Larian Studios
For those interested, here it is.



My personal highlights and thought :

Originally Posted by Interview
"I never expected us to be 400 people to make BG3," Vincke told me. "Nobody expected it. But it's literally what we needed to do it. We had a choice. There was a moment where we started understanding what we needed to do to make this game. We thought we understood. Then we actually really understood. And so we had two choices: we could scale it down, or we could scale ourselves up. And so we chose to scale ourselves up."

I didn't know Larian before BG3. But with the GDC talk on the making of D:OS2, and now this, I feel that if I was to summarise Larian in one phrase, it would be "we never expected development to happen this way. Nobody saw it coming". Which is quite sad.


Originally Posted by Interview
I asked Vincke where he thinks BG3 fits within the broader D&D landscape, in all its forms, and the answer came easily. "The benchmark incarnation of 5th Edition in a videogame," he said. "That's what we're trying to do. I think it's already very good, and it's still getting better."

Well, I've ordered my popcorn and I'm waiting for the next round of the Solasta vs BG3 debate. At this point, I might believe you if you told me that Swen really just wants to troll a good part of the community.


Originally Posted by Interview
Cinematics were a huge complicating factor that affected everything else in the game, even dramatically impacting the writing process. On Original Sin 2, the writers could tinker with text until essentially the last minute, thanks to an automated pipeline they built that would send new text straight to the recording studios for actors to record the next day. But that doesn't work when every dialogue scene is meticulously animated—writing has gone from one of the first steps in the process to one of the last.

"There are so many steps in between now, so many people that need to look at it," Vincke said. "Cinematic designers, cinematic animators, the casting director, lighting, VFX, SFX. So you don't just add a line like that anymore. You're very aware of your cinematic budget, the cost, and the waterfall that follows from it. We've had to reinvent ourselves, how we work… so that we can still iterate."

I'm now less hopeful than ever about the writing.

Larian's development philosophy seems to be "let's not spend time thinking ahead at the beginning, we'll just do a quick-and-dirty first draft now, implement it, and later we'll iterate over and over until we've got something good". The thing is, spending more time thinking ahead at the beginning can often save many iterations further down the line ...
Quote
I asked Vincke where he thinks BG3 fits within the broader D&D landscape, in all its forms, and the answer came easily. "The benchmark incarnation of 5th Edition in a videogame," he said.

....

I honestly don't know whether to derisively laugh out loud or just put my head in my hands and cry - though since I'm physically incapable of the former I guess it's an easy enough question. *sigh*


Quote
When you go to the character creation and you can select all those classes, all those sub classes, and then you start that journey—knowing everything you can do on that journey, it's going to be quite the thing.

Despite the seeming disconnect with reality that the interviewee seems to have between what he imagines is being produced, and what we're actually seeing, I do find myself wondering if this means that in a future patch they'll actually do something about the gods-awful character creation UI, and if it will, indeed, include the ability to view in clear and legible ways what each class and subclass gives you at which levels - something you cannot, in fact, do right now.
Posted By: Tuco Re: New Larian interview (PC Gamer, March 2022) - 24/03/22 12:38 AM
Anyone knows if the GDC talk he gave about the game is going to be publicly available any time soon?
Originally Posted by Tuco
Anyone knows if the GDC talk he gave about the game is going to be publicly available any time soon?

Swen gave a GDC talk about BG3 ? I've only watched the one about D:OS2, and I was firmly waiting for "The making of BG3" in a couple of years, to see whether it can be summarised in the exact same way. That is to say : "We didn't see that one coming. And that one either". But the PC Gamer interview has just confirmed me in the thinking that, yes, if/when such a "Making of BG3" talk happens, it will be the same.


Originally Posted by Niara
Quote
When you go to the character creation and you can select all those classes, all those sub classes, and then you start that journey—knowing everything you can do on that journey, it's going to be quite the thing.

Despite the seeming disconnect with reality that the interviewee seems to have between what he imagines is being produced, and what we're actually seeing, I do find myself wondering if this means that in a future patch they'll actually do something about the gods-awful character creation UI, and if it will, indeed, include the ability to view in clear and legible ways what each class and subclass gives you at which levels - something you cannot, in fact, do right now.

I certainly hope for an improvement of the awful character creation UI, at some point ... ideally before release.

I also love how the quote sounds like "Look at all those options ! Such classes, much subclasses, wow". Clearly, that's a point where BG3 is very different from Solasta, Pathfinder : Wrath Of the Righteous, Eldent Ring, and basically every other CRPG out there.
@Tuco : ah, forget about my question. I just realised that Larian's Twitter account mentions a recent GDC talk, titled "The Many Challenges of Making Baldur's Gate 3". I think it takes quite some time before GDC publishes their talks on YouTube (or in the GDC Vault). Like, I wouldn't be surprised if we need to wait a couple of months.
Eh, nothing really new here. Quote about BG3 being "the benchmark incarnation of 5th Edition in a videogame" I am sure will be used against Larian many times in the future, but it's more or less what we had before - of course Larian believes (or claims) their changes make for a better game, and so it is the best 5e adaptation in a video game.


Quote
Cinematics were a huge complicating factor that affected everything else in the game, even dramatically impacting the writing process. On Original Sin 2, the writers could tinker with text until essentially the last minute, thanks to an automated pipeline they built that would send new text straight to the recording studios for actors to record the next day. But that doesn't work when every dialogue scene is meticulously animated—writing has gone from one of the first steps in the process to one of the last.
Again nothing new - impact of increased production value on ability to make rewrites and changes has been well documented across many projects - that's sort of obvious, the more time and money something takes to make, the harder will it be to get it scrapped and replaced. I wonder if EA might be working against Larian - one would assume that for Larian to be able to release EA they need to invest a lot of resources into creating and polishing assets that might benefit from changes later on. Then again, even without EA devs will make playable builds for events or for publishers to see, so it could be the usual, necessary "waste".
I would also like to see the GDC talk!
This only confirms what I knew and posted on here a year ago about Larian being in way over their head and understaffed. Swen all but confirms it here, which is why they did so much hiring for more staff.

