Divinity: Original Sin developer Larian Studios have announced that veteran RPG developer Chris Avellone will be joining them to work on the game’s super-successful Kickstarted sequel. Avellone, whose credits include Planescape: Torment, Star Wars: KOTOR II, Fallout: New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity, left Obsidian earlier this year, and with news of his availability circulating, RPG Codex launched a campaign to make Avellone’s involvement in D:OS2 a stretch goal. Many, many upvotes later, Avellone signed on the dotted line with Larian.
The game’s latest Kickstarter video update breaks the news that Avellone is indeed onboard, and features a Skype chat between Larian founder Swen Vincke and himself as the former offers feedback on an early draft of the game’s story.
It’s an historic moment in games, as Avellone acknowledges:”This is the first time I think the community is responsible for bringing two developers together who might not have crossed paths,” he says on D:OS 2’s Kickstarter page, “and especially for such a great project. I have a lot of respect for Larian Studios, Swen, and Divinity: Original Sin; it’s one of the best game Kickstarters ever. I met Swen at PAX Prime, talked about RPGs for hours, and at the end of it, it was clear we were on the same page. Now? We’re primed to do something great, and I’m proud to be part of it.”
What better way to mark the alliance of two role-playing greats than this:
— Larian Studios (@larianstudios) September 25, 2015
Avellone helped to co-found Obsidian Entertainment back in 2003 after working at legendary RPG studio Black Isle for several years. After more than a decade as creative director at Obsidian, he announced his departure earlier this year via Twitter:
I have officially left Obsidian Entertainment to accept a sudden opening as the Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts.
— Chris Avellone (@ChrisAvellone) June 9, 2015
The list of celebrated role-playing titles on his portfolio is damn impressive: excluding the titles previously mentioned, he’s worked on Icewind Dale I&II, Fallout 2, Neverwinter Nights 2 and the divisive Alpha Protocol. All games with devoted fanbases, and they’re generally darker in tone than Divinity: Original Sin.
Does that mean D:OS2 will take a step away from the original game’s moments of bizarre levity? Time will tell, but you’d imagine the Belgian Studio aren’t looking to redefine Divinity’s identity after the original’s success.
The project’s becoming something of a developer supergroup, with Witcher devs CD Projekt Red also slated to design a character in D:OS2.