Divinity II Devs Declare Dragon Commander

By John Walker on August 11th, 2011 at 2:40 pm.

If only Dommander was a word.

Divinity II devs, Larian Studios, have announced their next game. Continuing their fondness for winged lizards, this time it’s all about “massive dragon combat” in Dragon Commander. A turn-based strategy-cum-RPG, it’s of course set in the Divinity universe – although within what they’re calling an “Art Nouveau/Steampunk world” – and they’re promising it will “break new ground”. You can see the first video of it below.

While very brief, one thing you certainly couldn’t accuse the game of being is bland-looking. It’s a mad explosion of colour, and indeed dragons. Take a look.

So you shall indeed command mighty armies to conquer the empire, as just so often seems to be the case. Magic and technology will work together (at last), with the emphasis then being on the battling dragons.

The game’s director, Swen Vincke, he say:

“We’ve been dreaming about a project like this for many years, and fresh from the success of our latest game we realized that there is nothing that holds us back any longer. The new game blends together our favorite genres and themes, something that is not easy – but the resulting gameplay experience is very rewarding, and it’s also a lot of fun to make. We have role-playing, we have strategy, we have exploration… and we have plenty of dragons. We also feel that we have finally discovered how dragon combat can work well in a game. We’re pretty much breaking new ground here, and we’re very much determined to surprise the players with what we’ll offer in this game!”

More details will apparently appear at next week’s Gamescom.

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85 Comments »

  1. Dominic White says:

    Divinity 2: DKS (the ‘we actually had the money to finish it this time’ re-release) was one of my biggest gaming surprises last year. A genuinely good, well-written, funny and creative action RPG. So roll on this new one. Dragons are fun!

    Edit: Y’know what? The setting looks rather like the Panzer Dragoon series, minus the lovely ivory monolithicness of it all. Good stuff.

    • pakoito says:

      I created a new char, saw the jumping animation and then quit.

      I’m DERPADURPITYDUR

    • Dominic White says:

      Extra durp because the jumping animation gets completely replaced about two hours into the game when you get dragon powers and can leap 20 feet into the air and fall hundreds of feet without damage.

    • pakoito says:

    • Commisar says:

      hmm, might have to try out Divinity 2 now, from what I have seen, it looks cool, who wouldn’t want to turn into a dragon?

    • Wulf says:

      I agree! I loved the hell out of the Dragon Knight Saga. But I had a case of the sads because I was actually the last Dragon Knight. The last. There were no others. And it drove me crazy until the end of the game which actually had some hope that they may reappear.

      Looks like the Dragon Knights are back. And they’re going to kick arse in abstract ways against big, metallic steampunk constructions.

      I support this.

  2. Icarus says:

    Oh my. Yes indeed.

  3. thepaleking says:

    I would love, a Falcon 4.0 level Dragon piloting sim.

    This also sounds pretty cool though. I verily enjoyed Divinity 2, had a quality reminiscent of Gothic 2.

    • Wulf says:

      Yes yes yes! Me too! Drakkan was good for dragonflight, but… it’s old and wonky. I’d love to see a modern redo of that with flight sim controls. That’s the one thing I’ve really, really wanted, forever and a bit, it was the thing I was hoping Lair was (but it wasn’t, although I still loved it).

      I’ll love this though regardless, I suspect.

      Dragon with jetpack! Wheeee!

  4. Vexing Vision says:

    Turn-based? With dragons? I don’t need to know anything else.

    Sold.

    • Wizardry says:

      No. Battles are real-time. There’s a turn-based campaign map. Think Total War.

      In other words, the game will suck.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Oh, Wizardry. I hope you didn’t post that with a straight face.

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s Wizardry, of course he didn’t.

      He said it with a fierce, sullen glower.

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      When God made Wizardry, he rolled a 2. Sad face.

    • ankh says:

      So games with turn-based campaign maps are turn-based combat games these days. How contemporary.

    • Casimir Effect says:

      @AndrewC

      I’ll be using that one in the future, thanks :)

    • Fumarole says:

      When God made Wizardry, he rolled a 2. Sad face.

      This made my morning.

    • Wizardry says:

      @AndrewC: If only your name was AndrewG.

    • Unaco says:

      “Oh, Wizardry. I hope you didn’t post that with a straight face.”

      How could it? It’s a spam-bot from RPG codex. It’s not a real person.

    • Chris D says:

      Total War with dragons? I don’t need to know anything else.

      Sold.

    • Wulf says:

      Despite us both liking Wizardry 8 (I think?), I can’t say that I like you, Wizardry.

      There’s a difference between “I won’t like this game” and “This game will suck,” and even I know that difference. There are a whole slew of games which come far too close to very human levels of psychopathy that really put me off. I prefer my violence to be abstract if there’s violence at all, or to have the ability to opt out of violence to do something else at least, or at least offer me the option to handle things in a non-fatal way.

