Following the immense success of Larian Studios’ classic RPG Divinity Original Sin, the team is setting up nicely to deliver a much-wanted sequel to last year’s title. We had the opportunity to speak with Head of PR & Marketing Kirill Perevozchikov and talk about what changes and additional things to expect from Divinity: Original Sin 2.
Q. The Kickstarter campaign of Divinity: Original Sin 2 reached the initial goal of $500K in one day and now you stand at $1.29M, as far as quantifiable elements are concerned, does this mean the game’s content will also get doubled as compared to the original plan you had at the $500K marker?
It doesn’t work as simple as that. I wish it would just be a question of doubling the budget to get double the content; life would be a lot easier for the developers. We have our stretch goals that we’ve announced, and so those things are going to be added, and then the rest is just going to be absorbed in the development flow. For sure, investment in Divinity [Original] Sin II is probably the biggest we’ve ever done in one of our games, so all money will be put to good use.
Q. You guys have said last month that this game “will either sink us, or go on to be remembered as our best game ever!” can you elaborate on that?
We’re going to put pretty much everything that we earned with Divinity Original Sin 1 back into Original Sin II, so if that fails, we’ll have a bit of a problem.
Q. Is it possible for you to assure fans who are worried that the single player isn’t going to be as good as the multiplayer? If not, what basis do you use to justify this?
I don’t know where that comes from. It’s probably something we communicated wrongly, but obviously singleplayer is our first and foremost concern. After that is going to be co-operative multiplayer, and then after that is going to be competitive multiplayer.
Obviously we talk a lot about the competitive multiplayer because it’s new, but we first and foremost want to have a very good single player experience.
That said, having co-operative and competitive multiplayer in there and the way we are doing it (which is quite unique) ensures in my opinion that the singleplayer is a lot better because we are forced to have for every situation many [said several times] angles that you can use it.
Actually, the freedom you got in the first game would probably not have been as vast if it weren’t for the co-op multiplayer.
So I think that a lot of people have a wrong idea of what it means for a game like Divinity Original Sin to have a co-operative and competitive multiplayer.
In any case, whatever I say, nobody will believe it until they get to experience it and see it themselves, so hopefully as we proceed through our campaign and as we proceed through releasing information about the game, people are going to be rest assured.
Q. What was the reason behind choosing to bring the original game to the current generation consoles while the sequel is currently not scheduled for a console release? Also, does this mean in the future we can expect a console release for DOS2?
Well, our ambitions with Divinity Original Sin 2 are very vast, and the amount of things we’re putting in the game-world is much more extensive than what we put in Original Sin, so we’ll first have to figure out if we can actually bring it to consoles, and what we don’t want to do is handicap ourselves during development, so we just want to make the best possible game with the budget that we have on PC, and then we can see if we can port it.
Like for instance, if you’re talking about Mac and Linux, if we’re gonna be supporting DirectX 12, will we have the equivalent on the platforms? If we’re talking about Xbox One and PS4, if we double the amount of triangles and double the amount of shaders or materials that are present in one frame, will we manage to do that also on consoles? So, we first want to make a good game on PC, and then we’ll see if we can port it.
Q. Some of the fans who played the original game were not content with the way loot system worked; how are you improving it in the sequel (if you are).
We have read those comments, and we share some of their criticism. In the enhanced edition, there’s already quite a lot of stuff that has changed in the loot system, so hopefully they’re going to like that, and then we’ll see what their feedback is on that.
If there are still issues with it we will probably approach them for Divinity Original Sin 2. But I can’t give more detail on that at this point.
Q. Can you share something about the Hall of Echoes which gets unlocked if the Kickstarter reaches the final stretch goal (which we are expecting it will). What will it bring since there was an area in the original game with the same name, what will be new in this one?
