Larian Studios about Divine Divinity
How did the people of Larian come together ?
We started making stuff for Atari and some of the guys we ran into seemed to be good in what they did. After a while we made the L.E.D. wars with a crew of 5 men. A bit later we had our first publishing contracts with Ionos (for L.E.D. Wars) and Attic (for L.M.K) and suddenly we were a company and needed people. Now we’re with 5 programmers, 6 artists, 2 editors and 3 soundguys making a total of 16.
Your first “big” game was the L.E.D. Wars, a Real-time strategy game. Divinity is more of a Role-Playing Game. Why an RPG ?
The first title we worked on was actually L.M.K. (not including the work we did for Atari) which was also an RPG. We had to cancel that game though because our publisher stopped 6 months before it would be finished. We made L.E.D. Wars in 5 months which was alot of fun but we made hardly any money with that because RTS is a genre that has alot of risks while you hardly earn any money with it. After L.E.D. wars we did some smaller projects to get some money in our pocket so we would be free to do what we wanted to do.
We chose to make an RPG because we really love the genre and Divinity will probably be finished and released somewhere Octobre/November.
While L.E.D. Wars wasn’t such a big title, Divinity is getting quite some hype. The reason for this ?
We had back luck with L.E.D. Wars because the same month as we released L.E.D., there were no less than 40 (!) other Real-Time Strategy games released. Also L.E.D. was made rather fast on a low budget just to prove to the industry we were capable of creating a game. Also we had ZERO publicity.
Several people seem to think that Divinity is actually LMK (the Lady, the Mage and the Knight).
This is not true. We started Divinity from scratch. The only things that are the same are the point of view and that they both are role-playing games.
Where did the idea for Divinity come from ?
We made it all up ourselves. When LMK was done, we really wanted to do an RPG also because 60% of us really love RPG’s and we completely love Ultima. RPG’s are one of the toughest games you can make because it’s easy to know where you start, but hard to say where you’ll end up. For instance : we wanted reflections in water suddenly, and it took us 2 weeks of programming with 4 guys to get that effect as we wanted it. Also it’s fun to see the world of Divinity grow all the time, but it takes a very long time before you reach the stage of viewing your progress. To come back abit on your first question : we want to show off abit. In the time we need to make Divinity, we can easily make 6 RTS games 🙂
Divinity is made as a single-player game. How will multiplayer be like ?
Divinity isn’t a single-player game, it started as a multiplayer game. Single player is just when client and server are on the same machine. Divinity multiplayer is more of a LAN-game though since bringing it online would need so much bandwidth and such high system requirements to run the complete world that it’s too expensive. We don’t have the money for that, but if we would have it, we would certainly do it.
Will multiplayer be featured out of the box and what can we expect from it ?
We want to put it out-of-the-box but if it would interfere with our deadline it will be added on later as an additional update or as a free download. We don’t know yet.
Most adventures and RPG’s always put you in the body of an apprentice. Why can’t you ever start as a known hero ? Why always as a dorky student ?
The problem is that if you start as a hero you allready have alot of high skills, so you can’t increase those or you would become some superman. The other possibility would be to start as a hero that has lost his powers, but that storyline has been abused so much that it isn’t interesting anymore. Also we’ve altered the story a bit, so that you don’t start as an apprentice anymore. You’ll start as some adventurer that just happens to be sleeping in a cabin where the magician and his apprentice run into when they’re trying to escape from the soldiers that are following them (in the early start of the game).
Divinity has several skill-types. Will a player be able to finish the game if he specialises in 1 skill or will he have to be some all-round dude ?
The player builds his character completely as he wishes. He can choose whatever he wants but he will have a certain guideline to follow. If he wants a certain kind of skill he’ll have to do research for it and therefor choose to go into that direction (f.i. magician for certain magic spell). As soon as he has that, he can go back the warrior way for instance so as you can see the game is quite open. That’s also the reason why we have made the character a human since this way the player has the most possibilities.
Will a player be able to finish the game in different ways ? With this I mean without having all the objects he can collect.
There are several ways of finishing the game. Off course there a some key issues you need (if an army of orcs attacks you, you don’t want to fight against them with some stupid knife) but other than that the immensely huge world gives you total freedom.
Will all monsters have their own skills but be kind of the same qua strength or will there be boss-monsters ?
Monsters can be the same class but have different skills or intelligence. For instanse : not all skeletons will be the same, some smarter, some stronger. Boss monsters are surely going to be in the game (lots of them actually). There are currently allready 40 monsters and more in development.
On the site it says the engine is re-usable. Does that mean you’ll be making other RPG’s in the future or will it also be used for other kind of games ?
We’ll be making other games off course. The Divinity Engine is set up as a universe, and within that universe we can create lots of different types of games like Real-Time Strategy, First-Person Shooter and maybe even a race game 🙂
We’re also thinking of making Divinity 2 more an online game and having some RTS-game released aswell after the release of Divinity.
What does one need to become a successful developer ?
No idea. We’re not successful yet, I’ll let you know in a year or so 🙂 … you need persistance, that’s for sure.
Have you got any last comments ?
Buy our game and don’t copy it. We get more email these days from people about L.E.D. Wars than we have ever sold 🙂 Support us !
We’ll do that !