Divinity: Original Sin 2

Larian Studios, the maker of the outstanding fantasy RPG Divinity: Original Sin 2, took a moment today to tease something on Twitter. Something "wicked."

And that's it—no follow-ups, and no response to replies. Naturally, speculation abounds. Something wicked—a wicked witch, which sounds a lot like the Switch? Possibly, although I'm not sure what an apple would have to do with it. (Not that apples and witches don't have a sordid history, but that's a different story altogether.) Perhaps a Mac version is coming? Or it's something to do with Ray Bradbury? That seems even less likely. The man's been dead for years.

It's possible that Larian is working on a Halloween event of some sort, those are quite popular at this time of year. But you can already play the game as a literal skeleton, so how they'd Halloween that up even further, I couldn't even begin to guess. Or maybe it's just an expansion, or some other kind of DLC. I reached out to a studio rep for more information, but alas, it was not forthcoming.    

When we do find out what's going on, we'll let you know. In the meantime, enjoy some of our best Divinity: Original Sin 2 stories, including Wes' tale about making a pig explode and the time Fraser killed a guy who was just trying to help. 

Divinity: Original Sin 2 - [LAR] Ed
Hello everyone,

We’re working hard on our next update, fixing issues that have been reported and improving the gameplay where needed. While we don’t have a specific date just yet, it should be releasing sometime next week!

Changes will include:
  • Improvements to mod support within the game. Mod sync issues, duplications and situations where mods would not update correctly should now be resolved.
  • A large overhaul in GM mode Music and Mood panel. Plus we added support for multiple regions on the same level.
  • The Tarquin bug fix (previously fixed in Patch 3 for new games) will now also apply to existing save games.
  • A bug which caused the tooltips for inventory items to flash has been fixed.
  • We added more journal entries that cover some of the more unusual choices you can make during gameplay. (Though we did not cover the killing of Alexandar with a painting)
  • And lots, lots more!

The full list consists of over 500 items bullet points which is why it’s taking us a bit of time to test. Follow us here or on twitter/facebook to keep apprised of when we launch the patch and remember to leave feedback in the forums! It’s where we get our inspiration from for things to include in the next updates.

The Larian Team
Left 4 Dead - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

Sometimes you need a hand to hold, so we ve updated our list of the 25 best co-op games to play on PC with a headset-wearing friend or a muted stranger.

Whether solving puzzles, sneaking, shooting zombies or stabbing mythical creatures in the face, the existence of another player adds an element of unpredictability. You might synchronise your stealth takedowns and execute the perfect plan, but it’s just as likely that your co-op partner will constantly alert the guards and throw your situation into chaos. Luckily both success and failure are more compelling when you can take credit for the former and blame someone else for the latter.


Divinity: Original Sin 2

We're still playing Divinity: Original Sin 2, and we're still loving it—it even featured prominently in our preliminary GOTY discussions. One of the things we love about it is its 'brute force' style of RPG design: fill the world with items and spells and NPCs and quests and scripts and things that you can do that theoretically all work together, and then watch the virtual dungeon master try its best to keep up. For every time that approach breaks something, it builds a bizarre personal story that makes up for it and then some.

Below are a few of our favorite anecdotes from our playthroughs of Divinity: Original Sin 2—times when we tried something, and whether it worked or didn't, we wouldn't change a thing. Minor spoilers are ahead (though nothing about the main story). 

If you had something great happen in Original Sin 2 as well—which if you've played enough is bound to be the case—feel free to share your best story in the comments. If we get enough, we'll compile them into a new article next week.

Richard Cobbett: Fun with Teleportation 

Easily my favourite thing about Divinity’s combat is that it’s consistent. Sure, occasionally you find enemies with elemental resistances and clever tricks, but it’s brave enough to avoid just outright letting enemies no-sell your best attacks. Enter a certain troll. Trolls are a real pain because every turn they regenerate, and my team wasn’t able to hand out quite enough pain to beat this guy and access the important, plot-critical cave behind him. Ah, but what’s that over there? A small river of lava? Fun fact—lava is the BFG of elements. And so, instead of beating him down, I just had one of my guys teleport his ass into fiery oblivion. Easy.

