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Divinity Original Sin is an old-school cRPG with new ideas & modern execution, will release this year. Funded by fantastic backers!
Divinity Original Sin is an old-school cRPG with new ideas & modern execution, will release this year. Funded by fantastic backers!
Divinity Original Sin is an old-school cRPG with new ideas & modern execution, will release this year. Funded by fantastic backers!
19,541 backers pledged $944,282 to help bring this project to life.

Announcements, Single Player and Dropping In, Talents and Traits

It's over 9000

We have many things to celebrate. We achieved 90% funding yesterday, and just a moment ago, we had over 9000 comments. We cannot say anything else but thanks and still be humbled by all this support and trust you backers are giving us!

We've been getting many questions about how party control in Divinity: Original Sin works and if we had to dumb down the single player experience because of the inclusion of drop in/drop out cooperative multiplayer. The answer is that on the contrary, the game has become a lot deeper and in this update we'd like to explain you why.

We hadn't foreseen hitting the 90% mark this early, so we are improvising here, because we don't have all the resources at home that we have at work, so expect a wall of text :-) Seen as you're RPG players though, that shouldn't be an issue! A lot of questions that popped up are answered in this one, and also further explains the traits and talents stretchgoal.

But first, some announcements.

  • Yes, we are working on the "European" distribution details.
  • Yes, Paypal will be available as soon as we reach our goal. It's ready. We just need to upload the page. The pledges via Paypal will count along for our stretchgoals.
  • Yes, the reward tier descriptions are outdated. You should refer to the digital matrix or the physical matrix and read in detail what all the rewards are exactly in update 4
  • Yes, we have officially partnered up with GOG.com to deliver Divinity Original Sin and Divinity Dragon Commander
  • Earlier this week, Swen had a video interview with Matt Barton and that Matt Chat episode should be online soon, just keep an eye on his Youtube channel
  • If you are new here, please do read all previous updates linked to on the main page. Our videos are also always available at our Youtube channel
  • Some numbers you may be interested in:

Single Player Campaign, Drop In/Out Multiplayer

Party-based

You start the game with two avatars in your party. Let's call them Roderick and Scarlett for now. Obviously when starting the game you can name and customize them. And yes, you can also play this game with two men or two women, it doesn't always have to be man/woman.

Roderick and Scarlett are the true heroes of this tale, and they'll always be in your party, but should you feel the need for reinforcements, you can recruit two extra party members.

Split up

Except in a few special circumstances, your party doesn't need to stay together. Sometimes the game will ask you to gather your party first, usually only when going from zone to zone, but our zones are very big (think Divine Divinity big).

But in one zone, including its houses, cellars, and dungeons, it means that you can control Scarlett to explore an underground cave while Roderick buys some fresh fish on the market. (Each hero's henchman will follow his master.)

For example

Because Divinity: Original Sin features a turn-based combat system, this can lead to pretty interesting situations.

For instance: you switch to Scarlett, and in the cave, she encounters a friendly community of unfortunate ghosts, and has lengthy conversations with them, trying to understand why their souls aren't floating towards the Hall Of Echoes.

You switch to Roderick and, shopping around, realize he doesn't have enough gold to pay for his fish. So you try your hand at stealing. Lacking the necessary skills and talents for conducting successful theft, another shopper catches Roderick in the act and calls for the guards. Roderick is a bit short of temper and he's also on a mission to save Rivellon: there's no way he's going to put up with such foolery as going to jail, so he resists arrest and draws his sword.

Turn-based combat starts on the market, and several guards, as well as some market-goers that feel up to it, join the fight. Roderick has a high initiative, and in your first turn, you manage to conjure an earth elemental to even the odds a bit before any of the guards can even make their move. But there are a lot of guards...

I wouldn't wanna be on the receiving side of a fist fight with this giant.

Oops. Now what?

At this moment, you could decide that Roderick needs help from Scarlett, and switch to Scarlett. You could guide her out of the black cove, accross the beach, over the hills and into Cyseal. Then when she would get close enough to the fight, she would automatically become part of combat.Or, you could switch to Scarlett to continue exploring the cave.

While you switch to Scarlett and control her, Roderick and his combat will still be "paused in his turn", awaiting your commands.

