Divinity: Original Sin II Heading To Kickstarter This Month

At Gamescom, I spent some time with Larian and Divinity: Original Sin’s Enhanced Edition [official site]. It’s almost completely redesigned, adding controller support for splitscreen local co-op, containing considerable rewrites and additions, and retooling everything from specific quests to the entire loot system. There’s also full voice acting and a revamped character development system, which should maintain interesting progression right through the end-game.

Pleasing as it is to see improvements to a great game, it’s even more pleasing to hear news of an innovative sequel. Divinity: Original Sin II will be coming to Kickstarter on August 26th and we’ll be taking a close look at the plans next week. From previous conversations with the devs, I reckon the intent is to push the simulation of the world and I’m hugely excited to see what that involves.

If you’re thinking “oh no Kickstarter”, or some variant of that same thought, I understand. There’s a reason we pinned a Best Kickstarter medal onto Larian’s chest last year. While the Enhanced Edition is a welcome treat (and free to owners of the original), Original Sin was a game made by a studio that understood its own strengths and limitations. The Kickstarter campaign gave them community feedback and a keen awareness of what to deliver and when. The visibility of the funding and development asserted control, preventing feature-creep or the distracting and eventually overwhelming implementation of One Great Idea.

That’s important because Larian is a studio bursting with great ideas. Original Sin had plenty but the sequel, built on a solid foundation, can carry even more. The website for the sequel wasn’t live at the time of writing but should be now – on it, “fans can now suggest which rewards they would like to see offered during the Kickstarter campaign by voting and offering feedback”. That campaign launches on August 26th and we should have a big stack of details about the game to share right around then. If you’re heading PAX Prime you’ll be able to see a prototype for yourself – Larian will be at Booth #6011.

Larian’s leader Swen Vincke has already taken to his personal blog to address the issue of Kickstarting a sequel to a profitable game.

I’m hopeful though — there’s a small scene in D:OS 2, right at the beginning of the demo that we’ll be showing to press and players at Pax Prime. It’s a small detail, but every time I see it, my heart starts beating faster because of the enormous implications it has for the entire game. It was when I saw this that I felt sure about taking it to Kickstarter. I think other RPG players will recognize what it means for the game and their hearts will start beating faster also.

And I think they’ll want us to put as much of it as we possibly can in the game. We have the budget to do cool stuff already, but what we’ll be doing is something we can really take very far. How far will depend on how our Kickstarter campaign fares. Perhaps we’ll even be able to do very cool stuff – all the money we’ll hopefully raise with Kickstarter will be put on top of what we’re investing already to make the game better. The same scenario essentially as with the original D:OS.

I’ll ask about all of this and more next week.

58 Comments

  1. talecrafter says:

    The website is online now, but have the wrong format for the link.

  2. Incanus says:

    The link to the sequel website embedded in the article doesn’t work. Here it is:

    link to divinityoriginalsin2.com

  3. Jokerme says:

    So you’re telling me first one didn’t make enough to produce the second one? That game was on top of Steam charts for months at full price. This is ridiculous.

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      Added a link to a brand new post from Larian addressing that. And I’ll be asking them about it next week as well.

      • Jokerme says:

        Thank you.

        To be honest, I’m note even sure why it’s bothering me. If I were in their place, I’d do the same probably. There are many people in this world ready to pour unreasonable amounts of money to hype. It’s only fitting to take that money, I guess.

        Probably I’m just jealous, because I’m penniless.

        • Danarchist says:

          It’s actually a kind of “Shut up and take my money!” moment for me. Between this and Pillars of Eternity it has been a damn good couple years for us RPG nerds. If people keep making such great games for me I hope they get rich as hell and waste all the money on cocaine and luvin in between games!

    • Freud says:

      Just view it as a pre-purchase system that you are free to not use if you don’t want to. Larian were one of the companies that actually used the Kickstarter process to make a better game, so I don’t have a problem with them using it again.

    • suibhne says:

      I appreciated HBS’s approach to this with Hong Kong. They clarified that they’re self-funding the core development and that the game would happen regardless of Kickstarter, but they took to KS for a bunch of additional functionality/enhancements.

      • Jokerme says:

        So they say. I hear nothing more than “give us free money”.

        • Nereus says:

          It’s more like “give us money in good faith in exchange for a slightly cheaper copy of the game that was originally going to be released and lessen our reliance on 3rd party funds that come with stipulations like control over the IP or share of profit made from the next game (which would limit potential to pay for development in subsequent games)”

          Not free money at all. It’s like a pre-order system where the money is more likely to be used on polishing the game. For developers with a dodgy track record, yeah perhaps it is free money, but Larian are one of the better studios and if we can keep them from being bought by EA or Ubisoft with our support then the gaming industry is better for it.

          • Jokerme says:

            This is not about the lower tier purchases. Yeah, they help, but what I’m focusing is 50$+ tiers. For example why would someone pay 1000$ for a game and a few trinkets? This is not charity anymore, they have shit load of money. Give them a reason to be afraid of failure at least. If they already make all the money they want even before making the game itself why should they try to aim for something better?

            Additionally I resent pre-orders with a passion. It is the most unreasonable (to say the least, and be polite) thing one can do.