These semi-cheats are all the better because the game doesn’t draw them to your attention. That telekinesis spell (or glove, from the first island) never stops being useful, and nor does its partner, good old Netherswap. You can break so much with it, and the game’s happy—sometimes even calling you out on it. Along with combat, there’s a bit where… let’s just say you’re in a race. I won’t spoil the context, but it’s important. I quickly realised that my main girl Lohse wasn’t going to win… but there was nothing stopping me rushing to a good vantage point, waiting for someone else to almost reach the end, and casually swap places.

Yeah, I may be a bad loser. But I’m a Lohse-y winner.

Tyler Wilde: Soul searching 

I'm facing off against three undead cranks somewhere beneath the surface of Fort Joy, disappointed I couldn't talk my way out of the fight. But there's been a nagging feeling of déjà vu leading up to the encounter: hints about a cave I already visited. This is one of those great moments in Original Sin 2 where you know more than the NPCs think you know, where their player-guiding hints are actually revealing their naivety. You think I didn't click on everything, including a secret cave on the coast, days ago? You think I ran away from a fight I was underleveled for?

The grumpy skeletons, at least before the fight, were trying to lead me toward a weapon stash I already conquered. And in that dungeon's final room, I had found a bunch of soul jars—for those who haven't played D:OS2, jars which literally contain the trapped souls of the undead. After a little back-and-forth between my companions about whether or not I should smash the jars and release their souls, I decided to stuff them into my backpack. And then I forgot about them.

Back in the present fight, I go a few clueless rounds with the skeletons before realizing my luck. These are the same damn ghouls whose names are inscribed on the jars rattling around in my inventory. What I expected to be an unremarkable battle turned out to be one of the best ways I've ever won a fight in an RPG: by chucking my opponents' own souls at them. Each time I fished a jar out of my bottomless backpack and smashed it, they wailed word of thanks as their spirit ascended and their bones clattered. Not only was it an easy win, I was doing something nice—aw.

Wes Fenlon: That time I made a poor pig explode 

I really didn't mean to, honest. Divinity: Original Sin 2 has a pretty strange world: there are alligators that teleport, ancient skeletons that walk around without souls, and pigs that are eternally on fire. The pigs, it turns out, were actually people at one point, but they were turned into pigs as a curse and then double-cursed by being set on never ending fire, just to rub it in. When I learned a powerful Source spell to bless things, I was excited to try it out on those twice-damned pigs, and sure enough, I was able to put their fires out. Believe it or not, this is actually the start of a quest chain in Original Sin 2.

As you can probably guess, I didn't exactly follow that quest all the way to the end. Things were looking pretty good at first, though. Fires: doused. Pigs: talked to, with the Red Prince, my regal companion who can talk to animals. One particular pig was eager to remove the curse and become human again, so I directed her to a shrine of the goddess Amadia, where a pool of water would surely cleanse her of the remaining curse. Except… well, I'd already kind of pissed off Amadia by telling her about the demon living inside me and confessing some of the terrible things I'd done. Instead of blessing the pool, Amadia decided to turn it into blood. Blood that didn't really cure my pig friend, so much as cause her to spontaneously combust.

I still feel guilty about it, but I love how willing Original Sin 2 is to let you mess up, and how many of its quests let you succeed or mess up in totally different ways.

Bonus: here's an even better story I told on the podcast, about a demon erupting from my cursed helmet in the middle of a fight and making things difficult.

Fraser Brown: Beating up buddies 

We had only just arrived in the Fort Joy camp, the first act’s hub, when my co-op partner and I started having serious differences of opinion. Some goons were trying to exploit some of the prisoners, demanding money for their protection racket, and I assumed we’d teach them a lesson. But no, not on my buddy’s watch. Before I knew it, we were in a fight with the very prisoners I wanted to help. 

But here’s the thing about Divinity: Original Sin 2’s co-op—it’s not all about playing nicely with friends. Indeed, you’re ultimately their competition. So if you don’t like the cut of their jib, or maybe you want to express your extreme disappointment at their life choices, you can let them know with violence. 

So as my pal laid into this innocent Elf that we’d only just met, I set him on fire and hit him with my axe. I turned on his new friends, the aforementioned goons, too. By the end, I didn’t know who was trying to kill who. It was just a giant tangled mess of summoned beasties, burning bodies, and pools of blood. Unfortunately, the Elf died. It’s OK. I got my revenge when I dragged us into a battle with teleporting crocodiles. He didn’t like that one bit.   