      I get hassled for that even though it’s a personal preference, but I don’t pretend that those games suck because I know they don’t, it’s just that not everyone is shackled with my gaming preferences. Not everyone likes the same thing. Not everyone has to.

      But if you say that something sucks then you should back it up. What are you basing that on?

    • wodin says:

      So it isn’t a turn based game at all….I was very excited reading the article until I realised I had been hoodwinked in a dispicable way….it’s an RTS game with a turn based strategy mode…sod it.

    • Kamos says:

      I rather like the turn-based grand-strategy, real time battlefield strategy games of the Total War series. Am I a bad person?

      I think the point where Total War games fail badly is that they don’t live up to their full potential on the campaign map. In example, Shogun 2 starts with someone telling you’re clan ‘X’ and that you should try to do this, and that, because of your background… but after 5 turns it becomes mindless. I wish strategy games were better at working on a higher abstraction level and giving you feedback *on that level*.

      What am I saying? I don’t know, I should probably get some sleep. Also, Wulf, you’re too angry. Let it go, man. Diablo 3 is not worth your wrath. Wizardry is a cool guy, btw.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Kamos: My problem with Total War games is that it’s fun for an hour but then battles become too frequent and I end up auto-resolving them all. Then I’m left with a grand strategy game, yet I’m better off playing a Paradox one.

    • Casimir Effect says:

      I love the Total War games but I do wish they could manage to work a story into them somehow. I know RTS/TBS games aren’t huge on the whole story thing and working one into a game like a Total War would be a pain in the ass but it’s something I’d love to see.

      For all it’s shortcomings I really enjoyed King Arthur because it had this great setting and some stuff going on with recurring characters and a little story. Sure there really wasn’t much and I wish the Knights of the Round Table had been fleshed out more rather than just disappearing from the world as soon as you recruited them, but it was better than nothing. The historically accurate settings of TW games don’t excite anymore and while playing the game just to conquer the world can yield some great stories of your own – fighting off an army 5 times you size or outflanking an entire faction – I’d prefer to have a reason to start the conquest and let my stories mingle with the main one. That probably makes no sense but it’s early in the morning and the wine is kicking in.

    • Kamos says:

      @Casimir Effect

      Well in my case the beer is kicking in. But I think you’re onto something. TBS games should be able to create a story on the go, to give what you’re doing a meaning. I think that this has a bit to do with what I was saying before about a game understanding and giving feedback on a higher abstraction level. In example, while a game like Shogun 2 apparently reacts to me putting my troops on the border (by making the AI expect an attack), it does not really consider that I might not even be considering an attack. Someone said games are a sequence of interesting choices, but I feel like often you makean interesting choice and the game is too stupid to notice.

      Europa Universalis III does this a lot better, it feels a lot more like your high level strategy and diplomatic decisions are important. Total War’s grand-strategy feels mindless, imho. It is like the TBS part was an afterthought, and the developers expect everything to end in a RTS battle.

      I liked Rome: TW’s generals. I always felt they gave the game some life, and if Creative Assembly could somehow mix that with story and some more complex simulation of diplomacy (perhaps even within a faction), it would be great.

      @ Wizardry

      Yeah, I know what you mean. The TBS part does feel a little poor. I think it was actually better in Rome: Total War, where your generals evolved differently depending on what sort of duty you gave them. In example, if you took your general to battles too often, he might become a lunatic. And leaving gnerals in your cities while you had too much money might make them corrupt and decadent.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Hanban says:

    That looked pretty neat!

  6. ArcaneSaint says:

    But will it have infinite dragons?

  7. Premium User Badge

    Alegis says:

    sold

  8. Cinnamon says:

    Homeworld with dragons and art nouveau flying castles? It’s a bit bland and predictable, they should make a first person shooter instead.

    • westyfield says:

      And ditch the sci-fi/fantasy setting – kids need to know about current affairs. Set it in Afghanistan instead.

    • PearlChoco says:

      And loose the left, right, back, lean, jump and crawl buttons.

      I’m thinking of some kind of Unified interface…. All you need is Forward and LMB.

    • JFS says:

      “LMB”? Give that some thought again. You surely meant “A button”.

    • pazmacats says:

      Other designers should learn from this example. TV remotes have too many buttons. All you need is “I win” to make consumers happy.

    • FakeAssName says:

      how the fuck is that bland and predictable?

    • Wulf says:

      Yes, because a dragon with a jetpack and those visuals is all so predictable.

      Don’t be a coward, admit your real reason for not liking it instead of making up ones that are obviously fake. :|

      (I worry I was a bit too convincing with this. Was I?)

