Divinity: Original Sin 2’s Definitive changes are enormous

This is one of the changes. As you can see; enormous.

Not content with blowing everyone’s socks off last year with Divinity: Original Sin 2 (see Adam’s rightfully gushing review here), Larian Studios are putting in some serious man-hours on improving it for the upcoming Definitive Edition re-launch. This isn’t just a little bit of spit n’ polish work, but a major rewrite of large chunks of the game, an across-the-board rebalance, and even some brand new things to see making a return to Rivellon at the end of August all the more tempting. Today they detailed most of the big changes in this Kickstarter update and the video within.

The biggest changes to the game are coming in its fourth and final act; the City of Arx, with the endgame section and epilogue having seen probably the most comprehensive changes. It’s undergone a major rewrite (and re-record of spoken dialogue) to flesh out motivations, and the Tag system’s usage has been ramped up so that you can make more character-appropriate decisions during the final stretch. They’ve also restructured it somewhat, improving some old fights and adding some entirely new battles, including a proper boss fight against the Kraken, as seen up top.

It’s not just the ending of the game that’s getting an overhaul. To ease new folks into the (admittedly very complex) web of systems that make up Original Sin 2, the tutorial-filled ship you start on has gained a whole new deck to explore, full of new characters to interact with and lessons to learn before you’re unceremoniously dumped onto the shores of Fort Joy. The frequently-criticised quest journal has also been overhauled and heavily rewritten, giving you a much better idea of where you are and what you’re meant to be doing.

There is one chunk of entirely new content on its way, coming as a bit of free DLC for existing owners, and those who pre-order it on consoles. Sir Lora the Squirrel Knight is a new NPC who wants to recruit you to his cause, although you’ll need the Pet Pal perk to communicate with him. He’s on a grand (and potentially very silly) quest to save the world from the coming of the Great Acorn. While he sadly doesn’t engage in combat (he’s a squirrel), he does keep pace atop his skeletal cat steed. Here’s hoping he’ll be usable in GM mode.

Divinity: Original Sin 2

On the aesthetic front, while the game won’t be getting any prettier (it was nice enough to look at already), squeezing the game down onto consoles has led to a lot of optimisation tweaking and tuning, meaning that hitting 60fps or higher on PC is going to be easier than ever. While visuals are staying the same, the soundtrack is getting some extra love, with each of the pre-made main characters having their own personal theme that evolves over the course of the game, and can be heard in a few key locations.

The Definitive Edition is far from Larian’s only project now. The company now runs four whole studios around the world (including one in Ireland that swallowed up Adam), and the company is hiring for multiple game projects that have yet to be formally announced. Considering their track record so far, and the fact that Adam is now among their writing crew, I cannot wait to see what they have next. Maybe I’ll have finished playing through the Definitive Edition by then.

Divinity 2: Definitive Edition will be launching on August 31st, and will be a free update for anyone with the original version, along with the Squirrel Knight DLC. You can see a full summary of the coming changes here.

17 Comments

  1. Zenicetus says:

    Obligatory question for anyone who knows: Will the new update be savegame compatibile?

    I have a co-op save where we stalled out, most of the way through Reaper’s Coast, and we want to continue at some point. I don’t think we’d have the stamina or free time to start a new game from scratch. It’s a very long (but very good) game.

    • Madcat_Zam says:

      If it’s like how they did the first game’s enhanced edition then it’ll be a completely different game that you get for free. You could still play your save if you have the original version installed. Think of it like the Skyrim Special Edition.

      • welverin says:

        They said in the iodate that you’ll still have access to the original game and can chose which one to install.

        That combined with the extent of the changes and I just don’t see how saves would be compatible.

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      I’m in a similar position to you although in a solo game. I’m in act III and have put in over 100 hours to get that far. I really don’t want to have to start again :( It’s good but it’s not repeating in excess of 100 hours good.

  2. Someoldguy says:

    Sounds most excellent, dude.

  3. tsff22 says:

    Hopefully they also remove the achievement restriction for using mods. You know, that restriction that they did NOT have in the first game and had NO reason to put in this one?

  4. malkav11 says:

    Well, I guess I might as well uninstall Divinity Original Sin II now. There’s no way I’d get through it before they drop the Enhanced Edition anyway, and as mentioned above, with the original game the Enhanced Edition was a separate install with separate saves. May as well wait for the improvements.

    • Sly-Lupin says:

      Pretty much. While these kinds of enhanced editions are great for new players, they kinda suck for folks who already have the game and don’t possess infinite time to play it.

  5. racccoon says:

    Well I suppose its a bonus.

  6. Calculon says:

    I must be one of the few people who did not like this game.

    I found the combat too…neutered/bland/grindy and long/boring. NPC’s were far too strong in many cases leading to having to retry the same fights over and over until I got the combination just right. That got tiring quickly.

    And then of course there was the running around trying to find just the right “lever” to advance the story and/or get the companion to join my party – which also felt grindy.

    Mayhaps – either I’m a little too old to enjoy these types of games (I found Pillars similar but the story more enjoyable/compelling) any longer – or just not enough time to invest in them.

    • Luminomancer says:

      about the combat in the starting act it is kinda true, I felt pretty frustrated when I died of powerful NPCs but mid to late game feel much more natural, sometimes even make you feel OP.
      I personally on the other hand didnt have much problem with the story progression, also again imo pillars is more balanced in the story having rather enjoyable story from start to finish, but Divinity Original Sin 2 had an increasing feel to it, it started out pretty normal, with not that much cool stuff but by the time you reach the main Island it has some of the best side quests and some great Characters and main story.

      • Calculon says:

        I didn’t see this reply until now (much later – re-reading this article for some possible reasons to try again) – you’ve given me some motivation to give it another try and stick it out a little longer to see if it gets better. I’ll prpban wait until Thr August update however

  7. Sly-Lupin says:

    Swen has been teasing Larian’s Next big project for about four years now. Apparently it’s even more ambitious than DOS2 (the man is on an impossible quest to build “the one CRPG to rule them all” — his words) so I wouldn’t expect to hear any announcements any time soon. From what he’s said already, the big RPG is *not* a Divinity game but a new IP, and may well be a licensed IP—something he was very excited about gettin, so something recognizable probably?

    I didn’t realize Larian had expanded quite that much, though. With four studios it might make sense for them to work on multiple games simultaneously, which might mean a second, smaller/simpler game could also be in the works. A DOS3 or DOS2 expansion? A proper Dragon Commander sequel or update?

  8. Carra says:

    I loved the game and finished it in about 100 hours. So yeah, not gonna replay it any time soon.

    What I wish for if I would replay it? A better difficulty balance. The first chapter was tough as nails. The second act was OK. The third act was easy. And then the fourth act had some very difficult end bosses.

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