We are Larian Studios, developers of Divinity: Original Sin (1 and 2). Ask us anything!
With a week to go on our Kickstarter campaign for Divinity: Original Sin 2 , we’re here to answer for our sins.
We’re Larian Studios, we made Divinity: Original Sin (Gamespot’s PC game of the year in 2014), and next month we're releasing the Enhanced Edition for PC and console. We are also the creators of Divine Divinity, Beyond Divinity, Divinity II and Divinity: Dragon Commander. We are here to answer any questions you may have about our current Kickstarter campaign, our games or our studio. We are:
/u/larian_Swen - Swen Vincke (Founder & Creative Director)
/u/larian_Jan - Jan Van Dosselaer (Lead Writer)
/u/larian_Charlene - Char Putney (Writer)
/u/larian_Jeff - Jean-Francois “Jeff” Gagné (Level Designer)
For verification (or a wallpaper), here are Jeff and Swen: https://twitter.com/larianstudios/status/646340141905219584
We'll start answering questions at 4PM EST/8PM GMT and we'll be here for about 2 hours.
Edit: That it for us for today, thank you all for your questions, we had a blast! Until next time!
I'm dearly hoping for something NWN-like or better. Please don't go the Sword Coast Legends way and give us some freedom and a good user interface.
The idea is that we'll have one player who'll be able to introduce encounters, objects, traps, environmental effects, quest templates and perhaps even new areas on the fly. We've been talking about it for a long time & if we get the opportunity to put a dedicated team on it, I think we'll come up with something very cool. Especially with the competitive/coopeartive mechanics we have.
You guys seem to be big Ultima fans, and you've cited Ultima VII as a big influence on your games. There have been rumors swirling around that EA was considering hiring Larian to work on an Ultima game. I'm assuming you can't confirm such rumors if they are true, but would you have interest working on an Ultima game if you are able?
First of all, let me just say I've been playing your games since the initial release of Divine Divinity and I am a complete Larian fanboy, so cheers. Stupidly hyped for Divinity: OS 2!
I'd like to make two questions:
- Out of all the games you guys have worked on, which was your favorite and why?
- And I'm sure we all enjoy that unique Larian humour, what are you guys favorite joke or overall comedic moment from your games?
P.S.: I love you Swen.
-I really liked working on Dragon Commander and Divinity:Original Sin keeps on amazing me in how I don't get tired of playing it/demonstrating it. -I was particularly fond of Zandalor asking for a deck of cards in Divine Divinity & obviously also enjoyed the existential skeletons there.
I love you too kpopmaster! :)
Are you guys going with same kind off music theme in D:OS 2, and do you guys have composer for D:OS 2 already? Loved the music theme in D:OS. RIP Kirill Pokrovsky.
We're talking to different composers and will probably make a decision soon. All of the ones that we are talking to are composers that showed a deep respect for Kirill's legacy but obviously we'll want them to do their own thing too.
I know there will be more races ,but will there be more appearance customization for those races? In Original Sin if I wanted my guy to look like a more slender wizard or rogue type I was completely out of luck, which kind of killed it for me.
Body type variety isn't planned at the moment for a variety of reasons. But we will have all those races though: no less than five!
Any chance the male human could be less extreme at least? The only male option being gargantuan seems to be most people's beef about the body size limitations.
Did you have a look at the screenshots for D:OS 2? I think you'll prefer what we're doing now - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/larianstudios/divinity-original-sin-2/description
Just to double check, even with four players, the player drop in and drop out at any time will still be retained, I hope? Because it's going to be (even more) difficult to schedule four people all at once at all times...
Drop in/drop out will be there.
A lot of studios new to Linux have been doing Linux versions of their games with mixed results. Have there been problem areas under developing for Linux you'd like to see improved on? Has the Linux port for the enhanced edition been a smooth experience(other than the timeline itself not being what fans hoped for)?
If Steam Machines do well, can you see yourselves being in a good position to release games on the platform?
The biggest problem was the middleware - if Steam Machines sells well, I think the middleware will suddenly be less of a problem and the market for it will increase.
1) -What's your plans for the future?
2) -Are there any plans to make a non-fantasy game?
3) -I am a huge fan of Kirill's music, and it was tragical, what happened. But to be honest, it's time to move on. Are there any nominees for a new composer?
Now for a question for Char, Jan and Jeff:
-What do you guys think, is Swen a great boss? If yes, why?
Thank you for your answers and good luck for the Kickstarter!
1) Ship D:OS EE, make D:OS 2, sleep somewhere in-between ;) 2) Yes, but first we're going to make D:OS 2. But, we have a lot of plans so don't take this as an announcement. 3) Yes - we have a few people in mind.
