[Divinity: Original Sin]How silliness makes your world more believable

Titlecard of the “Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition” owned by Larian Studios

This is the first of four articles, I plan to write about the Video Game „Divinity: Original Sin“, the fith game in the entire „Divinity“-Franchise by the belgish developer Larian Studios. I will write a lot about the writing of the game, but also try to implement the gameplay, if I can. I’m talking about the original game and the „Enhaced Edition“ from last year. I will write every article in english.

Have fun, reading it!

„Divinity: Original Sin“ is a roleplaying game with turnbased-combat, a lot of interactivity and you can play the game alone or together with a friend. It’s setting is a colourful fantasyworld with dwarves, orcs and goblins and it tells a epic story about two brave individuals, fighting the destruction of the universe. It is my new favorite game, after Arcanum hold this place for over ten years.

And sometimes it is silly.

Very, very silly.

How silly?

You can find a giant, talking shell, whose name is Ishmashell. And it is such a melodramatic dramaqueen you wouldn’t believe, you guys. I mean, it talks like prince Hamlet and would give the danish prince a good time as melancholy is concerned. I found it quite funny, but for some players, this is already enough to break the immersion. The universe is doomed, how does a talking shell fit into this world and it’s cosmology? Quite good, I would argue. If Ishmashell can exist, everything is possible.

If we can accept talking shells, we can accept humans becoming gods through gaining experience points. We can also accept, that it is possible to defeat the physical manifestation of the power, bend to destroy the universe. It makes sense for you, that you can buy resurrection-spells as scrolls on the market and it makes sense, that every one can use the same skills, when they have learned them. It is also a positive example for the potential EVERY person has, not only the heroes. But it also gives us an explanation, how our heroes can summon fire elementals or slay dragons with their sword. Because they were born in this world, were everyone can learn spells or maybe become a great hero by pure force of will.

It has to start somewhere and a talking shell is a good way for a first look. This world called Rivellon, is more a world of fairy tales and myths, more fantastical in nature than more grounded scenarios like Obsidian Entertainments „Pillars of Eternity“. But because of it’s more mythical nature, it can tell the story it wants to tell. A worldshattering story about two mortals, rescuing the universe and speaking with talking shells.

Silliness is also good for believability, because compared to the real world, most people aren’t that serious. Or not as serious, as fantastic literature wants to make us believe. Most of the time people are lazy or don’t think about what’s happening around them and just talk about more practical things, like the disappearance of their sheep or how to get through the day without dying from hunger.

And finally, you can use silliness to lure the player in a false sense of safety, so when the game gets dark, it hits harder than before. But this is a topic for another blog post.