yes, I'll post it here.
Monday, June 23, 2003 - 9:29 am CT
First Riftrunner Interview
Reported by: David Laprad
Larian Studios' Swen Vincke gives us the scoop on Riftrunner - the Belgium developer's follow-up to Divine Divinity. Exclusive screenshots cap our discussion:
It's good to hear Divinity did well enough to warrant a follow-up. How will Riftrunner's story expand the Divinity universe?
Riftrunner fills the gap between Divinity 1 and Divinity 2. That's a strange thing to say since Divinity 2 isn't out yet - but that's what it does. Riftrunner takes place 20 years after Divine Divinity. The Divine One has erected the Order of the Divine in order to eradicate evil from the streets. The player - a member of that order - is dragged away into a demonic universe during an intense battle with a necromancer. That's where the adventure starts. Players will discover an entirely new world - but also learn more about Divine Divinity's cast. For instance: They'll encounter the imp historian again - the one that stole their teleporter pyramids in Divinity 1 - and they'll figure out what happened to the baby they saw at the end of that game. There's a very big universe you have just started uncovering.
In what ways has the Divinity engine been graphically enhanced for Riftrunner?
We've ported it to DirectX 9 - which eliminated some incompatibility problems. We've also included real-time 3D characters and added a lot of glitter to the magic effects while allowing for higher resolutions and including the ability to zoom in. Nothing too groundbreaking - but good enough to make the game hold its own.
Tell us more about the random quest generator.
There are special areas in the game we call The Battlefields. They're accessed through special portals that can take on many forms. Once you're through those portals you'll find yourself in areas that are totally computer-generated and where all quests are random. You'll usually visit The Battlefields to boost your character and either gain an item or learn a rare skill. The Battlefields add a lot of replay value to the game. The nice thing is we can offer players a lot of content with relatively little developer effort. There are different levels of difficulty in The Battlefields - so players will always find something to do there. We'll be talking a lot more about this feature in the next couple of months - so check out our site from time to time.
Explain the new character development system.
We're preparing a special feature around that - so I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise by explaining it all here. Some parts of it are pretty different from Divinity 1 - but there are good reasons for that. I'm quite sure most people will like it a lot.
In what ways are the environments more interactive?
You'll get more or less get the same level of interactivity - but it was already pretty high. There are many new objects with which to fool around - and some of the object functions people got used to have changed. For example: Bedrolls are now a normal thing to have rather than something you could acquire only by fooling around with haystacks.
The Riftrunner website says the game will offer total party control. Tell us more.
Divinity 1 players just had followers in the form of summoned creatures. Riftrunner allows players to micromanage their party if need be. The two dominant party members are you and your unwilling soul mate - a death knight that gets soul-forged to you. The other party members are either summoned creatures or people you recruit along the way.
How will the new reputation system affect the gameplay?
It won't have too high an impact on the main story line - but it will have quite an effect on the computer-generated gameplay and on some of the subquests. Don't worry: We won't let reputation interfere with the receiving of pre-scripted quests since we got a lot of negative feedback about that in Divinity 1. It's a different situation with the generated ones. Don't expect to be given an assignment in a kindergarten if you kill everyone all the time.
Divinity would've benefited from a more balanced equipment and trading system. Can fans hope for this in Riftrunner?
Absolutely. That's one of the first things we addressed when this project started. We learned a lot about balancing in Divinity 1. Our in-house systems for doing it is a lot better now.
What are some of your favorite new items?
I believe those would be the Rhanaar gloves. They're a kind of long claw with which the indigenous population of the Riftrunner world used to massacre their kinsmen. Very nice pieces of equipment. I'm also particularly fond of the shadow and ghost armor sets. They look pretty cool.
What's this we hear about summoning dolls?
The introduction of the summoning dolls is one of the coolest things about Riftrunner. They're very rare - but also incredibly valuable - so you'll go through a lot of trouble to collect them. You use them to summoned creatures to assist you. The creatures are unlike those you get when you cast a normal summoning spell - as they can be dressed up. That means all the cool equipment you find in the world and which you would normally sell - with pain in your heart - can now be used to dress up creatures you summon. For instance: Your ordinary summoned skeleton could now have a sword+5 and be full of charms that boost his resistances. Summoning dolls can be upgraded and embedded with many properties - all of which the player will have to discover throughout his or her journeys. They also make combat very strategic - plus you can make them do whatever you want since they act as party members once you summon them. There's an upkeep cost - so you'll want to use them sparingly.
The website lists five acts. Tell us more about how Riftrunner will be structured.
The first act is focused on escaping the citadel of the demon Samuel. He's the demon who dragged you with him into his universe and forged your soul to that of a death knight. We'll release more information about the other acts over the next couple of months.
Tell us something about Divinity II to whet our appetites!
It'll be big - VERY big. It has a very good 3D engine. It's multiplayer. And it contains a lot of cool features.
The Divine One has erected the Order of the Divine in order to eradicate evil from the streets. The player - a member of that order - is dragged away into a demonic universe during an intense battle with a necromancer.
Quote: a membewr of the order, not the divine one.
The player - a member of that order