20 years ago, expansions for PC games were as commonplace as CD drives. If a game was a hit, it probably got an expansion—that was certainly the case for Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2, which both saw their stories continue in 20-hour-plus add-on adventures. When I heard Larian's Baldur's Gate 3 imposes a level cap of 12 out of D&D's possible 20, I thought that sounded like prime expansion setup to me. But Larian founder Swen Vincke says the studio isn't working on one, and it sounds unlikely (though not impossible) that it'll happen.
"Honestly, we haven't started on an expansion," Vincke said in an interview with PC Gamer on Monday.
Vincke said that he would find it "very hard" to make an adventure that takes players from level 12 to level 20, because in D&D, those levels start awarding players with godlike powers. For example, some of D&D's highest level spells include things like:
- Astral projection, letting you mosey around the astral plane
- Foresight, letting you literally see into the future and gain advantage on rolls while enemies gain disadvantage (because you know what they're going to do)
- Power Word Kill, a spell that just makes any creature with less than 100 HP immediately die
- Wish, which is just as powerful and open-ended as it sounds
"[Level 12-20] adventures require a different way of doing things, in terms of antagonists you're going to have to deal with, which require a lot of development to do them properly," Vincke said. "Which would make this much more than an expansion in terms of development effort. A lot of D&D adventures are sub-level 12 for precisely that reason. So it sounds like neat, easy expansion material until you start thinking about it and it's not as easy as one would imagine."
There'd be one other complicating factor to making a Baldur's Gate 3 expansion that picks up at level 13: all the possible permutations of a finished Baldur's Gate 3 campaign feeding into that starting point. If Larian were to build something like that, "you'd have to wait for a long time," Vincke said.
Vincke didn't give me a definitive 'never happening,' then but an expansion is currently sounding unlikely. In recent interviews he's expressed an interest in Larian working on multiple smaller projects after Baldur's Gate 3, and he definitely wants to get back to Divinity someday. He has a plan for the studio post-Baldur's Gate, but he's not ready to share the details yet.
"I know what we want to make, and the team also knows where we're heading," he said. "We'll see where that lands. I've learned in the past you need to be careful announcing things before they're ready, because sometimes you have to cancel them because they don't work out. We could work on an expansion and it could be boring, and we should stop working on it. Because if we would continue on something that's boring, we would then have to sell it to you, and then we'd have to say 'here's a boring thing, and we want you to buy it.' That would not be cool. So we have to have the freedom to experiment and do our stuff. And then when we're ready to announce it we will."
As for the possibility of fan-made expansions, Vincke didn't go into detail on plans for mod tools, but did tell me that mod support is "going to improve dramatically" after the PS5 version is released.