We’ve been fortunate enough to have an interview with Thierry Van Gyseghem, Lead Animator at Larian Studios to talk about Divinity: Original Sin 2, his role in-game development and the Lizard and Undead races.

Jack TGG:
Tell us about what was your role in the first Divinity: Original Sin and what parts of the game you worked in.

Thierry:
Divinity: Original Sin had a fairly small team, which meant that some of us had more than one task or discipline at hand. At Larian Studios we have the mentality to help out each other in any way we can so being versatile is considered a plus. My main function at Larian Studios has always been within the animation team. For Original Sin particularly I’ve started out as Lead Animator and slowly flowed into a directing function as production went on. Additionally, during pre-production of Original Sin I helped out the Art Director with concepting the early look of Original Sin followed by the keyart that was introduced on E3 2012.

It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint particular parts in the game itself that I’ve worked on as an individual, you have to see this as if our individual contribution is just a shading blended in within the many shadings of other artists, programmers and designers. At LarianStudios there is nothing just black and white, except the key art maybe! *pun intended”

divinity original sin 2 battle

“Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a single and multiplayer top-down, party-based role-playing game with pen & paper RPG-like levels of freedom.” To quote Larian Studios themselves.

Jack TGG:
What will you be working on D:OS 2?

Thierry:
On Divinity: Original Sin 2 I will mainly focus on my function as Animation Director and give it my best shot to have Original Sin 2 deliver some new and exciting animations to our players. Larian Studios has a very promising animation team that can do wonders within the limits of our game engine. Besides this, I won’t spoil any of the goodies Original Sin 2 will feature just yet! 😉

Jack TGG:
What fresh and brand-new things can the players expect from an artistic standpoint? Are there any new races for monsters or player characters that are being designed?

Thierry:
A veteran at LarianStudios has taken up the task of being Art Director, so there’s definitely gonna be a shift in artistic vision for Original Sin 2. We’ve also hired a very professional concept artist who has a lot of experience under her belt so you can expect some really wicked designs of her. Many of new monsters and races are designed by her, so there’s definitely gonna be new races and monsters in Original Sin 2 that will hopefully impress our audience. You’ll be able to see and play dwarves, elves and lizards alongside the human race we’ve introduced in the previous title.

divinity original sin 2 characters

You can recruit up to three companions in “Divinity: Original Sin 2”.

Jack TGG:
In the demo for D:OS 2 it seems it’s running on the same engine as the first game, is that correct?

Thierry:
The demo of Original Sin 2 is currently running on the same engine as Divinty: Original Sin – Enchanced Edition.

Jack TGG:
So you guys have released two updates on Kickstarter, one about Lizards and other about Undeads as playable races, so why did you decide to increase the racial diversity in D:OS 2?

Thierry:
The Elves, Dwarves, Lizards and Undead have always been part of the Divinity universe. For instance, our game Divinity:Dragon Commander featured all of those races in the player’s personal council, as well as the very first installment within the franchise called “Divine Divinity” featured all those races. In that regard the racial diversity has been there from the day Rivellon came into existance. Because of the success of Divinity: Original Sin, we’re now able to production wise support a story within Rivellon that fully features these races once more. Additionally in Original Sin 2 we will be able to offer you for the first time a fair chance to play with these races and this has us all truly very excited for it brings many unique opportunities

Jack TGG:
Based on the concept art, looks like the art team is going for a fierce and scary look with the Lizards and Undead respectively, why did they pick these exotic races in particular?

Thierry:
The Lizards and Undead are part of the core races in Rivellon, for us it was only the next logical step to add them. We could have perhaps come up with some new and other exotic races, but since these two had already a lot of established lore around them from our previous titles it felt for us only natural to flesh out these and give the player the chance to be one of them. As for their look in the concept art, this is the new style our new art director has chosen for these races.

divinity original sin 2 logo

Divinity: Original Sin 2 has collected almost 1.5 million dollars on Kickstarter so far (with 14 days left to go).

Jack TGG:
While you’re not part of writing department, do you think playing as a race that stands out from the crowd like that is going to have a lot of impact in the story? Are NPCs going to freak out when they see an undead entering their town?

Thierry:
Choosing a race will most definitely have an impact on your play-through experience! We wouldn’t want it any other way. So the players can expect that your choice of race is not a mere cosmetic choice, but one that has real consequences with how the world interacts with you. How this will affect you, or what a particular example of this would be I can not tell you just yet. But I’m sure if you follow our Kickstarter you’ll see we will gradually reveal some of the mysteries around it. Those who have followed our videos closely might have already discovered that unfortunately Dwarves tend to get discriminated at some corners in the world Rivellon…

Jack TGG:
How does the team feel about being able to fund their second game via Kickstarter, are they favorable towards the idea of using the platform again to fund future projects?

Thierry:
Well I don’t know exactly the opinion of each employer at Larian about this, but I think that in general the opinion is very positive about the studio returning to Kickstarter to fund Original Sin 2. And I know even less if Swen Vincke, our CEO and creative director, plans to keep using kickstarter from now on. No doubt there is great value in having an open relationship with your fans on terms of letting them support you in creating a bigger and better game than you would have done on your own. That argument alone is already a strong argument in the debate whether you should return to Kickstarter or not.

All things together I personally think that a 1-on-1 relation between developer and customer is a far better scenario compared to the bureaucracy of the middle men. In my opinion this is a win-win scenario for both developer and customer.

Here at TGG are immensely grateful to Thierry for the interview and wish him and Larian Studios best of luck on their Kickstarter campaign.

tgg author avatar Jack Davis
Jack Davis
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheGamingGround

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