Baldur’s Gate 3, the 2023 hit game that garnered over 117,000 reviews in just six days after its Steam release, has taken the gaming world by storm. As a dedicated gamer myself, I eagerly awaited the game’s release ever since it appeared in Early Access. It took only a few hours of playing to convince me that this was the game I had been waiting for.
Larian Studios, the developer behind Baldur’s Gate 3, has not only delivered a fantastic game but also set a remarkable example for the industry. Their transparency and communication with fans throughout the Early Access phase have been nothing short of admirable. In an era where many companies, both within and beyond the gaming world, lack this level of interaction, Larian’s approach is a breath of fresh air.
Transparency and communication not only enhance fans’ confidence in a product but also showcase the passion and dedication of the development team. It’s evident that Baldur’s Gate 3 is a labor of love, a quality that’s sadly lacking in many games and their developers today.
With over 61 hours of gameplay under my belt, I’m still not done exploring all that Baldur’s Gate 3 has to offer. The game’s extensive dialogues and their far-reaching consequences had me saving my progress constantly, embracing nonlinearity, a characteristic that should be at the heart of every role-playing game. Larian has taken nonlinearity to the next level, delivering impressive visual fidelity and an almost flawless launch with minimal game-breaking bugs. This is a rare achievement in the current gaming landscape.
Before Baldur’s Gate 3, Cyberpunk 2077 was another highly anticipated game with promises of nonlinearity. However, it fell short of expectations. Choices felt less meaningful, and player freedom to alter the story was limited. It was not the groundbreaking RPG experience that CD Projekt Red had promised. Baldur’s Gate 3, on the other hand, redefines the genre and is a must-try for RPG fans and gamers alike.
One major issue with large triple-A game companies is the perception that their products often lack soul, prioritizing maximum profits with minimal effort. However, I disagree with this mindset. What Larian has achieved with Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game crafted not just by a competent development and management team but also by a deep passion for their work, even as a for-profit company. They have found a balance between profits and passion that few others achieve.
Baldur’s Gate 3 also highlights the inefficiencies within large triple-A companies when developing video games. Despite being developed by over 300 staff members across six studios with a budget of over $100 million, it pales in comparison to the massive teams and budgets of some triple-A titles, which can involve hundreds or even thousands of people and budgets soaring beyond a billion dollars, when including marketing.
One may argue that not all of these individuals are developers, but the inefficiencies in the corporate structure of the video game development process become apparent. As the release of Baldur’s Gate 3 neared, developers from other studios downplayed its significance, deeming it an “anomaly.” This dismissive attitude prompts the question: why can’t triple-A developers, theoretically capable of more in terms of finances and manpower, replicate the scale of Baldur’s Gate 3?
The inefficiency within the traditional corporate structure of video game development needs reform. The success of Baldur’s Gate 3 should serve as an example, marking a new beginning for the modern video game industry. Larian Studios has my full support for their future endeavors, whether it’s Divinity 3, Baldur’s Gate 4, or something entirely new. It’s time for the industry to embrace change and fully realize the potential of what video games can be.
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