Let's keep Roderick stuck in time for a while, and just keep on exploring. As Scarlett ventures deeper into the cave, she stumbles upon a whole bunch of angry undead who attack you on sight. (Why are the ghosts friendly? Why are these guys unfriendly? If only you had talked to more ghosts...)

Is this a pickaxe which I see before me?

1.21 Gigawatts if you think about it

This means that now we have a situation in which both Roderick and Scarlett are in different turn-based combat situations at different locations in the world. You can do these fights one after the other, or you can jump from fight to fight by just clicking on their avatar icons (or using shortcut keys).

And should you ever manage to get the enemies from both fights close enough to one another, then the two combats would merge into one big combat.

Drop-in multiplayer

Now imagine that at this moment in time, in real life, your friend Helen comes in, asking you what you're doing. You obviously say that you are playing the coolest RPG you've played in a long time and ask her if she wants to give it a go. (If you've chosen a duo pack tier in this Kickstarter, you can give her one of your copies!)

Helen joins your game. You, as the host, can specify some options before she joins, and you choose to give her control over Scarlett for example, while you continue playing with Roderick.

Being new to the game, Helen immediately tries clicking everywhere, resulting in her using up all of her mana and getting surrounded by three ugly skeleton miners. You yell, "Wait, it's not an action RPG!"

Seeing that if you let Helen continue, you'll probably have to pay the price of having to resurrect Scarlett, you decide to abandon the fight with the guards and you use your teleporter pyramid.

Teleporter pyramids

Teleporter pyramids are handy little things. There are two of them and they allow the user to teleport to wherever the other pyramid is. Because Divinity: Original Sin allows you throw around everything that looks like it can be thrown around (provided you have enough strength), you can for instance drop your pyramid at one location and then always teleport to that location using the other pyramid. Or, you can just keep one in each of your hero's pockets, allowing them to teleport back and forth.

Roderick materializes just next to Scarlett and joins the fight. His presence is exactly what is needed and together you easily win the fight. Although that ghoul was particularly nasty, with his poisonous fumes...

Concept artist trying to figure out what a ghoul actually looks like. Apparently they wear beak masks to not faint from their own stench?

Objection!

After the fight, you both return to the ghost village in the cave, and notice a ghost who is talking to himself. When you talk to him, you discover that he's experiencing a dilemma. He asks you (a very fictive example in order not to introduce any spoilers) if you think it'd be okay if he tells a friend that his wife cheated on him, even if now the two of them seem to be doing just fine.

The problem is that his friend asked him about a suspicion he has, and now the ghost doesn't know what to do. You immediately pick Roderick's reply: the truth should be told, no matter the consequences! Your friend Helen disagrees and Scarlett picks: "Old wounds should not be opened and besides, it's up to the wife to tell his friend. If they are going to be ghosts for a long time, best not make their time together even more miserable."

In disagreement, the game lets both Scarlett and Roderick decide how they'll handle this discussion.

Scarlett for instance tries to REASON with Roderick whereas Roderick decides that he might give INTIMIDATION a go. Not only do the character's stats come in play, the context of the disagreement also plays in along. In this particular situation, reasoning works better, and Scarlett ends up winning the discussion. (In the background, the game rolled against strength, persuasion and intelligence stats to decide who would win, also taking into account the nature of the situation. The same system is used when talking to NPCs, and trying to change their minds: for instance, a certain NPC may not be easy to intimidate, but may very susceptible to CHARM.)

A game where you'd actually start disagreeing for fun

Personal traits and talents

Now what happens next depends on us making the "personal traits and talents" stretchgoal in our Kickstarter campaign, but let's be optimistic and imagine that we do. The following example is purely illustrative, so don't take it as an example that will be in the game. We hope it will be of course.

Because of the choices Scarlett and Roderick made, Scarlett gains a point in "Empathy" whereas Roderick gains a point in "Righteousness". Since this is not the first time Roderick went for the "Righteous" answer, the game decides it is time to award Roderick the "Righteous" personality trait, which means that from now on demons and other infernal scum will not be able to affect Roderick's mind because of the strength of his principles, i.e. his resistance to mind-control increases.