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Wotcha gang. Your old chum Alice here for this week’s charts, as everyone else has been fired. Out of a cannon. Blown into a jillion little pieces. Hence the Apocalyptic yellow tone to the skies today. Hold your breath when outside, and hold your breath while we count down last week’s top ten of the top-selling games on Steam.


Hollow Knight

Evan: OK everyone, let's have a civil, sportsmanlike discussion about the PC games of 2017. All jabs at Mass Effect: Andromeda must be above the belt, and aimed directly at its poorly animated face.

James: Thankfully it's quite simple: it's Hollow Knight. It’s everything I love in games: challenge propped up by excellent controls and character abilities that make traversing the huge map a joy. The level design is so subtle that it doesn’t rely on collectibles to tell you where to go next. Every environment is dense and alive, as lively and foreboding as any real forest. And the story uses the form of a 2D side-scroller with utter grace, embedding tiny revelations in the gorgeous art and filling in details through small doses of ghostly dialogue. Seriously, if this game had the marketing reach of The Witcher 3 or Call of Duty, you’d all be in this tiny bug bed with me. Am I sweating?  

Jody: Bless you for suggesting an indie game right off the bat so I don't have to, James. But if Hollow Knight had more marketing reach I would just put off playing it for another year out of sheer bloody-mindedness. Hollow Knight's a good shout-out but I don't think it's going to be our GOTY.

We loved The Chosen, but can an expansion be GOTY?

Tim: Haha, it's definitely not Hollow Knight. Good try, though. I actually don't know if I'm allowed to pick an expansion, and I know PUBG is actually going to win, but for me it's XCOM 2's War of the Chosen expansion by the length of a comet's tail. It's not that I didn't love the game first time around, but the addition of these three gloriously annoying antagonists transports the experience to another level. Aside from the brilliance of sparring with them as the campaign unfurls, War of the Chosen also adds a raft of sweet new systems, characters and unique weapons. Sending two of your favourite soldiers out on a covert mission only for them to get ambushed makes for heart-stopping escape sequences, and the waves of Lost which assault you on some missions also create a zombie-style horde mode vibe that XCOM has never delivered before. 

Evan: I'm grappling with the same thing. Moments of War of the Chosen were some of the happiest I've been all year. The Chosen are exquisitely annoying villains that enhance every aspect of XCOM 2. We'll have to talk about how we judge expansions in the context of these awards.

Anyway, is it PUBG? We don't hand out GOTYs based on popularity. It's still in Early Access, and it has plenty of issues. Half a year in, I've stopped playing it. I find the art direction lifeless, and I think they'd have to perform a League of Legends-grade facelift for me to feel differently.

PUBG is fun whether you win or lose, but does its Early Access status disqualify it?

Chris: I'll climb out on that shaky limb and say an Early Access game like PUBG can be GOTY. I played DayZ standalone like crazy during its first year in EA, and at that point it was basically just the framework of a sandbox. But despite glitchy zombies, buggy ladders, and a spotty ballistics system, it spawned so many great stories and interesting experiences for me that it became my favorite game that year (and one of my favorites of all time). PUBG is drawing people into a genre many of them have never played before and it's resulting in lots of fun experiences and stories, too. For my money, that's what makes a game GOTY-worthy, even if it's unfinished.

Jarred: PUBG could've only happened on PC first. I know it's coming to consoles in the future, but most influential genre changes come from PC games. Anyway, I would vote for Star Citizen, just for Chris' stories on the subject, but that's for 2020.

James: PUBG is going to be one of the most influential games of the century, but is it actually the best game of the year? The physics are still in complete rebellion, performance is far from ideal, and in the end it’s still another game about people shooting each other. It’s a very good one and features 100 people, OK, but I’m not sure it’s the game I want to scream about from our collective mountaintop. Are we still drunk on Divinity: Original Sin 2? We’re big RPG people here, what with a nude RPG man as our unofficial mascot. 

