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Below 10: A Developer Profile
Larian Studio's: Thomas Lenzen

Myrthos, 2002-03-04

Set in an all new fantasy universe, Divine Divinity takes the player on a fantastic quest in a land torn apart by corruption and dark magic. Throughout his journeys the player will get the chance to develop his character as one of six character types and meet a variety of people and fantastical beings. By combining the best features of the RPG genre, and introducing a lot of new features, Divine Divinity will appeal to both hardcore and new RPG players.

Below 10 is a series of developer profiles where we try to establish a small profile by asking less than 10 questions to a team of developers. This edition features Thomas Lenzen, story editor and creator of GIQ's.

1) Tell us about yourself. Who are you and what do you do at Larian Studios.

My name is Thomas Lenzen a.k.a. Bronthion, and I am webmaster of one of the first Divinity fansites (www.divinityswelt.de). I was born some time in the middle ages ;-) in Düsseldorf, Germany. Because of my roleplaying experience and programming background, Lar asked me in April 2001 to join the team at Larian Studios as Story Editor. I happily accepted, and since then I'm responsible for item statistics, sidequest development and implementation, and gameplay improvements, the so-called GIQ's. I'm also one of the contact persons to the company who is doing the German translation for Divinity right now.

2) What is your typical working day like?

Waking up, analyzing my dreams if I can use anything as sidequest for Divinity, checking e-mail and bug database, getting the newest version of the game from our program database, nagging in the programming, graphics and sound department for things I'm eagerly waiting for and having lunch. Joining the meeting of the story team about To-Do lists for the next couple of days, going to the supermarket for resupplying and having dinner. Starting up StoryEditor and Divinity, and beginning to work on my To-Do list. At three o'clock in the morning, surfing a little bit in the web, playing a little bit Pool of Radiance II, going to bed and falling into sleep, dreaming about roleplaying...

3) What did you want to become when you grew up?

I've studied chemistry. It was always my ultimate goal to become a scientist. Even when I was a little kid. Unfortunately I've never finished my doctorate, although I've almost finished my thesis. In the last phase of my study, I wrote computer programs for a chemistry company. Because of pecuniary reasons, I had to start writing programs for other companies as well. So I became a freelance programmer in the end.

4) What are your favourite games and what are you playing now?

My favourite games are role-playing games (what a surprise...). I'm a big fan of Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment and Icewind Dale. At the moment I'm trying out Pool of Radiance II. But the game I'm really waiting for (besides Divinity, of course) is Neverwinter Nights.

5) Where does your inspiration come from?

It's a gift! It's heaven sent! It's... I don't know... ;-) Honestly, I'm reading a lot of fantasy books. And I'm an active pen&paper roleplayer (Das Schwarze Auge - Realms of Arkania). I think, here lies the source of my inspiration.

6) What is the coolest feature in Divinity for you?

I guess, it's the little things. The main story of Divinity is an epic tale of destruction, betrayal and war. So I tried to include some light and simple moments to the game, spiced with a lot of (black) humor. I really hope the players try it out to leave the main road from time to time. A lot of things are waiting there for them to be discovered.

7) Which feature that hasn't made it into Divinity is the one you will miss most?

There are only three things that are really missing in Divinity: Multiplayer, a public editor and party members. The feature I'm missing the most are the party members, because they would have improved the atmosphere of the game even further. But it doesn't mean, the atmosphere in Divinity isn't excellent right now... ;-)

8) How did you get into the gaming business and do you have any advice for anyone seeking a position in that business?

I came into this position because of my roleplaying experience and my background as programmer. As story editor you need a lot of phantasy and creativity. But remember: the job is really hard work, even if you are dealing with games.

9) Is there anything you would like to add?

I really hope, Divinity will be a great success. I'm only working for half a year on this project, but there are a lot of very talented people at Larian Studios who are working on Divinity for years now. And they really deserve the success, because they gave so much to this project. And if you ask me, Divinity has the potential to become a top title like Baldur's Gate II or Diablo II. If you want to know more about this game, visit us at the Larian forum (www.larian.com). It's one of the few forums I know with a very active community and an overall friendly and familiar atmosphere.


Average Reader Ratings: 7.96 (227 votes)
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