        • Rosveen says:

          What “free” money? I paid $15 for a copy of the game. That’s dirt cheap for the excellent entertainment their previous games offered me – and cheaper than buying it on release day. In addition, my pre-purchase helped HBS enhance the core game. It’s a win-win situation.

    • Blain says:

      And worse than that, Jokerme, they’ve never discounted the game enough to bring in the Steam bargain hunters. They’d rather turn to crowdfunding than even finish marketing the first game.

      • Tiax says:

        How dare they !

        • hennedo says:

          Truly horrible. You certainly won’t see me falling for the old “this funding model produced a wonderful game so let’s try it again” tomfoolery!

      • Nereus says:

        I have a proposition for you. Release a game, start selling it for $5. Then, after months of $5 sales, begin working on a completely free overhaul of the game that includes support for other OS’s, a release on other platforms, and a fully voiced cast as well as new quests and the like.

        Then, as you remember that you crippled the value of your game before putting in all that work, suddenly start googling bankrupcy laws in your area. When finished, softly weep into your pillow at your poor marketing skills.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Good.

  4. Marcus says:

    I remember they said their next game wouldn’t need Kickstarter to be made….
    But I’m OK with it

  5. montorsi says:

    How times change. Used to be, I’d hear people grumble about lack of controller support and I’d scoff at using a controller for a PC RPG. Now I hear controller support and I’m like SIGN ME UP YESTERDAY.

    • geisler says:

      The difference is that it used to spell an awful reduction of complexity and challenge to cater to those controls, and a lot of games still can’t really be converted to work on a controller, ever.

      What we here though is a game that was conceptualized for PC, and it’s features didn’t get dumbed down to fit a narrow control sceme. Here instead systems are kept and the control sceme is developed around it. Never thought i would see the game i would see a turn based RPG on consoles though, but judging from the footage, it looks like it will play great. I’ll stick stick to PC and mouse & keyboard though, thanks.

      • geisler says:

        A lot of things went wrong in that post (writing too fast), still, it’s comprehensible :p.

  6. Dale Winton says:

    They can’t just make the same game from 1995 again hope they try something different

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Larian Studios was founded 1996 and made the first Divinity game 2002, so I don’t know what you mean with “the same game from 1995 again”. Are you implying that it felt old-school enough to have been from 1995?

    • Xzi says:

      Man, those 1995 graphics were pretty crazy advanced. Derp.

  7. waltC says:

    I am a big fan of Larian and their games–and I think D:OS is a masterpiece. But, this has me a bit non-plussed…I wouldn’t think the September time frame would be optimal for a new kickstarter–October, otoh–would be better as most college students are settled into their classes by then; but more than that, I think that pushing a new KS before getting the EE of D:OS out of the door is a bit much. A new kickstarter announcing a sequel game should not happen until the first game is complete, imo. The timing may cost them.

    • Kentauroi says:

      The first game WAS complete, it came out of early access over a year ago and even won a few awards at the end of the year. The EE is more like an expansion or a huge patch with tons of content, and is being released for free to anyone who owns the original (plus console support obviously).

      Going to kickstarter for a second time after already having a big success being a ‘problem’ is something I don’t agree with, but I can understand the thinking behind it. I can’t say the same thing about D:OS pre-EE not being a finished game. It’d be like saying Persona 4 wasn’t a finished game because Persona 4 Golden had more content.

    • FCA says:

      I don’t think they’re aiming for college students. Besides, academic years have their start between end of August and the second half of October (and that’s just my own experience), they’d have to start in November, which makes it uncomfortably close to the Thanksgiving/Christmas/End of year sales bonanza.

  8. DrMcCoy says:

    Me, I’m still waiting on the promised GNU/Linux version from their first Kickstarter campaign…

  9. Volcanu says:

    I was a bit surprised as to how much more succesful D:OS seems to have been, than Pillars of Eternity.

    That’s not me bashing D:OS in any way (not least because I havent played it yet), more genuine surprise given that it seems to have sold well over twice the amount that Pillars has. Clearly its been out a bit longer but even so, given the Baldurs Gate lineage of Pillars I sort of expected it to be the bigger success.

    • Zenicetus says:

      PoE is much more text-heavy than D:OS, which might be a factor. The RPG audience that enjoys reading that much, might be smaller than the one that enjoys a more streamlined RPG like D:OS.

      Although, I don’t know how much that influences sales figures, since you can’t appreciate the difference in both games without actually buying it and playing it. Maybe it’s just the advantage D:OS had in being first out of the gate.

      FWIW, I finished PoE and enjoyed it, only got halfway through D:OS before getting tired of the writing and repetitive combat. I’ll give it another shot after the enhanced edition comes out.

    • Rizlar says:

      Played both and thought they were great. However D:OS was so much more exciting and interesting, it’s full of life and fizzing with ideas, I love it.

      When the kickstarter is up I will be throwing money at it.

    • anHorse says:

      D:OS actually built upon a decades old combat system, PoE just replicated it.

      • Zenicetus says:

        I’ll give D:OS full credit for coming up with an interesting take on elemental magic and using the environment during combat. It was the most fun part of the game for me, although it did gimp melee party builds too much, I think.