Had Scarlett and Roderick agreed, and if this would be the nth time that they agreed, then they might actually have gained a point in "party spirit", which would boost the bonuses they'd receive when fighting together instead of alone.

Personality customization

Now because we have this cooperative multiplayer mode and we had to ensure that this particular gameplay element was going to be fun, it means it's deeply integrated into the core gameplay.

That allowed us to do something in single player that you haven't seen before (we think). Other than customizing the looks and stats of your party members, you can also customize their personality. That means that if you're playing alone, and you don't want to roleplay both characters, the party member you're not controlling at the time of initiating a dialogue might actually disagree with the choices you make, just like in the example where we had two players control the party members.

As with all new things, at first sight this might sound like folly, but think it through.

Imagine that this would be Ultima VII, and you would have Duprez (a known womanizer) in your party. In our system, whenever the option to flirt would pop up, you could rest assured that Duprez would go for it, even if you might think it'd be a bad idea. If he'd win the discussion, you'd have to deal with the consequences, adding to the fun and potentially showing you a part of the game you'd otherwise not see, because you'd instinctively have answered otherwise.

Obviously, it's also possible to make the AI shut up or always follow your lead, but we do advise trying out the AI personalities - you'll find it adds to your gameplay experience.

Of course, what's fun too is to roleplay both characters, like we did in the video of update #4. In any case, we're not going to force you to use the cooperative dialog system, but we think you'll enjoy it and agree with us that it's a powerful gameplay mechanic that actually should be present in any RPG that has a party.

And in closing

You make the decisions. It's your party.

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      David Isaac Frohman
      Superbacker
      on April 10, 2013

      $95 for the engraving tool seems too high. If it was $45 I would up my pledge to get it, but as it is...

    2. The Old Farmer on April 8, 2013

      Could we see a 1080 version of the coupleagreeingalot pic so I can set it up for my wife's background on her PC.
      I like to live dangerously!

    3. Adam Strover on April 8, 2013

      Ha... I like this more and more with everything I read. And grats on making even your updates readable and amusing. Bodes well.

    4. Willem on April 8, 2013

      I like what I am reading, thank you Larian. I love how you implemented the combat system. The dialogue system is very cool as well and I for one actually love the fact that you can roleplay all your party members (if you so choose) in terms of pre-existing conversation trees; not many RPGs do this (most take one PC as the centre around which all replies and roleplaying party interactions revolve). Love what you are doing, keep it up.

    5. Missing avatar

      Manalishi on April 8, 2013

      Really excited about this ... glad you partnered up with GOG !

    6. Skyl--- on April 8, 2013

      What about the Linux versions ? GOG doesn't have a Linux store, while Steam does. I guess eventually you'll have to host the Linux builds somewhere else for us Linux backers, because GOG won't do it until they "officially" support Linux, which could be anywhere between tomorrow and never.

    7. amazingscrewonhead - Werekiwi of Sin on April 8, 2013

      I really (really) hope you hit the Traits stretchgoal. That feature sounds absolutely killer for solo _and_ co-op play. While I'm looking forward to making use of the editor to create new stories the Traits would aid immensely in replayability of the main campaign.

    8. Milena on April 8, 2013

      This was a really nice update. I really like what I'm reading :)

    9. David Torio Castell on April 7, 2013

      Vegeta: It's over nine thousand , hehe Dragon Ball joke.
      Keep up the good work guys :)

    10. Missing avatar

      Taziar on April 7, 2013

      DJ, Don't make me Grumpy Cat you...

    11. Robrecht - Weresheep.net of Original Sin on April 7, 2013

      And an extra weresheep too! *roar* .. *baaaa* .. what ehm .. *baaaoar* ?

    12. Taragon on April 7, 2013

      will there be mechanics like disguises, so that if Roderick went back to town in a disguise the guards wouldnt recognize him (or conversely if he had chosen to do his illegal acts while in disguise int he firdst place). i think such a thing could be an interesting way to explore less legitimate practices without destroying your character's reputation. Id of course assume there would be skill checks to see if your disguise works, with some npcs having distinct advantages to see through one.

    13. LordCrash on April 7, 2013

      A lot more people/names/avatars in here, very nice. :)

    14. Glen Harrison on April 7, 2013

      Larian, I love you.

