Divinity: Original Sin Documentary | Gameumentary

Divinity: Original Sin Documentary | Gameumentary

Being at the head of a studio that had a very hard time keeping its head above water, obviously was sometimes tough, but more than often it was actually a lot of fun. The dark times obviously were when there was not enough money to pay the team This was because then I always had to take very big personal risks. And I did it because I believed that what we were working on was gonna work eventually. [David]
When I started working at Larian, we had weekly contracts. So every Friday afternoon we would sign the contract for the next week. We had a one week contract because we never knew when our last week would be. [Swen]
I’ve had moments where I was trying to put gasoline in my car
and my bank card just ended and I was standing there, and I had no fuel, I couldn’t pay it. I had to call my wife/partner, we’re not married but we’ve been together for a long time, and I said ‘I need cash to pay the bloody fuel’, so I was still making payroll but I didn’t have anything. [David]
An employee would say on Friday, ‘well I’m not coming in next week’. They would say ‘I’m not gonna sign it because I’m done with Larian.’ [Swen]
We could have avoided a lot of our misery if
we would have been ready sooner with our games and if we would have been better at making them. But at the same time because we dared to reach for the sky, the ambitions were there, and we reached where other people would not reach because they would have been much more pragmatic. And so, what was our biggest weakness was also our biggest strength,
which was rather annoying, and it’s something that I didn’t want to give up. Larian studios started I guess in 96, 97, something like that. And me and a friend managed to get a ticket in to ECTS, which was like the European E3. And we went with our floppy disks, we went to everybody showing the screenshots, and a guy from Atari picked it up. One thing led to another, and he gave us our first contract. And that was a $50,000 contract, so that was a huge amount of money back then for us. And this was going to become our first RPG. The project from which Larian was essentially founded was called ‘Ragnarok and Less’. It was a stupid name, like a few other names that we had. It was an RPG inspired by Ultima 7, so you could already back then move objects around, could actually climb on the roofs even. There wasn’t a lot of gameplay yet, so we didn’t have any editors to make the story, nothing to the dialogues,
everything was text files. so it was very primitive as a pipeline behind it, which we didn’t know yet that it was primitive back then, we thought it was awesome, and it had very rudimentary combat. It was really
a point and click if you want, in terms of combat. But it looked pretty, it was sufficiently convincing to make you think,
‘well this could be a very cool game’. Unfortunately Atari decided to stop making computer games, in fact, this was in the days of the Jaguar, and after Jack Tramiel had a heart attack, and so the company was sold to a floppy disk manufacturer called JTS, and so they told us, ‘well, your deal that you had hoped to have, is gone.’ So the friend bailed out, I continued, got a few other friends involved, and started working on something which was built
on that RPG we were making together with Atari, which would become The Lady, The Mage & The Knight, our first real RPG. But nobody wanted to sign it, because it was too ambitious, this was a team that hadn’t done anything before, and so we decided to make a small RTS. this was a time when everybody was making RTSs, and that became The LED Wars, So we worked on The LED Wars in the evening, we worked on LMK during the day. It was hard to get by at that time, so we didn’t have a lot of money. But we managed to sign in the one week, both the LED Wars
and The Lady, The Mage & The Knight. The Lady , The Mage & The Knight with a German publisher, Attic Entertainment, and the LED wars with an American publisher called Ionos. The important thing about the LED Wars was that it was our first finished game. So we actually made a game, we published it, that gave us pedigree, in that sense,
so it showed that we could finish something. And it was a big learning experience for us also to actually finish something. The guys I was working with at that time bailed out also because the risks, became bigger. Then, the first Larian team was built in ’97 in a small electronics shop which had no windows but one, the entrance window, I wouldn’t want to go back there. Our furniture was made of Coca-Cola boxes with the wooden planks on top of it. That was the benches, and we always joked that that was our reserve cash, because you could take the bottles and bring them to the supermarket
and they would give you some money for it, And we actually had to use it once. [Voiceover]
The legend of the mage wars tells of three heroes who gave their lives
in saving a people from imminent apocalypse. Those of the island Rulat became victims of a war between might and magic. They starved and died, and would have lost all if it hadn’t been for a lady elf, an apprentice mage, and a young knight. [Swen]
So The Lady, The Mage, & The Knight was an RPG
that you could play alone, or with friends where you could control three characters. Either individually, or one of your friends could control one of the other characters. So you had a Lady, you had a Mage and you had a Knight. It was an RPG set on an island with a big wizard tower
in the center of it and a swamp around it, and it had everything that you found in Ultima VII. So lots of exploration,
lots of interaction with the world. It told the story of three protagonists: of that Lady, of that Mage, of that Knight, who were separated from each other at the start of the game, and that you had to bring back together, and then you had to go fight the ultimate evil,
whose name was Olhix at the time. and it had a real time, with pause, combat system. It had a lot of the things that you find back actually in Original Sin. It looked really good at the time. It was an 8-bit game, but it looked really good. And the problem with that game is that our then publisher Attic Entertainment was inspired by Diablo, that they saw at E3. Diablo II, which is a 16-bit game, and so they said we need to make a 16-bit colour game, not an 8-bit colour game because that is the future. Diablo II is doing it but
Diablo II was still far from complete back then. And so they had us redo all of the assets. They sent developers over from Germany to come and aid us, and to fund it they said we should change the setting in which the game is set. Instead of your own universe that you were creating here, we’re gonna put it in a universe called Das Schwarze Auge, which is The Dark Eye. You know it from games like Realms of Arkania Sternenschweif (Star Trail). and so essentially they asked us to remake everything, and they were gonna fund that, but they went bankrupt. We were just happy that we were making games. We were in Belgium, we were a games studio, we had
somebody paying us to make this thing, and that was just something that wasn’t done,
so we felt very special that we were doing this. It only dawned on us that we were in a lot of trouble when the money stopped flowing. So when the money didn’t come in anymore it was like ‘oooh, we have a problem’. I don’t think there was cash to pay the next month. I had let it last way too long because I kept on hoping, because here was my baby about to die. And I participated in a lot of talks with Attic, I thought
there was a plan to get us out of there. I still had actually a lot of faith in them, but it just didn’t materialise. We were literally one month away from closing. So, I couldn’t make payroll at the end of the month and the
developers that had come over from Germany were stranded here essentially because they weren’t being paid back home either, and so that created quite a stressful situation, and that was essentially
what led to the end of The Lady, The Mage and the Knight. I pulled the plug on it at some point because I had 30 people here and I couldn’t pay them. So we needed to do something different and that something different became
a whole bunch of work for hire projects to basically pay the debts. I think we made 20 or 30 games back then. And out of the ashes of The Lady, The Mage and the Knight
then Divine Divinity came to be. We signed with another German publisher which was called CDV and yeah, that was an entire different adventure. [Borislav]
What I loved about Divine Divinity was many things, but the first thing that comes to my mind was the music. I love the music in Divine Divinity, and I still remember the title theme, I still remember many of the themes which were playing throughout the game, and once in a while, I reinstall the game, and I play it, and actually now it’s on my computer. [Jan]
One day I got a copy of that game, and the music was amazing. And then the game just really drew me in, it was a fantastic RPG. [Kevin]
At the time, it sort of split the difference between Baldur’s Gate and Diablo, so it had like a lot of the action elements of Diablo but it had,
sort of, the storytelling and choice elements of Baldur’s Gate. [Edouard]
I have a lot of respect for this game and for the people who worked on it, including Swen. Because with what they had at the time, and the freestyle the
organisation that was theirs, they accomplished something fantastic. Suspended in time, it’s like it looks, like, so end of 90s, early 2000s, the systems are from that time, the graphics are from that time, but there is like a breath of magic in this game. You can sense the inspiration of people, and I’m not saying this because I work here, but it’s just, you can see it. [Swen]
