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Swen Vincke's Epic Uncensored Interview

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Swen Vincke's Epic Uncensored Interview

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 28 February 2013, 18:13:43

Tags: Divinity: Dragon Commander; Divinity: Original Sin; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

While in London on a press tour for his upcoming games, Divinity: Dragon Commander and Divinity: Original Sin, Larian's Swen Vincke gave an "interview" to PCGMedia's Michael Cromwell. I put the word "interview" in quotes because apparently it was a bit, shall we say, accidental. As such, the interview is eclectic bordering on rambling, refreshingly uncensored and even (dare I say it) Codexian. Here's an except:

Me: There’s a disparity between gamers in the US and Europe – and both regions create very different RPG’s. The differences are incredibly bold.​

Swen: Yes, you see them right away.

Me: To me, American RPG’s seem very ideological – they often take a stance – they are very ideological gamers. Be the best of everything; be a hero, be a good person – but their games often are unmatched in fidelity and polish.​

Swen: Ideological, that’s interesting… the problem is we don’t have the polish. If we [European developers] had the resources that they have, we would be at least matched. That’s what CD Projekt is also trying. If you can have the polish of what they do, with the core values of what we do… I really think it’s a cultural thing… there’s a culture in the games that we make that you will not find in American RPG’s, and vice versa. I mean, I’ve loved quite a lot of American RPG’s – there were some really good ones in the past; Ultima is one of my favorite RPG’s of all time. There are a lot of good Russian RPG’s, they just don’t have any production values at all.

Me: Do you think European developers aim their games towards older audiences?​

Swen: I think European games developers aim their games at themselves. And that American developers aim them towards a ‘target audience’, and that’s a very big difference. I’ve seen this myself – I mean, this one [Original Sin] is made for me and my girlfriend, because we were playing Dark Alliance and I said “ah, I like the fact that I am playing together with you, but there’s nothing to do. It’s just hacking and slashing,” and so from there came Original Sin. If I like it, and he likes it [points to imaginary co-developer, not his girlfriend], then there are probably other gamers who will like it too.

Me: That seems very logical.​

Swen: Yeah, but it’s surprising how that logic is ignored when you look at it from a publisher perspective, when you have your stocks, charts, percentages… When you sit into those meetings – you lose your head, right! You’re just following numbers [mocks number crunching and talking about stocks] “who can release an RPG without Facebook intergration!” What the hell? [laughs].

(This part is followed by an epic rant about publisher stupidity that is too long to quote here.)

The interview also discusses such topics as:
  • Larian's tendency to insert politically incorrect elements into their games, such as references to political ideologies and abortion and also dwarf princess boobs
  • How F2P games and DLC suck
  • How there hasn't been a good CRPG in 6 years (since Mask of the Betrayer, I presume?)
  • Swen's admiration of CD Projekt for being the only RPG developer to successfully break out of the European low production quality "ghetto" (although he also thinks the Witcher games aren't really proper RPGs)
  • Next-gen consoles. Swen thinks they're underwhelming and not a threat to PC-centric developers (although he would like to see a "Steam Box" replace them)
  • How the UK gaming scene hates fantasy settings
  • And much more!
It's a pretty awesome interview. All I can say is, godspeed, Swen, you magnificent Belgian. :salute:

There are 38 comments on Swen Vincke's Epic Uncensored Interview

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