      Wanna cyber?

    15. Larian Studios LLC 2-time creator on April 7, 2013

      @ Rok Klemen: Yes, they will be hostile to you, unless you managed to change your reputation & their faction attitude such that they like you once again.
      @DJ: We learnt a long time that humor is bound to culture. What somebody in the US finds funny might not be funny to somebody in France & vice versa. But we can't change who we are & we make fun of a lot of stuff - in general to break the trend of people taking themselves too serious. I personally thought the 9000 thing was funny. It would've been better if it'd had been over 8000 ;)

    16. Robrecht - Weresheep.net of Original Sin on April 7, 2013

      So, I just pledged for a physical tier (yaay), but it's a bit silly that I had to add $18 for shipping since I live in Flanders. (I am not the first one mentioning this, I'm sure.) Say, why don't you guys just put a copy aside and I'll come and pick it up in Ghent. I'll even sign something if you want me to! :-P

    17. Killer Bunny of Sin on April 7, 2013

      @DJ I doubt that they'll put memes in the game. If you played their previous games, nothing of the sort was present. They have their own script writer I say and the dialogues are much more "alive" IMO.

    18. Brainbusters - Weresheep of Sin on April 7, 2013

      This update was very interesting, thanks!

    19. Dmitry Kozlovtsev on April 7, 2013

      You desperatly need to get more publicity, it is a shame that such an awesome projects takes so long to fund.

    20. Watser on April 7, 2013

      I think you are digging way too deep into this, DJ

    21. DJ_Serperior on April 7, 2013

      An over 9000 joke? Are you fucking serious? I was hesitant to back this project because of that fucking arrow to the knee joke you made in your pitch video and now you're making an over 9000 joke? Is this game going to be filled with memes, Larian? Because if I see this shit one more time I'm withdrawing my pledge.

    22. Jhonrock on April 7, 2013

      @Watser, @DeathKnight, thanks for the answers. I'm really happy to know that this kind of NPC behavior will be present in the game. Small things such as this is what makes a RPG much more immersive, not the super graphics.

    23. Rok Klemen on April 7, 2013

      Quick question... i might have missed it in the update, but what happens to the fight in the town ?

      Assuming you telport Roderick out of the the town in the middle of the fight.
      This probably break the combat sequence in the town.
      Does he then get automatically attacked when he gets back in town ?

    24. DeathKnight [Larian] on April 7, 2013

      Jonathan: smart NPCs check your level to see how they react to you. So yes, some will flee, some will fight.

    25. Iskhiaro on April 7, 2013

      rockpapershotgun.com FTW!

    26. Darklord on April 7, 2013

      Nice, good update! It will fund soon! :-D

    27. Watser on April 7, 2013

      @Lars Anderson
      If there will be a day/night schedule and the 1M stretch goal isn't reached, it will be merely a cosmetic one I assume, like it was in Divine Divinity.

    28. Lars Anderson on April 7, 2013

      So I'm confused. Is there a day/night cycle in the game already? Or does that only come with the million dollar stretch goal?

    29. Watser on April 7, 2013

      @Jonathan
      That's exactly some of the things they are implenting

    30. Jhonrock on April 7, 2013

      [@Larian Studios LLC: if we do get to schedules, no one will leave combat. I mean, just imagine you're a guard and in the middle of a fight you go "well sorry guys, dinner time and I told my wife I'd get the groceries"]
      .
      Uuummm... this brought me a question. Are you planning in some kind of behavior system that, when a combat starts in the streets, makes a non-combatant NPC flee with fear, look for a cover or locking himself in his house, returning to his normal behavior a few time after combat end?
      .
      I think that will affect the game immersiveness if the non-combatant NPC's stays behaving in a normal way, even when a combat is taking place right in front of him.
      .
      It could be fun (and very immersive) see non-combatant NPC's behaving like that during a combat, fleeing with fear, looking for a place to cover, screaming or calling the guards.

    31. Stabbey on April 7, 2013

      I'm not sure if there are (cosmetic-only) Day/night cycles in the game, but if there are day/night cycles and Rod is in turn-based combat, is the day/night "clock" frozen for Scarlet? If not, that could be strange.

