Breath From Above: Dragon Commander

By Adam Smith on June 13th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Dragons wearing jetpacks are far from the strangest thing in Divinity: Dragon Commander. The politically charged fantasy world is a carnival of the unexpected. Take the undead – far from being clattering bags of bones with nothing to say for themselves, they include among their ranks a tragicomic princess and her fearsome fundamentalist father. It’s easy, as I did, to become distracted by the game’s abundance of character, but strategic planning and rapid-fire reactions are necessary to succeed once battle begins. The game finally has a release date – August 6th – and the video below shows various members of Larian preparing to apply the final touches.

Are you ready to unleash the scales of justice?

Via PC Gamer.

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44 Comments »

  1. Ian says:

    This looks ace, I just wish it was out already. This wait is really dragon on.

    • RedViv says:

      At least they took their time and didn’t rush it, so ryu need not worry about the quality suffering here.

    • WarderDragon says:

      I’ve wanted this since I hoard it wasn’t just an action title, but that there was also lair upon lair of strategy involved.

      • El Spidro says:

        Yeah, that was the tip in the scales for me as well.

        • Takeda says:

          I have to say i’m roaring in pleasure every time the send a breath taking trailer our way.

  2. Soulstrider says:

    Cautiously optimistic about this game, it’s so whacky I really want it to be good.

  3. pakoito says:

    Quick reminder: battles can be autoresolved. Dragons can be RTS-like or more Panzer Dragoon shooty shooty. It features great writing with themes like abortion, homosexuality and freedom of speech coded into a fantasy world where every race is a reperesentation of a #real_world political movement.

    Awesome soundtracks by ace composer Kirill Pokrovsky. Do yourselves a favor and watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dStHe6h_Xg It’s from the last day of their KS campaign for Original Sin, which is also coming up this year (probable delay I’m hinting) and looks and plays ACE.

    • pakoito says:

      Also, a plausible cause of the delay: tweaking up the AI so the journos can win/lose

      >To make it concrete, the issue at hand has to do with the difficulty, pacing and tempo of the RTS part of Dragon Commander. Several journalists think it’s too fast and too hard. That would be a simple enough thing to solve if it weren’t for that other group who thinks it’s too easy. Go figure. [...] So, chances are that we’ll do at least something with the feedback we received, though I don’t know what shape it’ll take yet. The funny thing is that if we go the route of taking on the extra work.

      http://www.lar.net/2013/06/03/to-listen-or-not-to-listen/

      • KDR_11k says:

        Difficulty levels?

        • pakoito says:

          >Unfortunately it’s not something we can easily fix by introducing a gamespeed slider or balancing multiplier, so we’re either going have to make a real choice for who our primary audience is or introduce completely different sets of balancing data from which players can choose. [...] Personally, I’m no big fan of things like difficulty and gamespeed sliders and I certainly don’t want to have to put a slider on easy when playing myself. If I have to do that, I consider it bad balancing on part of the developer. It’s up to the developer to ensure that my play experience is a perfect fit. But of course I also want it to be challenging, and I want the game to be challenging without me having to put the slider on nightmare levels.

          • Takeda says:

            Isn’t that kind of an ego problem rather than the games fault? I mean I like a game beeing challenging but most of the time i’m first gonna finish it on easy or normal for the story(well if it has any) and than go on the higher difficulties if i liked the gameplay and i want to challenge myself.

          • malkav11 says:

            That’s some really strange logic. Yes, it’s nice to have the difficulty be a perfect fit. But that’s why multiple difficulty levels, speed sliders, and so on exist – to accomodate the range of skill levels and patience in players. And what’s wrong with cranking things up to “nightmare” or whatever if that’s the level that provides the challenge you’re looking for?

    • omicron1 says:

      I swear, if they’ve made the conservatives the bad guys again (or lower on the morality scale than others) I will go crazy and start throwing things.

      • Kotep says:

        From what I understand, there’s no morality to compare it to beyond what each of the various characters believe in. It’s more like a faction system than any sort of karma/morality system. If you choose to keep gay marriage illegal it’ll piss off the libertarian lizards and make the religious-conservative undead happy but there’s not going to be anything external to the game world telling you you’re bad for doing it.

      • malkav11 says:

        Why? They’re just being historically accurate.

        (I kid, I kid.)

  4. colossalstrikepackage says:

    Is it … Sexist? Tom Francis’ preview was scathing.

    • Harlander says:

      “Yes! It’s a game for boys… it’s not really for girls.” – Larian CEO Swen Vincke

      Hmm. Is being so upfront about it.. better? I doubt it.

    • Jack_Dandy says:

      “Oh no! People on the internet will be OFFENDED!”

      Grow up already, geez.

    • RedViv says:

      It’s just a game in which you are playing the role of a male prince that has to marry a lady. Given what has been made clear about the political stances involved, I don’t think that they are meaning any ill by making it this rather straight-forward political marriage set-up, probably even going to lampshade this a lot.

      The quote is rather awkward though. Am I not allowed to like this game, or topless ladies? Really.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Some people will react negatively to it and I can understand why. To me, the cheesecake fantasy art was intentional cliche and intentionally as daft as the stereotyping of the different cultures/races. I’m not sure if Swen has made that statement several times but he said it while I was in the room and I asked him about it later and he admitted it was kinda dumb.

      He also said they’d wanted to add a set of princes to go with the princesses, so players could choose their character’s gender and sexuality. The reason that’s not in is lack of resources and time – there’s a LOT of dialogue for each character. I reckon it would have been better to have a mix already, but the intent was there, eventually.

