Baldur’s Gate 3 developer Larian is open to working on another board game after its tabletop adaptation of Divinity: Original Sin - but not before players have its first board game in hand.
Larian crowdfunded Divinity: Original Sin - The Board Game in late 2019, originally aiming for a release of its ambitious adaptation of the toward the end of 2020.
The impact of the pandemic combined with the studio’s decision to “go back to the drawing board” for much of its original design, drastically streamlining rules, working with consultants including Pandemic Legacy co-creator Rob Daviau and cutting away tens of thousands of words of narrative text to result in a game that was less of a direct translation of the video game and more of a tailor-made tabletop experience. Ultimately, the game was delayed three years from its original release date, now due to arrive with backers from late November of this year.
“It was obviously a huge challenge for us,” producer Kieron Kelly told Dicebreaker during this year’s Essen Spiel convention in Germany. “It was a disappointment to have to change so much and we had to really work with the fans. We offered basically infinite refunds to anyone who wanted it. Because it was like, we're going back to the drawing board. If you want to work with us, and trust us to keep going, by all means we'd love you to stick around. But we understand.
“It took literally two years longer than they were hoping, but it's way better as a result.”
Asked whether Larian would consider following Divinity: Original Sin - The Board Game with another tabletop title, Kelly acknowledged that the developer was open to a new title or an original story expansion for DOS:TBG - but added the caveat that it might be a while before we see anything.
“The classic joke of parents is when you had your first, it's wonderful, but you're exhausted,” Kelly said. “And there's a point after the baby is maybe nine months, a year, two years, you're not exhausted anymore. And you go, ‘Should we have another one?’ I would say that some people are at that stage of the company and some people aren't. They're still not so sure yet.
“It's funny. It's like, 'Oh, let's do a board game. Let's make the most complicated adventure board game we can make, as the first game we've ever made' was definitely a learning experience. So I think if we do go again, we'll probably be a bit slower to communicate it before we actually do anything.”
Future games could even include tabletop adaptations that move even further away from Divinity: Original Sin’s successful adventure formula, too, with Kelly revealing that the studio initially considered board games set in the fantasy universe that hewed closer to the focused player-versus-player strategy of D&D spin-off Lords of Waterdeep than the exploration and adventure of its video games.
“The way we've done this is [the board game] is like an ultimate universe of the video game,” Kelly said. “You can just do the same again - another ultimate universe - if it is over here, instead of over here. There's definitely a lot of room for that.
“The IP itself is strong enough that you could do a multitude of different types of games in it. It doesn't need to be an adventure game or even a co-op. I think one of my original ideas before we even started this was a competitive three-hour experience, more akin to a Lords of Waterdeep or a Yedo. There's so many cool things to do.”
Before the studio moves onto any new projects, though, Kelly assured that it would work to finally get the Original Sin board game into the hands of backers who have waited four years for it to arrive and make sure that the extra effort to overhaul the experience was worth it.
“Honestly, the biggest pain point for us in the company was we care about this IP, but we care about our fans,” Kelly said. “And two years ago, it was a very difficult time because it was like, do we just refund everyone? Or is that even a bigger letdown than actually trying to make good on the promise that we made? So for us, it’s as long as our fans are happy.
“When they get this game in November, December this year, if we hear the good reports, we'll know everything we need to know. But until that happens, it feels a bit premature to go, ‘Oh, yeah, let's do another one,’ because I feel like they've paid for now. They've paid for it in both in money and in time. And now it's just time for them to enjoy it. And if they do, then we'll talk about doing [something else]. But I think they will enjoy it.”