The elevator pitch for Divine Divinity, which was not called Divine Divinity back then, it was called Divinity: The Sword of Lies, but essentially you had Diablo, an action RPG with multiplayer, and
then you had a game with strong narrative systems. You blend them together and you have Divinity. Divinity was heavily based on The Lady, the Mage and the Knight. A lot of the thinking what went in to The Lady, the Mage and the Knight, made it in to Divinity and was like a version 3 of
the Lady, the Mage and the Knight if you want. The first version was the original version, the second version was the
16-bit version, and then you had Divinity. The direction for Divine Divinity was really inspired by Ultima VII and the combat system became hack and slash because that was the rage back then, and this was an easy one to sell to a publisher. If it was a hack and slash game with something unique, word was you could make money. And so that was literally what it was, but my personal real interest in Divinity was getting the world exploration, the interaction, the system telling
stories to players, the emerging narrative, that was the thing that I was interested in. So when you look at the game that I was really inspired by, Ultima VII, that game didn’t drive on its combat system. It had a shit combat system. Like really bad, and it didn’t really drive on its character systems, I mean, I don’t remember what they were. But the sense of exploration, and that behind every single corner there
was something that you could believe in that led to led to a fantastic situation, that was very very very strong, and so that’s what I wanted to make with the Divinity series. I always wanted to have something where every single corner
could be the start of a grand adventure. That you enter a house, you don’t know what’s happening and
before you know it you are involved in something really awesome. That started in Divinity 1, and it’s something that you
will find in every single game that we did. The thing that really interested me in all of those things was how doing that creates stories that players make themselves. So it’s like giving the players a big toolbox, a universe in which there is a narrative, and then having them turn that narrative in to their own narrative. [Lorean]
Being able to manipulate things in those games, like
for example in other games like Baldur’s Gate you did not really have the manipulation that you can have in Larian Studios games. You can manipulate the environment around you, and even
Divine Divinity had these kind of things. And those were moments that give more personality to the player. [Kevin]
I think everybody remembers the existential skeletons. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s this moment where these two skeletons are basically having a conversation about ‘how is it that we can speak when we have no vocal cords?’ ‘how is it that we can breathe?’ that kind of thing, and then they have an existential crisis and they explode. [Skeleton 1]
You can’t eat ‘cos you don’t have a stomach! [Skeleton 2]
Ah ha! So how can we speak? We don’t have no vocal cords either! Answer that Mr. Clever! [Kevin]
And I think that’s a moment that certainly sticks in my mind because it was funny, and there weren’t a lot of games that were funny in that specific way. I mean, we had funny games, but we didn’t have games that were that clever and interesting about their humour. [Swen]
That was a fan favourite actually created by a fan who happened to pass by in the office and he told us “well it would be interesting” and we said “oh yeah,
that’s a really good situation, let’s put it in the game.” So there were these little silly things that were in there that made you smile. That was important in the entire Divinity series, that the game made you smile. Those are the ones I remember more than I remember the main narrative. The story really came in as an afterthought. We made it in three days, that was the story, because we were really focused on the systems, on building the world,
on giving you a good time. The one central thing that we took with us throughout the series was the story about this man who adopted the child of evil
because he couldn’t bring himself to kill it and that in itself brought about calamity for the world, so it was about individual vs collective and something that we have
taken through multiple Divinities. But we should have done our homework a little bit better on the world building, because we would have had a lot less troubles later on in the series, and we actually only started making a real universe with Original Sin 2, because one of the biggest criticisms we had on Original Sin 1 was the story was built like we made the story of Divinity 1, we made it up on the spot.
Without actually really thinking things through. With DOS 2 that was different, we actually thought about the story, we started with building the universe and it made all the difference. The very first version that was released was released in Germany. I was doing a press tour at the time, and I wasn’t aware that it was
going to be released, because it was so buggy still. When I actually realised what was happening I said ‘it’s not ready’, but it was the end of the financial quarter, the producer and the publisher had decided that it was good enough, so let’s release it because they didn’t really believe any more in the game. At least management didn’t. It was a game that was too different from all the other successes that they had and they were tired of putting money and resources in to it because I kept on asking for more QA and more time and more money. The new development director asked me to send him a letter in which I would explain what was necessary for making the game really good. And so the very first thing that I wrote is that it needs polish. If we have the time to polish it this is gonna be a really good game,
it’s gonna sell a lot of units. And then obviously, I didn’t get any of that and everything that I
wrote in that letter was used against me. It was a real pity because you could see that it was really good. I mean we had testers come in, they were playing through the entire summer, they were students, and you could see that it was going to be
a lot of fun and it was a lot better than people expected it. But they refused to see it, they didn’t want to see it, they wanted it out there. This was the second time I had a very bad experience with a German publisher, I was gonna have another very bad one later on, but it hurt, because soon after I had to close the studio almost, right? We went down to three people. There were all these articles. ‘What a great game’, ‘what a fantastic game’, ‘you should be playing this’, ‘game of the month’, that kind of thing, Right? And then there you were looking like no money coming in,
critical success everywhere, an empty studio. It was a very hard time. I almost cracked then, but I didn’t. After Divinity and having to fire pretty much all of the team, I started thinking about what happened, and I was looking at
the critical acclaim and I was wondering, ‘how do these people make money?’ ‘How do these publishers make money?’ I mean I can’t have made such a flop if this game is popular, and I have no idea what the sales figures were, obviously. And I had an agent and I asked her this question, ‘how do publishers work?’ because before that moment I had never wondered how does a publisher work. And so she explained it to me and I said ‘well, that’s not that hard’. So why don’t we go and talk directly to the distributors,
and why don’t we find money to print disks? Right, why don’t we go to distributors, get them to pay for these discs, and use that money to make the game, which is essentially what the publishers were doing. And so, that’s what happened with Beyond Divinity. So we used the engine, and that’s where I discovered that it actually had done very well because the distributors were standing in line to sign it up. Beyond Divinity was the game that we started working on when I reassembled the team after we had to fire pretty much everybody. It was built on Divine Divinity and the goal was really simple: to make money. Because we needed money if we wanted to continue as a team. And I had done something super stupid when signing up with CDV for Divine Divinity. I had stopped all the work for hire, because I was so sick and tired of working on a gambling game or
working on games that I really wasn’t passionate about. I said ‘let’s stop all of that, let’s just everything Divinity,
it’ll be a huge success, we will do really well.’ Obviously, it did really well, it just didn’t earn any money, so we were back where we started actually, and so the very first thing I did was start up a second track where we had work for hire, and so the new model of the business was gonna be we work on a Divinity, or any other game that we want to work on, but there’s gonna be
always something that is work for hire, we need two horses to bet on, so if one of them fails we always
have the other one to sustain the business, because I’m not going through the emotional pain of firing everybody again. So we started working on a game for a broadcaster, which was called The Creative Community KetnetKick, and it was like an American Idol for kids, in which kids could make all kinds of movies, cartoons, little dances, they could send them to the broadcaster, broadcaster showed them on TV,
