Before Larian Studios was handed the keys to the Baldur's Gate 3 kingdom, it built its own original RPG world in the Divinity games, a sprawling series that goes back more than 20 years. And even though the studio is all-in on resurrecting one of the most famous CRPG names of all time, Larian boss Swen Vincke told IGN that it hasn't forgotten about the Divinity games, and will return to them someday.
"It's our own universe we built, so we're definitely gonna get back there at some point," Vincke said. “We'll first finish [Baldur's Gate 3] now, and then take a break, because we will need to refresh ourselves creatively also. You’re seeing 400 developers putting their heart and souls into this. You’re getting the best of them and their craft into this game."
For me, this is really welcome news. I don't want to come across as an RPG hipster but I liked Larian before Larian was cool: Eager for something to scratch the itch left by the conclusion of the Baldur's Gate saga, I picked up Divine Divinity in 2002 and immediately fell in love. The gameplay was more akin to Diablo than Baldur's Gate, but it was much more open and flexible, filled with quests, weird NPCs, and all kinds of secrets and surprises. It kept me enthralled for weeks.
The series was up and down from there. The direct sequel, Beyond Divinity, was good but more of the same, while Divinity 2 was a much more ambitious third-person ARPG that suffered from some serious technical issues and an unfortunate proximity to Dragon Age: Origins. Larian tried something different with the spinoff strategy game Divinity: Dragon Commander, which was cool but a little too weird for its own good. It was several years later that the studio finally started to find its groove again with Divinity: Original Sin, which began as a 2013 Kickstarter campaign and ended as one of the best RPGs in years; it then moved into the ranks of the RPG studio elite with the masterpiece sequel Divinity: Original Sin 2.
In truth, it's not the Divinity game world itself that I find interesting, so much as the fact that it's Larian's own work. The studio seems to have been given a pretty free hand with Baldur's Gate 3 but it's still subject to the limitations of the D&D setting, whereas Divinity can go wherever and be whatever Larian wants. And as a longtime fan, there's the principle of the whole thing, too. Baldur's Gate is the big time, bug Divinity is what got 'em there, and it shouldn't be forgotten. I'm glad to know it hasn't been.