I'll let Char, Jan & Jeff do the other questions ;)
Hi guys, thanks for doing this!
I've been a fan since Divine Divinity, and am most struck by how beautiful Kirill's music has been in each game. I was so sad to hear we have lost such an amazing composer. How will the music for Original Sin 2 live up to his legacy? Did Kirill complete any music for the game before his passing?
Kirill has quite a lot of songs he didn't finish but that's just the way he worked. He always had several things going on at the same time. All of the composers we're talking to have a deep respect for Kirill but obviously we'll want to give them the freedom they need to leave their own mark.
Have you ever thought of doing a MMO? Were you happy people ended up making Div 1 four player even though it was a feature you scrapped?
No, an MMO is not our cup of tea, but a four player RPG most certainly is! So yes, we thought it was cool that people created a four player mod and this time it'll be a very important feature of Divinity: Original Sin 2 from the get-go.
Just out of curiosity: Is four a hard limit? If so, I'm curious why that particular number versus something like six.
It's the narrative combinations that we have to take into account - 4 is a lot.
I was very disappointed to read today that single-player will be a “chosen one plus spear carriers” experience. With the multiplayer architecture in place for four separate characters with four separate personalities and opinions, why deny a single player like myself the joy of exploring four different perspectives of the story? Now I feel I am going to be limited to seeing essentially ¼ of the game. What would it take for you to reconsider, and allow role-players the opportunity to explore the multiple viewpoints of your fascinating advanced relationship system and competitive questing? I love the idea of pitting my characters against one another, and these new ideas were really going to be what set DOS2 apart. Why throw that away? Now it sounds like single-player will have the same boring “chosen one” structure we've had in every other RPG for 20 years and DOS2 will be “just another RPG” for players like me.
You don't have to be disappointed. You can play like what you describe. The only thing you can't do in the default setting is evolve the relationship but I imagine that we'll leave the option in to role-play that too, because we already have it and it's what we're using to play/test the game.
So, for example, I can have my dwarf freedom fighter character work to liberate the dwarves, and at the same time have my aristocrat character trying to keep them enslaved? And have direct control of the decision-making of both characters?
Yes - of course. I think I'll demonstrate that in one of our last streams
Hi Swen, Mainly wanted to say hi to the team from a former teammate (Sébastien Van Deun here) but also ask the following:
Would you plan a remake of the first games (Divine Divinity, Beyond Divinity) using the engine of D:OS / D:OS2 ? that would be sweet (although probably take quite some effort to realise... maybe an extra strech goal?)
I thought about that but in the end decided we're better off doing new things. Life is too short as is.
Hope you're doing well!
Is Dragon Commander finished? I found the game very cool and creative but nothing seems to have happened with it since launch.
We don't have any plans to continue working on Dragon Commander. Personally I'd love a Dragon Commander 2 but the focus for the moment is on D:OS 2. We'll see what happens after that.
Will you make the game translation friendly? That means all texts accesible for extraction and re-inserting of translated text.
That's a good point. Our localisation pipeline has been a bit of a problem but it's been improving with D:OS EE. I'm not sure exactly how easy it is now to extract/change text.
Hi Larianeers (Larians? Larianese?), can I expect a performance improvement with the enhanced edition of divinity? I stopped playing it because the 12fps where a bit laggy. Only 20 hours in still loved it and made me a backer of the sequel.
As a suggestion, let us ask for swapping characters on cooperative play. Great game so far. Keep it up.
D:OS EE is a lot more optimised as a result of all the effort that went into making it work on PS4/Xbox One. The PC versions clearly benefits from that. Saving for instance is almost instant on my machine & my frame rate is consistently very high. You can btw swap characters - check the assign menu.
DOS:EE will be the first time I play a Divinity game, and I'm hugely excited for it. One question about multiplayer: how will character creation be handled? I know for singleplayer in DOS, you create two characters and can pick up 2 more party members along the way. How does this translate to multiplayer in DOS:EE or D:OS2? Do your friends also create characters (or bring their own), or do they assume control over characters that you have created/recruited?
Looking forward to both DOS:EE and D:OS2. Hope the Kickstarter continues to grow!
In D:OS EE - In multiplayer, you can each create a character. If you started playing in single player and a friend joins in, then he/she can take over one of your characters.
In D:OS 2 - each player creates one character at startup and when you meet, you can decide to join the party. If you started playing in single player, then other players can take over your companions.
Swen, as a Divine Divinity player I have to ask you this. Will what used to be below Verdistis' general goods store, make an appearance in D:OS2?
Verdistis isn't in the game ;) So far, no design has such a place in it yet, but we're still working on the game and if it makes sense, I don't see why not.