We’re going to be sharing information about Hall of Echoes in a future Kickstarter update, so I want to keep it scooped for that, but from what we already showed to people, ghosts and undead are also now a big part of what’s going on in Original Sin 2, so the Hall of Echoes will obviously have a link to that.
Q. How many available characters will there be to choose from and what can you tell us about them?
That is a good question, because character customization obviously allows you for having a very large amount of characters, but I guess the question is about the origin stories that are going to be present, but that is something we’re still determining, so I can’t give you an exact answer on that, yet. The one thing I can tell you is that origins consider race, where you were born, maybe things that you have done, things that you’ve achieved in you past life, and they have a very big impact on the choices you get to make in the game.
Q. We have read that the game’s combat system has been changed up a bit and now it edges more towards the tactical side, it also maintains the turn based mechanics, so tell us how you picture all these elements coming together? Also, if you could highlight some of the changes that are going to come to play.
Well, to answer to the first question on how everything comes together, it’s by seeing a lot of combat done, and having now had the chance of enhancing everything with the enhanced edition of Original Sin 1 we learned so much more about the combat system and we could see where we could extend it. So, in the coming time during the development we’re going to announce feature after feature [once] it’s been added, and you’ll that already the changes we have done are a lot of fun.
The reducing of the amount of Action Points so you can easily calculate, what you can do in one move – it’s quite a big change and it generates a different level of tactical deft than what we had in Original Sin 1. From what I can see, everybody seems to enjoy it a lot now. We’re going to be moving ahead and fooling around with it and then we’ll see how people play. Hopefully, all of that is going to come together in a good system. We have something good to start from, so we’d be idiots to rule that [out].
Q. How does the game balance between personal quests of the character and party goals since the two are often going to be different and even conflicting. Keeping in mind how much of a detriment can it be if a character pursues personal quests against the party goals and then has to make amends at some point.
That’s a very good question. [It’s] something that we’ve been spending a lot of time on, and not only because we wanted to the competitive multiplayer, but also because we wanted to make sure that we have an interesting party relation system going on. Now, the exact answer to that is something that unfortunately I can’t tell you yet, because we are doing some testing on this. Hopefully during the Kickstarter campaign we’ll be showing it to people, so stay tuned on that.
Q. You guys chose Kickstarter for funding Divinity: Original Sin 2 which was a risky move, why take the risk? Surely there must be publishers willing to fund the project and it would have been risk free. Was it due to you guys wanting to keep your creative freedom?
Well, we’ve always said that we want to be independent, so we’re not going to throw that independence away, so in that sense you are correct. It is also a case that the game was already funded based on what we earned with Divinity Original Sin, but anything that comes from Kickstarter is going to put more on top of it, and it’s also going to give us a benefit that there will be a community with an active interest in supporting us, and then hopefully the same magic is going to happen again that happened with Original Sin 1, which turned out to make for a pretty good game.
Q. Lastly, “Where are the women?” :). I see your studio is very interested in stats showing gender of your fan-base. Most developers don’t care about that sort of thing, if the game is selling well and is being played by a decent amount of people, they don’t bother with anything else than. Why bother so much?
To be honest, it was really a freak observation in the sense that we were looking at the Google Analytics of our Kickstarter page (this was the first time I saw the Google Analytics account in a year or something), and so I clicked on demographics and saw 5% of for the women gender.
I had just returned from PAX and it just didn’t make sense to me; I saw too many women who came to me to say how much they enjoyed playing Divinity Original Sin either in singleplayer or co-operative multiplayer, and then seeing a stat which was so low just didn’t work out [with me].
So we discussed it here – we obviously asked all the women who worked at Larian and what they thought of it, and they were as flabbergasted as I was, and that’s where the idea came from to write a blog and ask the people, because we had some theories, but we weren’t sure about it.
Now we have a much better insight, and that’s cool to know, but it’s not going to change anything about how we make games, although it might have an impact on how we market games, because we realize by talking to a number of people that there are a number of things we should be doing that we aren’t doing.