"The environments are heavily interactive, and it's important to effectively use anything that's not nailed down to your advantage."
Larian Studios is very proud of the world they've created for the Divinity series, and they have two games in the works that flesh the world out even further. One is a fun-looking RTS game called Divinity: Dragon Commander (due out Q1 2013) and the other is an action RPG called Divinity: Original Sin. Divinity: Original Sin takes place prior to Divine Divinity and Divinity: Dragon Commander takes place in an earlier era than Origins.
Divinity: Original Sin takes place in a steampunk world featuring magic and technology. The two main characters, out of four playable, are a tortured male warrior and a resurrected female mystic whose stories seem divergent but eventually overlap. The game is playable in both single-player and drop in/drop out multiplayer mode. In single player mode, the player controls the entire party of 4 and in multiplayer, each player controls one of the four characters.
A key component to the story and gameplay is the orcish Source Magic the aforementioned heroes use. This magic draws upon the elements of the world and can affect terrain. For example, using rain magic can make the ground slippery to move on, giving you an advantage in battle. A really cool use of the Source Magic I saw was in a boss battle against a giant robot. While he was charging a special attack, one character used water magic to expand a nearby puddle so the robot was standing in water. Another character's electricity spell electrified the puddle, effectively stunning the robot. There is also friendly fire in the game, so when one player was on fire, another used rain magic to put the blaze out.
As with prior Divinity games, the environments are heavily interactive, and it's important to effectively use anything that's not nailed down to your advantage. For example, barrels of oil. They will explode when struck with fire, but if struck with a normal weapon, they'll create an oil slick. This lends a point-and-click puzzle-solving aspect to the combat. Speaking of point-and-click, items can be combined in that style in the menus. For example, combining a poisonous mushroom with a sword creates a poison sword.
Unlike prior Divinity games, the combat is turn based, and each player has a number of action points to use when taking actions. This is why using the environment to your advantage is so important, because moving an oil barrel to the right place and setting it off uses fewer action points than a straight up assault.
The snippet of storyline we got was of the warrior and mystic looking for Robert, a wollock (an anthropomorphic lobster/fiddler crab style creature) who resurrects zombies and fits them out with technological enhancements. His modus operandi is to assume a human form, seduce women, then duck out and leave a "suicide bomber" zombie with a huge bomb on its back to kill the woman so he can resurrect her and use her for his own means.
The heroes find the house of a woman who recently interacted with Robert, but a "suicide bomber" is holding her hostage and threatens to explode. The closest character to the bomber is presented with a dialogue tree wherein he can either call the bomber's bluff (which will make him explode, leaving you to find a new lead) or talk him down and save the girl. Unlike the average RPG, this NPC you just saved does not appreciate heroes rifling through her drawers or chests, but while one player is interacting with her, another player can try to steal stuff from her house while her back is turned.
All four characters have dialogue trees, so even during the bomber extraction sequence, the second player could go along with the first player's dialogue decision or make a different one. The dialogue choices between characters affects their relationships, and it's cool that every player gets dialogue options, not just the leader. The way you pump your stats into characters affects the dialogue options they get. There are even moments where the enemy may engage the characters in conversation, and there is a possibility of talking one's way out of battle.
But if all that isn't enough, Larian plans to ship their level editor with the game so that players can build their own additions to the world and script their own quests. Larian boasts that the level editor players receive is the same one they use.
Divinity: Original Sin is slated for a Q2 2013 release.