Are we nearly there yet? The butcher, the editor & Matt Chat
We're getting very close now! We are less than 15K$ away from our funding goal, and as you can probably imagine, our stress-levels are at an all-time high. There's a slate of announcements lined up to mark the moment, and with a bit of luck, you'll be reading about them very soon.
Today's update is going to be a bit shorter than usual, but that doesn't mean it doesn't contain any good stuff. On the contrary!
Continuing the Butcher quest
In our first update, Axel showed you how our editor worked by scripting a simple quest. In today's update video, Leslie, our enigmatic & brilliant 3D artist responsible for such gems as the dancing whale (featured in Divinity: Dragon Commander), takes charge and shows us how he envisions Axel's quest should develop further. Good stuff!
Matt barton interviewed Swen about the Divinity: Original Sin's Kickstarter campaign. The one-hour interview can be found here but if you don't have the time to watch it all, here are the highlights, courtesy of none other than Stabbey!
- (9:30) Quests aren’t going to hand-hold you through them. There isn’t going to be a “Quest Completed!” pop-up. Instead, your journal will have little parts of information, like “we found a book by a dead guy that talks about lying statues”, later if you talk to a statue, you might find “we met a statue, It might be one of the lying statues from the book”, and if you deal with the statue somehow, it’ll just be a thing, and you may not even realize that it was a quest.
- (13 min) In that demonstration battle on the 10-minute kickstarter video, they died three times. That’s one reason why they never showed the conclusion to that battle!
- (22 min) The main characters relationship is not specifically a love story. You can certainly take it in that direction if you wish, though. Their relationship is defined by two different axes: Affection and Affinity. Affection is how much they like each other, Affinity is how well they agree with each other on moral dilemmas. So they might hate each other, but work well. You aren’t going to accidentally end up as your friend’s gay lover, it’ll be a conscious choice if you go for that.
- (23:30) The main characters are Source Hunters, and one of the perks they get from being trained in that area is that they can talk to animals.
- (24 min) No sheep henchmen at the moment. They are thinking about adding weresheep in the game, but you cannot have a deep meaningful personal relationship with sheep yet. You will have to make a tough moral decision about the sheep at some point in the game. And the rabbits. And a cow.
- (25 min) I think there may be multiple different ways to try and get your way in a dialogue (Charm/Reason/Intimidate), instead of the current “I agree/I disagree” system. I’m not sure. The context of the situation is also important. I think that for example, the “dead body on the beach” would probably be a Charm or Reasoning situation, and Intimidation would have a penalty.
- (27 min) No mini-games. Lockpicking will be item based and dexterity based.
- (28 min) The Source (elemental) magic is not just for mages casting spells. It also gives you Source-based warrior and Survivor skills
- (28:40) The editor is not about making it easy for a novice, it’s more of a tool to do powerful things. They’ve used that technology (or parts of it) for over a decade to make their games, and that’s why as a small team they have been able to make such big games.
- (30 min) They’ll integrate the modding scene with Steamworks, and there will be another TBD thing to centralize mods for those who don’t use Steam. If the community picks it up, Larian will support the hell out of it.
- (31 min) “Have you thought of adding any DRM to this?” No.
- (32:20) Larian admits that some of the reward tiers for the Kickstarter may not be cost-effective for them.
- (33:30) What’s the minimum pledge tier for fans to get the full experience? Just the $25 for the base game, although it does play well with a friend ($40 for the duo-copy pack).
- (35 min) If Divinity 2: Ego Draconis had been a PC game, it would have been released a year earlier and in much better shape. Development for Xbox lead to a lot of compromise just trying to finish the production.
- (36:10) Beyond Divinity was bad, it was a game they company made just to survive. They never got a dollar of royalties from Divine Divinity (from CDV). They were only able to get a deal to make Divinity 2 because they were going to do it for Xbox. If they asked to do it for PC only, the game wouldn’t have happened.
- (37:50) "Why did you end Ego Draconis the way you did?" (I’m going to save my fingers from typing and just link to that spot in my LP. Watch the videos for the actual experience, not the text I added.)
- - It goes back to Divine Divinity. They decided not to cut the game at the end of the Council of Seven sequence and instead went ahead and added a new “Wastelands” zone, despite warnings they’d never finish it. (Spoiler alert: It was a huge combat zone with no quests.) The publisher wanted them to show variety in the environments. “If there is not a screenshot with orange stuff, we’ll sue you.”
- - For Divinity 2, Swen figured it would be better to stop with a cliffhanger and cut hard, instead of making another weak ending area.
- (41:40) Dragon Commander is going to take a lot of people by surprise. The leader writer and animator spend a month in London recording dialogue – more dialogue than they’ve ever done before (Divinity 2 had like 9 hours of dialogue, and it felt like more). That’s just to cater for the choice and consequence in the game. Dragon Commander is probably the most complex game they’ve ever made from a gameplay point of view.
- (43:50) “What would you need to personally hear or see about Original Sin to get you to buy it?”
- If you invest in it now, you’ll have more fun in a couple of months. If you’re planning on buying it anyway, buy it now and get it better later. It’s future profits from the game being invested into the game before it’s released. They’re not taking your money for an already funded game, they’re taking your money and giving you a much better game (at a discounted price!). They’re not pushing Original Sin as far as it could go because they haven’t enough resources, not enough time, not enough budget.
- (48 min) Final thoughts: Other non-human playable races is a huge, impossibly high stretch goal, because it would be so much work, because of how the game reacts to how the players are. If you wanted to play as an orc, they’d have to cater for that all over the dialogue lines in the entire game.
- - He’s not keen on full voice acting, because there are more tangible gameplay things that can be added instead for the same price or cheaper.
- - They hope to get enough for the Perks stretch goal (650,000), and do things like have synergy bonuses if the party affinity go up if they perform combos with each other, or maybe solo bonuses if they don’t work well together.
- - In Dragon Commander, there is an extraordinarily complex depth to your generals/councillors/princesses, because of the way that game was specifically constructed with that in mind. You couldn’t do that for Original Sin at this point, but at the 800,000 stretch goal, they hope to add more depth to party interaction and give the henchmen more personality and story presence, with branching choice and consequence based on how you treat them. Ideally, tying that into the players social stats and perks as well.
- - It’s a bit tough to get professional authors in at this part of the development. They’ve worked with a bunch before, but it’s tough it they’ve never done videogame work.
- (55:10) The game would work well on the console with a controller, but that was killed early in development. Maybe as another stretch goal in Kickstarter, but they probably would react poorly to that idea.
We're nearly there, but not yet. Anything you can do to spread the word will be appreciated, and we'll return the favour by making you a fantastic RPG with a fantastic editor in a fantastic game world. It's an offer you can't refuse!