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Divinity: Original Sin 2 Post-Release Interview at PC Gamer
Interview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 10 October 2017, 00:53:55Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke
Over at PC Gamer, Swen Vincke has given what I believe is his first major interview after the release of Divinity: Original Sin 2. It's not very in-depth, about what you'd expect from a mainstream media interview less than a month after a game's release. There's the expected discussion of the game's stellar reception (now at over 700,000 copies sold), a few anecdotes from development, Swen's thoughts about speedrunning and the burgeoning mod scene, and a hint about Larian's future plans. Here's an excerpt:
Swen Vincke: Quiet. Most people are on their holidays and [patch 3] is a big one. We're start working on patch four next and slowly people will start returning from their holidays and we're gearing up for our next things.
According to SteamSpy, you sold somewhere in the region of 700,000 sales in less than three weeks.
I think we're over 700,000 now.
Is there ever a point during the development and testing of such a big game where you realise: Hang on, this is really good, this might do better than we expect?
I think any developer will tell you that, first of all, you fall in love with your game. But then the relationship lasts so long that you start focussing on all the negatives. A very classic phenomena means that by the time you're ready to release, the only thing that you're aware of is everything that's still wrong with it.
Then somebody reminds you of how much good stuff is in there. We're busy focusing on: We need to fix this, we need to fix that, this is not good, man we need time to sort this, we need more resources to do that', and that basically dominated the conversation over the course of the last six months. But then there are moments where you're playing and you forget you're hunting for bugs and realise: Actually, this is a lot of fun.
With Divinity: Original Sin 2, this was particularly true. I don't know how many times we redid the beginning of this game. Every time we presented it it was different, and every single time I enjoyed myself. Luckily for us, this seems to have rubbed off on the general gaming audience.
But then there are moments where you're playing and you forget you're hunting for bugs and realise: Actually, this is a lot of fun.
Through your Kickstarter and Early Access phase you've had a pretty open development cycle—would be players got regular feedback throughout. With the first Divinity being received so well, did this make dealing with expectation easier or harder?
That's a really good question. Because it puts a lot of pressure on you, that's for sure. But you also can't make diamonds without pressure, right? I think that it's both. It is harder because the moment that the community figures out that they want it and you've said you're going to do it, it's very hard to change course—even if you later discover what you're doing won't work. We did actually change course a few times, but if you explain exactly why you're doing it, most people will listen. You're always going to have some people who don't, but that's just the way it is.
At the same time, things become easier because you instantly know what's wrong. You put it out there and you don't even have to wait a day, you know right away what's wrong. This type of feedback can be very hard to get, unless you have a large community playing. Another thing that's easier with a large community is that there's a large amount of them and can in turn let statistics speak for you.
You may have a very vocal minority screaming how badly something is done, but then you have 95 percent actually enjoy what you've done, so you say: Well, we can certainly say that that feature is okay because so many players are having fun with it. If you didn't do that, and that vocal minority were represented by, say, a couple of developers inside your company, you may wind up going in the completely wrong direction. That's where and why I really like the early access model.
You've mentioned the patch, however what does Larian have planned in the long run for Divinity: Original Sin 2?
We have a couple of things that are in the works but we'll only announce them when we're ready. There's stuff coming, for sure.
To that end: It's early days yet, but I assume the success of number two means we're in line for a Divinity: Original Sin 3, 4 and 5?
[Laughs] We have a couple of surprises planned. But we're going to work on the patch just now, then we're going to work in silence for a little bit so that we can get our shit together and then… yeah, I'm pretty sure there will be at least one big surprise in there.