        I don’t think it’s accurate to say PoE just replicated D&D combat from the early days. They came up with a new engagement mechanic, changed stealth to a timer-based skill, and added firearms as a stock feature. Not all of that worked to full potential, but at least many of these ideas were fresh takes on the classic isometric fantasy RPG.

    • Borsook says:

      Baldur’s Gate was a compromise due to the time when it was made, real time combat was not an advantage and Pillars wanting to follow BG repeated also its mistakes. DOS on the other hand threw that out of the window and gave us the best turned based system in years. I am in no way suprised at its success.

  10. Freud says:

    Good news. I have a soft spot for Larian. I even loved Divinity 2 and Original Sin was superb even though some of the game systems were hard to figure out first time around. I plan to replay the game when the Enhanced Edition is launched, knowing how the game works.

  11. mxmissile says:

    I dont get this crap… begging for $$$ on Kickstarter for a second game? Just use the money you made off the first game?

    • Jeremy says:

      Keep in mind that choosing to give money also nets you a copy of the game, sometimes even at a lower price than you would find it post-release. It’s an elaborate form of pre-ordering, and a way to help determine the direction of the game, not just a money grab. As with all things, the choice is up to the consumer, and I would put good money on this being another successful Kickstarter.

  12. arioch says:

    I would back this even if they were proposing a tangerine as the main character and warm floppy blocks of cheese for weapons.

    I actually almost yelped with joy when I read the title announcing a sequel to my favorite game released for years.

  13. slerbal says:

    Seems like they delivered on their Kickstarter promises (aside from the Linux version so far), so seems fair enough. I will consider picking it up on release because I’m not in a position where I can take a punt on Kickstarters, but I wish them well.

    Running a game development studio is really hard (I remember it all too well), so offsetting some of the development costs with Kickstarter sounds like a good idea, especially given their track record. Should allow them to proceed with more confidence, and that is likely to help them make a better sequel. If people don’t like it they don’t have to back the Kickstarter.

    I wish them good luck :)

  14. Premium User Badge

    Styxie says:

    It’s great to see that Larian has finally found their stride and that they’ll be sticking with the Divinity engine. I was a bit concerned after Original Sin’s success when Swen mentioned that they could now make “the RPG they’d always dreamed of making”, which to me sounded like Divinity 2 all over again…

    I was kind of hoping for an expansion or two rather than getting a full sequel so soon, but I suppose the enhanced edition took precedent, which is probably better because it means more people will get to play the game over in console land before the second game hits.

  15. Sian says:

    This is wonderful news. Backing the first game was a good decision on my part, I think.

    A slight downer in that it reminded me of Kirill Pokrovsky’s passing – I do hope they find a composer who’ll fill his boots.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    Div Div is one of my all-time favourites, and D:OS was (for me) near-perfect. My money’s a foregone conclusion here.

  17. grover says:

    60 hours into the first one at the moment and it’s absolutely brilliant. Don’t really understand turning to Kickstarted again but if the sequel is half as good as the first one it will definitely be worth dropping £40 on. One of the best RPGs ever, imo.

  18. grover says:

    As a weird aside has anyone else made a substantial Kickstarter pledge to a game and then not bothered playing it? I’m totally engrossed in Original Sin at the moment, a game I didn’t back at Kickstarter. I DID however back Pillars of Eternity at £50 and haven’t even touched that game. I’m not good with money : /

    • FCA says:

      Yep, backed Wasteland 2, PoE, D:OS, and dabbled in all of them, but then went on to play a lot of the Witcher 3. It didn’t help that I moved between continents around the time that Wasteland 2 and D:OS came out and was without a decent computer for a while :/

    • Premium User Badge

      Andy_Panthro says:

      I backed loads of games and have only worked my way through a few of them. Haven’t touched D:OS, Wasteland 2 yet, and only played a the first few hours of Pillars.

      Part of that is because I bought Darkest Dungeon, The Swindle, and Dark Souls, when I should really have been playing games I’d already paid for.

  19. Lars Westergren says:

    Multiple big Kickstarter campaigns seem to be possible for some studios at least – inXile, Hairbrained, and now Larian (I have zero doubt they will make it).

    Double Fine is uncertain. I loved Broken Age part 1 (haven’t had time to start on 2), and Massive Chalice looks great from what I’ve seen. But not all have loved those titles.

    I think Obsidian have enough goodwill (despite some very vocal detractors) to do one, but perhaps they already have enough to occupy themselves with, or they are really polishing their pitch. If they do another I hope they go a little wilder next time, less “we must check all these boxes for fans of Baldur’s Gate, D&D and traditional fantasy”.

  20. Joe The Wizard says:

    Day 1 pledge for me. I would have called the game “Divinity: Second Sin” though.

  21. JiminyJickers says:

    At first I was a bit miffed, I thought I read somewhere that they said that they made enough money of the first one to be able to self fund future titles. But, I remembered they are releasing an enhanced edition of D:OS 1 for free for previous owners, and that they made such a good fun game and fully delivered.

    I’ll definitely back them, they have earned my trust.