Chris Avellone is going to be a writer on Divinity 2: Original Sin [official site]. His involvement was confirmed at the 11th hour of Larian Studio’s already successful Kickstarter project – though not as a stretch goal, for once.
RPS Feature The Death Of The Party
Divinity: Original Sin 2 [official site] has just landed on Kickstarter but we’ve already played an early build. It’s an ambitious sequel, supporting up to four players who will now be able to compete as their objectives overlap and diverge. As well as bringing about the life and death of the party, Original Sin 2 brilliantly overhauls its predecessor’s turn-based combat and introduces multiple playable races and an origin system that defines each character’s evolving place in the world.
Bold and inventive, it adds complex layers of overlapping narrative consequences to Original Sin’s world of interlocking systems. This is how it works.
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.
RPS Feature Better than the original
Divinity Original Sin [official site] is one of the finest and most distinctive RPGs of recent years. That’s quite an accomplishment given the level of competition that exists at what is hopefully the dawn of a renaissance for the genre. When Larian told us that an Enhanced Edition of the game was coming later this year we spoke to Larian’s founder, Swen Vincke, to learn more about what exactly this massive overhaul entails.
Free to people who own the original release but also releasing as a new game on console, PC and Mac alike, it contains much more than visual polish. Quests have been rewritten, new side stories have been added, splitscreen co-op and controller support are in, and full voice acting has been recorded. We discuss all of that, as well as some of the smaller changes, along with some hints as to what’s next for Larian.
RPS Feature Divine
In a year when the genre seemed to be in the ascendant once again, Divinity: Original Sin is the most playful and experimental RPG in a strong field. Taking its cues from the intricately interactive world of Ultima VII as much as previous Divinity titles, Original Sin is one of the year’s finest games.
Adam: Partly crowdfunded, wholly crowdpleasing.
Divinity: Original Sin is at the very top of my “ooo, RPGs” teetering stack, making it actually significantly more difficult to reach than if it were in the middle somewhere. It’s nice, then, that while waiting for me personally to get around to it, Larian Studios keep updating their Kickstarter-funded hit. The latest update comes along with some free DLC that adds two new companions. They are Bairdotr (pronounced “Bear Daughter,” awesomely), a ranger who is seeking the druid that raised her, and Wolgraff, a mute rogue who’s been stealing from a wishing well. Also updated are the systems for listening to the conversations being had by your co-op partner and a number of minor fixes, which are listed over on Steam. Update video below.
A nice bit of conflict always livens up a party–an argument here, a thrown punch there, an explosive cloud of poison out in the garden. As promised, Larian have added more AI personality profiles to Divinity: Original Sin so you can stoke friendships and flare-ups if you fancy. This was planned for launch but, er, they ran out of time while it was in Early Access. The first patch arrived yesterday, bringing AI personalities along with oodles of bug fixes and balance tweaks and other patchy stuff.
RPS Feature Divine operating systems
Some RPGs are built around systems and some are built around scripts. Divinity: Original Sin is an example of the former and its one of the finest I’ve ever seen. Oops. Gave away the ending. Larian’s lates is a single or two-player cooperative RPG with turn-based combat, crafting and an enormous world full of objects to interact with and NPCs to converse with or kill. No knowledge of previous Divinity games is required but an appreciation of the older school of roleplaying may help you to acquire this particular taste.
It’s a sprawling game, responsible for some of the most interesting experiences I’ve had in all my years of gaming. I could write about it for weeks but I’ve limited myself to a single feature. For now. It’s broken up into three parts, all of which are below.
Divinity: Original Sin may not be officially launching until next Monday but, as it’s been on Steam Early Access since January, fans will already have a fair idea of what they’d like more of in the RPG and what they’d like changed. They’ll get to make a start on that this week, as developers Larian today announced they’ll release the turn-based RPG’s editor this Thursday.
What do we think fans get their hands dirty with first? Nude skins? Rebalancing? Jokes we still enjoy but feel nervous cracking because they might be wearing thin? Larian have beat everyone to the punch with that last one, as the sample mod they’re including with the editor is Cow Simulator 2014.
Divinity: Original Sin may not have the big name backing of, say, Pillars of Eternity or Wasteland 2, but the gorgeous-looking chip off Ultima VII’s block has impressed us time and time again. Rare is the role-player that offers this degree of choice and reactivity, not to mention a world of spontaneous, non-scripted orc wars and clairvoyant cattle. Larian’s spent years (and nearly $1 million in Kickstarter money) putting all the pieces in place, and now it wants you to knock them all down like a particularly careless Godzilla. Divinity will be out in June, but you can try the Early Access version – which just received a lumbering ogre spider of an update – right now.
RPS Feature The Divinitive Interview
Divinity: Original Sin is looking positively divine. Honestly, in the sheer heat of the moment, I might be more excited about it than Pillars of Eternity or Wasteland 2. I already spoke at length with Larian head Swen Vincke during a massive video play session, but that wasn’t enough. Afterward, we chatted about everything from the studio’s rocky, too-close-to-closure-for-comfort history to the possibility of using Divinity’s engine on a non-fantasy RPG to the chances that Larian goes back to Kickstarter. On top of all that, Vincke told me why having gender parity (one male, one female) on his writing team turned out to be the “best decision ever.”
