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D&D: Baldur’s Gate 3 Developer Opens New Studio, Reveals New Details

5 Minute Read
Nov 18 2019
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Baldur’s Gate III developers Larian Studio have just opened a new studio in Malaysia to help make the hotly anticipated D&D game perfect.

Big things are in store for Baldur’s Gate III, as Larian Studios’ CEO Swen Vincke revealed at 2019’s Level Up KL, the biggest game festival in Malaysia. During his Keynote address, Vincke revealed that Larian Studios will open its fifth studio in Malaysia, with a focus on developing their upcoming D&D game, Baldur’s Gate III. In an interview with My Game On, a Malaysian gaming portal, and translated by IGN, Vincke gave more details about both the new studio and the new game.

via My Game On/IGN

According to Vincke, the whole reason for the studio is to help speed the development cycle along. This was a process that served Larian well with Divinity: Original Sin 2, allowing the developers to finish their sprawling RPG in just two years. As Vincke explains, they pass work from one studio to another to take advantage of time zones while still allowing the team to get rest.

We did this for Divinity: Original Sin 2, which we made in two years. For such a large RPG, it’s unheard of. This had to do with the fact that we can send the work to Canada. So, I can go to sleep while the team in Canada is working further on the game but when I woke up in the morning, a lot of work is already done.

The game we’re making, Baldur’s Gate 3, is an insanely big game. It’s super complex for us to develop for the players and it’s a really complex game to make. Given the size of it, we all need the help we can get to make it.

This helps reduce crunch time–and in the interview, Vincke even admits that Crunch is not sustainable, which is something of a relief to hear from a developer working on a major project like this one. Crunch in the video game industry has become a controversial topic with recent exposes on the culture at places like Rockstar Games and others, where developers are expected to put in 100-hour work weeks in order to meet demanding deadlines. But at Larian they want to develop games that are “really, really complex.”

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Speaking of complexity, let’s take a look at what Vincke has revealed about Baldur’s Gate III. In the above quote, he mentions that Baldur’s Gate 3 will be both big and “super complex,” but what does that mean? Well for one thing, the new Baldur’s Gate game has caught the team by surprise, and that they are trying to account for the player’s desire to experiment in the world they have built:

I mean with Baldur’s Gate 3, we’ve made a lot of iterations but it’s always the same mistake and it’s bigger than we expected. It’s because we take things to the next level and decide many options like, “Wouldn’t that be cool, wouldn’t those be cool, yeah?” (laughs).

We try to reward exploration and experimentation for the players. That means we probably put an irrational amount of effort that only a few people will see but we think that would be really cool to see in the game. But the thing is that when the players discover that, it becomes a very big advocate for the game because I never expected that possibility. There’s a lot of passion that goes into making this game obviously.

Vincke also touched on the aim of Baldur’s Gate 3, stating that the team is aware that expectations are high. In the face of the overwhelming expectation, Larian is trying to make the game feel like theirs–and like something new. Neither a clone of Divinity: Original Sin (1 or 2), or Baldur’s Gate 2. And as the game is based on 5th Edition D&D, the game would necessarily have a different underlying ruleset, but Larian plans on adding to it.

We want to make Baldur’s Gate 3. It’s based on the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons so there’s a lot of stuff that I think that we’re going to add into it. There are also innovations and things you haven’t seen before but we’ll never know which one the fans are going to like it or not. I hope the fans like it because we put a lot of effort into it.

It’s very different at its core. For me, the biggest difference is probably the class-based gameplay. The similarity, however, is that both Divinity: Original Sin and Baldur’s Gate 3 will try to give you a lot of player agency. You decide to do something. The Dungeon Master thinks and says, “Sure, roll D20”. They just check and we’ll see if it goes or not. That’s the fun of it.

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We’re trying to do the same but in a video game, the game itself becomes the Dungeon Master. So we have to figure out upfront on what you’re going to be doing, for example, in terms of stupidity and have the game world reacts to you. That’s what we want to try. I think we have cool stuff in there.

It sounds like big things are in store for Baldur’s Gate 3. This interview is telling–Vincke knows that the pressure is on, but isn’t worried about trying to please everyone. The game they want to make is as 5th Edition as they can make it–and even though the developers are saying the game will be “very different” from D:OS2, the concepts explored in that game are still promising. There’s a lot of emphasis on creating systems that combine in unique ways for players.

Party composition is super important. And while things will be different in Baldur’s Gate 3 (since it will be class-based), but you can see the care they’ve put into setting things out there for the player (not just the character) to discover. Will they be able to pull off their goal of being the best DM they can for the millions of players?

We’ll just have to wait and see. But in the meantime, it sounds like we can expect BG3 quicker than we might otherwise–check back for more!

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