    • Cinnamon says:

      @Wulf; You just reminded me of jetpack brontosaurus. Not sure why I didn’t notice that these dragons were rocket powered as this changes everything. A breath of fresh air.

  9. Ian says:

    I really need to fire up the Saturn and replay Panzer Dragoon Saga.

    • Dominic White says:

      If you’ve got even a halfway decent dual-core, SSF is a great Saturn emulator with near-100% accuracy.

      http://www7a.biglobe.ne.jp/~phantasy/ssf/

    • Ian says:

      My Saturn’s sitting in a carrier bag right next to the TV anyway. Just need to shift my arse and get it plugged in. :P

    • Dominic White says:

      Guardian Heroes at 480p and with reduced slowdown is worth the effort involved in getting SSF working right.

    • Wulf says:

      Getting the emulator running right to play that is a worthy goal. /nod

    • Kamos says:

      OH! Guardian Heroes! I just remembered I played that once on a friend’s console! That was a really good game.

      Oops. I just admited to liking a console game. Time to shut up.

  10. Sian says:

    I think I might love this. But I’ll wait for more info before I get all enthusiastic. I’ve been hurt often enough… My poor hea… wallet!

  11. Premium User Badge

    Colthor says:

    It’s like a load of my favourite things all in one box.

    Maybe the special edition comes with a pack of biscuits to eat whilst you play? Then it would be perfect.

  12. Orija says:

    A dragon with scalpels attached to the wings, is it like a new psychopathic breed or something?

    • Sian says:

      Some dragons just love body modification. I mean, look at the dragon wot caused the Cataclysm in WoW. I bet he’s facepalming right now because he didn’t think of implanting scalpels.

    • Torgan says:

      It’s so he can perform surgical strikes.

    • Wulf says:

      What’s wrong with body modification?

  13. DainIronfoot says:

    I will give ALL OF MY MONEY to the first person to make a Temeraire mod for this.

    • Glek says:

      This is the most win suggestion I’ve ever seen on the internet. Temeraire FTW.

  14. RF says:

    DRAGON COMMANDER sounds like a 1980s toy line.

    ie. INSTANT PURCHASE FROM ME.

  15. jti says:

    I hate it when something is advertised as turn-based strategy and when you look more closely half of it turns out to be a RTS.

    • Wizardry says:

      Turn-based has lost all meaning. Some people even call real-time with pause turn-based.

    • ankh says:

      You should stop listening to stupid people Wizardry. Also I heard chess is still quite popular.

    • Vinraith says:

      I on the other hand can’t stand it when people call a turn based game that resolves combat in real time an “RTS,” as though real time combat resolution somehow meant the strategy elements of the game were no longer turn based.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      when people call a turn based game that resolves combat in real time an “RTS,”

      Yeah I know, Rainbow Six was definitely an FPS :-P

    • Wizardry says:

      @Vinraith: Turn-based, phase-based, real-time-with-pause, real-time. Phase-based resolution is usually handled purely by the computer but can be substituted with another mode entirely. These terms cover most games.

    • Vinraith says:

      I’m not sure which of those actually fits this game, which (like many) is really a hybrid with real time strategic turns and real time tactical combat resolution. Your overall point, however, that there simply needs to be a broader base of terms in use is entirely correct and was ultimately the point of my comment. A game like this doesn’t fit neatly into either the “TBS” or “RTS” categories, both acronyms are (partly) wrong when applied to it.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Vinraith: Yep. More terms are good, especially when they are still easy to understand.

      I’ve said before that I don’t like using the term “turn-based” for every single game that waits for player input before progressing time. I remember having a discussion about it once or twice in a comment thread. I was ultra fussy about the use of the term “turn-based”, trying to distinguish it from “phase-based”. But I actually like phase-based combat. Wizardry and The Bard’s Tale are phase-based games. Fits perfectly with my definition of what RPGs should be as the resolution doesn’t require twitch player input.

      But there are subtle differences, to inexperienced observers, that make a huge difference in terms of how the game plays. Turn-based combat has advantages over phase-based combat, while phase-based combat has advantages over turn-based combat. Distinguishing between them is important to me and I’m sure it’s important to others too.

  16. Vinraith says:

    Now that’s got potential.

  17. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    Holy hell, that looks cool! It reminds me of the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara books from the Shannara series, which suddenly infused a fairly generic, gets-the-job-done fantasy series with airships and dangerous expeditions and killer AI and all sorts of crazy crap. Hopefully we’ll see some inspiration from Sins of a Solar Empire, which made massive fleet battles quite manageable.

  18. Kefren says:

    Orta!

  19. BobsLawnService says:

    So much gaming related good news between this and serious sam.

    Thank you RPS for bring such tidings of joy. You are like cool little elves.

