With Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition just around the corner coming from Bandai Namco and Larian Studios, we thought it would be great to ask Larian Studios a few pondering questions, including a possible secret Harry Potter type room, Switch Port and much more. For the Interview, we got to speak to Kieron Kelly, product manager at Larian Studios and Edouard, Senior game designer.
Thanks for joining us today, I only have a few questions, so will not keep you too long I hope.
So the first Question, tell us about D:OS2 for anyone that has yet to play the game?
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is an RPG with a truly open world experience. Every quest, challenge and puzzle you encounter has multiple ways of solving it to let each player express themselves as they journey through the game. Its been built from the ground up to be a single or multi player (up to four) experience and the dialogue system has been designed specifically to let you role-play who and how you want to. With a 93 metacritic rating, Divinity: Original Sin 2 has been critically praised and named as “the best RPG of the decade” by IGN and an “Instant Classic” by Gamespot. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is also the only split-screen rpg on console, and show that an isometric game can be a truly modern experience, and not stuck in a world of nostalgia.
When it comes to the Team behind Larian Studios, what sort of backgrounds do they have or should I say come from?
We have all sorts of backgrounds here. Of course, some of us were already designers or programmers or writers before joining Larian (even as students) – but some others had unrelated jobs: some of our writers were journalists, some of our scripters and designers were scientists; researchers; some of us never even worked in the videogame industry before! But we were driven, all of us, to assemble, to unite our forces to make games, and that is what matters now.
That is an interesting mix of backgrounds, have to be honest, I never expected that.
On a personal level, I love Divinity: Original Sin 1 / 2, I also love Divinity 2, I played it loads and loved the action-packed game and story, will you ever come back to that genre? Or it too much of a risk?
We’re glad you loved it! I wouldn’t say its too much of a risk, but we’re enjoying making these types of rpgs right now. And the success of Divinity: Original Sin 2 is just showing more and more people that they like this type of game too. SO while we won’t rule anything out for the future, we think its fair to say that this type of RPG is growing its audience, and we’re not done with it yet.
That is what I thought, Divinity: Original Sin is a great franchise and fans are still coming to the platform.
OK, back to the definitive release, I know there are graphics obsessed gamers out there, what can we expect to see in terms of FPS and Resolutions for all platforms.
We’re still working on the final touches to performance, but right now we can commit to 30 fps on all platforms. You can expect to play in 4k native on Xbox One X (+HDR support) and 4k checkboard on PS4Pro (+HDR support).
1080p native on Xbox One, Xbox One S, PS4 and PS4 Slim. With HDR support on Xbox One S, PS4 and PS4 Pro.
For anyone playing on PC, there will be HDR on Windows 10 with DirectX11.4. PC players of the original should also see some significant speed changes thanks primarily to our new NVIDIA based Physics engine.
It is good to see a 4K coming to Xbox One X and 4K checkboard on PS4Pro, HDR is also a nice added bonus.
Since I am a massive fan of the series, I am really hoping you bring the franchise to the Nintendo Switch, is that possible?
There’s plenty of Switch fans in Larian, especially those of us who spend a lot of commuting or travelling on planes. DOS2 on the Switch WOULD be amazing, and not something we’re completely ruling out. As you can probably imagine, bringing the game to Switch would bring a host of its own potential challenges; Creating a Switch UI, making the most of its touch screen, how to handle multiplayer, etc etc. We’re always looking at new technology and platforms and nothing would make us happier then helping our fans play the game in whatever formats they use, but I’m afraid we can’t promise anything at this time.
I feel this is good news in a way, and I can only hope that the game does arrive at some point.
So what is it like having full control of your franchise?
It is both enthralling and terrifying. Enthralling, because whatever you design becomes canon; you truly leave a mark in the world; people will remember what you’ve done, and when they think of Divinity, they will think of it that way partly because of something that you did. Terrifying, because whatever you design becomes canon, etc., see above statement. If one day you show up at work and design something that is really bad, and that makes it into the game, well, it’s on you, buddy. The responsibility keeps you awake at night.
Can you tell me what are the biggest achievements and challenges you’ve had to face during development?
Contributing to making D:OS and D:OS2 are achievements in themselves, because these games are so complex, have so many facets, than it’s easy to lose oneself in their conception. You have to keep your eye on the ball at all times, all the while knowing when to go out of your way to help others. Also, tools & organization can change drastically from one day to the next, so you may have to quickly redefine the way you work, or learn new tools during crunch, and keep adapting and changing and becoming better – and not just at your job, but also at being a person: you must become more attentive, more patient, more dependable, etc. I think that’s the biggest achievement, and the biggest challenge: the constant need for adaptation.
Where and how do you formulate all your ideas when it comes to game creation, as your games are huge, you must have a special room with some harry potter shit going on?
Well, if I had to choose a room, I’d say that a lot of very important ideas come from Swen’s desk in our Ghent office – but there’s nothing Harry Potter about it: it’s more like a white board, empty cans of Coke Zero and a messy desk, really (okay I hope he doesn’t read this). The truth is, ideas aren’t formulated by one person, or in a single room; they’re an organic process: first, the story guys have an idea, then that idea gets reworked and reworked again as the story evolves, and then a lot later when implementation comes, the person implementing (scripting the quest, designing the fight etc.) has an idea that will make the original idea better, and so on. So there really isn’t an “idea room” – rather, we have big story meetings, then short coffee breaks staring into emptiness (or pacing the room, talking to ourselves, trying to not spill that coffee), thinking, “okay so now how do I make this better?”
There was me hoping for that Harry Potter room, shame, but thanks for taking your time out of your busy day and I hope Divinity Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition gets a perfect release and sells well, so you can move on to D:O3 or the Nintendo Switch Port.
Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN 2 – DEFINITIVE EDITION will be available 31st August 2018.