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.