      It’s an odd thing because while the artwork is sometimes cringeworthy, the political/personal decisions actually confront issues of gender and social identity head on. Not particularly subtly, from what I’ve seen, but with a directness that’s uncommon.

      • RedViv says:

        Ah. So it really was just a short outbreak of foot-in-mouth.

      • Jack_Dandy says:

        Do you honestly find fanservice\sexy pictures “cringeworthy”?

        • Adam Smith says:

          Yeah. On the whole.

        • WarderDragon says:

          Sexy pictures aren’t cringeworthy in themselves. Fanservice, though, definitely. If nothing else, there’s this underlying implication in hypersexualized fanservice that gamers are all guys who let their genetalia do their thinking – and purchasing of games – for them. I’d like to believe the game industry has moved past that rather juvenile stage, but I often get reminded that it really hasn’t.

          • RedViv says:

            Indeed. If only the barest definition of sexy fan service applies, if The Sexy is only there to titillate and not for a good reason, then you might have to think a bit harder on what this says about the creators, their talents, and how they see their audience.
            Just look at the difference between the Titty Trading Cards in The Witcher, and the avoidable and not constantly-round-the-corner romantics of The Witcher 2. Vast improvement, I think.

          • strangeloup says:

            I’ve been feeling a bit weird around that issue with some JRPG’s (mostly Gust/Compile Heart stuff) I’ve been playing on my recently-acquired PS3. There is quite a bit of fanservice in several of them, and characters with conspicuously large chests.

            On the one hand, it’s not done in a particularly lewd way, and more often than not it’s played for laughs, as in any number of anime shows; it’s kind of a trope, I guess. On the other, I could easily see it being interpreted by someone unfamiliar with the genre as rather sleazy. I dunno, I think it’s a bit unnecessary.

      • Aperger94 says:

        Dude you can marry a skeleton, what’s not to like?

      • colossalstrikepackage says:

        Adam, I really wish Larian weren’t systematically like this, but here’s a quote from Swen’s blog on the topic. I think he’s missed the point completely, and chosen the entirely wrong topic to take on censorship.

        “It also doesn’t help that our lead animator decided that on this particular game he was going to show the world what he thinks of censorship. He made the most obvious sexist camera shot ever for the introduction of the dwarven princess to the dragon knight, and then queried me whether I thought it was over the top, and whether or not such an expression of artistic freedom belonged in a game. As I was debating the issue openly I somehow managed to get half Larian around me, who vigorously let me know that censorship is a thing of the devil and what they thought about their right to aim a camera at a dwarven princess’ breasts.”

        For the glorious full blog post, here’s the link:

        http://www.lar.net/2013/02/28/self-censorship/

        It would be really cool if a journalist could take them up on this in the context of #1reason. I think they missed the memo…and frankly the definition of censorship.

        • Kotep says:

          I don’t remember where, but I remember Swen going into more detail about how it’s a part of a joke concerning what people expect out of dwarf women. (I’m guessing the idea is the stereotype is that they look like beardless men but the dwarf princess is conventionally attractive.) I don’t see why you say that it’s not a decision about censorship though–the writers/animators came up with a joke, Swen decided whether or not the joke would be allowed in the final game. He could have censored the shot, but didn’t. Unless I’m missing something about the definition of self-censorship?

          • colossalstrikepackage says:

            It’s really censorship if it’s rampant in the rest of the industry, was what I was trying to say. :)

            Off the top of my head, this Alec post comes to mind:
            http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/04/09/starcraft-2-buttocks/

            Butts and boobs? Censorship my ass (yup, that was fully intended).

            I’m sure we’re not too far away from going whole hog and just discarding clothes (for our pretty female targets, mind you) altogether.

            Does Swen wanna show some balls? Then he should make his heroic team show some balls. But somehow I don’t think ‘self censorship’ would go that far. Just rank hypocrisy.

            Whew – that felt good to get off my chest!

    • Teovald says:

      Hard to say without playing it (I have not read that preview yet, I try to keep away from these since I preordered the game by pledging for Original Sin) but theoretically you can depict a sexist world without having to be sexist. Especially if you depict it in a critical way.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      It’s supposed to mirror the real world to a large degree. The real world sadly is sexist. So in that case, I’d call that mission accomplished. Just because it’s fantasy doesn’t mean it’s the usual escapist how-the-world-should-be fantasy.

    • chargen says:

      I just googled and read “Tom Francis”‘s preview and it and it was glowingly positive. Are you ok?

      • colossalstrikepackage says:

        Maybe we are reading different articles. Here is the link and quote for reference (also via Google):

        “If you choose the undead bride, one of the options in her storyline is to transform her into a human. “A half-naked human, I notice!” I say to Larian CEO Swen Vincke, looking at some concept art of her topless human form. Swen agrees.

        “Yes! It’s a game for boys… it’s not really for girls.””

        “The game doesn’t force you down any of these paths, of course, but their presence gave the story side of Dragon Commander a seedy feel that made it harder for me to engage with. A sense not just that it’s for boys, but that it’s for a particular kind of boy.”

        http://www.pcgamer.com/previews/divinity-dragon-commander-feature/2/

        Page 1 is positive about mechanics, but Page 2 goes into the more troubling aspects – the portrayal of female characters.

  5. Jack_Dandy says:

    Damn! Can’t wait for it. Hope the extra polish time will do it well.

  6. Lev Astov says:

    They need to make more games where you can play as a dragon. Especially since they prominently filmed their Oculus Rift developer’s kit. How awesome would and Oculus-based dragon game be? Very.

  7. vivlo says:

    i’ve rarely ever seen a videogame making-of that is giving so much envy to actually play teh game. Or maybe i don’t watch enough of them ?