Baldur’s Gate 3 Developer’s Next Game Will Likely Be Early Access, Too

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It’d be quaint to suggest that Baldur’s Gate 3 was just another big-ass game. The hit RPG launched out of early access late last year and positively took the world by storm, becoming the fixation of everyone near and dear to me. It set records and brought significantly more attention to Larian, the studio behind it and acclaimed RPGs such as Divinity: Original Sin 2. I have friends who are still deep in the Baldur’s Gate 3 mines and I myself am constantly tempted to join them, even if the size of the game intimidates me. Even after this success, Larian, which took a slightly unorthodox and risky approach to Baldur’s Gate 3’s development by releasing it in early access, will likely do it again.

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In a conversation with Game File, Larian’s head of publishing, Micheal Douse, shared that the studio probably won’t go public, even though the decision doesn’t necessarily fall on his shoulders. When asked about his thoughts on the current state of the game industry (everything is on fire, in case you missed it), Douse likened large, publicly held companies to an “oil [tanker]” that’s increasingly hard to steer. The strength of Larian, he says, is that they are “nimble and opportunistic,” allowing them to respond to challenges on the fly and pivot whenever necessary.

“We’re really lean and nimble and opportunistic, and I think we like to work with new data daily. None of the shit that we did in the publishing team was planned years in advance. And I think that’s also true for the development team. If you asked us what Baldur’s Gate III would look like, how much it would cost and how it would feel three years ago, I wouldn’t know…We’re just nimble. Being nimble is key. Big companies are not nimble.”

According to Douse, being nimble granted the studio the ability to make the game they wanted to make, which might not have been a reality if they were a public and much larger company. Now that they’ve found success with Baldur’s Gate 3, he says, they could go public and make a lot of money, “but it would be antithetical to the quality part of what we’re trying to do. So it wouldn’t make our games better. It would just make us rushed.”

Though it ultimately doesn’t fall to Douse to make that call—Larian’s independence rides or dies on the word of its CEO Swen Vincke—it doesn’t seem likely that the studio will go public any time in the immediate future, especially as Larian considers its next game, which will move away from Baldur’s Gate entirely.

When the subject eventually turned to matters of self-publishing and early access, Douse claimed, “This is the only way to do it now.” Given how much marketing has cratered, he sees early access as a way to create “social resonance” at a time when you’re seeing fewer and fewer games make big impacts on audiences. Douse stops short of entirely endorsing the method, stating that if a studio doesn’t know how to do it, they shouldn’t step into it blindly, but does say that it allowed Larian to build a strong gameplay loop and community.

Douse even suggests that Larian’s next game, which the studio is figuring out now, “will also probably be in early access.” He claims that early access is a great way around the risk of releasing a AAA game, which can be a huge gamble. Early access previously allowed Larian to open up a dialogue with their audience and the feedback they received proved instrumental in the game’s development. The ability to get quick input that could save the game and the studio seems key to Larian’s approach for the future. In other words, early access helps them “steer the massive ship.”

This likely means that it’ll be a long while before Larian’s next game fully comes to fruition, but also means that you’ll get your hands on it sooner rather than later! Now at least, I’ve got time to go back and actually finish the game.

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