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This new Kickstarter update for the board game version of Divinity: Original Sin pushes the project's release date to 2022 and offers a chance to jump ship and get a refund because of that. Should you decide to stick around, the update talks about some past and upcoming improvements that include better art, deeper narrative, and more.
Here are the text parts:
Hello friends! How’ve you been?
Here in Larian’s board game laboratories we’ve been hard at work and over the last few months Divinity: Original Sin the Board Game has made meaningful progress. We’ve completely overhauled our artwork and miniature designs, upgraded all of our UI, and have conducted three in-depth playtests to evaluate the state of the game in full. But – probably unsurprisingly – developing a board game about shared adventures (that requires a lot of being together) in the middle of a worldwide pandemic has its challenges, to say the least.
That didn’t stop us in our tracks, however. We organized remote sessions, created a plethora of prototypes, and shipped them around the world, capitalizing where we could on areas where people could get together, and avoiding places where testing wasn’t possible. Progress continued, but at a slower pace. Our game is very dense, with a lot of opportunities to explore, along with many permutations. As usual, this means a lot of testing is required.
Our first playtests were originally scheduled to begin April 2020. But as it turns out, the RNG gods had rolled their supreme dice and it was not in our favour. With lock-down in full swing by then it was no longer possible for our external playtesters and internal QA teams to test in groups, which was the primary source of our playtest feedback driving design progression. While we were able to shift our focus to other areas in the meantime, major features that require input from playtesters were hamstrung, and those still need further iterations before the game will be ready. We simply do not want to lower our standards, no matter how challenging the world makes it.
We set out to make a totally original game using the core pillars of Divinity to create unique, memorable experiences. So with this in mind, we’ve decided we need more time to hit the kind of quality and scope we envisioned. We’re investing huge amounts of resources, but the past years’ problems have stretched us thin for time.
For this reason, Divinity: Original Sin the Board Game will be released in 2022.
We know some of you will be disappointed. For anyone who doesn’t want to wait, we understand and refunds are still available by messaging us on Kickstarter or emailing us on support [at] larian.com. But rest assured that this extra time will ensure the game meets our ambitions – we want this to be of the highest possible quality by the time it hits your living room.
Thank you for joining us in this adventure so far, and we hope you’ll stick around because it will be worth the wait!
So what will we be doing with this extra time, you ask? Aside from balancing gameplay, there are two big areas we’ll be focusing on moving forward:
We’re putting the narrative under the microscope, and homing in on three specific elements.
First off, we will be adding ways to help players remember what they've done and where they're going between each play session. This board game is big – with a huge number of potential locations available to visit throughout your journey, with multiple possible endings – and considering the time between each session could feasibly be weeks, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to pick up from where you last left off.
Second, we want to help players make informed decisions about what paths they choose throughout their journey. This game features a huge degree of variation each playthrough depending on what path you've taken, which means your choices have immense consequence on how the narrative plays out and the way in which the world unfolds. We want you to feel confident when you reach those decision points, and we’ll be adding more narrative cues in the beginning and middle of the adventure to accomplish this.
Third, we want each individual location to be a mini-adventure in itself. To achieve this, we'll be doing further balancing to make sure they each hit the same level of quality.
2. The Onboarding Process
With the amount of choices available to players in this game, we want to make sure you're not feeling overwhelmed at the start. So we're making efforts to better introduce the rules to help guide the player in.
Progress has already been made here – during our third playtest we began a session with brand new players that focused on updates we had made to the game's tutorial. We saw immediate improvements in this area, but we're confident there's still more that we can do and plan on introducing more tutorial-centric playtests to perfect the onboarding process.
Major Changes So Far
Divinity: Original Sin the Board Game has made great strides over this past year. From mechanics to gameplay systems, all the way to the fine detailing of our card art and the dynamics of the story, we’ve made hundreds of improvements and significant changes across every aspect of the game. Here are some of the biggest changes we have made so far:
The artwork for the game has gone through a total transformation since June 2020. By July of this year, we will have a completely new iteration of all artwork for the entire game. That includes every piece of artwork for the nearly-1600 cards, along with the key art for origin stories and for the main game itself. Revitalised artwork has breathed new life into the game and makes for a more immersive experience as a whole. Look at these beauties[...]
The sculps for the miniatures have gone through two full iterations since the launch of the Campaign. The second iteration has huge improvements – now they have a real sense of movement and animation to them. Like the refined artwork, the goal is to provide a living, immersive space for you to adventure in, and all the components, from art to miniatures, play a role in that process.
Our look at the major changes wouldn’t be complete without examining the User Interface. All of the game’s components have seen multiple design iterations: cards; the icons they use; the game boards; and everything in between. We’ve been fine-tuning the game’s presentation so that every piece of information it conveys is clear, engaging, and easy to have fun with.
Future Updates + Refund Process
We recognise that many of you have waited much longer than expected when you originally backed the project. There’s still a wait to come, and we can’t currently provide clarity on the expected release date of the game, though this is now a priority for us as the world begins to open up. We have a plan to bring the game to fruition to its full potential, and we believe the final game will exceed the promises made in the original Kickstarter campaign. We’re preparing to share more about that in the coming updates. In the meantime, we understand that for many people this has been an especially difficult period, and some of you may feel additional financial pressure. With this in mind, you’re able to claim a refund by messaging us on Kickstarter or emailing us on support [at] larian.com.
Note: refunding will nullify your pledge and invalidate your purchase. We hope that you’ll choose to buy the game once it’s released into retail!