Larian Looking to Make Divinity: Original Sin Crazy Moddable
The next installment in Larian Studios’ Divinity series, Divinity: Original Sin, will have a heavy emphasis on story and RPG elements, but it’ll also include lots of capabilities that will allow players to make and tell stories of their own.
As Producer David Walgrave explained during a hands-off demo of Original Sin at E3 2012, the game will ship with the complete editor — the same tools the developers use to create Original Sin. And that means players will be able to make just about everything that appears in the game, including dialog between characters.
That should be a pretty interesting development, considering how involved the fan-created scenarios and levels might be. Original Sin puts players in the role of either a warrior who was formerly imprisoned or a mystic who has been brought back from the dead, and the main story will hinge on dialog both between the two characters and with NPCs as they move through the world. The top-down RPG takes a lot of elements from tabletop games: during dialog, players will be able to choose differing dialog options if they don’t agree on the best way to deal with a situation, and dice rolls will determine whose dialog choices get used for the scenario.
Meanwhile, combat puts an emphasis on strategy and is, in fact, turn-based and heavily influenced by the environment. During the demo, Walgrave showed us how just about anything can be used as a weapon — anything not nailed down can be picked up, moved and manipulated, he said — and players can deal with NPCs in a friendly way, or trigger fights with them by harassing them with weapons.
In dungeons and when going up against actual enemies, there’s an emphasis placed on using both the main characters effectively. One character might knock open barrels of water or oil to change the “surface” of the surrounding area, and the other can then use that surface to trigger effects and spells — electrifying the water, setting the oil on fire, and so on. Changing the environment is key to fighting groups of enemies effectively: Original Sin is more about using your brain than using your sword.
Walgrave said Original Sins’ dungeons won’t be randomized and all the enemy encounters in the game are being hand-placed by developers, in order to create a very specific experience for the player. Players will be able to make a lot of difference in dialog and in how they approach situations, however: multiple endings are available based on how players deal with situations, dialog options change based on how you approach people, and there’s even inter-character banter between the two main characters that each player can affect.
The characters will discuss situations and events — during the demo, the two players were on the trial of a monster who had seduced a woman, and after speaking with her, they could talk about the situation. The dialog even went so far as to allow players to either give the woman a break, so to speak, or to condemn her for her promiscuous ways. It’s interesting in terms of what the characters in Original Sin are like, and how the story unfolds around them based on the characters that players create from those dialog options.
Walgrave said that this is the first Divinity game that has included dialog like this, and Larian is taking the story very seriously. The good news is that, from the short demo at E3 2012 that I saw, it seems Original Sin will live up to that focus on story, or at least will bring quite a lot of it to bear on the RPG experience. The great thing about shipping the game full of mod tools, however, is that players who aren’t satisfied with Original Sin’s story will have all the means they need to create one of their own.