High fantasy setting + dwarves+elves+ art design only slighty better than D: OS =
Diversity and Inclusivity
Watch: I have heard you write with five people, two seniors?
Sarah: Yeah, I think so.
Watch: Are there women on the writing team? You and... Char[lene Putney]?
Sarah: Yes, just us two on the writing team.
Watch: Often it's the male perspective in games; do you think you can add something different to the game with two women?
Sarah: It's a good question, yeah. It this is true, it was evidenced in Original Sin. That was just me and Jan, so it was half and half. Compared to some of their earlier games, I think there's a bit of my touch in there. For example, if I'm imagining an NPC, I imagine her as a woman and [inaudible] her a woman, and the woman goes in the game, and so the gender balance is a little bit more balanced, I guess. I'm also reading some of the female characters written by our male writers, and I find them very cool, fully fleshed people, fully realized, not cliches, so, I think ultimately it's kind of a matter of the intent of the writer to put themselves in somebody else's shoes. But it's nice to have another lady on the team.
Watch: I can imagine, if you are writing something, that it might be lost while producing [the game].
Sarah: Yeah, that's occupational hazard, I think. You imagine it one way and... gameplay is king; so it's always gonna gameplay first, story second. We come up with a [character] design, or the scripters come up with a design, they tell us the character, we rewrite it, it gets put in, then the character get changed because of gameplay events, we rewrite the character, it kind of goes back and forth like this a lot.
Watch: It's nice to see a Captain who's female [in the prototype]. It's not just because I'm female – on RPGWatch, several men have also said "We like more women – realistic women – in games."
Sarah: Yeah, it's true. I mean, you don't wanna walk into a town and have it be a cliche of everything you've seen before – women are only doing certain things, men are only doing certain things, the men are all drunken boors, the women are all prostitutes, like, we've seen that a thousand times. It's kind of time for everybody to...
Watch: ...grow up.
Sarah: Yeah! For the characters to expand their roles, to have a more realistic or interesting world, I think.
Kieron: I think speaking from the perspective of a man on the team, we do have a strong desire to make sure that... if you look at the NPC list on a spreadsheet, we're actually spreading [the genders] quite evenly. There's a few of us, myself included, that have a passion to make sure there's really strong female characters in there. And we're also sensitive enough to make sure that we're not being cliched.
Sarah: One thing we discussed – you know, the team is really growing, at the moment there's 90 people, which shocked me when I found out – and we're trying to develop a vision of the kind of games that we wanna make, around the world, and one thing our lead designer was saying was "Make it diverse! For each character that you have, before it's been fleshed out by the writers, flip a coin for their gender, make sure that we have skins for a variety of looks, so that everybody can be realistically represented in the game," and that's something we're all thinking about all the time and it's important to a lot of us.
Watch: When you start the game, you create only one character, right?
Sarah: Yeeee.....eees. It's still on the table... but so far, yeah.
Watch: And you've got three you pick up or select.
Bubbles: In prison – that's what Swen said.
Sarah: In prison? Oh, I'm not sure – I think Swen has more advanced knowledge about how it's gonan end up.
Watch: The single character, you still select the background story for it, right? How does that work then, do you pick it from a multitude of background stories? Do you select key words?
Sarah: Well, right now, we're going to figure out how many backgrounds we can realistically make meaningful in the world. Right now, we have four – we saw what kind of challenge that was, developing this prototype, making sure all four backgrounds have different ways people can respond to them, different stuff to talk about with different people, different interests in the town – and then we're gonna see how many of these we can do well in a larger game. It could be that you start the game and have 15 backgrounds to choose from, and you can pick one – or you can pick neutral, so you wanna role play your background. There will be some where your race is completely tied to your background – so if you're from the Isle of Lizards, and used to be a dragon, then you have to be a lizard to play that [background].
Kieron: Your backgrounds may also dictate things like your race, your species, and also your gender – it depends on how easily we can separate your background from those. Whichever background you pick will actually exclude it from being a companion background.
