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Minor spoilers for early in Divinity: Original Sin 2

Butch:

So considering I didn’t play much over that wild weekend, I figure we can get some

Heady Artistic Shit

up in this blog at least for a little bit, by which I mean, maybe, an email or two. The kind where we ponder Big Overarching Artistic Shit in Video Games.

I was thinking, this morning, about sequels.

David Cage has a pattern. He is unsubtle, there will be stick moves to get out of cars, we will be slightly offended at the way he treats women (especially women with short hair) and…..he leaves the doors, windows and wifi network open to sequels. Heavy Rain, if you played it one way, had Madison the short haired victim signing her next book when another (we assume) killer gives her some shit and is all “come find me….” teasing the “next” game. Beyond? That whole scene during the credits where Jodi is looking over a blighted, burning wasteland next to…someone…and you’re thinking “Whoa, sequel stuff!” Detroit? If you can’t figure out ra9 no matter what, that seems sequel fodder, especially as my endpoint for my android/Markus storyline was “The androids earned their freedom—-for now” For now sure seems like a tease.

And yet he’s never done a sequel.

Now, yesterday, I played a good game that, if you read the cover, is a sequel. There it is, a bigassed Roman numeral II (that’s 2, for those of you that slept through that math lesson) in gold, on the box. And yet, thus far anyway, there’s no tie in at all to the story of the first one, this despite the fact that the first one had interesting characters I want to know more about, and the first one LEFT THE DOOR OPEN FOR A SEQUEL with that post credits scene with Zixzax all “There are so many other stories…..”

Both of these bug me. Sure, sure, sure, creators need freedom and if they change their minds on a sequel or whatever then fine, it’s their work. But I get irrationally annoyed by the “I’m totally setting up a sequel that I won’t deliver” and by “I’m calling it a sequel but it ain’t one.”

The first, you see, can be avoided by just not setting up a sequel. Don’t put in the Madison scene, or the credits scene with Jodi, or the “—for now.” Done. Not annoying.

The second can be avoided by….I don’t know…not using a number or something.

Anyway, you got a problem with either? I feel like ranting about art.

If not I can just say I found the lizard and the skeleton (Red Prince? Fane?) and leveled and I’m upset cuz I can’t find the elf you’re playing cuz I have a feeling she digs me. Oh, and I found the cat. Yes, found the cat.

Feminina:

Hm…I see what you mean, but no, I can’t say I’ve ever been particularly troubled by hinted-at but undelivered sequels, or by things that are called sequels but that don’t directly follow on the original story. I guess it’s just not a peeve of mine. Not like unexplored question marks, that’s for sure!

I mean, it’s certainly true: instead of calling this “II” they could have given it a subtitle, like Assassin’s Creed does now (Divinity Original Sin Black Flag?), to indicate that it takes place in the same world, but does not necessarily continue the same story or feature any of the same characters. That would have been fine.

But whatever. It doesn’t really trouble me.

Hinting at sequels that you don’t deliver is slightly more annoying, but for me, as long as the hints aren’t an actual cliffhanger, I don’t really care.

“There could be a sequel!” Yeah, OK, let me know if it happens.

“You don’t know if the main character is dead or not unless I make a sequel!” Now that’s obnoxious.

Dude. You must tell me about the cat. TELL ME.

Butch:

I’ll just say…..They dropped a vague teaser trailer for DA4 once. Long ago.

Feel my rage. Or, at least, my annoyance.

I guess I wanted this to be more of a sequel. They did a lot of good stuff with that first one. I want to know where Bairdotr went. I want to know what happened in Cyseal. Maybe I will. It’s early.

I’m still with the cat….Have you been able to say anything at all to the cat? Cuz I think the cat might continue to be important…..

Feminina:

NO! I have never been able to talk to the cat because the next time I saw it, it was dead! I knew it was important curse my failure to get Pet Pal soon enough why was I so foolish [deteriorates into self-accusatory mumbles]

Butch:

Dead, huh? Interesting….very interesting…..

Oh, I’ll right I’ll stop teasing. But you’re gonna have to bear with me, here, because I STILL say Rivellon is a delusion and the people in it are all, at least for now, in an asylum. Bear with me….I SAID bear with me…..

We wake up with a bunch of people who are trying to “cure” us, taking us against our will to “Fort Joy.” Really? Joy? We’re all being deprived of our power by something that’s supposed to help us. Lohse KNOWS she’s nuts, for fuck’s sake. Soldier dude used to be important, now he’s laid low by this “illness.” Fane keeps thinking he shouldn’t be here cuz he’s too smart, Prince cuz he’s too rich….they’re all responses people have to needing help. And here are magistrars trying to “cure” them, saying “Too bad some of them won’t be cured….”

