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E3 2012: Divinity: Original Sin (Impressions)

Posted by: Matt at 6/12/2012 5:00 PM
Larian Studios didn't have the glitz and glamour of a big booth at E3, and that's kind of a shame because I think they had one of the best games to show this year with Divinity: Original Sin. A prequel in the Divinity series of games, Original Sin is a turn based RPG with a lot of depth, as was displayed by David Walgrave from Larian Studios. In the short thirty minute demo he gave, he showed what looked to be one of the most compelling PC RPGs being developed today.

Up to four players can participate in this adventure through Tanoroth with drop-in drop-out multiplayer. Playing as the unnamed warrior who was recently freed and the mystic who has been brought back to live, David and his partner Benoit took us through an early quest line involving a manhunt. Showing off some of the turn based combat and what players can do in this sandbox of a world, they were able to find a woman who had recently slept with the man they were searching for, only that man had sent an assassin to silence her, a suicide bombing little goblin. David attempted to talk him out of blowing himself up, and when that didn't work Benoit was able to freeze the would be assassin in place, making him easy to dispatch. 

The dialog system allows for all members of a party to contribute to a conversation, allowing some party members to touch off a nerve or sway a conversation in their favor. When people are at odds, the stats system will determine the victor in the conversation. Players can also interact with almost everything in their environment. After saving the woman, David attempted to take some of the things laying around her house, much to her dismay, and it quickly had her becoming more angry with David, meanwhile Benoit snuck in to her room and stole items without her noticing. 

A quick demonstration of the items system showed how things could be consumed and combined. In David's case he had some mushrooms in his inventory, eating one would poison him, but when combined with his sword, his sword took on a poison trait. But to deal with his now poisoned self, he was able to combine an apple with a healing potion, making an antidote. This was just a small taste of the items that could be created and interacted with, but it already shows a lot of promise.

Getting back to the task at hand, David and Benoit resumed their manhunt and found their mark in a cave. He had walled himself up with a bunch of the exploding goblins, and unfortunately also had some explosive barrels near him. He also had a rather large machine backing him up as well. Benoit ran point on the machine, freezing it in a puddle of water on the ground while David took aim at the explosive barrels, crippling the enemies numbers, along with himself, he was a bit too close to the barrels and was now on fire. This was fixed by Benoit, who had a spell that made it ran, increasing the size of the puddle the machine was stuck in, and removing the fire from David. 

With the demo complete, the conversation shift to the editor that will be released. It will allow players to build their own scenarios, levels, items, and share them with their friends. The current plan is to integrate with Steamworks, since the mod community is so huge within PC gaming. It seems like a smart idea, lets just hope the implementation pans out.

Divinity: Original Sin is currently planned for a Q2 release in 2013, which seems like a long ways off considering how good this demo looked. The wait should definitely be worth it, and hopefully Larian Studios will have more details about the game in the coming months.