Larian & the "Very Big RPG that Will Dwarf Them All" - RPGWatch Forums
|
Your donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Games » General RPG » Larian & the "Very Big RPG that Will Dwarf Them All"

Default Larian & the "Very Big RPG that Will Dwarf Them All"

November 8th, 2020, 22:50
Recently I found myself reflecting over a blog post that Swen Vincke wrote in 2012 that received some attention here at RPGWatch back in the day, titled "The route to the very big RPG that will dwarf them all"

I believe this blog post was a visionary, forward-thinking piece that described the big picture of Larian's goals and motivations, and painted a picture of the path that they have followed to this very day. Since then, Larian has had some massive successes, first with Divinity: Original Sin, and then took things to another level with Original Sin 2. The commercial and critical success of Original Sin 2 helped Larian land the Holy Grail of RPG licenses as they were awarded the rights to developing a sequel to the most beloved franchise in cRPG history (arguably or objectively?), Baldur's Gate. While the studio always showed a lot of promise, IMO, they are now one of the most revered cRPG developers in existence (the big dogs, IMO, are Larian, CD Projekt Red, and the Microsoft trifecta - Obsidian, Bethesda, and InExile, who is perhaps just on the outside of that group).

As it is something that has haunted my thoughts, I felt the need to start a thread on the topic to see what everyone around the community thinks. Where do you think Larian is on its "route to the very big rpg that will dwarf them all"?

First, did the "very big rpg to dwarf them all" already happen with Original Sin 2? Is Baldur's Gate 3 the studio's endgame?

Second, if both of those are still preludes to the ultimate goal, will "the very big rpg to dwarf them all" come in the form of a Divinity or Original Sin game? Or will it be an entirely new franchise?

I would love to hear your thoughts/opinions.
Last edited by rossrjensen; November 8th, 2020 at 23:31.
rossrjensen is offline

rossrjensen

Keeper of the Watch
Original Sin Donor

#1

Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 783
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)

Default 

November 8th, 2020, 23:02
I think it's Divinity Original Sin 2. I also think it's Baldur's Gate 3. And it may well also be [Fill in name of their next big project] There's no endgame. They make very large RPGs. It's the future he saw in 2012, and it's the present they are pursuing.
JFarrell71 is offline

JFarrell71

SasqWatch

#2

Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,519
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)

Default 

November 8th, 2020, 23:05
If Baldur's Gate 3 is a success I think they'll continue the series.

And Rivellon has many more stories to tell as well.

If I remember right Swen Vincke's favourite RPGs are Ultima and Ultima Underworld, so maybe we see something in this direction in the future.
HiddenX is online now

HiddenX

HiddenX's Avatar
The Elder Spy
RPGWatch Team
Original Sin 1 & 2 Donor

#3

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NRW/Germany
Posts: 13,288
Mentioned: 77 Post(s)

Default 

November 8th, 2020, 23:14
That's an interesting perspective. And it certainly makes sense. I guess I always interpreted it that they wanted to make one game, a magnum opus, so to speak, for which the studio would be remembered for decades for. I guess it's certainly possible has already happened. Baldur's Gate's legacy has carried for two decades, and as a game that received similar massive critical acclaim, it seems quite reasonable to presume Original Sin 2's will as well. Still, I like to think that they are just getting started, and that one game that will blow everything away and leave a legacy that lasts forever is yet to come. I hope they still have yet to peak as a studio.

An interesting chunk from the article that supports what you're saying and feels rather prescient:

"So we’ll try to make two very good games that will be released in 2012-2013, do this as cost-effective as possible, ensure that what we build will help us in the future, and fight to maximize our revenue from these games, so that perhaps in 2015 you might see the game this company was created for."