So cat….

Remember in the first game you find a dude who’s all “This can’t be happening…I had a house, a car, a job, I have to get back to my wife…..” and Roderick is all “We can’t help him, he’s mad…” This weird glimpse into “real life?”

Well, the cat is, apparently, heavily drugged. It’s slurring its speech, its eyes are cloudy, it’s in this heavily sedated state, and it doesn’t think it’s a cat. It keeps mumbling about getting back to work, and, “what, are you crazy? I’m not a cat,” but doing so half coherently. He kept saying he had to leave, then half fell asleep.

It was kinda sorta creepy as hell.

On that, when you, as Sebelle or however you spell it, talked to Lohse on the ship, how’d that go down? Cuz it went down weird for me.

Feminina:

I didn’t actually talk to her…Gannibog the dwarf talked to her on that side of the screen and I missed half the conversation because I was talking to Ifan Ibn Schnitzel or whatever his name is. I have no insights.

So the cat has to get back to work? It was following us around for a while as if it had something it wanted to tell us–it didn’t seem sedated, but we couldn’t hear what it was saying, so maybe it seemed more purposeful than it was…hm. Maybe it wasn’t even really following us, just wandering and happened to wander where we were going.

Well, later on I found it lying dead in Fort Joy, so you can see what happens to your version.

Butch:

Yeah, man, it was sedated as hell. Cloudy eyes, whole thing. I’ll send you a screenshot.

Ibn Schnitzel is his name now, whether he likes it or not.

So in my game, when I went up to Sebellie, as one does, and she’s sitting there throwing dice, saying she can predict fate with them. OK, whatever. Then she’s all “Oh, and I can tell people’s memories by licking them.” Quite the pick up line. So I’m all “Yeah? Show me. Tell me what I did two nights ago” And she’s all “don’t worry, I don’t lick and tell,” and licks, and she’s all “Then, we were all sleeping, except you. You were staring at me, like you wanted to get to know me more, like you were fascinated, but like you knew me already, all at once.” And I could pick: “Look at the floor embarrassed,” (That’s what I did), “Say ‘That’s exactly right!'” or “Take your leave.”

What I could NOT do was say “Dude, that’s totally wrong. Never. Nope. Never seen you before at all.”

Hmm.

So here’s a thing: You can talk to the dead, right? Or lick them or something icky and find their memories? And now you can talk to animals, so can you do the same for animals? Cuz that would be handy.

It would also instantly make me a vegetarian. Some things are best left unseen.

It would also be rather awkward to be dating with that skill. All “SMOOCH” and then whammo, knowing….everything. Hygiene, for example.

Some things are best left unseen.

Feminina:

Dude. I didn’t know I could LICK people. I can eat the flesh of the dead and get some of their memories, but licking? Your Sebille may have made that up. Or not, if it was true!

Yeah, some things are waaaaaaaay better left unseen.

Butch:

I dunno, man. My Sebille seems to have Lick-O-Vision.

Even after all this time blogging, we still get the occasional NEW SENTENCE!

That whole eating people thing, while nasty, would’ve been handy for that murder on board the ship. Didn’t solve that.

Feminina:

Also didn’t solve that! The whole situation went to pieces before we could figure it out. I’m not sure it was possible to figure it out, though maybe if I’d found someone’s flesh to eat…

I’ve only actually eaten one piece of flesh so far. It was some random body part we found and I got a flash of memory that was “drowning!” or something.

Gannibog has about 10 random body parts in his bag and I keep telling him to send them to me so I can eat them, but he keeps forgetting. Or “forgetting,” because he probably secretly plans to assemble them into some kind of corpse golem.

Butch:

Forgetting? You say “Give them to me” and he…what…doesn’t hear you?

I’m not sure how your marriage is surviving playing couch co-op. I played Mario Kart with Mrs. McP once and she almost left me.

Oh you couldn’t just eat the dead dude? One would think that trick could solve a whole mess of murders. I did see you could loot him, but that was a “red” thing and there was a guy right there. Maybe, if you had, it would’ve been something awful like “meat of dead dude.”

Eww.

Where’d they get this shit, anyway? I have been all up in RPG fantasy forever and I’ve never heard of elf cannibals seeing memories.

Feminina:

Yeah, I feel like they kind of just made that up. “You know what people never say about elves? That they devour the flesh of the dead to gain their memories! Let’s say that!”

