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Divinity: Original Sin 2 Early Access Preview and Interview at Eurogamer

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Divinity: Original Sin 2 Early Access Preview and Interview at Eurogamer

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 5 October 2016, 16:18:15

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

Eurogamer's Robert Purchese played the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Early Access build, and then had the opportunity to ask Swen Vincke a few questions about it. The result was a combined preview/interview article, which starts off with a familiar topic (sorry, Zombra!):

Even after playing the Early Access version of Divinity: Original Sin 2 for nearly 20 hours I didn't understand why I would want my party members to work against each other. It's one of the big ideas in the sequel, one of the big ways the story will improve on Divinity: Original Sin 1's - this idea that people in your party are in competition with one another. In multiplayer you're even actively encouraged to stitch your friends up, which is something we've written about before. But in single-player, where you control the party members, why would you do it?

Turns out I didn't quite understand - both about competing party members and about other things that either aren't working properly yet, or aren't implemented, in the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Early Access build. I find that out when I speak with the founder and creative director of Larian Studios, Swen Vincke, after my Early Access playthrough. He puts me straight in the hope I can put you straight, too.

"There is something that is missing in Early Access and that is why you're confused," he tells me. "It's party relations and it's scripting for the companions. Currently what you're doing is you're controlling your party members as if you were to control them all in multiplayer - and that will not be the case when you're playing single-player."

Instead, he says, think of them as companions in Dragon Age: Origins or Baldur's Gate; companions with minds of their own.

"Your companions will have their opinions and you will have to influence them," he says. "You will still be able to walk around in the world as [the character] Red Prince if you, for instance, started as Sebille; what you will not be able to do is affect Red Prince's origin's quest. You will also not be able to affect his relationships."

It's an important clarification because it means you won't give the order for conflict in your party, which was the bit I was struggling to understand. The conflict will happen around you in characters with motivations of their own, and it will be up to you to try and manage them. They are designed to clash, and if you handle them badly they may leave and even attack you. But without the party dialogues at the moment, or a relationship gauge affected by it, it's only really half there.
It's also got some details on what's coming up next:

The game's overarching story starts well enough, although Act One, which is what's in the Early Access build, mostly concerns itself with setting things up. There's a prison break that's entertaining for the amount of ways you can achieve it (and because sticking it to The Man and breaking free is always fun), then there are introductions to the vying factions in the world and the baddies, plus a personal revelation to spur you on. According to Vincke it's at the end of Act One, which isn't in the game currently, that things really kick off.

"You're playing Act One but you're not seeing the full end of Act One," he says, "so the full end of Act One is quite spectacular and that's not in there. And it ends there, where you fully comprehend what your central concept is going to be and what you need to go do through Act Two."

And Act Two, he says, "is vastly bigger".

"If you want to quantify it: Act One is going to be 20 to 25 per cent; Act Two is going to be 50 per cent most likely; and Act Three is going to be the last 25 per cent. Three acts," he says, "but that doesn't mean three maps."​

[...] "The journal could be a little bit clearer, that's for sure. We see that," says Vincke (who adds the camera angle will also be zoomed out a bit). "But then again, it's hard because Original Sin is a different kind of experience in that you get so much freedom that we don't have a concept of quests, and this is something that people aren't used to because they've been so indoctrinated that there's a quest, and there's a quest reward, and that's what you get.

"We give you little stories that you encounter through your journey as you follow up on your overarching goal. At the start of the story this is getting off of the island, and as you get off of the island you understand there is something more special about you - and that becomes very clear when you get to the complete end of the Act and have to deal with it. How you get there," he says, "we don't care."

There's still a significant amount of content to come to the game for release. Major things missing from the Early Access build are the undead race; the fun-sounding polymorph and summoning skill lines; skill crafting and item enhancement; Spirit Vision to talk to ghosts (well, it's in there but not used); voice acting - "we're in talks right now to see if we can voice record the entire thing, but that's not a guarantee yet that we can do it"; the Game Master mode, the Editor, and a fix for rangers, "the most boring class right now".​

See the full article for Bertie's complete gameplay impressions.

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