Characters creation : Coop wise, did you already tell whether players would be able to create their own characters, or only the host would, leaving the clients to play premades ? Let's not fool ourselves : I think most of us would prefer to be able to create exactly what they want to play :) Or well to be honest I maaay be disappointed.
You can all create your own characters if you start together.
Will the 4 player coop ohave some way to still have a way to win arguments. Example - I use my charisma and its greater than any other trait someone uses...so I win decision/agurment.
If yes - will you be able to choose anay trait and will NPC's individually be more susceptible to specific character traits? IE - maybe a woman/widow is better effected by romance?
We have a new system that is more about letting the other companions/rest of the party know what you think about something. If you listen to it or not then affects your relationship with them but you're free to do as you want. It's also possible to say that something is really important to you as in - I'm ready to fight over this. We're still prototyping this but so far it seems to work well.
Thanks for the reply!
I really loved the rock/paper/scissors. It gave the game a great sesnse of decision making...and made it even funnier when someone decided to break that decision.
I was a bit sad when I saw it was removed
It didn't work well with 4 players and the new system really has a lot going for it. But we tend to change a lot during development so I really wouldn't be able to tell you know what the final system is going to look like except that it'll probably be the best one we could come up with during development :)
1) Why is OS X support being removed? It was how I played the original game and why I backed the original game.
2) There hasn't been a clear indication of how single player will allow people to have the full experience of this game. A paragraph here and there doesn't tell us much. Can you please give some concrete examples how someone playing single player in the town scenario demoed with the Dwarf + guards will work?
1) OS X support is not removed - we just want to be sure first that the entire game is ready before we start porting it. Also, we are dependent for certain things on middleware companies and we've learnt in the past that sometimes they don't exist anymore at the time we need them. 2) We just released an update on how single-player works. I hope that makes things clearer ;) https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/larianstudios/divinity-original-sin-2/posts/1360696
Swen, what would you like to see from a fan created adventure using the divinity editor? :)
Something that surprises me and that makes me skip work :)
What do you guys think of Pillars of Eternity?
I have to say I really like some of the streamlining (like not having to manage inventory for non-critical stuff like crafting ingredients)
I only played it for an hour so far so I really can't make a comment. But we did make a lot of improvements to item management in D:OS EE so hopefully that'll help.
So, Roguey. Will she be a companion, a DLC, or just an Easter Egg?
BTW, where did the imps go?
Isn't there a saying that says "what happens on the Codex stays on the Codex?"
I know that you have a alpha prototype built upon the DOS EE engine. Is DOS2 going to be built entirely upon the EE engine, or is something new in the works for the actual development of the game?
I know that you have a alpha prototype built upon the DOS EE engine. Is DOS2 going to be built entirely upon the EE engine, or is something new in the works for the actual development of the game?
It's going to be built on top of D:OS EE - but we're heavily extending it. D:OS EE is a very mature RPG system and by building on top of it we can do things few RPG developers can dream of. Some of the new stuff the team is doing is really very cool and I can't wait to show you.
Are efforts being made in the Enhanced Edition of D:OS or D:OS2 to be welcoming to newcomers? The praise I see for your games seems to stem from the complexity and level of depth of the games systems, so maybe that isn't something you're interested in, but how do you approach tutorials and teaching players who haven't played a CRPG before these systems in a way that's not overwhelming or tedious?
Looking forward to D:OS2 and D:OS Enhanced Edition!
D:OS EE has a lot of extra tutorials and more feedback so hopefully that'll help a bit, but the depth remains. Explaining our systems is something we've been struggling and we're working hard on making progress on that front.
D:OS was my favorite RPG's and I backed D:OS 2 the second I heard the news...congrats on making one of the best modern turn based RPG's and I wish you guys all the luck in the world with your new game!
That being said, one of my main gripes with the D:OS was with the random loot generation. I'm not totally against random loot, but in my opinion it doesn't work well unless your really do it all the way...for instance Diablo/Titan Quest/etc. There just wasn't enough modifiers, unique attributes, and while initially serviceable as I played the loot became less and less exciting.
Are you guys doing anything to address this? Personally I would rather see a system tailored towards more hand crafted/unique items since I think it fits the turn-based/party/story nature of the game.
Personally I'm a fan of a mixed system & that's always been the intention but time/lack of people dedicated typically foiled that plan. Hopefully this time it'll work out ;)
One of the advantages of working on top of the D:OS EE framework btw means that we already have a wide selection of modifiers to work from and we'll be adding a lot of them, meaning a wider range of items.
Greetings fine gentlemen! I'd feel honored if ya could be so kind to help me along with these couple of questions...