What a half-assed responce. Seems like whoever they tasked with making the editor dropped the ball majorly on this one and nobody controlled its development. "Hinting at wanting seeing others' stuff" is the biggest non-answer in the entire article. Just come out and say your intentions FFS!Bubbles: Do you have any plans for the mod tools yet? For expanding them?
Sarah: That would be so great. We'd really love to see a thriving mod community… but the editor was not so user friendly, which I think was a bit of a turn-off. I know that last time, Swen was really looking forward to seeing everybody's stuff, but… I don't know, specifically. We're not talking about it right now. [I later asked Swen about the mod kit; he indicated that OS2 would offer players the same editor that the team was using, with “some improvements” added compared to OS1.]
By the way an interviewer doesn't finish the interviewee's sentences
That's what you took from this? What made D:OS great for me wasn't the setting or artwork, it was the environmental interactions and creativity during combat. It sounds like they're amping that up from the fairly basic air-fire-poison-water to something with quite a bit more potential. Add to that hopefully superior writing and a more interesting story, or at least they're putting a good bit more resources there. I backed it based on that.
AI or UI?Swen told me that games with complex AI “turned him off”; he wants to maintain the general accessibility of DOS 1.
Reminds me of DA:O.Once caught, Sourcerers are jailed and “purged”, which entails stripping them of their Source energy and leaving them in submissive state, “completely dominated” by the Order.
This is a Bubbles interview. Odds are 50-50 he made the whole romances section up to troll you guys. I'd be disappointed if more than a third of the interview is things Larian actually said.
Heck, if you check out their account, romances aren't mentioned once: http://www.rpgwatch.com/articles/divinity-original-sin-2-preview-344.html
Watch: Why are there romantic options in the game?
Bubbles: Yes, wonderful question. [Even the Watch can have one from time to time.]
Watch: Yes. I don't know why. So why are you trying to put romantic elements in this game?
Sarah: Roleplay. A lot of... uhm... RPG players want to feel like they can, uhm... kind of... have a full experience. When you choose to play the role of somebody, what would that character do? Would that character have a certain feeling about a character in their party? Uhm... ...you kinda want... as many options as possible to be able to live out the story that you wanna build. Uhm... i think romance is, like, not necessarily a required part of it, but it depends on what kind of story you wanna build, what kind of character you wanna play, I think. And, uhm, I was surprised actually, but the desire for this is a lot stronger than I thought it was, the romantic options.
Lacerate and Rain would become Blood Rain, designed specifically for characters with the Leech talent: “all the rain keeps on healing you”. At that point I wrote “Balance???” in my notebook and underlined it five times.
That's very cool. I hope they don't make the origins too complex for their own good though.Swen explained that the thief had taken an origin that made him a double agent for the Order; while the other characters were genuinely trying to escape from the Order, Hudson was working with the enemy on a covert assassination mission.
In this interview I learned that the writer chick has only played the first hour or so of Pillars of Eternity
Watch: Do you watch what the competition is doing, or are you just doing your own thing, following your own ideas?
Sarah: A bit of both, I think. Sometimes, when we're coming up with ideas, an artists will overhear and say “Oh, they did that in Dragon Age, you can't do that,” or something like that. I think everybody has their niche of stuff they like to play, and everybody brings some of that to the table. I played Pillars of Eternity, that was the most recent competitor I played – not the whole thing [very understandable], but a chunk of it. And I learned a lot from that.
Watch: From the story….????
Sarah: From the story, yeah. It was a completely different method of story telling from what we had. It was really strong, and I really enjoyed reading it, so I was taking notes while I was playing it. It's not something we could do in a Divinity game, because we have this completely open world, we never take the camera, we don't do a lot of cutscenes, but I think there's lessons to be learned from playing stuff, and learning what you can.
Bubbles: So you're saying Pillars of Eternity was an inspiration for your writing?
Watch: [laugh] Tread carefully!
Sarah: I would say it was an interesting and enjoyable experience as a writer.