made the kid famous within the 3D world, and so like this you created a kind of creative feedback loop that was awesome. It was very new, very innovative. And at the same time, we worked on Beyond Divinity. So on Beyond Divinity we financed with minimum guarantees from distributors. That’s basically where the distributor agrees to buy X amount of copies
of the game upfront before it’s even made. And so this brought in a lot of cash in to the company and for a while there we had the sense like ‘we can start working on stuff. We’re fueled.’ In Beyond Divinity, you had this idea that you had two characters that you were controlling that you could separate and send in different directions of the world and affect the world and so organise puzzles around them. A little bit like Day of the Tentacle, from Lucasarts, a long time ago. We had this idea of summoning dolls, that were present, which was basically that you would have a kind of
summoning creature that you could then equip. That was one of the inspirations for the entire incarnate thing that we did in Original Sin 2. There were a bunch of things that didn’t work on Beyond Divinity that were also very interesting when it came to the design of the Original Sins,
again to do with the two characters. For instance there was the entire idea of ‘make your own skill’ that you could do. There was this ‘create your own skill tree’ and that wasn’t a lot of fun, but it was an idea that kept on popping up so we tried it, we saw why it wasn’t fun, so we learned from that also, so a lot of insights being done, and it was also our first foray into 3D actually, because in Beyond Divinity you had 3D characters, so you could zoom in, zoom out. It was also the game that you could play as all kinds of body
constitutions so we learned fooling around with that. [David]
I wasn’t around with Divine Divinity but I was a big fan. I knew about the patches and I knew that you were supposed to wait, and this and that, and we had the exact same problem with Beyond Divinity, we released early. We could postpone it a bit, but not by much, and not enough, so we knew when we were releasing Beyond Divinity, that it wasn’t the perfect game, and it wasn’t the game that we set out to make. Even if I joined later on in the development, I learned a lot of the things that were still in there, when you
start it up with different console commands, you would get a turn based game with action points, sounds familiar right? Because that was one of the things that we wanted to do,
because we believed in the fact that it would work. There were quests, completely rewritten, just to be able to fit it
in the timeframe that we had, so for instance one of the examples that I remember is there was a dungeon planned where you had to get something for an imp, it was some sort of a fetchy fetch quest, and it got cut so much that in the beginning of the dungeon there was
simply a table with an imp there saying ‘I need Mushroom X’ and you would go to the next room, the mushroom would be there,
you picked it up and you brought it back to the table. So this took like 20 seconds, but this was an
entire dungeon and an entire story that got cut, but because that story was so tied in with everything else, you had to keep it. And it was very silly when you got there because you had no idea, if you think as a gamer, and you see that quest, it’s not even a quest, you think ‘what happened here? Am I missing something? Is there a secret door somewhere, is there a hatch?’ You don’t know! and that’s when you realise ‘okay, not getting enough money or time to put in this game to finish it Is really breaking the game. [Swen]
Yeah, it was not our best game, it was probably our worst Divinity, and that was really because A: skeleton crew, B: cash project. It had an interesting story to a certain extent, but there were bits in there, especially the parts after the first part that weren’t… yeah, they were definitely not the best that we’ve ever made, and that was really about speed and production, and rather than care for the world and love for everything that was going on. But there were cool ideas in there, ideas that we would return back to later as the studio matured. [David]
We knew that if we wanted Larian to survive, we had to become next gen. We couldn’t keep on making 2D or isometric RPGs. Everyone was making action RPGs, everyone was making
third person RPGs, everyone was doing the 3D thing. Divine Divinity was fully 2D, Beyond we made the characters in 3D, in between we actually made one of the children’s games completely in 3D, so we already had this experience, and we tried out different things, and we knew this was one of the things that we had to do or we would get killed by the competition. Also, I think that Larian has always wanted to grow. We always want to do something better, we need to step it up every time, because otherwise you just get stuck in making the same game over and over again, and your audience doesn’t grow, your know-how doesn’t grow, and people will grow tired of it. [Swen]
Initially, when we started on Divinity 2, we were going down the traditional route. We looked for a publisher to publish everything, to pay for everything, and that wasn’t really working out, but we weren’t panicking yet because we had money that we earned through the work for hire projects. But as per usual we were starting to get tired of them because we really wanted to be making RPGs. [David]
During the production, I was half of the time working on the children’s games and half of the time helping out on Divinity 2 with all the knowledge that I had gathered through Beyond Divinity, because at that point a lot of people in the team were still very new to game development and even with just working here for like a year I already had more experience than most of the lead programmers, for instance. We were still a very young company, a lot of people were leaving and a lot of people were coming in. Some people were using Larian as a stepping stone, other people thought there’s nothing to do in development. ‘I’m a programmer, I can make better money somewhere else’. They saw working at Larian Studios as a bit of a risk, for instance some people couldn’t get a loan from their bank because they were working at Larian Studios. [Swen]
This was also the moment when the Xbox 360 was coming, and there was a big transition happening in the game industry
in terms of production values. I was seeing a lot of my peer developers jump on DS development or Wii development, and these were platforms that were not so complicated to develop for. This is because the production values of the Xbox are too ambitious, So I said we have to choose, what are we gonna do? And I said, well we should be there, we should be at the vanguard of game development, so we should be doing that, so in one go we said ‘let’s make it for Xbox 360 and for PC’ and let’s make this our first 3D game, and let’s instantly for your first console project make you fly around like a dragon,
walk around in the world, so super ambitious again, right? [David]
We wanted to be different in action RPGs in that we thought
that the story had to be very important as well. So we wanted to have more quest branches for instance. So we didn’t want to have the simple quest where you have to
go and fetch the mushroom for the imp. We wanted to have different solutions to all the mushrooms and the different imps. What if you kill the imp? What if you already have a mushroom? What if you don’t want to give him a mushroom? Can you tell him to ‘go and get the mushroom yourself? What are you, lazy?’ So we wanted more reality in there. ‘Go and get your axe yourself, go and find your mushroom yourself’, so these are things that we wanted to get in there and the
publisher thought it’s not necessary, and we had a very elaborate quest in the beginning of the
game that we were always showing to the press, to show all these different things you could do in that quest, how you could solve it, how you could tick people off in different ways, how you could join a certain faction and all these kinds of things that we wanted to do to show the
strength and the complexity of the RPG. And that of course obviously takes time because it’s extra scripting
but they didn’t think it was necessary in an action RPG. [Jan]
It was quite a big shift from Divine Divinity and from Beyond Divinity, they had moved to a third person standpoint, they had a big 3D world, and I have to say it felt very exciting actually to work on this. It is a shift, sure, but that’s fine, they were trying something new, they had great gameplay ideas, and definitely the morph in to the dragon for instance was something fantastic, something we had never seen before. It felt like a logical step in to the future while at the same time staying true to the core values of a Divinity game. You could see that it kept the Larian spark. It’s built upon Divine Divinity mostly in terms of story, it was a continuation of the story, and one of the things I remember most fondly is actually taking characters that I really really enjoyed encountering in the original game, and then, up to a certain point of course, making them my own
because now I was writing them. So there was, for instance, Zandalor, kind of the Gandalf of
the series, so he made an appearance, and then we created all kinds of new characters as well, of
course, but we had a lot of references to the other games, the Divine himself, you know, the Avatar of the first game, came back there as an NPC because now you were a new hero, you were a dragon knight, so definitely all the original building blocks of the story were
