The opportunity arose recently to get Divine Divinity, Beyond Divinity and Divinity 2 (its new Developer’s Cut edition) in one lovely little DRM-free box. I was only tangentially aware of two thirds of these games before, but with the phrase “Three RPGs of Epic Proportions” bandying around next to “DRM-free” they didn’t have to ask twice.
The Divinity Anthology is a lovely product. When I saw the Divinity 2: Developer’s Cut advertised, I investigated: I had been meaning to buy Divinity 2 for a while but never got around to it (now very glad that I didn’t). The trail ended at the Larian Studios’ own website, where I discovered the anthology box going for an exceptionally fair price. It offered everything and more, for the sort of money I’d expect to pay for a single barely-12-hour game these days.
I could have bought the same product cheaper and faster via Amazon (especially without the ~£10 shipping from Belgium), but I decided that I would give my money directly to Larian for their commendable attitude to DRM. That’s to say, totally DRM-free discs for paranoid horders like me and Steam keys for people that don’t mind not owning anything (yes, yes, it’s only the perception of ownership but I can still install from my discs without an internet connection so they can’t take it away from me).
It seems like such a simple choice to let people make, but it also seems to be totally beyond all the big publishers with all their millions of pounds of budget — resulting in things like Skyrim that would have been day-one purchases becoming several-months-down-the-line-when-I-can-be-bothered purchases, and turning borderline potential purchases into things I won’t bother with at all. I have plenty of cash and I do love to spend it. All I ask in return is a little trust.
Needless to say, the future where I am free to choose to use, or not to use, services such as Steam is the future I want to live in. Please, developers? The same goes for Origin and anything else of the same ilk, natch.
While I would have been quite happy with just the three games advertised, the rest of the package isn’t to be sniffed at. There are two soundtrack CDs, one of actual songs and one of lost/unfinished pieces, that I have yet to listen to for fear of spoilers (boss themes, I guess?) and a Developer’s Journal, of which I have only read the first section for fear of spoilers, which details all the behind-the-scenes trials and tribulations of development through the ages, including what came before the three finished games in question.
The inside cover of Developer’s Journal has also been signed by a load of developers (if not all of them), which is a really nice touch. Totally unexpected, but another reason to buy direct from the studio. I guess they pre-emptively appreciated me appreciating them.
There are also some DLC items for a future title called Dragon Commander. Will surely end up giving that a punt if it’s another giant singleplayer RPG and their DRM strategy holds up.
What about the games, you ask? Well, you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer for that commentary — while it is well under way, the term “epic” certainly does apply at least to Divine Divinity and there is much to discuss…