    32. Dawn_
      Superbacker
      on April 7, 2013

      Big thanks for GoG ;).

    33. Larian Studios LLC 2-time creator on April 7, 2013

      LC: if we do get to schedules, no one will leave combat. I mean, just imagine you're a guard and in the middle of a fight you go "well sorry guys, dinner time and I told my wife I'd get the groceries".

    34. JackDandy on April 7, 2013

      This sounds fascinating. I haven't played a game with this sort of dual dialogue system, and it sounds like it can make the game FAR more interesting.

    35. Stephen P. Suelzle on April 7, 2013

      This is going to be such a cool game! Every update makes me want to play it more and more. The whole conversation, personality thing and having character choices really matter in the game is very important and something that is missing in a lot of RPGs. I am very glad that it really is going to be turn based. That is my favorite kind of RPG. Also, thanks for being so accessible guys and showing us so much of what you are doing. I'm loving it!

    36. Jhonrock on April 7, 2013

      Awesome explanation about the traits/talents and coop system. You are going for something really unique. I'm very excited with the possibilities of this game. I'm already contacting a good friend of mine, who loves RPG's like me, to combine a full coop playthrough in this game, role playing our characters (if he gives me his OK, i'll get the duo-pack). It will be fantastic!
      .
      Guys, we need to make all this stretch goals happen. Let's spread the word, everywhere.

    37. LordCrash on April 7, 2013

      @Larian
      I think it could become difficult if there is a "frozen" fight in town and we have NPC schedules (hope we reach the 1M). Any ideas how that would be managed?

      "Venture your party before gathering forth"....we need that line in the game btw.... :D

    38. Missing avatar

      Baudolino05 on April 7, 2013

      oh, great! So, it's up to the player. I can't ask for more...

    39. Larian Studios LLC 2-time creator on April 7, 2013

      There is only a time limit for turns if you choose to have one in multiplayer (host decides). But then still you can set it to "none". So yes, if you leave one hero in a TB combat and explore with the other, he's stuck in time.

      But it's very hard to explore (and get in fights) with only 1 character. And for entering other zones you will have to "gather your party".

    40. Missing avatar

      Baudolino05 on April 7, 2013

      The way your're handling the drop-in/drop-out multiplayer is great. I mean, it's pure role-playing. Synergy with traits? Even better...
      Anyway, like Clocknova said before me, there is a "time bubble problem". Maybe you should consider a (generous) time limit for turns.

    41. Killer Bunny of Sin on April 7, 2013

      By the update, it clarifies that the 65+ tier digital are really 2x copies as compared to the narrative description on the right.
      And someone should comment "Divinity KS brought me here" on the "And in closing" clip!

    42. Aysir on April 7, 2013

      Great update. Answered a lot of questions and makes me even more excited to play this. The combat ideas sound fantastic, the two player dialogue system just seem awesome. The end of the year can't come quick enough!

    43. Stabbey on April 7, 2013

      Yes, Roderick will stay in a time bubble forever, unless Scarlett wanders too close to him, then she gets stuck in the bubble as well.

    44. Clocknova on April 7, 2013

      I cannot stress enough how important NPC scheduling is to world-immersion. Remember how in Ultima VII the townspeople would actually get up in the morning, open their windows, set their tables, sit down and eat (with food actually disappearing) and so forth? I can't think of a single game since that has featured anything close to that. I really wish this wasn't such a high stretch goal, but I understand that this level of intricate scripting must be difficult and time-consuming. I really, really hope we get there somehow.

    45. Clocknova on April 7, 2013

      Wait, so what happens if I leave Roderick stuck in turn-based combat and go exploring with Scarlett for a few weeks? Does Roderick stay in a time bubble forever? How would that work?

    46. Bumvelcrow on April 7, 2013

      Oh, and namedropping Ultima VII is always a good idea!

    47. Daz23 on April 7, 2013

      Awesome! The stretch goals MUST be met. :)

    48. Bumvelcrow on April 7, 2013

      Okay, now we have to get to character traits (and companions).

    49. Jalister on April 7, 2013

      That was a great update, and just gives more reasons to be a backer.