The timing has been nearly spot on.
rossrjensen is offline

rossrjensen

Keeper of the Watch
Original Sin Donor

#4

Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 783
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)

Default 

November 8th, 2020, 23:16
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
If I remember right Swen Vincke's favourite RPGs are Ultima and Ultima Underworld, so maybe we see something in this direction in the future.
How cool would it be to see Larian carry the Ultima series forward?
rossrjensen is offline

rossrjensen

Keeper of the Watch
Original Sin Donor

#5

Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 783
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)

Default 

November 8th, 2020, 23:23
I'm pretty sure BG III is his dream RPG or "Very Big RPG that Will Dwarf Them All". As the last time he mentioned this was right after Divinity Original Sin 2 was released.

Anyway I don't think I could stomach Larian taking over another beloved RPG.
--
"Good people do all the things bad people do. It's just that when they do them, they call it justice.”
Couchpotato is offline

Couchpotato

Couchpotato's Avatar
Laziest Man Alive

#6

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Banana Republic of America
Posts: 25,058
Mentioned: 97 Post(s)

Default 

November 8th, 2020, 23:24
I don't think that Swen wants to continue the Ultima series. But he tries to enhance the major gameplay ideas from Ultima (gameworld interactivity, NPC schedules, etc. and Ultima Underworld (dungeon survival feeling) in his own games.
HiddenX is online now

HiddenX

HiddenX's Avatar
The Elder Spy
RPGWatch Team
Original Sin 1 & 2 Donor

#7

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NRW/Germany
Posts: 13,288
Mentioned: 77 Post(s)

Default 

November 8th, 2020, 23:30
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
I'm pretty sure BG III is his dream RPG or "Very Big RPG that Will Dwarf Them All". As the last time he mentioned this was right after Divinity Original Sin 2 was released.
Ahh, I must have missed that. How interesting.

Anyway I don't think I could stomach Larian taking over another beloved RPG.
Of course we're all entitled to our opinions. Personally, I loved OS 2 and was blown away by the potential I saw in the few hours I spent with BG 3. Considering the cRPG slant here, it sorta surprises me that Larian's newer games don't land with some here. Though I suppose we are nothing if not a crotchety bunch, so it makes sense

If you were given the chance to pick any developer to carry the Ultima series forward, who would it be?
rossrjensen is offline

rossrjensen

Keeper of the Watch
Original Sin Donor

#8

Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 783
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)

Default 

November 8th, 2020, 23:38
I think the Gothic, Risen and ELEX games from Piranha Bytes have learned a lot from the Ultima series.

PS:
Björn Pankratz favourite games are Ultima and Ultima Unterworld as well. (Everything else from Looking Glass, too.)
HiddenX is online now

HiddenX

HiddenX's Avatar
The Elder Spy
RPGWatch Team
Original Sin 1 & 2 Donor

#9

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NRW/Germany
Posts: 13,288
Mentioned: 77 Post(s)

Default 

November 8th, 2020, 23:41
I don't know if any of the developers could carry on Ultima, I think it requires a skill in world building which none of the RPG makers today have.

But it would be wonderful if something like Ultima 7 could be made in a modern engine, and with a much better combat system and of course a new story.
GothicGothicness is offline

GothicGothicness

GothicGothicness's Avatar
SasqWatch

#10

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,126
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)

Default 

November 9th, 2020, 00:50
Originally Posted by rossrjensen View Post
If you were given the chance to pick any developer to carry the Ultima series forward, who would it be?
No one developer currently making RPGs really excels at worldbuilding but if I have to say someone it would be Arkane Studios. They at least take risks with their designs and spend time fleshing out their worlds. I'm not sure how capable they are of making a traditional CRPG but that is who I'd pick. Second best would be Larian.
Silver is offline

Silver

Silver's Avatar
Spaceman
RPGWatch Team

#11

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 8,239
Mentioned: 52 Post(s)

Default 

November 9th, 2020, 01:00
I think there's plenty of top notch world-building talent out there. George Ziets, to name one person.

Morrowind has some of the very best world-building ever seen in a game. I think the decline of it at that company since has a lot more to do with the desire to appeal to as many people as possible than it does lack of talent or vision.

