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Original Sin - Post-Funding Update #57

by Myrthos, 2014-03-28 17:02:32

Larian Studios have just announced in a Kickstarter update that next week will be the week the beta of Divinity Original Sin will become available.

This year, April is bringing more than mere showers: The beta version of Divinity: Original Sin is nearly ready for launch and will hit Steam the week of April 1 (no jokes!).

Those of you who have been making careful rounds of the alpha world will be excited to find the following: 

  • New region unlocks
  • Hugely expanded character creation options, including visuals and presets
  • Tons of new talents 
  • A new cache of new skills and spells 
  • Better AI and new enemy tactics
  • Hundreds of bugfixes
  • New and upgraded visuals, special effects, and music
  • Improved loading times and stability
  • Improved cooperative dialog systems

To explain lots more about what's going on in the beta, Swen did a tour of the office and let the developers speak for themselves about what their departments have been up to: 

If you watch the video, you'll find a nugget of wistfulness among the litany of good news:

Some bad news can be found in the message as well as they had to drop day/night cycles due to time and budget constraints. Swen talks more in his blog about the difficult decision this was.

My main regret for D:OS is that we didn’t manage to do the day/night cycles. Killing your darlings never is fun, but it is an inevitable part of production. I guess we always figured that, if anything, this would be the one we’d cut. Up until not-so-long ago however, I did have some hope that we were still going to be able to make it happen.

Some have always considered overestimation driven by a good dose of optimism to be Larian’s biggest “problem,” but to be quite honest, I’ve never agreed. Instead, I’ve always thought of it as one of our best qualities.

“Who dares, wins,” “Optimism is a moral duty,” “No sweat no glory” – these are all part of the ideas at the core of Larian’s credo. We tend to feel that something that looks almost impossible deserves its fair chance at being realized. As long as we can put an adverb like “almost” in front of the “impossible”. ;)

The thing that forced our hand in the end is the size of our buglist. Despite having made quite a few RPGs already, I’m still impressed by what’s being reported.

It’s not the quantity that’s scary per se (we’re used to large numbers like this, and we are making an RPG, after all) – but the types of bugs we’re seeing are in a category of their own.

The freedom we give players, coupled with the fact that we are introducing a unique type of cooperative multiplayer, makes for a very complicated quality assurance experience. You just have to look at a few of the “Let’s Play” videos to see that the level of imagination of players apply to abusing our game is boundless. ;)

If you’ve been following my blog a bit, you’ll know I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Being able to not only handle but encourage this abuse is what makes Divinity: Original Sin unique.

But sometimes, when I’m really tired,  I silently wonder…

Maybe we should’ve gone for linear storytelling through fixed cut scenes with nice, easily manageable bottlenecks.

And oh yeah, maybe we shouldn’t have allowed the player to kill everybody.

Or steal quest items.

Or do everything in whatever sequence they want to…

Life would be so much easier.

But then I watch another one of those “Let’s Play” videos, and I know it’s worth every bit of effort. You may think I’m joking, but that’s really how it goes– I’m quite obsessed  with this game but I constantly question what we’re doing so I often need to re-convince myself.

That’s why it took a lot for me to commit to dropping the day/night schedules and stick with the NPC routines we have now.

The money we received from Kickstarter and Steam Early Access has gone a very long way to improve the overall game experience and we could never have made a game with such a deep and involved RPG experience if it wouldn’t have been for our backers.

It makes it all the more difficult to disappoint those who were looking forward to NPC schedules reacting to day/night.  But the realization that we need all of our energy to polish the game is strong.

We do not want to release a game that has as many bugs as Divinity II: Ego Draconis had upon release; that would lead to an even bigger disappointment. When people install the release version of Divinity: Original Sin, we want them to have fun right away and not have to worry about technical issues. Entertaining people is why we’re in this industry.

Information about

Original Sin

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released