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Default Divine Divinity - Inspired Marketing Edition

September 29th, 2014, 21:40
The Rampant Coyote's latest post gives his opinion on the unreleased Divinity: The Sword of Lies. It was the original name for Divine Divinity that was changed.

As I’ve become a little bit of a Larian fanboy, I found myself looking up more information on the Divinity series. It was years before I tried the original game. Try as I might, the name “Divine Divinity” sounded absolutely ridiculous, and in a totally lame display of judging a book by its cover, I assumed that the stupid title revealed a foreign company that had poor grasp of English, and a poor grasp of what would make a good game.

Now, I should know better. I’ve worked with publishers before. I’d heard how the publishers had dictated many elements of the gameplay to Larian. Going back recently and doing a tiny bit of research, I discovered this story, from Larian itself:

“Long story short – contract had Divinity: The Sword of Lies in it. Publisher revised it to Divinity: The Sword of Lies (working title). The day the contract was signed, we were informed the new name was going to be Divine Divinity, courtesy of the CEO who just made tons of cash with Sudden Strike and now figured that any new title needed to have an alliteration in it, or so we were told.

“We told them that was a stupid idea. They didn’t like us telling them it was a stupid idea and they were also the ones checking our milestones so eventually we had to shut up, especially when inevitably we were late with a particular milestone. End of story, the person who came up with it indeed had poor taste in names and I agree that it probably cost us a lot of sales – most people thought it was a porn game.”

Divinity: Sword of Lies would have been a pretty cool title. Maybe not one that attracted me to the game, but certainly not one that would make me dismiss it. I can’t say the title cost them a sale, but I can’t say it didn’t.

But now you know the secrets of 80% of the game marketing gurus out there. I’ve known a handful of pretty sharp ones, but at least in the 90s when I was more closely involved in that side of things, this was exactly how things ran. One more reason to be happy about the indie revolution. Sometimes its nice, in the midst of the crap we have to deal with now, to remember just how much crap we left behind.

So now, I’m sorry, Larian, for assuming you were responsible for the crappy title. I knew you had to make compromises based on publisher demands and budgetary constraints in other areas, so I should have given you the benefit of the doubt.
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September 29th, 2014, 21:40
Actually, people at CDV knew very well what a dumb idea that name change was. I wasn't directly involved in the Divinity deal, but there was a collective cringe in large parts of the company upon hearing that decision.
I don't think I'm going to get in trouble anymore if I reveal that it was quite clear at the time that this was a solitary decision of the contemporary CEO, a choleric self-made entrepreneur who had gotten lucky and rich with some rather shady software and now believed he knew everything better than anyone else in the company. Things like this were steamrollered over any internal opposition, and believe me, there was some. We used to hear shouting from across the building…
Ah, the times…
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September 29th, 2014, 21:45
Is there a skill set that marketeers need to have, other than the ability to talk yourself into a job? They seem to screw up at least as often as they hit on a good idea, if not more so on the former side.
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September 29th, 2014, 21:54
I was going to say:
Of course - the tenacity any parasite needs to maintain its grip on whatever it is feeding from.

But I didn't want to be nasty. There are in fact congenial and useful marketers, too!
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September 29th, 2014, 22:23
Had he been reading my threads in the Larian forums, it would have been clear much earlier.

I had dedicated quite some time to find these things out, many years ago.

The most recent reply came from Chromatrix, the license holder (and giver) of all current TDE games, but I cannot find it anymore right now.
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September 30th, 2014, 03:21
Wait, so the game isn't about really really tasty divinity??

P.S. "Inspired Marketing Edition"! When Volition releases all the Saints Row games in one package, that's what they should call it.
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