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When making large-scale epic RPGs it often helps to summarise what you are trying to make in a couple of lines, just to ensure you don't lose focus during development. You can spend a lot of time trying to come up with these vision statements, but when we started making Divinity: Original Sin, it didn't take us long to come up with the one above. It's simply what we've always wanted to do. The only reason we haven't made this game before was that the following list never made it past the marketing departments of many a known publisher.
At the end of 2010, in no small part thanks to the success of the previous Divinity games, we finally earned sufficient money to start working on our brainchild on our own, and we decided to become a self-publishing studio.
Fast-forward two years (big RPGs take time to make). Today we are nearing the end of our development cycle and when we look at what we've created so far, we think that we have in our hands the best RPG Larian Studios has ever created. But, we also have the feeling that our job isn't done yet. The game systems we put in place have a lot of potential and because it took us quite some time to create them, we haven't been able to use them to their fullest yet.
That's why we're looking to increase the size of our development team. And because our budget is finite, we decided to come to Kickstarter to ask for your help.
Before explaining what we want to add to the game,let us first illustrate what we have already.
In the game, you control a party of heroes and guide them on a quest to learn a forbidden magic called The Source. This powerful magic was outlawed many centuries ago by the Council of Seven, the rulers of Rivellon, for it is written that from Source the lord of Chaos will spawn. Today, Source magic has been used to overthrow the Council. It's up to our heroes to save the Council and to do this, they'll need to uncover the mysteries of the Source and of those responsible for cursing the Council.
Now as to how you do this, that's entirely up to you: this game is extremely non-linear and rewards exploration. There are many different ways in which you can complete the game successfully.
The game takes place long before Divine Divinity. If you are new to this universe, don't worry. Prior knowledge isn't required to enjoy the story or game mechanics and in fact we think this game is a perfect introduction to the world of Rivellon.
Of course, if you have traveled to Rivellon before, there might be some encounters with familiar characters...
Combat is turn-based. Optimal use of skills, spells, equipment, weapons, item combinations, and even the environment is required to overcome the various challenges the game will set before you. Spend your action points wisely, because this game rewards thinking things through.
The combat system features gameplay rules like action points, initiative, sight and hearing ranges, alertness, flanking, backstabbing, attacks of opportunity...
Heedlessly running past an enemy will expose you to an opportunistic strike. Using your Source powers, you can channel magic energy in many different ways. For instance, you can manipulate the four elements to work together and against each other as you would expect them to.
There are six primary stats and manipulating them in combat can lead to surprising results. For instance, lowering the intelligence of your enemies via a curse spell will cause them to walk into pools of lava uttering words like "look, how shiny". Or if you lower the enemies dexterity, they have a much higher chance of falling down when they cross an ice surface, forcing them to skip their next turn. Or...
Seeing through your enemy's behaviour and reactions is also key to emerging victorious. You can learn the strengths and weaknesses of characters by investing in intelligence and perception, or by fighting the same enemy type often. But you'll also have to use your own brain and find out that, for instance, greedy enemies are attracted to gold drops on the battlefield.
There is also plenty of loot and equipment to be found. But the game does not stop at the typical drops. You may wonder why you can equip a broom, or even a bucket. That may seem ridiculous (yet fun), but you will soon find out that combining seemingly useless items can be very helpful.
Add a knife to that silly broom for instance, and you have your first spear. Or while a mere wooden branch already does a bit of damage, combined with nine inch nails, it becomes a truly dangerous weapon. Or you can throw wooden logs at people to do some damage, but you really should carve them into a wooden doll using a knife, because these dolls can be turned into a voodoo doll with voodoo dust and the right portrait. Or...
Remember, as one of our higher tier backers, you'll get the opportunity to create some creative item combos with us!
Divinity: Original Sin features drop-in/drop-out co-operative multiplayer, in which each player takes full control of a hero.
By full control, we mean that you don't have to stick together. You are free to go and act as you see fit. And when a decision has to be made, both heroes have to agree: just like in a pen and paper RPG, everyone has a voice.
Key to this is our unique Party Dialogue System that has both players participating in an ongoing interaction, given that they're close enough to each other to hear the dialog and intervene. So rather than taking the party leader's final word, every member of the group gets to weigh in on the outcome.
If you don't agree with each other, the game looks at your persuasive abilities. The decision that wins is based on stats, the particular situation and the the approach taken to persuade the party. The game remembers the nature of your decisions as personal traits, and this in turn affects the relation between the party members.
Sticking together with your partner is optional. Feel free to run off and explore on your own, make decisions on your own, keep loot for yourself, and deal with people how you see fit. But be prepared to face the consequences of your actions.
In the event you hear your friend crying for help because he is being torn apart, turn by turn, you have the option to join him or her in turn-based combat. Indeed, it is possible for either player to be in turn-based combat while the other is exploring in real-time. And it is equally possible for both players to have their own turn-based fights at the same time. Surviving such a thing however, is a different story.
The gameworld is diverse, interactive, very much alive, and highly responsive. Anything portable not nailed down is there for you to move,pick up, destroy, open, throw, use or combine. However, be careful what you do. NPCs react to your actions: they won't just stand around while you steal, pillage, vandalize or murder the guy who happened to comment on your misdeeds. They also remember, have their own personal attitude towards you, and are aware of your global reputation. And if you treat your henchmen badly, for instance, you can rest assured that word will spread...