Joe: Sort of echoing James, I’d say PUBG is my shout so far as influence and impact is concerned—but I think Divinity: Original Sin 2 deserves it, all told. Totally different games, but there’s just so much to D:OS 2, and everything it does it does so well. As Evan says, PUBG is still an Early Access game. I reckon there’s every chance it’ll top next year’s list, but I’m not so sure it deserves first place in 2017.

Jody: Games like D:OS 2 that come out later in the year and take like 60 hours to play are always going to suffer for it. I mean, my pick is Total War: Warhammer 2 but I know not everyone has time to play through even one campaign of that—let alone try out all four factions and, when the Mortal Empires update comes out, combine it with the first game to play again. That's a shame because everyone should have the chance to summon a swarm of angry rat dudes underneath a unit of archers or charge a dinosaur into some elves. 

Evan: [initiates Steam download]

The addition of the Skaven and other fun races helped make TW: Warhammer 2 one of the best games in the series.

Jody: Look, I think PUBG is going to top lists when it comes out of Early Access, and D:OS 2 and Warhammer 2 are probably going to make the lists of "Games of 2017 we didn't have time to play until 2018". Or in Warhammer 2's case, "Games that took all of 2018 to actually play."

Tyler: Wait, Original Sin 2 is supposed to take 60 hours? I've played 66 hours and I'm maybe halfway through. I've also put 32 hours into the Divinity Engine 2, learning how to make my own levels. They give you everything you need to mod the campaign or make your own, if you can bear the crashes. It's so good. It's my game of the year for sure. 

Jody: I looked it up on howlongtobeat.com and apparently a completionist playthrough averages 102 hours. Please talk me out of committing to that. Tell me some reasons I shouldn't spend more time in Original Sin 2 than Sunless Sea and Prey combined.

Tyler: I can't do that. I mean, it could probably be debugged forever, but most of Original Sin 2's problems stem from its commitment to freeform play. There are a lot of incongruities, like how my friends think necromancers are evil but never seem to mind when I raise a bloated corpse, but that's the price paid for how often it makes me say, "Wait, that worked?" Even if we don't all finish it, I hope everyone plays enough to have at least one or two experiences like that, where they accidently do a quest backwards and it all somehow works out amazingly.

Jody: Tyler, that is the opposite of what I asked for.

Tyler: Let me tell you about the time I got into a fight with a bunch of undead guys, and then realized a few turns in that I was carrying jars containing their souls in my backpack. I'd picked them up in a cave hours earlier and forgotten. So I defeated them by chucking their own souls at them. Perfect.

"A rousing tale of rebellion and exceptional boss fights aren t just exquisite by MMO standards, but rival even the most beloved Final Fantasy games," according to our review.

Steven: Listen, I would love nothing more than to take this moment to begin shouting madly about the virtues of Final Fantasy 14: Stormblood and how bonkers it is that an MMO expansion almost made me tear up at one point because the story is so emotionally captivating. But who are we kidding here? No one cares. And that’s fine, because Original Sin 2 is clearly our GOTY. The only way I’m changing my stance is if Jody agrees to go all in on Total War: Warhammer 2 with me (maybe after the mortal empires campaign is out?)

Wes: I'm still enamored with Divinity, but let's not forget about Nier: Automata, one of the most weird and creative games of the decade. Also, if Shaun was here, he'd remind us all that the Nazi sniping in the underappreciated Sniper Elite 4 is extremely good.

James: [Gives everyone voting for D:OS2 a wedgie] It’s Hollow Knight, nerds. But because your dragons and dungeons and wizards and whatever will always win, I’ll at least drop a few names before dipping out. What Remains of Edith Finch just about made me cry from chopping off fish heads. Cuphead looks incredible, but also contains some really intricate boss design and the best soundtrack of the year, easily. And Thimbleweed Park was one of the funniest games I played this year, and it’s a throwback point-and-clicker. I’m going to close by typing OIKOSPIEL in all caps here too, because it’s my actual GOTY. Describing it is futile. (Psst, dog opera.)

Between Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, PUBG, Quake Champions, LawBreakers, and meaningful updates to games like Overwatch, Day of Infamy, and others, it's been an amazing year for FPSes.

