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The folks at GameWatcher had the chance to chat with Larian Studios producer David Walgrave about Divinity: Original Sin II. During the interview, Walgrave elaborates on Larian's usage of Kickstarter, the game's relationship with the original title, the snags hit during production, the game's multiplayer, and more. It's not a particularly long interview, but it's certainly dense.
Here's an excerpt:
GameWatcher: What difficulties have you encountered in development so far and how did you overcome them?
David Walgrave: We’ve been changing so many things in this engine, and we’ve changed the art direction, so we can barely re-use any of the assets of DOS1. We knew this would happen, but when we were prototyping everything, we obviously started out with what we had. One of the difficulties we have right now, is making sure all the “old stuff” is not in anymore. It’s just work. We try to structure this as best as we can, but there’s always something hiding away somewhere, in fear of the banhammer.
We took the time to make sure that all of us understood what PvP meant in this game. It really took a prototype to prove that it worked and that it was going to be fun. Then we got everyone playing it, so that they really got it — how it worked, and how much potential it had. At first, the theory seemed hard to translate to a system, but eventually everyone saw the light. Then a lot of the internals of the game had to be changed to allow a “neutral” party, to allow personal quests and personal inventories, and that’s just work.
What we’re currently still working on is improving the AI and making sure it can work with the new combat systems, such as the verticality of the battlefield. We needed further insight as to how this would all come together, so we did the following: All the combat designers and QA people designed small levels, and then we had them play these levels together. This allowed us to recognize patterns in how they were thinking. The goal was to capture those thinking patterns and translate them to our AI. The funny thing is, without realising it ourselves at first, all of a sudden, we had an Arena mode!