I don't personally think the Ultima setting was all that impressive overall. It's not difficult to pattern towns after virtues/sins. But it was and does remain unique in RPGs. The true contribution of the Ultima series was not in the setting but in the mechanics: day/night cycles, less of a focus on combat, thieving with consequences, companions who spanned multiple games, interactions beyond hitting/taking with objects in the world, etc, etc. Larian is definitely an inheritor of that tradition. There are other, perhaps less heralded and likely inheritors, like Caves of Qud.
JFarrell71 is offline

JFarrell71

SasqWatch

#12

Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,519
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)

Default 

November 9th, 2020, 04:55
Those are all interesting thoughts.

Piranha Bytes - I got some pretty good mileage out of Gothic 2 and finished the first Risen. I own their entire catalog, but haven't given much time to the rest of their games (configured and started Gothic 3 like half a dozen times, just never stuck through it significantly). I really like certain aspects of their games. Exploration is done particularly well. At the same time, it does feel like something was missing in Risen that I can't quite put my finger on (something more than lacking polish). Their newer games have garnered weaker critical reception, though it's not exactly clear why to me. They strike me as a studio with a lot of promise that just needs a modern smash hit to reach the next level. Similar to a position where Larian was prior to tbe Original Sin series, although they have been around just as long.

Arkane Studios - I would not have even thought of them. Seems they have gone more of an action game route, but have absolutely done very good things with their settings.

George Ziets - I have to admit not knowing much about his individual contributions, though he has certainly been a part of some great games. It will be interesting to see what he can do with his own studio.

Bethesda - I think they are absolutely capable of the kind of world-building and quest design to pull something like that off. Morrowind was an achievement in world design. Even though Oblivion seems a little bland in retrospect, at the time it was a revelation and has some great quests. Skyrim still impresses me and was a big step forward in a couple regards for me too. I am less confident in them when it comes to character development/leveling and writing. General complaint for me, while I am always quite impresssed by the scale of their games, I have never finished one.
rossrjensen is offline

rossrjensen

Keeper of the Watch
Original Sin Donor

#13

Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 783
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)

Default 

November 9th, 2020, 08:01
I think Swen's one big RPG to dwarf them all will be using the Dragonlance setting as he is apparently a big fan. That is if he is allowed to choose a D&D setting/game series to use other than Baldur's Gate. We have already seen Larian games feature dragons with jetpacks after all. I am hopeful he will get to use the setting even if it is currently under legal dispute.
Silver is offline

Silver

Silver's Avatar
Spaceman
RPGWatch Team

#14

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 8,239
Mentioned: 52 Post(s)

Default 

November 9th, 2020, 12:15
Let me throw in another tid-bit Utlima is owned by EA. So not gonna happen.

Also BG III is that "Very Big RPG that Will Dwarf Them All". It's Larian's longest and most expensive RPG the developer has developed. More then both OS kickstarters combined.

You can tell Swen Vincke is putting everything he has into the game.

Also last year Larian opened two more studios and claimed it had a few more games in development beside BG III. So we'll see probably another OS III in development.
Originally Posted by Silver View Post
I think Swen's one big RPG to dwarf them all will be using the Dragonlance setting as he is apparently a big fan. That is if he is allowed to choose a D&D setting/game series to use other than Baldur's Gate. We have already seen Larian games feature dragons with jetpacks after all. I am hopeful he will get to use the setting even if it is currently under legal dispute.
Hmm..I'd say 50/50 chance given their new partnership with WoTc.

On a side not that IP isn't doing so well.

Link - https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46143
--
"Good people do all the things bad people do. It's just that when they do them, they call it justice.”
Last edited by Couchpotato; November 9th, 2020 at 12:30.
Couchpotato is offline

Couchpotato

Couchpotato's Avatar
Laziest Man Alive

#15

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Banana Republic of America
Posts: 25,058
Mentioned: 97 Post(s)

Default 

November 9th, 2020, 20:04
I don't believe any company can ever claim they've arrived, there's no such thing as "fuck-you money", except in Hollywood movies. But I believe there's a sweet point where the founders have overcome the burden of finance and can - at last - focus on creativity (and hope everything doesn't go to hell soon after).

