Divinity: Original Sin overhauled for PS4 and Xbox One
Enhanced Edition will be a free new game for PC owners.
Divinity: Original Sin, "hands down the best classic-style role-playing game in years", is coming to PS4 and Xbox One. What's more, it's been overhauled for the occasion, transformed into an Enhanced Edition that will launch at the end of the year.
So much has changed. A team of around 40 has been working on the Enhanced Edition for a year, Swen Vincke, head of developer Larian, told me. Everything from the graphics to story to the ending have been changed. And PC and Mac players won't miss out.
Any one who owns Divinity: Original Sin on PC or Mac - and there are now nearly a million such people, Vincke said - will be offered the Enhanced Edition for free. It will be a separate game to exist alongside the current one, because such are the changes the two games are incompatible. Saves, then, won't carry across.
Naturally, for console there is a new user interface and native pad control, as well as split-screen co-op - enabling you to walk off independently of each other - in addition to online co-op.
There are significant technical changes courtesy of the arrival of DirectX 11, and most of the visual effects have been redone. And the camera now rotates 360 degrees. As a result, the Enhanced Edition's minimum system requirements have been upped.
The game's story has been tightened up around its flabby middle and the ending given serious attention, with lots of new locations and quests tying into it. Vincke said all of the game's encounters have been redone.
The adventure is now fully voiced and the AI character interactions are tidied up. It is, Vincke said, "essentially a different experience."
Divinity: Original Sin came out of Kickstarter for PC and Mac last summer. It was a game Larian had made and pitched fruitlessly to publishers for years before. "I should make a collection of the rejection letters and publish those," Vincke snorted. "Nobody wanted to believe that that was going to be a thing, a turn-based RPG."
But Divinity: Original Sin became one of the most critically acclaimed and successful games to come out of Kickstarter. The PC and Mac audience lapped it up. And when the going is good, the phone rings.
"The very moment we released Original Sin [30th June 2014] we started getting calls for a console version," Vincke said. "That was almost instant.
"There's an image in an old booklet we had that we presented in 2011 to publishers, as we were pitching to make Original Sin on console already. And that image consists of two people sitting together on a couch, holding a controller, playing it on a TV screen. So we've always wanted to put it in there."
But will it resonate with PS4 and Xbox One owners in the same way? "We're really nervous about the console version," he admitted. "We hope there's an audience for this! We don't know. And we really went overboard in what we put in there."
What's more, people now expect more from Larian, as success breeds expectation. "Whatever we do, if it's going to be less good in any way, we're going to be crucified," he said. But that, he added, is a nice problem to have.
Aside from Divinity: Original Sin on console (which is playable but needs testing - maybe there will be a beta of some kind), Larian has two other games in the works. One is in development at headquarters in Belgium, and one is in development at a second studio in Quebec, Canada.
Larian employs around 80 people, including contractors, so around half of the workforce is split across the two new games.
Both new games will be built on the Divinity: Original Sin engine, which now works on PS4 and Xbox One, and supports split-screen and online multiplayer. And both new games will be turn-based.
There's a good chance one of the new games will take to Kickstarter. "It's been the subject of lots of debate," Vincke said. "There's a strong tendency to go to Kickstarter with at least one of them, and probably in the not so distant future, but we're not so sure yet. If we do something it will probably be past the summer."
To say anything more would be to reveal too much, he apologised. "It's something people are going to easily fall in love with, I think, but you have to give me something to talk about!"
Before you go, here's a video of me playing Divinity: Original Sin live, back at PC and Mac launch, with Swen Vincke.