Tyler: Fine, I'll play Hollow Knight. But I'm not sure anything could pull my vote away from Original Sin 2 at this point. I did enjoy Absolver and Rising Storm 2 this year, but only enough to nominate them for awards in their genres. On that note, the shooter category is going to be a tough one. PUBG was already mentioned. I don't want to forget about Sniper Elite 4 from February—it was really good, though I don't think Evan believes me. I'm betting he'll pull for LawBreakers.

Steven: I’m sure that vote will be appreciated by the eight people still playing it.

Evan: PC gaming isn't a popularity contest, buddy. Anyway, I'd actually give my FPS vote to Quake Champions, even with its imperfect netcode. It's the second coming of the railgun and rocket launcher!

Tim: On the topic of second-comings, if you'd told me earlier this year I likely wouldn't be voting for Destiny 2 when GOTY rolls around I'd have assumed the explanation was that I had died. (RIP me.) But the truth is that although it offers a peerless alien-shooting experience, having sunk ~150 hours into the PS4 version I've been startled by how hollow the endgame feels. A huge part of that is due to the switch from random rolls on loot drops to static perks, which as I feared has all but completely sucked the grind for gear out of the game. It's far from the only issue too, and this video by Destiny YouTuber Datto sums up a lot of them neatly. I expect Bungie will gradually rectify the problems with patches and the December DLC, but it really is baffling how for every quality of life improvement the sequel makes, another system has been made demonstrably worse. Be warned I'll be writing quite a bit more about this towards the end of the month.

Destiny 2 will be best on PC, but will it have enough endgame to keep us playing?

James: I’ve already put about 100 hours into Destiny 2 on PS4 because I couldn’t wait two goddamn months, but I’m ready to put hundreds more in on the PC in a few weeks. It’s going to really land with PC players, I think. Finally, we get to complain about a thing we begrudgingly love on the best platform there is. 

Tyler: Aside from Destiny 2, there's a lot still to come this year. Looking forward to anything?

Tim: Tom's piece on how the new Assassin's Creed is now a bona fide RPG has me interested in that series for the first time since Black Flag, particularly as Origins is being developed by the same team. Plus I'm a sucker for the Anubis-flavored setting, as Evan can confirm. 

Evan: Who doesn't love Anubis, wolf god of the afterlife? Anyway, speaking of canines, I think Wolfenstein 2 is probably going to be great, given that BJ will have Inspector Gadget-style extendable stilt-legs. And though we've played a bit of the multiplayer beta, Battlefront 2's Empire-focused campaign could be special.

James: Well, I’m glad we decided Hollow Knight is the winner so far. Great work, everyone. Until next year! 

Despite James' manipulative last-word, this is only the beginning of our GOTY discussions.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 - DeathKnight
Hi everyone,

If you have the Divine Ascension DLC installed, and you just saw a 1GB download: those are the high resolution versions of the Lore Book and the Art Book that were being downloaded.

Remember that you can find these in the folder where your game is installed.

Happy reading :)

- Larian High Res Team
Divinity: Original Sin 2

Larian Studios' Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a fantastic RPG that Fraser couldn't get enough of.  

I met the developer's founder Swen Vincke at this year's Gamescom and, with just two weeks to go before launch, he seemed calm. I caught up with him again last week, three weeks following Divinity: Original Sin 2's launch, to see how he feels the game is doing, what he wants from its flourishing mod scene, and what it's got planned into the future. 

PC Gamer: How are things at Larian Studios at the moment?

Swen Vincke: Quiet. Most people are on their holidays and [patch 3] is a big one. We're start working on patch four next and slowly people will start returning from their holidays and we're gearing up for our next things. 

I presume these were well-deserved holidays. 

Absolutely. They gave their everything to make the game as good as they could.  

When we met at Gamescom you seemed pretty chilled out for someone who was on the cusp of releasing a game. Were you as calm inside as you appeared outside?

[Laughs] Not really. I actually wasn't planning on being at Gamescom and then a couple of things happened that got me to be there. And then I was there for a day and a half. The madness was at its peak at this point and at that particular time we were focused on bug fixing. Given how large the game is we were trying to get as many players through it as possible. 

According to SteamSpy, you sold somewhere in the region of 700,000 sales in less than three weeks. 

I think we're over 700,000 now.

That's not bad going. 