- regarding the skill system
Offer the "skill trees" direktly usable, additional skills, or rather "meta"-skills and are a more advanced version of the "talents" in D:OS? (I hope the latter) So for example a necromancer like character, that hoards witchcraft books (to speak in D:OS terms), would dip into the "summoner-tree" to gain a trait like "enhanced control" that allows him/her 2 undead at once with a spell like "raise dead" and maybe "alchemist" to learn "brew/improved poisons" to create the tortured corpses for his vile magic.
- regarding the topographic design
D:OS was quite small and interleaved. The more openworld-ish feel that DD created with somewhat more natural dimensions was, imho, missing. Are there more open areas in D:OS2? Btw. I do not talk about oversized, maybe even ramdomized, emptiness. Justa tad more natural dimension for distances and slightly less tubular levels.
On the skill trees - we're designing all of the systems such that clever combinations reward the player, so an example like the one you give is the kind of thing we'd encourage. On the level design - always a tricky question. In general we try to do what feels "right" - that can sometimes turn out to be not natural.
I have questions about the multiplayer conversation system and how it compares to other games.
For instance, in NWN1, when someone was talking to an NPC, it was completely opaque to other party members. You could continue on doing your thing, but had no idea what the other people were saying, or what they were getting you in to.
In NWN 2, you could watch the conversations play out, which was better, but still had no input if you weren't the one who "initiated" the conversation.
Compare that with SW:TOR where everyone is a participant in the conversation, and responses are chosen randomly among those who pick a dialogue option.
How does D:OS 2 work in this regard? Will everyone else have to stand around twiddling their thumbs while the first person to click the NPC makes all the dialogue choices? Will everyone get to choose something, but one of those choices will be picked randomly? If so, will there be skills that help your character speak up more often?
Hugely excited for this game, backed the kickstarter and twisted the arms of my gaming group (i.e. linked the kickstarter to them) to get them to back as well!
In D:OS 2 you can listen in on other people's conversations, but since you're all equally important and you can all interact with the world, you can also always talk afterwards with a npc another player conversed with.
And thank you for your pledge!
I absolutely love Divinity Original Sin, me and my friend are having a blast playing it together! So first of all, thank you for that.
My question is this: What were some of your goals going into Divinity Original Sin 2, more specifically in terms of distinguishing it from its predecessor?
Does 'bigger and better' answer your question? ;) On a more serious note, we have many, many aspirations for this game, both in terms of story, gameplay and overall RPG experience. We want it to be a game that trumps the original one in all respects, not just by improving, but by innovating. One of the big things we're doing is blending gameplay systems with narrative systems - we're trying out a lot of things in that area.
Can you play multiplayer mode with different people? If yes, how this works since other players may be further in the story? Is it also possible to switch from multiplayer mode to single player mode and playing parts of story alone? Or at least, is it possible to completely switch to single player mode if your friends don't want to play anymore (with you since you back stabbed them a lot ;))?
We have drop in/drop out multiplayer so other players can take over one or more of your companions & when they finished playing with you, you can take control back from them.
We are super happy that Divinity: Original Sin continues to be a cooperative game and also agree that this enriches the Single Player rather than limiting it.
Why do you think there are so few companies that do this in the CRPG space these days and / or are even anti coop multiplayer? What's your motivation for keeping it a cooperative game?
One of our ambitions is to give you a similar experience to what you get when you play a pen & paper RPG and obviously playing with other people is very core to that ;) It's quite a lot of work though & it's also very risky - you get a lot more bugs, but it's well worth it imho
How will the much fewer action points affect for example a rogue, with that I mean a toon that normally performs multiple lighter attacks?Won't there be too much of a difference in the amount of attacks versus the larger action points build?
Would larian ever consider making a sci-fi game? Think star trek/space quest/larian blend.Not asking if you're going to, just if you would ever consider it.
@Swen,Jan and Jeff: Do you know of MBTI and if yes what's your type if willing to share (Char I already know yours)
There's several options for the rogue that we're trying out e.g. one AP for 2 hits with a dagger. And yes to the sci-fi - I love sci-fi. And no, I don't what type I am (I probably don't want to know ;) )
- Can you elaborate more on how the "competitive questing" works in practice? Is it basically parallel but mutually exclusive A->B->C quest chains/objectives? Are you concerned with "balance" insofar as making each "path" "fair"? And is the execution of that concept as structurally daunting as I think it would be? Are you guys insane?
(I should add in just for good measure that I loved D:OS, and instantly backed the CE for D:OS2 when I heard about it. Being able to distract NPCs in conversation with one character while I loot their shit with another was amazing thinking primarily of the very first town's guard cache.)
Sometimes it feels like we're insane but we have systems in place to make it manageable. A really easy example of competitive questing is - you need 500 gold for you personal goal and there's only 500 gold in the level. That means you need all the gold. But the other player needs those same 500 gold for his personal quest.
Can you explain a little about what the Game Master stretch goal is?
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