Baldur's Gate 3 - Developer Interview
GQ interviewed some developers of Baldur's Gate 3:
How Baldur's Gate 3 became 2023's shock game of the year: ‘It felt like a poisoned chalice’
A computer RPG revival packed with D&D lore, bear sex and dialogue most players will never witness, Baldur’s Gate 3 came from nowhere to be 2023’s game of the year. British GQ speaks to the deviant creatives behind it at developer Larian Studios…
Come January, few people had Baldur’s Gate 3 pegged as 2023’s runaway game of the year. With The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Bethesda’s long-awaited Starfield and a remade Resident Evil 4 all set for release over the following 12 months, a big-budget revival of a long-dormant computer RPG series didn’t exactly have ‘smash hit’ written all over it. No matter how much bear sex it managed to cram into its 100-hour-long confines.
GQ: So the best place to start is the end – how did it feel arriving at the game’s launch after six years in development?
Adam Smith, writing director: My overwhelming sense was relief. We were working down to the wire. Sometimes we’d do a playthrough and at the end of it, you'd go, “This is really, really good.” Sometimes you’d do a playthrough and go, “This is so close to being good. But right now, it's really not very good.”
What wasn’t good?
Nick Pechenin, lead systems designer: It was a big challenge for us to really wrap our heads around how different players can play. You can skip massive chunks of content. We would have playtesters who just never saw areas where you can spend 10 hours.
Smith: I remember once we had some playtesters and I asked this group of six who they were romancing. And every single one said, “No one will have sex with me!” And I was like “Oh god, this is the worst thing that can happen in an RPG.” So we looked at all the balance. And then I was like, "…I think these guys just aren't very good at it.”
When did you first learn you were going to be making a sequel to one of the most iconic names in the genre?
David Walgrave, head of production: Sven Vincke, our CEO, invited me over to his desk and he said, “Have a seat.” I was like, “I'm fired or something.” He said, “It's still a big secret, but we're gonna work on Baldur's Gate 3.” And then I was pretty happy that I was sitting down.
Nick Pechenin: It felt strange to even say Baldur's Gate... 3. It was like, “What's next, Half-Life 3?”
Smith: It's very strange to think that back then it felt like such a potentially poisoned chalice.
Information aboutBaldur's Gate 3
SP/MP: Single + MP