Divinity II: FoV - Status Update
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June 12th, 2010, 00:23
Let me save people time by posting the relevant section here. (This is Lar's post)
When we started out with the game, we had very big ambitions, and we were probably a bit over-ambituous for the means we had. This was to be our first real "next-gen" project and we immediately wanted to make a game where you could turn into a dragon at almost any point in the game, and we immediately wanted to bring it to console too, though the only experience we had was with PC games.On top of that, this was all to be done in a new engine. And… wer were going to do all of this with a fraction of the team that made Oblivion. In hindsight, that could've been a recipe for disaster, and it nearly was.
The major problems we had were dominantly technical, but there were also quite some process isues involved. Never before had we made a game where the assets where so complex, and the pipelines for getting something in game so long. Since the technology for putting it all together only came together at the end, it also took a very long time for us to get a real feeling for the game, and as a result we made many bad decisions.
Larian has always been a company that needed iteration to be able to deliver something compelling, and here we were faced with a process where iteration was turning out to be very difficult and in several cases, almost impossible. That forced us to re-invent ourselves multiple times, and that wasn’t good for the creative process. On top of that, the technical issues, especially the dreaded TRC’s on Xbox360 which is a list of requirements you need to meet to be able to publish on 360, drained most of our coding potential towards solving those issues, leaving little room for experimentation and iteration which is what usually leads to the coolest gameplay.
I often had pity with the artists and designers who had to deliver an enormous amount of content, using an incomplete toolset and an often failing engine. Not that you could blame the coders, they just had an enormous amount of work, building and maintaining not only the toolset but also the actual game and actually figuring out how to do everything that was required of them with the limited resources at their disposal. On top of that, they had to deal with quite a few setbacks, several of them not their fault, such as failing middleware or changing specifications. That they ultimately pulled it off is to their credit, and I can safely say that without some heroic development efforts in the last year before release, the game wouldn’t have made it. Take this against the background of a games industry in crisis, which created quite some stress among our publishing and distribution partners, and you can imagine the circumstances in which finished
The long development pipelines, together with the technical difficulties, ultimately impacted design and we were forced to take several shortcuts, something which you, the players, inevitably felt while playing the game, and something for which I’m truly sorry, no matter what the attenuating circumstances.
Luckily, we got the chance to make FOV, which was originally called Flames of Retribution, referring to the fact that we saw this as our chance to set things right. There was an attitude in the studio that if we couldn’t get this one right, then we had no business making RPGs anymore, and it was something which was in the back of my mind all the time during development. That’s why when I finally got the chance to play FOV with everything integrated, and I found myself sitting all alone in the office late at night, still playing the thing, having started early in the morning, a big smile materialized – yes.
If God said it, then that settles it!!
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