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Divinity: Original Sin Previews at RPS and Jeuxvideo

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Divinity: Original Sin Previews at RPS and Jeuxvideo

Preview - posted by Crooked Bee on Fri 29 March 2013, 11:45:43

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin; Larian Studios

While we are all patiently waiting for Gragt to write up the official Codex Divinity: Original Sin story, here's an excerpt of a preview for Larian's upcoming turn-based RPG (currently on Kickstarter with around $150,000 collected) penned by Rock Paper Shotgun:

If you’re spotted in the act of committing a crime, the owner of the stall will react, but not always with a ready-built line of dialogue. More often than not, he’ll simply follow his programming and shout for help to fetch some guards, who will then follow their programming and chase the player, who will then either fight, flee or surrender. Events cascade and it’s to Larian’s credit that they allowed me to saunter out of the controlled paths of the planned preview and play with what interest me most – the cogs and gears that run the machine. I want to explore the sharp edges of the world.

And that’s why I ended up leading a group of monsters into the marketplace, watching the vendors flee in terror even as the guards drew their weapons and prepared to fight. I look forward to advancing my character, building a personality and gathering loot when I play the game in the discomfort of my home, but on that day I was more interested in seeing just how much Original Sin’s world would stretch and engage with my efforts to play. I wasn’t disappointed. Original Sin may have clever co-op conversations and a huge open world but it’s also a game that has been built to be broken.

Rather than providing specific stage directions for every eventuality, Larian tag and code their world and its inhabitants, instructing every element how to react to the players’ presence and actions. That’s why it’s not only possible to ignore the main quest and head into the wilds, it’s also possible to involve NPCs in your own subplots, simply by having the systems that drive them collide and intertwine. The reactions to the situations you concoct may be less perfectly executed than a cutscene containing a motion captured and fully-voiced argument involving Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, but Robert Zemeckis will be bringing that to the cinema in his take on Don Quixote (Stewart is the windmill). Original Sin isn’t about perfect execution, it’s about a world that reacts, providing all manner of possibilities, from tactical use of artificial behaviour to accidental farce and disaster.​

There's also the French preview at Jeuxvideo.com that Hobz has been kind enough to translate for us. I will post the translation in full in the first comment to this article, but here's a snippet:

The last time we talked about the interactivity of the world, where almost everything can be picked up, processed, etc.. Here are some other examples. You can take a branch and plant nails into it to get a mace you didn't pay a dime for. You can cut a piece of wood and enchant it with the proper powder to make a voodoo doll. You can make it rain on a boat in flames to extinguish the fire. As for NPCs, they react to different events without script, they only obey the various rules that govern the world. In this demo, this has led to some ludicrous situations ... But we much prefer this sandbox side, where everything is based on the principle of action - reaction, rather than a static universe where the characters follow a predefined behavior regardless of what happens around them. Developers themselves were sometimes surprised by the consequences of our actions. It produced things that were not necessarily planned, but the various elements of the game were only acting according to the rules! As long as these rules are well built, it promises us a world that is both dynamic and consistent.

Our exploration was obviously not confined to it, because the call to arms was quickly felt! The duo finally ventured out of the village in hostile lands. Monsters (undead) there were stronger than us, but whatever: by adopting the right tactics, it was still possible to get rid of them. Because the turn-based system of Original Sin is eminently tactics, care must be taken to carefully spend each PA. You might want to change weapons depending on the enemy, some being more susceptible to piercing damage other to crusching damage. You have to combine the basic magic, throwing a flash in a puddle for example, while avoiding friendly fire ... The notion of flanking is important because it lowers the defense of an opponent surrounded by your team, which can take up to six members (two heroes, two mercenaries and two summoned creatures). All this seemed very effective. It might be a bit repetitive in the long run, but this version offered only relatively few skills to use. The final game should vary enough to count the possibilities (and fun) to infinity.​

Thanks Hobz!

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