Obviously they've reached this stage, and could have a Divinity: Original Sin 2, a Definitive Edition (more fun), and now experiment further with another universe, D&D. But people, especially when they have a vision, are never satisfied, there is always a new Holy Grail to look for. There is no endgame, it's just a step, and each of those steps has to land on solid ground for the company to go on.

We'll have to see if BG3 will find solid ground, there are many good things about this game, but they have put themselves in a funny situation. They haven't gone all in, instead they kept a reassuring purchase on their old ground by preserving a good part of their previous system (hence the "D:OS 3" nickname), trying to tinker with a well-established system which didn't need changing and shouldn't have been. So not only they end up pissing off a share of their current fans, and a share of their potential new fans, but also they are about to produce something that will probably require months of adjusting and re-tinkering to achieve good balance. Or maybe that'll be for BG4.

We'll see how it goes, but I don't think that one will dwarf everything. I don't believe any RPG really dwarves the others, there are very good ones every now and then, but in their own genre which isn't universal. Some people love Larian's, because it's fun, but how many times have I heard they'd rather have a more story-oriented and less combat-oriented RPG? Or the other way round for other games. They have produced a very good D:OS2, they may still have a very good BG3, while other companies may also come up with a very good something else like a Cyberpunk, a Starfield, a Pathfinder or - who knows, a Dragon Age 4.

So isn't BG3 a new cautious step before reaching the next mature goal, like D:OS was to D:OS 2?

There's also the fact that companies don't naturally grow without difficulties, so this soft spot they've reached… they'll have to fight in order to keep it.

I guess my conclusion is, yes, they've arrived at the point they can spend more time on what they want instead of what they need to do, in order to stay alive. But from now on it'll be another fight for them. And at the same time, they're not the only company producing very good stuff.
Redglyph is online now

Redglyph

Redglyph's Avatar
Sentinel

#16

Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Good old Europe
Posts: 473
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)

Default 

November 10th, 2020, 03:06
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
You can tell Swen Vincke is putting everything he has into the game.
Weresheep in D&D? Sssweeeeeeet!!!
--
The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views….
-- Doctor Who in "Face of Evil"
Zloth is offline

Zloth

Zloth's Avatar
I smell a… wumpus!?

#17

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 7,252
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)

Default 

November 11th, 2020, 20:34
During D:OS2 development, he said that D:OS2 was "getting very close [to] the RPG that will dwarf them all". So I guess we know it wasn't D:OS2.

Source: http://www.lar.net/2015/08/12/returning-to-kickstarter/
Stingray is offline

Stingray

SasqWatch
Original Sin 1 & 2 Donor

#18

Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,176
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)

Default 

November 11th, 2020, 23:26
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
During D:OS2 development, he said that D:OS2 was "getting very close [to] the RPG that will dwarf them all". So I guess we know it wasn't D:OS2.

Source: http://www.lar.net/2015/08/12/returning-to-kickstarter/
I guess that depends how you interpret it. To me, it seems he was saying it *is* DOS2.
JDR13 is offline

JDR13

JDR13's Avatar
SasqWatch
Original Sin Donor

#19

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Florida, US
Posts: 28,601
Mentioned: 88 Post(s)

Default 

November 12th, 2020, 23:13
If Swen wants to dwarf them all doesn’t he need to move into MMORPG territory and slay WoW?
MAHak is offline

MAHak

Watcher

#20

Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 71
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)

Tags
baldur's gate 3, divinity, divinity original sin 2, larian, original sin 2
RPGWatch Forums » Games » General RPG » Larian & the "Very Big RPG that Will Dwarf Them All"
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 12:53.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by DragonByte Security (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2021 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2021 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright by RPGWatch