Imagine, Baldur’s Gate 3, a colossal game from Larian Studios, where they spent hours ranging from 75 to 400 without releasing a single ARPG, accomplishing much more. Only a few individuals have completed it till now, demonstrating its length.
In contrast to other studios, they didn’t work on DLCs before the game’s release, and they still aren’t. In an interview with PC Gamer, Larian’s founder, Swen Vincke, discussed the complexities that Baldur’s Gate 3 brings, both internally and externally, involving how it interacts with D&D mechanics and its gameplay style.
Baldur’s Gate 3’s level cap is 12, while D&D goes up to 20. But expanding that range will be… challenging:
“[Levels 12-20] require a different approach to things in the adventure; you’ll have to challenge the player’s preconceptions, and a lot of development is needed to do those things properly,” said Vincke. “This means that it will take a lot more than a straightforward expansion, it’s much more than the 12 sub-levels due to many D&D adventures being so designed. Imagining it is simple.”
Another problem lies in all the intricate story work, with Baldur’s Gate 3 already having about 10,000 lines of unique dialogue that cater to player choices throughout the game. To expand on this, more diversity needs to be woven with the same characters… challenging, to say the least. That’s why Larian stated that if they ever consider DLC, it will take a long time and won’t be announced until it’s certain:
I’ve gained insights from previous experiences that necessitate a careful approach to announcements prior to their readiness for presentation. This precaution is crucial as there might be instances where certain plans need to be scrapped due to their non-viability. Our team can invest effort into developing an expansion, but it’s possible that it could turn out to be less than ideal, potentially causing frustration.
To promote it, we’d find ourselves in the position of having to market it as ‘Here’s something potentially frustrating, and we’d like you to make a purchase.’ Such an approach is unlikely to resonate positively. Therefore, having autonomy for our content exploration, testing, and creation is crucial for us. When the appropriate time for an announcement arises, we will ensure that it is presented effectively and confidently. There will be no room for uncertainty. Therefore, the freedom to conduct our testing and the autonomy to craft our offerings are necessary. And then, when we are prepared to make the announcement, we will.
Nonetheless, the key takeaway is that within a defined scope between launch and DLC or expansion, there wasn’t a specific notion of a “live” plan here at Larian, something they’ve already taken into consideration, unlike the concept of other live games. As we’ve often conveyed with this game, they’ve left everything to Baldur’s Gate 3. Any additional bonuses will come into play, and if it materializes, it will be evaluated as a long, extensive journey.