It’s true, maybe if we’d looted the dead guy…that was all very confusing. We were kind of wandering around not sure what was happening and figuring maybe we’d go back later to do the stuff we weren’t supposed to do. And then we never had a chance!

And no, I say “you should give me those body parts to eat” and he says “OK, after I finish figuring out which is the best helmet for Fane,” or something, and then we both forget about it.

Our marriage survived the first one, so fingers crossed. I seriously don’t know if it would survive a competitive game, though, so Mario Kart is right out. You should never have even attempted that madness!

You have to be on the SAME SIDE. United against the conniving witchmonsters or whatever. It’s the only way.

Butch:

No way, dude. Have to be on opposite sides. What saves the marriage is letting her win.

If we were on the same side, she’d just want all the good loot, all the time.

Shit, can you imagine if our spouses played this game together? They’d never get past the tutorial, and they’d never speak to each other again. It would be four days of them both agonizing over which helmet to wear, then, once they decided, one would say “You know, yours would be better with the boots I just picked,” and they’d disagree, and then four more days.

It’s sorta amazing Mr. O didn’t become an administrator, now that I think on it.

Feminina:

Or you have to find a game that will let Mrs. McP play Olivia Worthington, a tweedy college professor, and just make sure she gets a motorcycle and a shotgun.

We find that if we play different character classes, we don’t go after the same loot. I don’t need Gannibog’s two-handed sword, and he doesn’t try to hang onto Sebille’s magic wands.

Not that I use wands, because I don’t have any points in dual-wielding. I’m all about the staff right now. But anyway, we rarely want the same things, is the point.

Butch:

Whoa, you have gear that good? I’m still using “My First Bow.” And “Knife on a stick.”

Low blow, game.

Feminina:

Technically those are ‘improvised wands’ and ‘improvised staffs’. We did find a real two-handed sword somewhere. We’re still definitely in the ‘scrounging for functional equipment for everyone’ stage, though.

“Ooh, look, a real dagger! I can upgrade from this shiv!”

Butch:

“Knife on a stick” is a pretty good name for a weapon. The description is something like “Hey, a knife on a stick is better than nothing!”

Still pretty useless against evil corrupted sea turtles, though. Fuck those things.

Feminina:

Man, those things were nasty! We avoided them at first and came back in a couple of levels. They have some very handy loot, though. Worth making a note of it for later.

Butch:

Did you talk to one before it went bad and killed the hell out of you or did you not have pet pal yet?

Feminina:

I did not. What did they say? They’re all dead now, it’s not a spoiler.

Butch:

It, too, was creepy.

It was all “do you feel it coming? The dark? It’s cold….it consumes me from within…”

Hmm.

Feminina:

Interesting! Because these creatures are ‘voidwoken,’ right? And wasn’t the void trying to destroy the universe in the last game? So maybe this time pieces of the void are ‘infecting’ creatures in the world and making them cause trouble.

Hm.

I also keep hearing mentions of Braccus Rex. We remember Braccus Rex. Vaguely. He was bad…he was the one who turned his sister into a lich, wasn’t he?

Man, I need to go reread our old blog posts on this topic.

Butch:

Yeah, I saw that first shrine was to Braccus Rex. Who was…..someone in the first game. Or something.

Don’t read our posts. Takes too long. I’ll go google.

Ah, OK. Seems Braccus was the first real Sourcerer who did all sorts of bad shit. It was because of him that dudes formed the “Council of Seven,” who were the first Source Hunters.

Yes, Lich sister. He was also that BITCH of a fight where all the former bosses (Ghoul who used to guard the lighthouse) showed up, and I wound up with Wolgraff against the world.

I wonder why the statues, then.

And this poor turtle certainly sounded like he was getting infected. It was kinda like the last words of the dude in Aliens before the thing jumps out.

Feminina:

Ah yes, THAT guy! Nice searching. Right…he got out of control, source hunters had to join to stop him, he was trapped in whatever undeath we found him, then his followers tried to free him…and there was the Void involved, as well.

He certainly seems to have been influential in this part of the world. Hmm.

Perhaps we will learn more anon.

Butch:

Most certainly.

There will also be a very annoying fight.

There always is.

Feminina:

Always. Absolutely always.

We’ve…already had one of those. It eventually, on our second try, resulted in the deaths of everyone except the Red Prince, who was not carrying any of the party’s money or resurrection scrolls.

We reloaded. It was a lot better when we DIDN’T try to fight in the middle of a bunch of explosions. Helpful tip!

Also, give every character at least one resurrection scroll.