there and we expanded upon that. [Swen]
I started working on this actually based on an idea originally by Rhianna Pratchett, who came up with a little story about a guy that was sitting in a
tavern that turned out to be a draconoid. That’s how the entire Dragon Knight Saga thing came to be. It had nothing to do anymore with that story but still
it was the idea of the dragon was born. It was an awesome concept and the real big problem that we had with it was that when you’re flying around as a dragon at I don’t know what speed, and you can land at any moment in time, there should always be content, and so we severely underestimated the quantity of content that
needed to be made to sustain that vision, so that was a bit of a problem. The other problem was that we never got the dragon combat right, so we learned there as many other developers would learn, how hard it is to get dragon combat to work, because we tried a lot of stuff. But still, I mean it was an ambitious beautiful game, a lot of great concepts, a lot of them that never made it that we will maybe introduce in to future games, and it was a lot of fun making it. Except, as per usual, crisis hit. Our publisher just started receiving back all of the cartridges that I had put in to the stores and that hadn’t sold, and they took a huge financial hit on it, and they got in to dire straits. We got affected by that and suddenly this game had to ship,
and obviously Larian was again not ready, because we had been ambitious and had been
exploring stuff and we had been fooling around not really knowing what we were doing, trying to figure out something cool with it. [David]
Releasing Divinity II too early again, was the 2nd time for me that we released a game- and you actually kind of see it coming. But you think that this time we have a better game, and we did have a better game, like technologically it was way ahead of Beyond Divinity, we also thought that combat was really good, we had a lot of cool quests in the beginning. In the beginning, because we could constantly flesh out and iterate over the beginning. And then you see the reviews coming in and people seem to
understand what you are trying to do, but as soon as they reach the middle of the game they know
that you didn’t succeed in going all the way. [Swen]
It was very frustrating, it was very dark days for Larian then. I think a lot of people were angry, several people left, so yeah it didn’t go down very well. There was a lot of introspection going on, there were some fights inside of the studio over what had happened, but I think that the net result was a positive. We had made a massive game, I mean it was fairly open world, in which you could fly, that ran on a console, and it was our very first console game, so it was essentially a statement. [David]
We ended up fixing Divinity 2. When we released it for console, there were a lot of things
that we fixed and that we rewrote and that we added to it. So I think if we had been given extra time we could have made a better game, a whole lot better game, because it’s not just about all the content that you want to be able to create, it’s also about certain bugs that never get squashed, and certain bugs that get flagged as a minor aren’t looked at when you’re releasing, but most of those really minor bugs, 99% of your players will
see it and will get really frustrated with them. So everyone is just fixing blockers and crashers but there’s more things to it than that. [Swen]
The fact that we could finish it because we released the
Dragon Knight Saga which was like the improved version, which got a Metacritic of 82, up from a Metacritic of 72, that was a statement that showed that we could actually make these type of games. It got quite a lot of fans, it sold really well also, like all the Divinities by the way, they always sold well, we just never saw the money. Here, too, we had a publisher that was going bankrupt, there was discussions of the revenue and so forth. That made it complicated going forwards, but the seeds had been sown, and it had been sown sufficiently strong that you could convince
outside financing to put money in to it. And once the team started seeing that I think that turned it in to a positive. And so that game shipped a lot sooner than it should have shipped, and so it was our worst Metacritic that we’ve ever had, and that was very painful, like ‘how the hell did we end here, and how the hell do we make sure that it never happens again?’ And the answer to that was like ‘well, we can’t work with publishers. It just doesn’t work. Right? Every single time when somebody gets involved, because of the way that we work, maybe because of who I am, it just doesn’t click, it doesn’t work. We can’t have intervention from the outside, so we need to do
something where we can be standing on our own feet. Luckily for us Divinity II actually sold quite a lot of units. Based on that and the pedigree of the previous Divinities
that had sold quite a lot of units also, I could go to venture capitalists and could show them ‘look, this is all the units that we made, and this is all the money that was lost with the publisher. Imagine that the money comes to Larian. After Ego Draconis’ catastrophic release, there was a lot of energy because we started working on something new. Dragon Commander, which nobody knew what it was going
to be but it just always looked awesome, right? It had a dragon, it had jetpacks and the gameplay was changing
every single day but it looked awesome. [David]
We were working on Dragon Commander because we came out of Divinity II thinking the dragon gameplay, we can do something more with it. When we redid Divinity II for console, we finally got the dragon combat right, so we thought ‘we can make a game out of this.’ And the initial idea was, ‘let’s quickly make a 10-15 Euro dragon combat game much like After Burner or something. You know, you’re just flying and you’re shooting stuff, and then you have a cut scene, and you’re flying and you’re shooting stuff again. Obviously this became Dragon Commander, that’s not just an After Burner game, you have to manage your party. It became Wing Commander. Dragon Commander comes from Wing Commander. So it became a lot more. [Lorean]
There were three different types that we had in mind, so we wanted the first full air combat, but this was deemed not that fun overall because you needed to build air bases and it didn’t really flow that well overall, so then they went to valley-based combat, and partly mid-air so that you were in valleys flying around on your dragon. The ideas were nice but in practice in just didn’t feel right, you know? Sometimes it happens, you have good game ideas, it doesn’t work out. So eventually we went back to ground-based combat much like other RTSs but in full 3D so you can have a 360 environment, you can just fly around everywhere. So we went with that, a combination of ground combat while being able to control your dragon personally in the air much like an RPG shooter type of game. It was a very strange game, you had base management, you had to talk to people, you had unit management, you had this overview map with
turn based combat and then you had an RTS. People thought like ‘what’s this potpourri of game genres?’ What are you trying to do? No one is gonna play this, no one is gonna understand it. But if you’ve been playing games since the 80s you know that this type of stuff works. They’ve been mixing genres all over the place, so it works. The funny thing was that we were actually working on 3 games at the same time, so a part of the team was working on Dragon Commander, a part of the team was preparing to work on Original Sin, and another team was working on a children’s game called Monkey Tales. [Swen]
Eyes of a Child, which would become Divinity Original Sin,
was less attractive because it was again an RPG. Originally it was a real time- an RPG with real time combat, and after one legendary morning when I was- a shower thought, of all things, I said ‘we’re not going to make a real time game again, let’s make
it turn based, something that we always wanted to do.’ And so we changed everything in to a turn based and that turned out
to be a really cool move because everything came from there. [David]
We also said ‘let’s quickly make this isometric RPG where you can run around as a man or a woman, and it’s this character and it’s that character because we know how to make RPGs. We’re gonna make a 3D isometric RPG because no one is doing that. It was also supposed to be an Xbox arcade game. One of those cheap, dumbed down RPGs, you finish it in 15 hours and it’s €20 or something. But then you start creating the technology that you need and you start seeing things that people are not doing and things that you should be doing, and these things start growing. To be able to finish Dragon Commander, we had to keep on putting people on that project. So Original Sin was bleeding a bit because there was a really
