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Larian’s next game won’t be Baldur’s Gate 4, DLC, or anything with Dungeons & Dragons

Surprising the audience at his GDC talk today, Larian’s founder and CEO Swen Vincke announced the Baldur’s Gate 3 and Divinity: Original Sin developer won’t be making any DLC or expansions for the game, and in fact will be leaving the Dungeons & Dragons world behind entirely.

Finishing up his talk, Vincke said: “I told you at the beginning that we were a company of big ideas. We are not a company that’s made to create DLCs, expansions. We tried that actually, a few times. We failed every time – it’s not our thing. Life is too short. Our ambitions are very large.”

Vincke continued, “Baldur’s Gate will always have a warm spot in our heart. We’ll forever be proud of it, but we’re not gonna continue in it. We’re not gonna make new expansions, which everybody is expecting us to do. We’re not gonna make Baldur’s Gate 4, which everyone is expecting us to do. We’re gonna move on – we’re gonna move away from D&D and start making a new thing.

“I’m saying it here because we have a forum, and we get bombarded by people that expect us to do these things, but that’s not for us. It’s gonna be up to Wizards of the Coast – it’s their IP – to find somebody to take over the torch. We did our job.”

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That news may well be a surprise to Baldur’s Gate fans eagerly expecting more from the developer, although maybe not for those familiar with Larian, and Vincke in particular. The studio is fiercely independent – as exemplified by Vincke’s empassioned speech against some publishers’ “greed” at the Game Developer Awards the night before.

Vincke followed up those comments with another tweet today, quoting Eurogamer’s article:

“For the avoidance of doubt – there are plenty of people in publishing I met who have their hearts in the right place. This message was for those who try to double their revenue year after year. You don’t have to do that. Build more slowly and make your aim improving the state of the art, not squeezing out the last drop.And respect the people making the games. You’ll find it brings you more joy.”

It’s a sentiment he echoed in his talk. “When you’re making a game – well, you know that feeling, when you play a game, or you read a book or you watch a movie, you have that sense of elation? That’s really the thing that you’re going after. I keep on talking about it but it’s because it’s really fundamental to our ethos as game developers, it’s the thing that we are chasing. It is what we are trying to get in every single thing that we make.

“You’re only gonna get a game that gives you this if you chase it continuously. It really should be the ‘KPI’ of game development, to use the KPI word again. Because if you put the player first, and you try to get them that feeling, all the rest will follow. You’ll get word-of-mouth, and word-of-mouth is the best marketing tool that exists in the world. When your buddies tell you “this is what you should be playing!”, you will be playing it – if you tell your buddies, it’s going to have an effect that you cannot replace by a marketing campaign. It’s really fundamental to what I believe.”

Vincke also revealed a few more surprises in the talk. For one, he showed a clip of an early version of beloved High Elf Astarion as a Tiefling, the horned demon-like characters of the game since immortalised by Karlach, before he was eventually converted to his current form.

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