Obsidian says Larian's experience let it knock Baldur's Gate 3 multiplayer out of the park, but it wouldn't have been possible for Avowed

A fierce-looking warrior in a hooded helmet with blazing eyes, featured in Avowed.
(Image credit: Obsidian)

Once upon a time, Obsidian's upcoming Skyrim-esque (but definitely not Skyrim) RPG Avowed was set to have multiplayer. You'd have been able to jaunt about Eora with a pal or two before the studio realised that, hang on a sec, that's not a very Obsidian thing to do.

So the idea was dropped, almost certainly for the better, and Avowed became the thoroughly singleplayer experience we've seen in its showcases. But in a recent chat with Windows Central, Obsidian shed a bit more light on the decision to go solo, particularly in the wake of the stonking success of Baldur's Gate 3 (and its co-op mode).

"It was a very big creative and technical challenge to find a way to build multiplayer while also fulfilling the things that we are strong at as a studio," said game director Carrie Patel. The things that Obsidian is good at, as you might have guessed, consists of stuff like "a really solid campaign and crit path story," that lets players make "impactful decisions, [while] really shaping the world and the characters around them."

All of which, I'd agree, is the stuff Obsidian is good at, and the devs decided that staying good at them while "Building the systems needed to support multiplayer and also designing content, conversations, and everything else that makes that work" just wasn't going to be feasible. And so multiplayer was dropped completely.

Like I say, I think it's the right move, but it does make you ask what secret sauce Larian has that lets it pull off a big, sprawling RPG with a reportedly very fun multiplayer mode. Obsidian has an answer for that too: "It's not that any of these challenges are unsolvable, the Larian Studios team built an incredible RPG with Baldur's Gate 3, and they've had years of experience with Divinity: Original Sin, working at building multiplayer within a really robust RPG framework."

In other words, the difference between Obsidian and Larian—at least insofar as multiplayer is concerned—is just experience. It does make me wonder if the studio might begin experimenting with more multiplayer stuff now that it has Grounded under its belt. Who knows? Perhaps Pillars of Eternity 3 (let me believe this is a real thing that could happen) will let a whole squad of Watchers pile into a ship. A man can dream.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.