Larian’s king wizard (CEO) Swen Vincke is very eager to tell you about the studio’s next game after Baldur’s Gate 3. And also, a bit terrified, because after all, the response to Larian’s D&D adaptation has been rather rhapsodic. How on Earth do you replicate that level of success? The answer may lie in scripture.
Vincke posted these thoughts on Xitter in response to Baldur’s Gate 3 being nominated for a Game Award. “This is a real honor, especially in a year with so many releases,” he wrote. “Seeing our little “niche rpg” make such waves is very motivating. I wish I could tell you about our next big game but this is really encouraging us to ensure it pushes many boundaries. I’m very excited about it.”
Which isn’t much of a story in itself, but then one Xitter user responded with a Biblical analogy that Got Me Thinking. “You guys were the David at the start of the story, now you all are the Goliath,” they wrote. To which Vincke replied: “Yeah that frightens us – but in a good way I think”.
If you don’t know the story of David and Goliath, it’s from the Book of Samuel. David is a young Israelite boy sent to battle the mega-hench Philistine warrior Goliath on behalf of King Saul. It’s a hopelessly one-sided encounter, but with God on his side, David takes down Goliath with a single stone from his sling.
I find the analogy with Baldur’s Gate 3 interesting/funny for a few reasons. Firstly, who exactly is the original Goliath that Larian’s David has taken down? The scourge of monetisation? Starfield? My desire to not sleep with my entire party?
Secondly, as Vincke’s response suggests, the implication here is that another David will be along at some point to take down Baldur’s Gate 3’s Goliath. I’m not sure there’s an obvious candidate – Rogue Trader? Pillars of Eternity 3? In any case, I’m sure Larian would prefer that the industry’s Davids and Goliaths make peace, overthrow King Saul (who in this analogy is, erm, well, let’s say Embracer, or possibly just capitalism) and prosper together. Perhaps Goliath could collaborate or share resources with David in some way, so as to equalise their size, resulting in a more sustainable industry of Daviaths and Golids – sensibly budgeted RPGs that split the playerbase evenly between them.
Thirdly, I find the analogy amusing because David one-shotting Goliath with a sling is exactly the kind of thing that often happens in Baldur’s Gate 3. Here are some alternative cheesing strats David could have adopted: reverse-pickpocket 87,000 gold into Goliath’s inventory, then hit him with a Blood Money affixed weapon that deals extra damage for every 300 gold possessed by the target; trap Goliath behind a dialogue screen, then turn him into a sheep and have another character shove him into a pit; stack oil barrels around Goliath and set them on fire.
As for what Larian’s “next big game” could be, the obvious pick is Divinity: Original Sin 3, which Vincke has previously said is “definitely” coming “at some point”, but I wonder whether the (not wholly expected?) success of Baldur’s Gate 3 post-early-access has changed things for Larian. A month or two back, Vincke argued that the game has created “a new audience” for RPGs by dint of its intuitive and cinematic presentation – claims which a few RPS readers took issue with. This might be a good time to revisit Nic’s piece on the future of the genre.
Disclosure: Former RPS deputy editor Adam Smith (RPS in peace) now works at Larian and is the lead writer for Baldur’s Gate 3. Former contributor Emily Gera also works on it.
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