  20. InternetBatman says:

    It reminds me a little of Bahamut Lagoon. But probably just because of the airships and dragons.

  21. taldira says:

    Why does that dragon looks more badass than the one we play as in DKS?… Damn you Larian! For making us play the inferior version!

    • Saiko Kila says:

      The one in D2:DKS wasn’t that badass at all… I felt it was too vulnerable for a dragon. It was like an oversized wyvern or a basilisk or a rooster. Especially inability to burninate ground mobs was sad, and I really counted on that before upgrade. Also no eating enemies and no beheading, it’s so no-dragoney. I think it was looking more badass that it was actually to compensate for these deficiencies. I know they WANTED to give ability to attack ground based foes, but couldn’t, for some technical reasons probably. I hope they know how to do it now.

    • Wulf says:

      Pfff.

      I took my Dragon Knight direct to the floating island war zone as soon as I got out of the tower.

      This was on the hardest difficulty.

      I was fearless and irrepressible. I was damn near invincible, somehow.

      They stood no hope.

      (I also went up, like, 15 levels.)

  22. Dominic White says:

    I’d just like to point out that the dragon there? The one with giant scalpels on its wing-tips? Yeah.. It has a JETPACK.

    That is awesome on a level unheard of outside of Axe Cop.

    • Wulf says:

      I noticed that too! That had me bouncing in my chair. Omigosh!

      I just hope the dragons are still the good guys in this, or at least a playable faction, because if they are… day one buy.

  23. nimnio says:

    Divinity II Devs Declare Dragon Commander? I’m pleased to hear that Larian Studios is an equal-opportunity employer, but I’d like to know where they posted their job ad – Pern?

  24. Wulf says:

    It looks like the Dragon Knights are still the good guys and will be available units to be used in this. I hope so, anyway. If that’s the case then it pretty much quells the sadness I felt when playing the Dragon Knight Saga, what with me being the last Dragon Knight and all. The ending filled me with so much hope that there would be other Dragon Knights (all it takes is one to spark a revolution) but I had no confirmation.

    This is a confirmation.

    If the dragons are among the selectable units as the side I’m on then… this is a day one purchase for me. Because not only did the Dragon Knight Saga make me fall in love with it and its world, but it deepened my love for dragons overall. It was also nice that it allowed me to skip combat and even do crazy shit like not having to fight things on the ground myself (the pet system was as deep as it was amusing).

    But dragons? Airships? Those incredible visuals? (Those visuals would make Daniel Dociu jealous.)

    This is the stuff wot dreams are made of.

    It looks like I’m about to fall head over heels in love with something else of Larian’s. I crave their imagination, really. Can’t we just… clone them or something? I could really use more of this. I really, really could.

    • Wulf says:

      Why must reply eat line-downs and force new replies? @_@

      Anyway!

      YES. Dragon is playable. WHEEE. I wasn’t absolutely sure even after reading the article, or perhaps I didn’t want to be, but after reading even further into it… yay!

      What the hell is going on? There are games that I want. It’s always scary when this happens because it’s such a rare event.

    • Wulf says:

      Yep, this has gotten me in the same way that Dragon Knight Saga did. I’m really hooked on that trailer. Is it the music, the art, the dragons… I don’t know, but wow that trailer is a feel good thing in really bizarre ways. Very abstract amounts of feel good.

  25. Navagon says:

    DKS was amazing so anything they do next is going to be interesting. To me that looked like fantasy Homeworld which is a good enough starting point already.

    • Wulf says:

      Yup. DKS was one of those games to have an emotional impact on me, so it’s left an imprint upon my mind like few games do, so… looking forward to this. I just hope that they can work the story as masterfully as they did in DKS.

      I believe in you, Larian. You can do it!

  26. ramonkahn says:

    Heresy! Dragons are not to be commanded. And they should not need bother commanding minions like some minor overlord.

    Anyway, I guess, we take, what we get.

    • Wulf says:

      You’ve never seen a dragon command minions? I have, and they’re glorious commanders! Some of the best. Mmhm. There are other dragons than just ye olde ferals, you know? Indeed there are.

      And this dragon here happens to be a commander. I’m certain he’ll command gloriously too. And I will have fun playing as him as he commands. Yes I will.

  27. Wizardry says:

    .

  28. Tuco says:

    So it isn’t actually turn-based. That made me sad.

    • Wulf says:

      You can’t really have something look quite that incredible if it’s turn-based. To be honest I’m hoping it’ll even let you get right in there and control the dragon commander, whilst doing all sorts of proper dragon-y flight manoeuvres.

  29. Amethyst says:

    To those compaining about real time tactics: part of the point for making the game was to get dragon combat right, as they felt they did not in The Dragon Knigh Saga. Getting that right requires real time.