small team working on it and they were not getting anywhere because they didn’t get the direction that they deserved because everyone was focusing so hard on finishing Dragon Commander. So Dragon Commander broke even. It never really turned a profit, I think it turned a very small profit in the end but that wasn’t enough to run the company, I mean it didn’t make sense to keep on doing this kind of thing. And Original Sin, because it catered to our Divinity RPG audience, should make a profit. When it came between Dragon Commander and Original Sin, the thinking was Original Sin is the last chance. I looked at which game had the most chance of succeeding in the market, and it was clear it was going to be Original Sin. There was no doubt about it. And then the decision was easy, right? So it was shift most resource to Original Sin and the extra risks which meant extra loans with banks, extra mortgages, pretty much risking everything. We put it on the horse that we were sure that was going to make it to the finish line. It was called Eyes of the Child, it was supposed to be a small RPG. Very focused. And the reasoning was like in the past we were always overly ambitious, so let’s make a game that is a bit smaller in scope and make sure that everything is finished because we learned that polish was so important. But yeah, we’re incapable, or at least I’m incapable of making something small. [David]
The early days on Original Sin 1, we were working on a very different game than what it ended up like. We were just going to make a 12 hour, 20 hour game, a top down RPG because we also looked at what you already have on the 360 in terms of RPGs and it didn’t have the type of RPGs that we make. So we would have fixed characters, no character creation or anything. A very fixed story. Not too much treasure and item fever, but really trying to tell a story. [Swen]
It was a story of a boy that was being abducted, and the boy had the ability, when he painted, everything became reality. And so you were going to be going in the RPG where you’re going to chase this boy and everything that he was doing was your environment essentially. We have visual prototypes of that where you can actually see
the shadows change everything, it looked really cool but it wasn’t sufficient to build a grand hero’s journey on it and so that all got dropped the day that the decision was made to make it a bigger game, so then that’s how then we basically redid everything. [Lorean]
The project was about remade three times, or re-envisioned three times, and eventually we came with the concept of a world covered in
Source, you know, that’s what the premise is about, and about two Source guardians basically, that have a
sort of amnesia, they don’t know anything anymore. They fell from the sky so they were disgraced basically out of their position. But that was the idea we started up on. [David]
The beginning of the project was a bit of a slow start. A lot of bumps, trying to find our way. Trying to find what we were going to do. A lot of iterations. But in hindsight, if you look for instance at the way that we starting making combat, we had a very simple system in the beginning that if you had released the game with that, everyone would have said ‘combat is too simplistic. It’s stupid.’ But we made a very simple basis and we kept on adding stuff on top of it and we kept everything so systemic that it kept on working
with everything that we already had and that made the entire game so much fun. So the iteration and we keep on changing things, actually, for us it works. Larian has been constructed so that it works with iterations, right? So the very first thing you get told when you get hired, ‘we iterate a lot, so you either learn to live with it or you can’t work here, it just doesn’t work otherwise.’ [David]
And we were just building levels, and trying out certain art directions, and finding out that what we could build with that editor that we had, all the stories that we could tell, we should make it a bit more advanced. I very very very strongly believe that the narrative
should be told from the systems of the game, and the interactions that you have with the game world. And so it’s present ever since the very first game and it’s
heavily inspired by games like Ultima, which I think had similar design principles. There’s been a very strong focus in the games industry since the late 90s to have the narrative first and the systems were a bit forgotten, or you had systems only. Right, and so everything that Larian does is to mix them together and then add multiplayer on that, and that’s what I want to play. Hand holding has always been a no-no. Sometimes to the frustration of players, and that is because we want them to create their own narrative, so we want them to use the systems that are present to
make solutions for what they encounter in the world because that’s the coolest stories. I handled this my way. ‘This guy came to me and wanted to do this, but you know what I did?’ That’s how you tell stories about a game and that’s what’s
cool about pen and paper roleplaying games also. In every single quest that we make that is actually the way that we look at it. How can we make this about the player creating his own story? [David]
Making a game that’s not too handholdy comes from frustration from playing other RPGs, where you think like, ‘this is a bit stupid, do these people think I’m stupid, where’s the challenge?’ This is not logical, that I would know this. All these little things, and then again you start
thinking of all the games that you used to play, where you had your little textbook next to you and you
would write down clues and locations and things. You didn’t have internet to look up stuff, sometimes you had to
wait for a magazine to know the solution. Like, sometimes it’s little things and we didn’t think that handholding was that much fun. If you’re talking to someone and they give you a quest, and you have to do a bit of detective work but the
solution is already there, there’s no fun in it! We put so much gameplay in giving you a big quest where you don’t have a clue what to do because that’s like normal life. “There’s been a murder! Solve it!” [Lorean]
I do think the approach that people can have in Original Sin 1, even the first quest that they have is already allowing them tonnes of freedom. There are so many ways to approach the death of a certain character, Jake in this case, that you can solve it in at least 4,5,6 ways, which is a large amount already. So you can talk to an animal with pet pal speech, you can convince certain types of characters to spell it out for you, you can find evidence, you can also just skip it all together at the start and
continue on your own direction first and do all the other quests. So there is several ways of approaching it, and even the beginning quest is a good example of the freedom that you have in Original Sin 1. [Swen]
The biggest hurdle for me personally is figuring out how to build the world, and what story we’re going to tell in it and how to make sure that at every single point you have something interesting to do and how you can still make that work with the story where you
don’t know who is still gonna be alive. Telling a story we don’t know if a protagonist or
antagonist is gonna be present is bloody hard. Especially if you can have multiple players walking around in there, and they can be doing all kinds of shenanigans, and making
sure that every single quest still somehow allows you to get to the finish because we always said
well, this is our famous end plus one design, you can be guaranteed whatever you do you can finish a story somehow. That was the biggest one, and it created a lot of problems down the road because we kept on changing the story
as we realised problems were happening, and creating story is, you start somewhere, and then you start bifurcating and bifurcating and bifurcating, then you say ‘ah man that doesn’t work.’ Backtrack, backtrack, ah shit I got to change this, oh man it’s already in production. Right, that was probably the biggest problem and you can
read that as not knowing what you want to do, but you can also read it as ‘figuring out as you go, what are
some of the problems that you are encountering?’ And some of the things that you could foresee, and some of the
things for which you made solutions sometimes aren’t fun and then you’d have to change that. 2nd biggest hurdle has always been a problem, related to world building, Is space. How much gameplay space do you need to tell something. The very first versions of Original Sin or Eyes of a Child, I don’t remember which it was, the level design was way too big, so the world was huge and so we couldn’t fill it because we had this design principle: every single screen you need to have things to do that are interesting, and never the same, so they have to be diverse. So we had to tone it down. Then we changed the combat system and then we realised
turn-based combat takes a long time! Right, especially if it involves the environment, it takes a really long time so that means that we have to reduce the amount of combats, which means that either we redesign all of the levels or we have to come up with all kinds of narrative beats to give players something to do, which led to some organic situations, which were cool, but if you were sitting at the place where you were doing the level design, you were going crazy, because the changes kept on coming in as we changed systems, and then it was like, at some point I slowed it down, I said we’re going to half the walk speed. Everybody hated me. I said well if the walk speed is too high people
don’t notice all the details that we put in there and they’re not going to explore and then they’re
never going to find all the content that is there, which is going to give them a sense of actually having achieved something by exploring. And it worked, right? They still hate me for slowing down the walk speed, but I still stand by that decision so I’m not gonna change it and
you just have to mod it if you don’t like it. I have multiple ambitions for the studio. The end goal is to make this very big RPG that will dwarf them all, is what I call it. It’s a bit of a joke, but it’s true also. I want to make a very very big RPG. But back then the goal was to be able to get in to a situation