Vincke’s admirably frank answers to roughly a million questions are below.
RPS Feature Ultima VII-2
In a year potentially chock full of amazing classic-style RPGs (Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity, the beginnings of Torment, etc), it’s easy to overlook Divinity: Original Sin. That, however, would be a tremendous mistake given that the Ultima-VII-inspired Kickstarter darling looks to have depth and personality in spades.
I corralled Larian in my very own (adoptive) hometown of San Francisco, and we played the opus-in-the-making’s latest build. I had to pre-record this one sans a camera, unfortunately, but Larian head Swen Vincke showed me nearly two hours of late-game (read: not in the alpha) gameplay and discussed how players can kill every NPC and still progress, non-violent approaches, how Larian *wants* us to break its systems, how it plans to avoid another disastrous Divinity II: Ego Draconis-style launch (despite some rather pressing bugs in the current version), comedy in a normally self-serious genre, talking to animals, and gobs more. This one is now near the top of my most-anticipated list. Tune in below.
It’s taken an enormous amount of willpower to resist the charms of Divinity: Original Sin since the Early Access version arrived on Steam. It’s not that I’m worried about playing parts of the game before it’s complete – I’ve already spent two days in its company – it’s that I’m in need of an RPG partner. Far too many of my friends are either unnerved by the idea of traipsing through a fantasy world with me while I talk to dogs, cats and cows, or they’re digging their heels in and waiting for the full game to be released. A new video shows some of the environments due when that happy event occurs, sometime in Spring. There are also weather effects. Around thirty seconds in, a big ol’ monster slips on some ice and falls on its arse.
We’ve been eagerly watching (and, on some occasions, playing) Divinity: Original Sin ever since it launched a turn-based assault on Kickstarter, growing its already grandiose vision of a classic RPG world into one worthy of having its praises sung. Now it’s finally available to everyone, whether old and grizzled or so young that they think Baldur’s Gate was a middling action-RPG on the PlayStation 2. That said, this one traces its roots more to Ultima VII than anything else what with all its systemic complexity and obsessively detailed interactivity. There is, in other words, much to dig into here, even in Early Access form. But should you? Well, that depends on a few factors.
There are so many early access alphas emerging from gaming’s underbrush right now – bugs exposed for all to see, freely worming around in the loam – that my pointing it out is even becoming tiresome. So let’s skip all the run-up. Divinity: Original Sin, Larian’s heavenly-looking fantasy role-player, is now available to backers in alpha form. If you didn’t back it, no dice for now. A more open beta might take place at some point down the line, but for the moment the early wallet gets the worm, or 10-15 hour chunk of an extremely promising adventure, as it were. Video and details below.
RPS Feature Of Pumpkins and Buckets
Preview events often involve around half an hour with a game, while carefully chaperoned through its corridors. I spent sixteen hours playing Divinity: Original Sin over two days in Belgium last week and nobody told me what I should or shouldn’t do. I spent two hours looking for a potato because I wanted to make some chips and Larian’s founder actively encouraged me in that mighty quest.
If I hadn’t had a flight to catch, I would have played for another sixteen hours over the next couple of days as well. There are more technically impressive fantasy RPGs coming out next year and there’s a great deal of work still to be done, but Larian’s latest is living up the early promise and is right near the top of my most wanted list.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. The Bible said that, and – now that we will all be without Divinity: Original Sin until early 2014 – I’m pretty sure we’re technically allowed to throw rocks at each other for a few months. You know what that means, don’t you? STOOOOOOOONE FIIIIIIIIIIGHT! Hahaha, nearly got me Adam, hahaha there go three of my teeth, hohoho good one Lucy – you always did have the best throwing arm of any of us. Whew, what a riot. Also, I think we may have started an actual riot. While I tend to that, you go below to a) avoid losing an eye and b) watch a video explaining why stretch goals are to blame for Divinity’s definitively human error.
I shouldn’t be surprised that Dragon Commander is out today, after all, we seem to be have been writing about it forever. Somehow, because it had been spotted in the incubation chambers of press events so often, I’d started to believe this was one speckled egg that might never hatch. Alec’s most recent preview identified the game thusly – “Dragon Commander’s a bit like an over-friendly dog that jumps up at you, headbutts you in the crotch, licks you on the eye and then farts in helpless excitement when you come home.” Is that a seven out of ten? It’s an odd game but there’s an unexpectedly descriptive launch trailer below that summarises incredibly well.
My favourite thing about this interactive trailer for Divinity: Dragon Commander is the music it plays while you consider your position. It reminds me of dramatic quiz show music, adding a frisson of tension to the already taut situation you’re asked to involve yourself in. It makes me want to ask Noel Edmonds for his opinion on the matter, which is how all decisions should be made. You’re asked to mediate on a political dispute: the press are reporting on the more sensationalist aspects of the world’s leader’s lives. Should you allow them to continue, or should you stop them from printing? Listen to the arguments and make a decision. As a gamer, I’d imagine you have annotations on Youtube turned off. They’ll need to be on for this to work
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RPS Feature You must obey