After years of silence, Larian Studios has finally given us the announcement we've been hoping for - a true Divinity sequel is in development. At this point, we really only know that we'll be returning to Rivellon as a Dragon Slayer who ironically becomes "cursed" with the ability to transform into a dragon. So, in order to further expand our Divinity 2 knowledge, we fired the following questions over to Larian's Swen Vincke:
GB: To start us off, tell us when development of a Divinity sequel actually began and how far along the game is right now. Have you recently hit any notable milestones?
Swen: We started preparing for Divinity 2 in 2004 and spent a couple of years on gathering ideas, setting up processes and trying out technology. The real development only started in late 2006 and full production has been going on since late summer 2007. Most of the assets of the game are now ready and we’re basically integrating everything for the moment.
GB: What is the premise behind Divinity 2 and how will its storyline tie into the first two Divinities?
Swen: The story is set a number of years after Beyond Divinity and players will learn what has happened to Rivellon since then. As a reminder, in Divine Divinity, the player becomes the Divine one and is late in preventing Damien, the child of chaos, being born. He can’t bring himself to kill the child though and takes him home to raise him as his son. In between Divine Divinity and Beyond Divinity, as told in the novella by Rhianna Pratchett, we learn that the Divine one is forced to kill his adopted son’s lover and that this event unleashes all the evil within Damien, leading to a great war between the forces of good and evil. Damien is banned to another universe but manages to escape with the help of the player, which is the story of Beyond Divinity. And now, in Divinity 2, we’ll learn what Damien did when he got back and how he corrupted the proud race of dragons to kill the Divine one. The latter is immediately the reason why dragons are hated so much in the world of Rivellon and why there are so many dragonslayers.
GB: From what we understand, the protagonist is (or will be) stricken with a dragon morphing "curse". Will we begin the game with this curse or will we be afflicted during the game at some point? What advantages and disadvantages will such a curse carry with it?
Swen: It’ll happen during the game. The player starts out as a young dragon slayer initiate and will be going through the rites of becoming a real dragon slayer when the curse will strike. The advantage will be that the player will get the powers of a dragon knight and one of those powers is the ability to transform into a dragon. The major disadvantage will be that the player will be put high on the wanted list of his former friends.
GB: Take us through the game's character creation system. How much customization will players have at their disposal while creating their character?
Swen: We’re still developing that system so it’s a bit too early to talk about it. One thing I can tell you already, the gender of your avatar determines the gender of your dragon.
GB: How many skills, spells, and other abilities will we be able to gain access to as our character advances? Any particular skills or spells you can tell us about?
Swen: There’s quite a lot but again, I don’t want to pin down a definite number as we’re still adding/removing some. We’ll be talking about the skills in depth in the near future.
GB: What graphics engine is powering Divinity 2 and what perspective (isometric, first-person, etc.) will the game primarily be presented in?
Swen: Graphically the engine is a mix of homebrewn technology and the Gamebryo engine, but we also have PhysX, Kynapse and WWise middleware in there. The game is primarily played in third person view.