Concept Art of an Orc Warrior. The world is very free and open, and rewards exploration. There are many things to do (or to ignore or reject), and you are invited to go look for them by exploring, reading books, and talking to people. There are many ways to complete the game. There is a beginning, a middle and an end, like every good story should have, but how you fill it up in between is entirely up to you!
We're shipping a very powerful RPG editor with the game: the very same one we are using to build the game. Have it. It's yours!
It has been a very long time since anyone made an RPG editor that allows you to create multiplayer adventures. We are really looking forward to playing your creations together with our friends.
The RPG editor features a world building tool, an item and equipment editor, a character editor, a dialog editor, and a very advanced (yet simple to use) story scripting tool.
You can preview your changes immediately in the game, and import artwork as well as audio. There is even support to work with multiple people on the same story.
The editor will be integrated with Steam Workshop so you can share your adventures with other players online.
We want to increase the development budget so we can increase the size of our development team. We are convinced that we are very close to making a great RPG and we want to rise to the occasion by investing everything we can into it. So far the game has been funded by investors and by our own funds, but we have reached the limit of what we can do on our own. Here's where crowd funding becomes very valuable. Here's where you can make the difference.
Without your support, we think that the result of our efforts will make for a good RPG, but with a bigger budget we'll be able to go the extra mile, and accomplish our full vision for the game, as fantastic as it deserves to be.
We want to put together a secondary design team, backed by extra programmers, artists, animators and testers. We want to make this team as large as we can.
The designers' mission will be to increase the amount of interesting things you can do in the world, as much as possible. The artists and animators are needed to ensure that our game world and the creatures that inhabit it are very diverse. The programmers and testers are necessary to polish everything we add.
Now is a good time time for expanding our team because we have a very mature RPG editor. The more people we put on it, the more of its potential will be unleashed.
While this automatically means:
it also means that we'll be able to increase the depth of each of these gameplay elements. For instance, we want to guarantee that each quest has a meaningful choice/consequence mechanic. We want to ensure that where it makes sense, there are multiple ways to solve a quest. When you move off the beaten path, no matter where, something interesting awaits you.
Should we exceed our target budget we can start thinking on implementing systems that affect the entire game and not just the game world. Features such as deeper character customization, more playable races, more skills, more weapon types BUT ALSO more game editor features, more party members etc.
If you are interested in isometric, "old school" cRPGs, this is the game for you. There haven't been many new games such as this lately, even less with multiplayer. We believe this game truly is something else, and it deserves everything we as a company can throw at it.
And we're not just here for your backing of Divinity Original Sin.
Ever since Larian Studios was founded, we've taken great value in our community, and as such we'll welcome your input as gamers, as backers and as fans. We know that your feedback makes our games better. You've proven it many times before, and we hope you'll prove it again. By backing this project and giving your input, you become part of our team, and an invaluable part of the publication of our game.
Also don't forget our RPG editor.
The more popular Divinity:Original Sin becomes, the more user created content you can expect to see, expanding your enjoyment of the game way beyond the story we provide, be it with more fantastic stories or more combat-oriented dungeon crawls.
You can rest assured that we'll give the editor as much support as we can, not only because it makes commercial sense for us, but also because we truly are looking forward to the day that we'll be playing your stories.
The digital rewards, visual breakdown:
The physical rewards, visual breakdown:
We now support adding extras to your pledge and give you one or more add-ons for it. This way you can customize your rewards.
How, you ask? Well, after you pledge, you can add one (or more) of the following amounts to your pledge. To do this after you have already pledged, click the "Manage Pledge" button and add the amount of the add-on to your pledge. Keep your selected reward tier. Once this Kickstarter is over, we will contact you so that you can specify what add-on(s) you wish to receive for the extra you have pledged.
Digital add-ons require a base pledge of $25. Physical add-ons require a physical tier (starting at $65).
First perhaps an overview for those who missed it. There are two Kickstarter-only items that are a gift to everybody who pledges $10 or more to our campaign: Zandalor's epic trunks of intelligence & the Kickstarter potion.
Everybody who backed our campaign will receive the delightfully evil demonic trunks of Zandalor. We think they will make gaming history so you should consider yourselves very lucky to have them.
Additionally, anyone who gets the game via Kickstarter will also receive the Kickstarter potion. Quaffing the potion will ensure that whenever you play Divinity: Original Sin (or for that matter, whenever somebody else plays the game with you), it will be clear that you were part of the brave legion that supported our campaign to make this the best RPG we can.
Anybody who pledges $50 or more, will be able to write a message which will be carved in one of the trees in the Dark Forest for everybody to see. Since this is something that all players will see, there will be certain constraints, but we're quite flexible.
Anybody who pledges $95 or more, will receive an in-game engraving tool with which you can engrave messages on any piece of in-game equipment. You will be able to engrave as many pieces of equipment as you want, and give them to people you play the game with online.
Everybody who pledges above $95 will be included in the credits of the game as a backer