Belgian game developer Larian Studios — best known for making hardcore role-playing games like Divine Divinity and Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga — launched a Kickstarter campaign this week for Divinity: Original Sin, the next RPG in the Divinity series.
Unlike previous Divinity Games, Larian Studios is self-publishing Original Sin and is asking for $400,000 to put together a secondary design team of extra programmers, artists, animators and testers to make the game larger than what the studio currently has.
Speaking to Polygon, Larian Studios founder, Swen Vincke said the studio fought to maintain the Divinity IP, and now that it is self-publishing, it can finally make the RPG it originally wanted to make.
"With the previous Divinity games, turn-based combat was not allowed back in the day with the publisher we were working for," he said. "We wanted the first and second Divinity to have multiplayer, but it was canceled both times under publisher pressure. So with this one, we said, 'OK, we're going to do turn-based combat. We're going to do multiplayer."
"We will not release it if we're not happy with it."
In addition to introducing turn-based combat and multiplayer to the in-depth RPG, Larian Studios is also releasing the game's level editor, which will allow players to create their own content. The level editor is the same tool the developers use to make the game. Vincke told Polygon that in order for a multiplayer RPG with scope and depth to have longevity, it's important to release a level editor so the community can create different adventures and share them with each other.
The game is currently at a point where it has fleshed-out levels, characters, a turn-based combat system with skills, spells, equipment, weapons and item combinations. When Polygon was shown a demo of the game prior to the launch of the Kickstarter campaign, two players were able to jump into the game in co-op multiplayer and quest with each other. The demo we were shown had plenty of looting, strategic combat and a sprawling world with villages and environments to explore.
According to Vincke, development on Original Sin has been very different without a publisher, and he feels that the studio isn't wasting as much time as it was when it was trying to appease a publisher.
"We were losing time proving that we were going to hit milestones, proving that it wasn't too big a risk ..."
"The thing I remember when we were doing Divinity 2 for a publisher was, at some point, we had two teams working separate from each other: one team made the game while the other team prepared presentations for the publisher to show them that we were making the game," he said. "We were losing time proving that we were going to hit milestones, proving that it wasn't too big a risk ... there wasn't a lot of experimentation going on."
With Divinity: Original Sin, Vincke admits that not having a publisher now means there are certain financial limits to what they can do, but ultimately, "we will not release it if we're not happy with it," he said.
Divinity: Original Sin is currently on Kickstarter and is in development for Windows PC, with Mac and Linux versions currently being considered. At the time of writing, it has raised $144,250 of its $400,000 funding goal. More information about the game and the Kickstarter campaign can be viewed here.