where our income was higher than the burn rate which would allow us to make games and be independent. This is the definition of being independent, you are making enough money to be able to run your operations every month. A lot of the decisions made in 2010, which lead to today, are embedded in a power point, which was actually presented to the team but I many of them remember it, and set out the lines that we’re still following to this date. So the Kickstarter was originally done because we needed more polish. I could see that we weren’t there yet, truckload of reasons I guess, but it was embedded in that PowerPoint, like polish is gonna define whether or not these games that we are
making in the future are going to succeed, yes or no. And so the Kickstarter was a solution for that. Right? If it wouldn’t have been the Kickstarter I don’t know
what the other solution would have been. Maybe I would have sold everything I had and just continue doing that but it was really important that it was polished enough before it hit the market, something that the previous games had always been plagued by, and you could see that afterwards when we patched it up that player appreciation went up so much and so you could always but wonder, ‘what would it have meant for the initial reviews if it had been released in that state. And so, Original Sin, more so than with Dragon Commander, was like, ‘really? okay, we need to hit that.` [Lorean]
I had no idea about Original Sin being the do-or-die project Because it was kept secret, I guess, but we could tell that there was a definite urge to get things done
because we had two projects in a row, which was Dragon Commander and then Original Sin, so we didn’t have any, almost vacation in between, no down time in making the games. [Joachim]
At the time we didn’t really think of it as a very crucial moment for Larian studios. Afterwards we learned that it was very crucial. At the end we had some very emotional meetings about whether we should continue or we should really make this game work. In the end it worked out, but we didn’t really think of it that way. I always believed that we could struggle through. I’ve always tried to isolate them from whatever the financial problems were. Sometimes I had no choice, because we were very close to the edge, and sometimes they were surprised by that and then I
actually got blamed for not telling them. That time the studio was only in Belgium and in Belgium you’re
very well protected as an employee, so when the studio goes down, the one that’s shafted is the owner. Right? So I didn’t want to burden them with it, they would always be taken care of, it was me that my life would have been over. [Lorean]
Over time, Swen did come out and tell us that this was basically the do-or-die project, because we had a meeting about it with the whole company and we were told that this needed to be it basically, or it was doors closed. The struggle became real when we felt the pressure of having it
delivered within a few months of September- I think the release date originally was September/October, I think? And in that moment, we were very close to completing the game, but we felt a lot of pressure because we didn’t have the final act complete yet. Everybody was focusing so hard that we were overtiming consistently basically. We had no weekends. We were working during every weekend. We were working overtime til 10, 11, 12 o clock in the evening, was a lot of crunch, which a lot of game studios have, but the pressure is the more higher of course, if your studio is in dire straits. [Edouard]
I’m always convinced that somehow it’s going to be okay. Never changed the way I worked. I would have worked exactly the same way if we
had been on top of the world at that moment. That was never a problem. I remember it was difficult on some people in the company. We had some you know…a bit…painful meetings. [David]
And we indeed had this very big meeting where we had to tell everyone, “we know that you’re tired, we know you’re almost burned up, but we need you on this last stretch, we need like this final sprint where everyone keeps on giving their all. [Lorean]
There was a lot of emotion in the meeting and a lot of people were a bit on edge of course. Some people felt the pressure more than others
and there was a bit of heated discussion going on, almost a clenched fist fight at a moment, but in the end, after all the stress, it came out as sort of something that carried people upwards again. So we were aware of the situation, we wanted to do everything we could to make sure the project and the company survived. [David]
And we promised them, ‘we’re going to make it worth your while.’ We know that if we finish this game properly, it’s going to be successful, and we’ll pay you every minute that you spend here, and you will also have worked on Original Sin. [Swen]
I found the last banker in Belgium that was willing to give me some money because the other bank wanted to close the company, they wanted their loan back, and I said ‘well, I just need of more months before we can actually release’ and they said ‘no we want the money now, I said ‘but you’re gonna kill us and look at all these people, they want to play this game,
look at early access, look at Kickstarter, right? They didn’t want to believe in it, so that one guy actually bought it, convinced the loan team, the loan committee I guess, to give us the money and the extension, and he actually made the difference, he was the one that gave us the money that we needed
to bridge those extra couple of months and it was necessary, we needed those months, because otherwise it would have been a 70% game, and
that would have changed everything for Larian and I didn’t want that again because I had that already a few times before, I said ‘I’m not doing this again because otherwise this might be
the last chance that Larian ever has of breaking through’ and you could see it, you could feel that this game was really good. Right? But it needed to be finished. [Lorean]
Days before completing the game, so when the game was going to be
shipped out on Steam, I think it was on a Tuesday, but during that weekend, we were adding finishing touches to
the Source temple, which is the final temple in the game. And I remember working til 3 o’clock together with Swen and other programmers, and other QA like Octaaf, we were sitting there and making sure everything worked, because there was not much testing done on these final parts due to time constraints so we were hands up in the air basically about that. [Octaaf]
I don’t speak for everyone of course but from my point of view it was really…insecurity, like unsure what would happen right after release. I mean, when you’re working on a project for that long it’s hard to judge how people will receive it, you know like press or a community or anyone. Especially from my job, where I come from QA and production and I released the game, you’re basically taught to see the problems of the game, so
you’re constantly focusing on negative things, so it was difficult to just throw the game out there as it was
because it wasn’t 100% finished yet, and yeah, we didn’t know what to expect. [Swen]
Since 2010, since 2014 when Original Sin 1 released, I haven’t had a break, because I was basically trying to make paycheck the next month, continuously. I hadn’t stopped doing that. We had Dragon Commander, and from Dragon Commander
I rolled in to Original Sin instantly. So by the time Original Sin released I was exhausted, and it’s like when you have children, and when you have a baby, and the baby doesn’t sleep at night, at some point you stop remembering. So my memories of that time are actually quite blurred. I remember that it went well, i remember the reviews coming in and being very very happy. But I also remembered that the month before release, right? I basically signed the last thing that I could sign to get some money to do it, and then we were on the blacklist of the VAT. and there was this bank that wanted to close us and all these things going on, so when we saw the results come in and my very first thought was ‘when are we going to get the money so I can pay all these debts?’ Right? This was probably one of the key moments, and I was super happy about how the game was being perceived, but it was really- I had several millstones around my neck that I wanted to get rid of and so when I got rid of them, it was pretty fucking awesome. [Lorean]
It felt like a- a victory over financial crisis basically. We were happy we could continue. We had so much hinging on it. It felt like a deserved reward basically for all the hard work
and blood sweat and tears people poured in, because there was a lot of sleep deprivation in the company. So yeah, I think a well deserved vacation was a great reward and the success of the game was- It felt.. yeah, I was just overtaken by the positivity from the community. [Swen]
The community, when the game released, created a giant word of mouth campaign for us. They were really cool in coming up with reviews, positive reviews, sometimes negative reviews with reason that guided the ship and we addressed. Because of them, press started paying attention to the game, because of that, they started writing about it, and they figured out what the community had figured out and
like this you’ve got the snowball that started rolling. I mean, without that, very well possible that it would never have surfaced. We owe a lot to Kickstarter and we owe even more to the community that backed us. In the same breath you should mention the people that backed
