Larian Won’t Make a BG3 Followup – And That’s a Good Thing

At the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco last week, Swen Vincke struck a fatal blow to the hopes of everyone who wanted a Baldur’s Gate 4 — or at least a Larian one. In no uncertain terms, the Larian CEO stated that his company was finished with the IP, saying “We’re not going to make Baldur’s Gate 4, which everybody is expecting us to do. We’re going to move on. We’re going to move away from D&D, and we’re going to start making a new thing.”

While this news is sure to disappoint some BG3 fans, cRPG diehards could instead be excited — this means we’ll almost certainly be getting a new IP from a studio that’s proven they can make excellent games. And while Larian’s list of titles is decently long, it’s not particularly varied: one 90s RTS, then the seven games in the Divinity series, and most recently BG3. But variety is the spice of life, and a studio as talented as Larian ought to be adding their own personal pepper to Steam libraries around the world; making the 4th iteration of an established series might be the safe play, but it definitely isn’t the interesting one.

The same goes for a potential DLC or other additional content for BG3 — it simply isn’t as exciting as getting something new. Swen Vincke agrees with this sentiment, saying at GDC that “We are a company of big ideas. We are not a company that’s made to create DLCs or expansions… We tried that actually, a few times. It failed every single time. It’s not our thing. Life is too short. Our ambitions are very large.”

Many internet opinion-havers have speculated that Larian is splitting from the Dungeons & Dragon’s IP due to tensions or issues with its owner, Wizards of the Coast. As a popular internet whipping boy — deservedly, to be sure — WotC being to blame is a nice, easy narrative to swallow. This idea is somewhat supported by Swen Vincke revealing that the D&D team Larian had worked with was basically gone due to layoffs. Reddit seems pretty convinced that Larian is dropping Baldur’s Gate due to Wizards of the Coast — even after Vincke specifically tweeted that this wasn’t the case, the internet was not convinced.

Ultimately though, it doesn’t really matter why we aren’t getting more Baldur’s Gate from Larian. Baldur’s Gate 3 was an incredible self-contained experience — it doesn’t have glaring issues that needed to be fixed, and while a DLC, expansion, or even a sequel would have been nice, it just wouldn’t be that exciting.

What is exciting is that we could be looking at a new game, potentially in a new universe, with the level of quality, craft, and obvious love that BG3 received. Earlier this year, Swen Vincke tweeted about a new project he’s been working on.

While technically any narrative has multiple acts, usually that kind of nomenclature is used in cRPGs — this seems to suggest that while Larian is stepping away from Dungeons & Dragons, they aren’t yet going in a different direction genre-wise. This is another reason why it Larian not doing BG4 is arguably a win. After all, how many big budget cRPGs tend to come out in a given year?

Perhaps if modern gaming had more studios like Larian, it wouldn’t be such a big deal if they decided to stick with Baldur’s Gate games a bit longer. But while indie games continue to break new ground, modern triple-A gaming is a wasteland of open world collectathons, live service failures, and the latest iteration of Call of Duty; it’s a rare treat when a game with the budget of BG3 comes out with such polish. Heck, the fact it was a finished product on release makes it something of an anomaly nowadays.

Larian is an outlier in many ways. They’re an independent studio that can spend a reported $100 million on development; they make big budget cRPGs; they are a publisher that clearly places value on player experience. It would be a shame if such a special company spent their time doing the typical industry thing, churning out safe sequels and expansions. Instead, it sounds like they’re looking to give us something new — and that’s awesome.

Swen Vincke quotes in this article sourced from PC Gamer’s article on the topic

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Unabashed FromSoftware fanboy still learning to take his time with games (and everything else, really). The time he doesn't spend on games is spent on music, books, or occasionally going outside.

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