Baldur’s Gate 3 has sparked a conversation about whether it should be considered a new standard for the RPG genre. Larian Studios founder Swen Vincke has shared his thoughts on the matter and tried to explain why he doesn’t buy into this whole discourse.
The debate about Baldur’s Gate 3 in the gamedev community began earlier this month, when Strange Scaffold head Xalavier Nelson Jr. stated that Larian’s upcoming game shouldn’t be considered a “raised standard” for the entire RPG genre.
Many professional developers, both indie and people from renowned studios such as Obsidian and Blizzard, noted that Larian has a unique combination of vast experience and resources that most teams in the industry don’t have.
Although Larian has never publicly commented on this take, the studio’s founder and CEO Swen Vincke today shared his thoughts in the latest episode of the Friends Per Second podcast.
He recalled a time when Assassin’s Creed came out and everybody was talking about how all other studios would be doomed because nobody had the resources that Ubisoft had to make a game like this. But the panic was unjustified: we still have plenty of teams and plenty of titles of different scopes and genres, while the Assassin’s Creed franchise is still thriving in its own niche.
Speaking of people seeing Baldur’s Gate 3 as the “new standard” for RPGs, Vincke said, “Standards change continuously, so it’s not as if there’s something that is a standard. I don’t think that there are things people should be worried about.”
We really just tried to make our game, so we were surprised when we saw that there was so much commotion about it. And it's just a weird thing. People haven't even seen the game, so it's hard to say that it's a standard. It offers a lot, that's for sure, and it offers what we would like to see in an RPG, so I hope a lot of people will make games like ours because that's what I and the rest of my team want to play. But there's a lot of other stuff that we want to play.
founder of Larian Studios
“Everybody played Disco Elysium that was made by a much smaller team, and it was a great and fantastic game — so that’s a standard now,” Vincke continued. “But I’m a big fan of Into the Breach — that’s a standard for me. So you’ve got a whole bunch of standards out there. The only game that exists in the universe for my youngest son is Minecraft — that’s a standard for him.”
Of course, if people want to make a game exactly like Baldur’s Gate 3, they will need a really large team. However, Vincke believes that there are still so many things developers can do, and many of these ideas can be implemented by much smaller studios.
When it comes to resources, there are big corporations like Microsoft that have endless resources and can simply do whatever they want — whether it is a game in the scope of Baldur’s Gate 3 or something even more ambitious. Vincke also noted that if anyone should set new standards, it is platform holders.
From a player's point of view, I would come to expect that the platform holders at least set the standards because that's how it usually has been in the past. They always say, 'Here's the guiding light, people, this is possible now, so go and do stuff with it.' That's always been how I looked at platforms.
founder of Larian Studios
According to Vincke, Baldur’s Gate 3 is a very specific type of game, and Larian has been on this path for over 20 years. So it is logical that the studio has both the expertise and resources to fulfill its vision. However, Vincke still doesn’t buy into this “new standard” discourse, saying that other developers should focus on making their own games and reaching the right audience for them because there are still so many things and opportunities left unexplored.
The full episode, where the Larian head also opens up about the Early Access model and developing an Xbox version of Baldur’s Gate 3, can be watched below.