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Larian opens new office in Quebec, has two new RPGs in development based on the Original Sin engine

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Larian opens new office in Quebec, has two new RPGs in development based on the Original Sin engine

Company News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 18 December 2014, 18:29:35

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

Yesterday, GameSpot named Divinity: Original Sin its PC Game of the Year for 2014. This was only the latest in a long list of accolades earned by Larian's game, but apparently it was surprising enough to inspire Swen Vincke to write a new blog post about his company's future plans. The gist of it is that Larian is opening a new office in Quebec City, and that they're now working on two new RPGs, both based on the Divinity: Original Sin engine. That doesn't mean they'll be clones, though - Swen is quite aware of Original Sin's faults, as he explains in the post:

Since I like contrast, today’s blog entry is going to be about everything that sucked about Divinity:Original Sin

Or rather, it’s going to be about how we hope to do better in the coming years, and what steps we are taking to make it so. In other words, I’ll try to tell you without telling you exactly what our plans are for the next years.

Progress can only be made if you’re aware of your faults and intend to do something about it, so explaining our plans starts with explaining what I think sucked about D:OS and more importantly, why those sucky things made it to the final game.

In one paragraph and unsurprisingly, my biggest issues with the game are the same things most people had issues with. I think the main story can be told a lot better and has more potential than is apparent, that combat falls a bit flat after act 1 and that crafting,inventory & trade UIs could use a bunch of improvements. Certain dialogs should be done better, there’s still a lot of feedback missing from tooltips & skills, and at higher levels character progression isn’t as cool as it should be. Our loot system doesn’t behave as hoped for, and the companions could use some work.

Add a few hundreds to that and you have my list but, and it’s an important but, despite all this, I still think it’s a pretty good game. There’s plenty of good stuff in there that compensates for the bad, even if there’s a lot that can be improved. And there’s another but too. Those criticisms are not aimed at anybody in our team. They are merely the result of the constraints we worked under when making the game.

Anyway, can you guess what is keeping us busy for the moment?

Yep, we’re fixing parts of the story, improving the UIs, revisiting the encounters, rebalancing the loot, rewriting certain dialogs, adding extra feedback, looking at what we can do to fix character progression, improving the companions etc…

[…] Fixing things is not all we’re doing however, far from it. We’re not hiring all those people just to transform D:OS in a better experience, no, obviously we’re also working on our new RPGs.

Notice the ‘s’. It’s intentional and while I’d love to tell you more about them, I need to refrain for fear of losing whatever press momentum we’ll be able to muster when we’ll announce them. But there’s one I thing I can already tell you, and it fits well with the second big thing we’re doing to improve the quality of our future offerings – both RPGs are being built on top of the D:OS engine.

It’s an important thing, because it means that whatever we fix in D:OS, will automatically be present in our new RPGs. It also means that we can spend most of our resources on developing new cool stuff without having to reinvent things that worked well already. And it immediately gives us a rationale for putting unreasonable amounts of effort in fixing the things we didn’t do that well in D:OS, meaning our existing players will continue to get improved gameplay for as long as we can maintain compatibility. Furthermore, it also means that the toolset is going to be improved for a long time to come and so eventually we’ll get more and better mods. We’ll even have a Linux version

We call it the secret Larian plan which now obviously isn’t that secret anymore, if ever it was. Our goal is to make new campaigns based on the same core single- and multi-player RPG engine which continuously gets improved, to perfect the rulesets driving it and to increase the amount of stuff you can do in our RPG worlds, all the while making the lore and universe(s) more solid. That latter (s) btw is something that may or may not materialise, so don’t wonder about it too much right now

There’s tons of stuff we can do in the type of gameworlds we pioneered with D:OS and we intend to show that it was a mistake to abandon this type of gameplay in the beginning of the century, taking full advantage of the effort we already poured into D:OS.

You’re not going to see huge animated movies with barely interactive worlds from us in which millions of dollars go to cutscenes. Instead, you’ll see dense, highly interactive worlds where the amount of possible interactions continuously increases and your freedom to do as you want approaches that of a pen & paper RPG. That too costs a lot, but it yields gameplay which is much more up my alley and thankfully, there are a lot of you who enjoy it. As long as that is the case, we’ll keep on making games like this.

Our ambitions are really very high and I can’t wait to play some of the new things we’ll be trying. Throughout its history, Larian has always tried to do new things in each game we released, and we won’t stop doing that. It goes without saying that we’ll fuck things up from time to time, it is our way, but luckily our players are there to tell us when we do, and we’ll keep on listening. I recently looked at the list of suggestions we received during development, and the amount of those suggestions we implemented. It’s a very impressive list but what’s even more impressive is the list of suggestions we didn’t implement, yet.

And that’s really the gist of it.
Swen Vincke - receives GameSpot PC GOTY award on Wednesday, writes a blog post about how his game sucked on Thursday. What a guy!

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