The latest community update is now live for Baldur’s Gate 3 and in it, Larian Studios provides insight on their growth as a studio, how much has been put into the title, and more of what players can expect when it launches.
With regard to the background and beginning of development of Baldur’s Gate 3:
What you will eventually play has been in the planning at Larian and closely with Wizards of the Coast for over 4 years now, with their key creative people colliding with our key creative people in ways that we will eventually talk about in greater length. Our task is to create the ultimate Dungeons & Dragons game; a loving and modern sequel to Baldur’s Gate 2. Oozing with 5e D&D greatness, set in the world that you know and love. You will explore Baldur’s Gate 100 years after Baldur’s Gate 2. The Bhaalspawn saga has ended, and a new threat is converging on the city of Baldur’s Gate. But the gods do not forget, and the shadows and scars of the past will not stay silent. You will meet and get to know many new characters, and encounter some of the legendary characters you know and love.
Let’s look at how we’ve evolved since the release of Divinity: Original Sin 2 in 2017. Firstly, we finished Divinity: Original Sin 2 with 120 people. DOS2 was shipped on the second version of the Divinity engine (we still haven’t found a cool name for it yet), and our Producer David Walgrave said recently in an interview with TechRaptor that in BG3 “there’s about 20-30% of the Original Sin engine left and we rewrote so many systems and so many things.” We’ve been colloquially calling this 4.0 engine the “Baldur’s Gate Engine”, and it’s designed from the ground up for Baldur’s Gate.
Larian also commented on the growth of the studio and what that’s meant for the depth of the game overall:
But how does this happen? Between 2017 and the announcement of BG3 we’ve grown to 250 people + we have over 100 outsourcers working on this. Still independent. Funded entirely by yourselves who dived so eagerly into Divinity: Original Sin 2. We were quiet since the announcement just before E3 of the previous year. But internally, kinetic energy has propelled us forward with new systems, pipelines, and people who when not playing D&D were all helping us to put together what you saw at PAX East, 2020. There’s quite the adventure ahead.
We’ve built an engine that allows all 250 people at Larian collaborate to become the ultimate DM. Allowing for near-limitless reactivity, responsiveness, and a memory that never forgets who you are, or what you’ve done. No matter who you roll, dice-rolls, modifiers, and physical simulation have all been designed to simulate a D&D experience that feels as though it’s straight from the imagination, where no matter the dice roll the story will continue. It’s also a game that is intended to span the entire range of human emotion. It is in equal parts a dark and a light game. “We always want to make failure as interesting as it possibly can,” said Senior Writer Adam Smith. “We don’t put everything that’s cool and interesting behind success.”
“Light and dark are really good sources of advantage,” noted Swen in a recent GameSpot interview. The philosophies that define the rules in D&D 5e also define the narrative, where you’ll often make difficult decisions through initiative or through the roll of the dice. The Baldur’s Gate games were dark – sometimes darker than many people remember. Baldur’s Gate 3 is no exception, though in 2020 we’re able to take the gamut of emotion and experience and stretch it further due to systems, simulation, and of course also our cinematics team. Unfortunately we did not make it to the end of our PAX East 2020 live demo due to a feature (see: bug), but those in the hall witnessed a scene where Astarion’s hunger got the better of him, and through a series of dice rolls (and often audience choice), Astarion sank his teeth into Shadowheart to varying degrees of mortality. Astarion was happy (systemically), but Shadowheart often ended up dead (also without irony, systemically).
Lastly, some of the development leadership will be holding an AMA on Reddit next week on March 12th at 11am PST / 2pm EST:
You have many questions, and we have answers. We’ll be hosting a Reddit AMA where you can ask Swen (Creative Director), David (Producer), Adam (Senior Writer), Nick (Lead Systems Designer), and Jiji (Writing Director) your questions. 11:00 PT on March 12, over on Reddit!
The more we learn about Baldur’s Gate 3, the more excited we become. It’s very clear that Larian is going to extensive lengths to produce a worthy RPG in the D&D universe and with such a talented team, and the help of Wizards of the Coast formally, we have to imagine the end result is going to be incredible. We just wish it was arriving sooner!