I can't say how well it works, but there is a 4-player co-op mod.
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July 10th, 2014, 09:31
Originally Posted by Capt. Huggy Face View Post
I haven't used it, so I can't say how well it works, but there is a 4-player co-op mod.
Interesting, thanks!

Sounds like there are some issues with it, but it's early days. If a modder can make this happen partially this soon - chances are there will be a proper mod once I get around to playing it.

Could be a really fantastic experience in coop!
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July 10th, 2014, 09:53
I think I read somewhere the engine and editor are written to handle 4 players fine, but the only reason Larian didn't write it into the main game was getting all 4 players to participate well in the dialogues.
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July 10th, 2014, 10:01
Yeah, you probably have to be patient and let two players do the talking - but that could work given the right group of friends
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July 10th, 2014, 10:06
I really don't understand why an experienced guy like Swen underestimated the problems of things like physical distribution and localization. Or that he hadn't realized that day/night cycles would have a huge impact on development cost before they announced it as a stretch goal.

Yes, they did a great campaign with a lot of communication and stuff, but these things don't feel right.
Last edited by Morrandir; July 10th, 2014 at 12:57.
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July 10th, 2014, 11:30
I still think Larian was a good example of a kickstarter done right, including the transparency and feedback given after the KS. However, I was really disapointed that they dropped night/day cycles and, specially, NPC schedules. This last one was what made me double my offer so that they could reach that last stretch goal. It's still a very good game, but it stopped short of being a great game.

But I don't regret supporting the game and it's still one of the best games released this year so far (although this has been a poor year for videogames).
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July 10th, 2014, 11:37
Originally Posted by Gwendo View Post
although this has been a poor year for videogames.
I couldn't disagree more. I think this is shaping up to be one of the best years for gaming in a very long time.
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July 10th, 2014, 12:00
Originally Posted by Gwendo View Post
However, I was really disapointed that they dropped night/day cycles and, specially, NPC schedules.
That's a bummer. I haven't read much on D:OS yet, but do they intend to patch those in later or…?
Both of those would probably greatly enhance immersion, I assume.

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July 10th, 2014, 12:57
About the AI personalities. I hope you can add them to an existing save game so that you don't have to start over. Anyone heard anything about that?
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July 10th, 2014, 13:01
Originally Posted by Gwendo View Post
I still think Larian was a good example of a kickstarter done right, including the transparency and feedback given after the KS.
It was very good for most of the time, but I think in the end they failed to a certain degree. 1-2 months before relase they should have made a clear statement about stretch goals and other announced features that wouldn't make it in the final release and what is planned afterwards, so if they're going to add the features patches, expansions or not at all.
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July 10th, 2014, 13:15
Originally Posted by Gwendo View Post
….

But I don't regret supporting the game and it's still one of the best games released this year so far (although this has been a poor year for videogames).
MMX Legacy, Blackguards, Dragonfall, DOS, Age of Wonders 3, Warlock 2, Child of Light, Transistor, The Banner Saga, South Park, Dark Souls 2,….. and I am sure I missed a bunch, in just the first six month of the year. And you call this a poor year? How did you call, I don't know, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010…..?
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July 10th, 2014, 13:31
Originally Posted by Lemonhead View Post
About the AI personalities. I hope you can add them to an existing save game so that you don't have to start over. Anyone heard anything about that?
Once you unlock a certain room in your "base" you can change looks and AI of your characters. So yes, you don't have to start over just because of that.

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July 10th, 2014, 14:27
I've restarted a couple time already… but I think I'm going to hold off on playing any further into the game until that AI update hits.
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July 10th, 2014, 18:29
It's too bad Sven indicated that they won't be doing physical boxes in the future. I know the whole world is embracing all digital but I still like having a physical copy.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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July 10th, 2014, 19:38
Part of the article mentions that the game was funded by both KS and early access. Does that mean they didn't need to put their own funds into the development? If that's the case, every unity they sell is profit, correct? I hope so. Because i would like them to continue to make this type of game. And maybe other developers will follow their lead.
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July 10th, 2014, 19:38
@ TMG we have seen this with other developers (pillars of eternity) partnering with publishers so that they did not have to handle the physical boxes due to the manpower needed to do it right.
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