No, it's not. We could definitely do worse. I mean, we had the early access players before that too. Lifetime total units: 748,000 on Steam, and then you have to add the pre-release ones on there. Wow, that's higher than I thought, that's really good. 

Ahead of launch you must have had forecasts. Where were you expecting to be at this stage, or before Christmas—I guess you've surpassed those numbers now?

Yeah, we have. I was hoping for 500k before Christmas, so we're way above that right now which is really good. 

Did you have any forecasts in the  first month?

No, not really. I figured that if we hit the 500k before Christmas then we were going to be okay. This has been a nice bonus. 

Is there ever a point during the development and testing of such a big game where you realise: Hang on, this is really good, this might do better than we expect?

I think any developer will tell you that, first of all, you fall in love with your game. But then the relationship lasts so long that you start focussing on all the negatives. A very classic phenomena means that by the time you're ready to release, the only thing that you're aware of is everything that's still wrong with it. 

Then somebody reminds you of how much good stuff is in there. We're busy focusing on: We need to fix this, we need to fix that, this is not good, man we need time to sort this, we need more resources to do that', and that basically dominated the conversation over the course of the last six months. But then there are moments where you're playing and you forget you're hunting for bugs and realise: Actually, this is a lot of fun. 

With Divinity: Original Sin 2, this was particularly true. I don't know how many times we redid the beginning of this game. Every time we presented it it was different, and every single time I enjoyed myself. Luckily for us, this seems to have rubbed off on the general gaming audience.   

But then there are moments where you're playing and you forget you're hunting for bugs and realise: Actually, this is a lot of fun.

If you had to pinpoint one specific thing over the course of development—what would you say the most challenging thing about making Divinity: Original Sin 2?

Making sure that everything we were doing with the Origin stories meant you could play as both an avatar and a companion, and you still had the main story that all made sense. We had to make sure everything worked together, where all the different permutations made sense to the player. That was very, very hard. 

That was the biggest ambition of this one. The previous game was criticised on the story front, rightfully so I think. But part of that was because it was so bloody hard to tell the story in the way that we're doing it—giving the player the freedom that they have, and the ability to kill every single person that you encounter. It's a very hard game to make when you say: Okay, here's a protagonist, oops! You killed him. We still have to tell the story. 

One of the game's greatest achievements is its vast amount of voiced dialogue. You said at Gamescom implementing this was a result of shifting its launch date—tell me more about that.  

Yeah, it was because the launch date was pushed back and we saw the opportunity to do the voice recordings. It was very clear that people wanted us to voice everything, despite a number of people writing on the community forums that they didn't care about voiceovers. We looked for opportunities to do so, but there was so much voicing to be done that initially it was not going to possible had we stuck to our original release date. 

But then when we pushed it back to the end of the summer we thought that it would be possible, providing we could find someone who could be creative enough to do it for us… We did and it was very late in the process, it took a whole lot of effort, but I'm really happy that we did it. 

An interesting tidbit of information is that we actually redid the voices at one point. We started recording and eventually realised that the way that we were doing it was not going to work. We were well into recording at this stage and knew that we didn't have too much time. But we knew we had to redo it. The staff deserves every single mention that they get—they did a really awesome job. 

Through your Kickstarter and Early Access phase you've had a pretty open development cycle—would be players got regular feedback throughout. With the first Divinity being received so well, did this make dealing with expectation easier or harder? 

That's a really good question. Because it puts a lot of pressure on you, that's for sure. But you also can't make diamonds without pressure, right? I think that it's both. It is harder because the moment that the community figures out that they want it and you've said you're going to do it, it's very hard to change course—even if you later discover what you're doing won't work. We did actually change course a few times, but if you explain exactly why you're doing it, most people will listen. You're always going to have some people who don't, but that's just the way it is. 

At the same time, things become easier because you instantly know what's wrong. You put it out there and you don't even have to wait a day, you know right away what's wrong. This type of feedback can be very hard to get, unless you have a large community playing. Another thing that's easier with a large community is that there's a large amount of them and can in turn let statistics speak for you. 

You may have a very vocal minority screaming how badly something is done, but then you have 95 percent actually enjoy what you've done, so you say: Well, we can certainly say that that feature is okay because so many players are having fun with it. If you didn't do that, and that vocal minority were represented by, say, a couple of developers inside your company, you may wind up going in the completely wrong direction. That's where and why I really like the early access model.  

