'Let's just have closure on Baldur's Gate 3, it's been great. We've done our job': Larian CEO says he hit the brakes on DLC plans because the team's heart wasn't in it

Baldur's Gate 3 characters
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Baldur's Gate 3 is a great game. Even that feels like an understatement, though. It's one of our highest-scoring games in a decade and a half, a landmark RPG so significant it sparked actual debates in the developer community about its own quality. It's also done

While the game's going to keep getting patches and updates, there won't be much in the way of significant DLCs—but Swen Vincke (developer Larian Studios' CEO and founder) says that choice was mostly down to studio enthusiasm. That's as per a talk Vincke had with IGN at GDC earlier this week.

"The obvious thing would have been to do a DLC, so we started on one. We started even thinking about BG4. But we hadn't really had closure on BG3 yet, and just to jump forward on something new felt wrong."

Vincke explains that Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (5e)—the game that Baldur's Gate 3 is built on—is a bit of a tough thing to roll with when you're designing a videogame, noting that his team "had all these ideas of new combat we wanted to try out, and they were not compatible." 

Which makes sense. Baldur's Gate 3 is already a game that breaks a lot of 5e rules over its knee, for example, in 5e a character will generally only be able to 'attune' to three magic items at a time (there are non-attunement magic items, but they're usually less powerful). Baldur's Gate 3 just lets you slap a magic item in every slot MMO-style, which makes for some utterly busted builds.

As for putting together that DLC, Vincke notes that some exhausted vibes in the studio put an end to it: "You could see the team was doing it because everyone felt like we had to do it, but it wasn't really coming from the heart, and we're very much a studio from the heart. It's what's gotten us into misery and it's also been the reason for our success."

In the new year, Vincke recalls coming back into the office and telling his team: "You know, we're not going to do it. We're going to [start] doing these other things that we talked about, that we planned on doing before we started on BG3 … let's just have closure on BG3, it's been great. We've done our job. It's a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end."

Contrary to his fears, Vincke then recalls a feeling of "elation" in the studio. "I thought they were going to be angry at me because I just couldn't muster the energy," he says, but that he "saw so many elated faces, which I didn't expect, and I could tell they shared the same feelings, so we were all aligned with one another. And I've had so many developers come to me after and say, 'Thank god'."

You know what—good. I'm only a little sad that the chapter's closing on Baldur's Gate 3 forever, but I've always been of the opinion that my favourite stories all have endings. Keeping a tale alive just because it's popular has rarely ever led to good things—as a very disappointing ninth season of Scrubs once taught me. Larian Studios in particular seems powered by enthusiasm, so if the devs weren't feeling it? There's nothing to be done but wrap it up. Whatever they're cooking next is bound to be stellar.

Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.