- Larian Studios founder and CEO shared in an interview his thoughts on higher character levels for future Baldur's Gate 3 DLCs.
- Swen Vincke related how he and his team were inspired by Dungeons & Dragons and wanted an authentic D&D experience in a AAA game.
- Vincke understands that higher character levels will require different stakes, different environments, and different antagonists.
Swen Vincke, Chief Executive Officer of Larian Studios, shared ideas of what Baldur's Gate 3 fans might expect in DLCs that increase character levels from 12 to 20.
Larian Studios could simply rest on its laurels with how successful Baldur's Gate 3 has become. In fact, the current focus is on developing a separate game title away from their collaboration with Wizards of the Coast for the third Baldur's Gate entry. Moreover, the development team has had their hands full with providing hotfixes and patch updates to resolve technical issues that BG3 players are encountering.
But with that said, they are certainly not closing the doors to the idea of future DLCs, according to Vincke.
In an interview with Todd Kenreck, Larian Studios founder and CEO (and a man who wears plate mail armor like a boss) Swen Vincke shared how he developed a love for all things Dungeons & Dragons.
What's next for #BaldursGate3?
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Kenreck touched briefly on Vincke's first introductions to D&D via the Dragonlance novels. The Larian Studios chief apparently had his interest piqued during his teens about the tabletop RPG and how players can have a shared experience and having adventures in a heroic fantasy setting.
The interview would later expand on Vincke's desire to bring something new to CRPGs, learning from Larian Studios' previous Divinity series of games, but also making it even bigger. Vincke relates the challenges to adapt the D&D rules and be a worthy continuation of the classic Baldur's Gate story, while taking into account modern expectations for AAA games like multiplayer and cross-play features:
I wanted a triple A RPG driven by systemics that you could play in multiplayer with your friends and it had to be a cinematic experience. And that was the big, big challenge here. All of the choices and consequences, there were things we were already doing in the Divinity: Original Sin 2 or even [Divinity] Original Sin 1.
Much of the interview provides insight as to what inspired both Vincke and his team in order to create an authentic Dungeons & Dragons experience. With the prevalence of action RPGs such as Diablo 4 and Elden Ring, going back to a turn-based and tactical gameplay seems quaint. But the success of Baldur's Gate 3 has actually brought a new-found appreciation for a slower paced and thoughtful combat, and not just with video games. Kenreck mentions to Vincke that thanks to Baldur's Gate 3, players of the D&D tabletop game are being more creative and tactical with resolving battles.
Later in the interview, discussion shifted to what the future may hold for BG3, particularly with character levels and progression. Vincke expressed that the fact that there is a big shift after Level 12 in D&D with what characters can do, especially with magic spells:
Well, you could do different things so it doesn't have to be necessarily at the end of the game. And so there's different ways you can do that, but you could make a Level 12 to 20 game. It's a different game, all right. So you would approach it completely differently… different stakes, different environment, most likely different protagonists and antagonists.
Fans of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition are aware that character levels after 12 will have a clear change in the scale and balance of power. For example, a Level 13 D&D Wizard will be able to prepare and cast 7th Level spells such as Delayed Blast Fireball, Finger of Death, Reverse Gravity, and Plane Shift. Meanwhile Clerics at this level would have access to Conjure Celestial, Etherealness, Fire Storm, Regenerate, and Resurrection. These spells are extremely powerful, and the scale just gets higher when 8th and 9th level spells are implemented.
Balancing the power of higher character levels in a future BG3 DLC would take up a lot of development and design time. But as Vincke says, "it's not undoable."
The full 47-minute interview should leave no shadow of a doubt that Vincke is a huge D&D fan and knows how passionate the community can be for the most popular tabletop roleplaying game in the world. And being a Dungeons & Dragons geek himself contributed greatly to the success Baldur's Gate 3 ultimately became.
You can watch the full interview of Swen Vincke on the official Dungeons & Dragons YouTube channel.
What did you think of Larian Studios head honcho Swen Vincke being an unabashed D&D geek himself? What are your thoughts about the potential future updates hinted at? Should DLCs for Baldur's Gate 3 keep the levels low and focus only on story? Or should BG3 reach epic proportions with character levels of 20 and higher?
About Baldur's Gate 3:
"Gather your party and return to the Forgotten Realms in a tale of fellowship and betrayal, sacrifice and survival, and the lure of absolute power. Mysterious abilities are awakening inside you, drawn from a mind flayer parasite planted in your brain. Resist, and turn darkness against itself. Or embrace corruption, and become ultimate evil.
From the creators of Divinity: Original Sin 2 comes a next-generation RPG, set in the world of Dungeons & Dragons."
Baldur's Gate 3 is available for Windows PC and Sony PS5 through the Steam, GOG, and Playstation stores. Versions for the Microsoft Xbox Series X and Series S are currently in development, with the release dates TBA later this 2023.