us in early access because they did the same thing. They were a bit later in a different platform but they did the same thing, they gave money to make the game better and they gave us
feedback to make the game better, so these two things together are probably one of the biggest
changes that we’ve seen in the games industry in the last year and for Larian they were super super important. If that would have been available back in ’97 when we started
when we were reading through all those forums, it would have made a huge difference. [David]
Original Sin 1 was successful, sure. But that doesn’t mean that we now have hundreds of millions of dollars, and making games costs a whole lot of money. [Swen]
Divinity Original Sin 1 was co-owned by one of our investors for 50% and so with Divinity Original Sin 2 we got rid of all the investors and so that’s the very first time that we actually were fully self-
sufficient and could make our own decisions again. [Jan]
It always feels great to be independent and that you can rely completely on your own creativity and your own ideas. When we first started working on the game, again, it was a brand new story set in a world of course we got to know very well by now, but yeah it was just up to us to start from scratch, which is what we did, and yeah, of course that felt great to be able to do that, to have the freedom to do basically whatever we want. [Swen]
Having complete control is the thing that we always wanted. It removed a lot of stress. Replaced with different stress, because then there was the stress to perform obviously, but there was not the stress of having to explain why you were
doing something, because that takes a lot of time. At the same time, we could only blame ourselves if something went wrong. Right? There was no enemy, if you want, to rally against if something went wrong. There was a lot of pressure. And even after you’ve made Original Sin 1, it became clear
to us that we have to make Original Sin 2 and we have to make it even better than Original Sin 1. [Jan]
That can be a little bit daunting sometimes because the audience is so much wider now and people expect so much from you. On the other hand that’s a great motivator as well, especially when you see how much people love the game
that’s been created and the game world. You know, all of a sudden, you see people cosplay some of the characters you designed which is kind of really weird actually, but it’s- all that is just- it’s ratifying. [David]
You don’t want to keep making the same game over and over again, we need to grow, technologically and as a company, and we want to become the best RPG maker that there is in the world. And you can’t do that with 20 people. [Swen]
I realised this industry is consolidating. So we do have the reappearance of the indie studios, but as time goes by, players will always want better and better and better, and they’re getting used to having better and better but it
takes a lot of effort to make these things. If we wanted to keep on making RPGs, it was clear to me that we needed to grow, and we needed to be able to be sustainable, and we needed to be innovative, and so that requires quite some investment, it requires quite a lot of extra people, so while we’re making DoS II, that process was en route. So we were expanding in four countries, and that’s not an easy thing, and the model was such that we could be very efficient, but obviously in growth there is inefficiency also. But if I look back the natural result is that we did make DOS II in two years and a bit. For a massive RPG that’s quite an accomplishment. We certainly had some crunch, but it wasn’t as painful as some
of the stories that you could hear and definitely wasn’t as painful when you compare to what we’ve gone through before. [David]
And we already had a good foundation to build on, so pressure was indeed high but we also knew that we could pull it off. One of the bigger challenges that we faced with Original Sin 2 was not ‘can we make a good game’, because by now we knew that we could and we would be able to take that same game and make it even better, but ‘how are we going to manage a company that keeps on growing?’ we went from 20-30 people to 150 people in a couple of years. [Jan]
We did something that was very well received and it felt amazing to be able to give that to players and see them enjoy it, but then on the other hand, you also still feel like ‘damn, we
should have done this, we should have done that, and then there’s a lot of ideas that we still had that we weren’t able, for all sorts of reasons, that we weren’t able to put in this game, but at the same time that’s also actually a good
feeling because then you know moving forward, there is still so much you can do, still things you can do better, still things you can innovate on and so, you know, knowing that, and knowing that we’re already working on other projects, that’s a great feeling. [Swen]
I have this really- it’s a problem for me, a personality problem. I.. When we finish something, I never play them again. I play them a million times before, but when it’s out it’s out. I don’t play it again, I can’t because I’ve seen it too much, and I’m already with my mind on the next thing, so as we were already finishing DOS 2, we actually a month before, we sat in a hotel room for a weekend, and worked on the next thing already. We still move from game to game and every time we go all in. And if you go all in, if you’re doing this in poker, it’s always a gamble that you take, but on the other hand, I think we’re pretty confident about our own abilities, and if we fail the next time it will be because we did something wrong. [Swen]
Probably the biggest stress that we have now is ‘how can we make something that is better than Original Sin II’? There’s a lot of things that we see that we could have done better in Original Sin II, but how do we make sure that we don’t lose what was good, right? and how do we know that we innovate on the things that people would not want to do again, because they did it once and it was cool, but they won’t do it twice, which is typically a trap that sequels fall in to. But it’s fun, I mean, this is why you do this, you make new things, you explore new avenues of gameplay. You try out a lot of things. Size and scope of the studio allows us to try out more things which means that we can make faster progress. Size and scope of studio means there’s more stress in making decisions because every day that we wait when making a decision there’s more people that are sitting idle, so that’s also not easy. [David]
I’m in a metal band, and there’s a lot of things that I learned at Larian that I apply there. I’m not afraid to iterate over something that we already think is finished. Like when we write a song, I’m not afraid of thinking about the
lyrics that I wrote for it two weeks ago, changing the entire chorus, trying out something completely different. So one of the things that I’ve learned is don’t be afraid of iteration. We’ve lost a lot of people over the last 15 years and I understand a lot of the reasons why but sometimes I think it’s too bad that those people aren’t
around anymore because they didn’t believe in the company. But if you do believe in the company and you stick around, this is what you get, you get big success If you just keep on trying and realise that you’re good at something and it’s going to work out at some point in time. [Swen]
We’ve had a lot of critical and commercial acclaim so the pressure is very high now. So I mean there’s always going to be a bad game somewhere, I mean you can’t be successful continuously, so I’m very well aware of that. And so the studio is being expanded but it’s being built in such a way that it can withstand a disaster game, so that we don’t die on it. At the same time the vision is still there to change things and to make better and bigger games, So everything we do is aimed at that so the risks that we’re
taking with our next thing are very large again. Before we were the underdog, so everybody was above us and we were looking like ‘nobody is going to see us coming.’ Now it’s exactly the opposite, right? So we’re going to be scrutinised more, there’s going to be more criticism on anything that we do so we lost that underdog
advantage which is a big one I have to say. We’ll see how we handle it, probably we will screw it up and then we’ll fix it and we’ll see where we end up. If you take studios like Obsidian, they’ve done so many games, right? So we’re very far from that still. I mean we made 2 games that were fun to play, I think we had previous games that were also fun to play, but had big flaws. Our last games also had flaws but they’re better and less flawed. I think somewhere in the future lies a really really really good game,
So that’s the one I’d like to make. And that’s probably what I would like the studio to be measured by, but we haven’t made it yet. [David]
Our composer, Kirill Pokrovsky, died a couple of years ago. And from that I learned that you have to be really happy with the moment, so Kirill taught me a lot of things. And I’m very happy that he was there when we were successful, and that he was happy. [Swen]
So what’s next is a couple of things. The big thing is a thing called “Project Gustav,” after my dog, Gustav, just like the company “Larian Studios” was named after my dog, Pilar. It blends the same things that we’ve been exploring all the time, it’s gonna be narrative, systems, mutiplayer, new things, new ideas, and yeah, I think it’s gonna be very cool.