I spent hours in Fort Joy. Someone beat the entire game just under 38 minutes. How is that even possible? 

Well, there's a bug [now removed via the game's latest patch]. Other than that we actually put a couple of shortcuts in there for speedrunners. But they can only do it once they've completed the game in the first place. As a side note, because you can kill everybody in the game, we always have to have fallback solutions. This is a spoiler, I guess…

[Warning: slight story spoilers ahead.]  

… Okay, I'll tell you anyway and you can decide whether or not you use it. I'll put the responsibility in your hands. There's a city at the end of the game, and the guy there uses Death Fog, which you find at the beginning of the game. Skeletons are immune to Death Fog, which we were well aware of, and it's perfectly possible to kill everyone in that city. If you do so, you can still finish the game because you can talk to all their ghosts. It's one of those fallback solutions. 

Having a creature in the game that can bypass the major blockers—such as Death Fog—automatically means that you have a whole bunch of shortcuts, and if you know the fallbacks, you just have to go from fallback to fallback—which is essentially what the [38-minute speedrunner] is doing. Our design approach is going to give you that kind of flexibility. Speedruns aren't good to look at, it spoils the game for you, but it's good to know that it's possible. 

Do you do speedruns of your game?I do all the time. 

And could you beat 40 minutes?No. Absolutely not. We do speedruns all the time when we want to test that all the critical paths are working in the game. But 40 minutes? I don't think anybody should want to do that. We're not that concerned about racing through the game, we're more interested in the classic narrative experience. 

This level of engagement underscores community interest. I checked the game's Steam Workshop page ahead of this interview and found there to be 600+ mods out there already [there are now over 700]. Are you looking forward to seeing what people come up with?

We invited several modders into the office during development so that we could tweak the modding tool together with them. They are the guys that released the soccer mod, and they devised a number of more expansive mods which launched pretty much at release because they had the modding tools. It was really cool to see what they could make in one week. One of the things that we're doing now is to start a whole bunch of tutorial videos and we're expanding all of the tutorials. Hopefully we're going to see some cool shit coming out of that. 

For sure you can do a lot of stuff with the engine and they have pretty much everything that we had in our hands when we were making the game. But it takes effort, it's an RPG system so you can't do it too quickly. I'm very curious to see what else they're going to come up with. 

Is there anything that didn't make it into the base game that you secretly hope modders add?

What I really hope is that we're going to see adventures appear. Somebody made the noisy crypt, that was one of the guys that came here, he made a 40-minute adventure. I hope we're going to see more and more of those come up because I really want adventures that we can play in co-op where I actually don't know what the story is. That would please me tremendously. But again there's already loads of really cool stuff in there. 

What have you enjoyed seeing players messing around with most? Fane's face-ripping is great fun, for example. 

For sure, there's a streamer called CohhCarnage who's one of the bigger Twitchers, he played the entire game for 12 or 13 days or so, eight hours a day. And it was amazing to see—how they were figuring things out, things that they were trying to do, the things they were talking about in the chat, it was pretty much on everybody's screens over here. 

That's very rewarding, which I think is the cool thing about Twitch whereby people watching can help contribute to how the streamer is playing.

You've mentioned the patch, however what does Larian have planned in the long run for Divinity: Original Sin 2?

We have a couple of things that are in the works but we'll only announce them when we're ready. There's stuff coming, for sure. 

To that end: It's early days yet, but I assume the success of number two means we're in line for a Divinity: Original Sin 3, 4 and 5? 

[Laughs] We have a couple of surprises planned. But we're going to work on the patch just now, then we're going to work in silence for a little bit so that we can get our shit together and then… yeah, I'm pretty sure there will be at least one big surprise in there. 

Divinity: Original Sin 2 - DeathKnight

We fixed a problem in controller mode where overhead UI on enemies would not show up since the last patch.

You could say that with this fix you're back... in control...

I'll get me coat.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Are you strong enough to read the Steam Charts? Do you have what it takes to read all the way to the end? Can you defeat the Plunkbat final boss? NO! NO YOU ARE TOO WEAK! (more…)


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