Impressing gamers from all backgrounds as well as leaving game developers in a tizzy, Baldur’s Gate 3 checks nearly every box when it comes to what players expect from a game. Developers of Baldur’s Gate 3, Larian Studios, did not take any shortcuts when developing this game. Larian Studios is only a AA studio, not a AAA studio like the Riot Games and Activision Blizzards of the world, which have much larger budgets and followings. Despite this fact, Larian Studios dedicated over 20 years of development time to Baldur’s Gate 3, more than any other game in recent history. One might think that with 20 years of development, it is a no-brainer that it is has become one of the best and most popular games on the market, but it is much more than just the content of the game that has made Baldur’s Gate 3 so popular within the gaming community. Here are just some of the reasons why Baldur’s Gate 3 has left such an impression on the gamers and the gaming industry.
Baldur’s Gate 3 defies all current gaming marketplace standards
Given inflation and other economic factors, most pay-up-front games from AA or AAA rated studios are around $70 upon release. Think Activision Blizzard’s Diablo IV or Nintendo games like Pokémon or Zelda, all of which have had new releases in the last year and had between 5 to 10 years of development time behind them. They all cost $70 up front to play. However, with 20 years of development, Baldur’s Gate 3 upon release only costs $60 up front to play and has more and unique gameplay than every other game out there.
Nearly every game that is released nowadays also has microtransactions too. Every mobile game, free-to-play games like League of Legends from Riot Games, and even paid games like Diablo IV mentioned above all have microtransactions. While none of these games require players to buy in-game items through microtransactions, purchasing in-game items or cosmetics does make the progression in a game smoother. Baldur’s Gate 3 does not and will not ever have the option for microtransactions – the only cost incurred in Baldur’s Gate 3 is the purchase of the game. Larian Studios had this to say about Baldur’s Gate 3 and microtransactions, “No, there are no in-game purchases in our game. We believe in providing a complete and immersive gaming experience without the need for additional purchases. Enjoy the game to its fullest without any additional costs or microtransactions.”
This has basically enraged other game developers in the industry because it exposes the fact that great games do not need to be expensive to justify making them. It exposes the fact that money is the main goal when making a game nowadays, not the passion to create a truly great game. It begs the question – why aren’t AAA studios creating great games like Baldur’s Gate 3 at a bargain price and no microtransactions? Long story short, corporate greed is more prevalent than ever in the gaming industry. The money made on AAA games is not going back into fostering more talented game developers or back into the game.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Gameplay
Of course, the gameplay and content of Baldur’s Gate 3 is also a huge draw to the game. Many have compared it to the closest game to a visual version of Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) ever.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a turn-based role-playing game (RPG) with an immense and immersive world that players can explore solo or with three of their friends. There are hundreds of quests, 72 hours of cinematic cutscenes, and dozens of options on how to create and play a character; all of which are like how DnD character sheets work. Many of the decisions made in-game affect how a character progresses and nearly all of them are determined by a 20-sided die roll (D20), also like DnD. There are also thousands of different scenarios to navigate through, bosses to defeat, and loot to be gain to further character progression. Putting thousands of hours into Baldur’s Gate 3 may not even be enough to explore everything the game has to offer – there will always be another unique interaction to find no matter how much time a player puts into the game.
That is what a game with 20 years of development behind it and a studio with a main goal of creating a truly great game can do. Despite being out for less than a month, Baldur’s Gate 3 is already a frontrunner for 2023 game of the year. It has reached almost one million concurrent players any given time on Steam, which only represents a little over 50% of the players playing it at one time. It is the needle in the haystack when it comes to games – a true masterpiece that will be relevant and fun for years to come.