34 thoughts on “Divinity: Original Sin Documentary | Gameumentary

  • April 17, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    This game is so DULL! I've tried so many times to play it! I stop every time because I get so bored.

  • April 17, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    Wow, that was a trip down memory lane. I remember being really hyped for LMK, and the disapointment when it didn't released. I also noticed when playing Divine Divinity, that the elves spoke Isdira, the elven Language of Das Schwarze Auge, and thought that this was really odd. I guess now I know why XD

  • April 18, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    D:OS part of this documentary feels like the "Bioware magic" to me. Hope they learn from what's happening/happened to Bioware.
    Also, growing/expanding so fast after D:OS 2, i really, really hope they don't end up like Telltale Games.

  • April 18, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    I pirated DOS and while playing it i guilt grew inside of me, this game is that good, went and bought it the next week.. deserves all the money, congratz to all devs, great documentary btw 10/10 !

  • April 19, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    I love capitalism.

  • April 19, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Nice too see you guys and NoClip making these cool gaming documentaries

  • April 21, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    This and noclip are the best.

  • April 22, 2019 at 3:25 am

    One of the best RPGs ever created. The amount of effort put in the game can be felt. I loved both D:OS games and I'm glad that one last bank believed in Larian. Very similar struggles that early Pixar faced. Keep it up Larian and thanks for working so hard to bring us pure gold.

  • April 23, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Awesome documentary.

  • April 23, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    14:00 i just realized that the philosophical skeleton you meet in the graveyard in OS2 is a reference to that

  • April 24, 2019 at 10:48 am

    I have stopped playing vid games for a while until I bought Divinity original sin 2, thank you. Wow you have really worked hard for this, you have my support

  • April 24, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Original Sin 2 is my favourite game 🙂

  • April 25, 2019 at 12:24 am

    game worthy of a gameumentary … subbed

  • April 25, 2019 at 4:06 am

    Ah! love the music in end of this video…thats how i remember DOS

  • April 28, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    The walk speed decision was a really good choice.

  • May 1, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    I remember buying divinity 2 on the 360 when it came out. The idea of being a dragon sounded real cool. The game was full of glitches and I had to go back to it in a year because of the beginning difficulty. After that curve it was a real gem. Enjoyed my time doing all the side quests. Great game hopefully they bring back turning into a dragon into the future

  • May 3, 2019 at 10:11 am

    This game has been on my mind since its Kickstarter…
    And I deeply regret not having bought it, yet.
    (I even applied at Larian, years ago)

  • May 9, 2019 at 6:29 am

    40:11 Can't go wrong with the Anvil of Crom song. Zelda: The Orcarina of Time used Riders of Doom for their commercial.

  • May 11, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    I have so much love for this studio. I love their games and I love their attitude to development. They fully deserve the success they're having.. More Devs like Larian in the industry please.

  • May 11, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    Really insteresting how they were basically trying to make the same game over the decades until they finally got it right with Original Sin.

  • May 14, 2019 at 12:48 am

    Thanks to Larian Studio for bringing us such a good game.

  • May 15, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    As long as they dont do a bethesda, Ill always buy Larien games blindly.

  • May 15, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    I think the U.S gaming industry is corrupted by vasts amount of greed i.e. lootboxes and microtransactions. Hence the good games these days from Japan and Europe.

  • May 17, 2019 at 10:30 am

    Aside from the tactical combat the game was rubbish. It's nice to know some people appreciated it, but between the tedious storyline and uninspired itemization I couldn't keep playing it.

  • May 23, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Dragon commander is one of my favorite games ever

  • May 24, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    That moment you're a small dev company and make THE best RPG ever made, imo.

  • June 5, 2019 at 6:24 am

    arrrr….too good.

  • June 9, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    Buldurs Gate 3 anyone?

  • June 24, 2019 at 3:48 am

    Baldurs Gate 3!!!! 🙂

  • July 10, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    And now this great Studio will be bringing us Baldurs Gate 3!! How fitting is that?

  • August 14, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    I loved this documentary, thank you for sharing it with the community!

  • October 9, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    I feel so great after watching this doc. 2 weeks ago I had got Divinity2 as birthday gift from my friends and we really enjoy this game playing coop! Thank you for all efort during game dev!

  • November 11, 2019 at 7:51 am

    I'm so glad they managed to pull through, it would've been a big loss for everyone if they had to stay closed…


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