The game when it was released in October 2020 was not fit or suitable for public consumption, especially at a $60 price point. I can only hope that, with the full staff, we start seeing flowing updates and changes being made to the game with some sort of reliable schedule.

Honestly, it still feels like the developers don't know what they're doing on this engine. I don't think we'll get another patch before the 2-year anniversary and that patch should be able to clue us in what they have planned with reactions, considering the game is going to come out in 2023 allegedly.
Lol.
Proven true.
As I have been saying since day 1, CINEMATIC DIALOGUES is what will kill this games development. EVERYTHING revolves around them. Its a huge hurdle to more content we could of had.
Frack cinematics; use the time and funds to give us party of 6, 10 more playable NPCs with quick ass amazing WRITTEN dialogue story, day/night cycle time, hardcore D&D, mix of tactical AND quicker combat options etc..etc...
Or just be done with it and make BG3 a tale tale game and remove all combat and RPG elements. I mean right? thats what everyone here who loves BG3 just wants, to make a boner inducing character and to see everyone naked dancing around a bondfire romancing and arguing for eternity.
People will tear Sven's words apart and misinterpret anything as long as it fits their narrative.
Originally Posted by Sigi98
People will tear Sven's words apart and misinterpret anything as long as it fits their narrative.

Uh huh.

If my experience has taught me anything, it is that there are no hills lacking defenders...dung-heaps included.
Originally Posted by Interview
"There are so many steps in between now, so many people that need to look at it," Vincke said. "Cinematic designers, cinematic animators, the casting director, lighting, VFX, SFX. So you don't just add a line like that anymore. You're very aware of your cinematic budget, the cost, and the waterfall that follows from it. We've had to reinvent ourselves, how we work… so that we can still iterate."
Sooo ...

Thats the excuse for having such limiting dialogue options?
That "it involves many people and much work to add another"?

If so its poor one.

And also dont tell me that in between all those 400 people nobody thinks that curent options are lacking some basic choices. :-/

Nobody thinks that we should have option to try harder save Arabella than just give single Perauation atempt ... and then just watch her die if we fail.
Nobody thinks that we should have option to at least beat those little thieves ... instead just accept that they steal for us and there is nothing we can do.
Nobody thinks that Astarion ambush should lead directly to combat?

All that and MUCH MUCH more despite the fact that we are litteraly begging for them for year and half??? :-/

Well in that case Larian obviously need to expand even futher.
And i would recomend to start hiring writers.
Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
Well in that case Larian obviously need to expand even futher.
And i would recomend to start hiring writers.
Guess what? This https://larian.com/careers/d39674d6-2b37-44fe-9705-0c2612a265bc
And it's hanging there for ages.
I laughed at the 5e incarnation remark. BG3 has a lot of work to do to be a faithful 5e adaption. Playing in two 5e pen & paper groups at the moment I can compare both versions directly and BG3 has a lot still missing.

And artwork and cinematics before story? That doesn't sound promising. Just get rid of all the cinematics and concentrate in story. I don't really need a cinematic for every pointless dialogue. Use them for some of the important stuff, but not everytime, a npc opens their mouth.
No mention of finishing off races, just classes and spells. I’m starting to think we might not be getting Dragonborn.
Larian : "Making video games is hard, so we scaled up our teams"
Everyone in this forum : "OOOOH MY GOD THE GAME IS DOOMED"

I'll grab some popcorn while you guys have a meltdown over nothing.
Originally Posted by Zellin
Guess what? This https://larian.com/careers/d39674d6-2b37-44fe-9705-0c2612a265bc
And it's hanging there for ages.
Yeah you never have enough talented people ...

Shame Dublin is so far tho ... would be worth a try. laugh
Originally Posted by Sigi98
People will tear Sven's words apart and misinterpret anything as long as it fits their narrative.
Exactly!
Originally Posted by snowram
Larian : "Making video games is hard"

They weren't aware of the potential difficulties from the beginning?

Originally Posted by Icelyn
Originally Posted by Sigi98
People will tear Sven's words apart and misinterpret anything as long as it fits their narrative.
Exactly!

I haven't seen a single complaint from you; all I have seen is cheerleading. Even the people generally on board with this game have raised an objection or two (minor or otherwise).
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
I haven't seen a single complaint from you; all I have seen is cheerleading. Even the people generally on board with this game have raised an objection or two (minor or otherwise).
cheer cheer cheer
Originally Posted by mr_planescapist
Proven true.
As I have been saying since day 1, CINEMATIC DIALOGUES is what will kill this games development. EVERYTHING revolves around them. Its a huge hurdle to more content we could of had.
Frack cinematics; use the time and funds to give us party of 6, 10 more playable NPCs with quick ass amazing WRITTEN dialogue story, day/night cycle time, hardcore D&D, mix of tactical AND quicker combat options etc..etc...
Or just be done with it and make BG3 a tale tale game and remove all combat and RPG elements. I mean right? thats what everyone here who loves BG3 just wants, to make a boner inducing character and to see everyone naked dancing around a bondfire romancing and arguing for eternity.

My go-to comparison to highlight this is saying how when I bought BG2 it came on multiple (3 or 4 ?) DVD's in a period when graphics/audio files were ridiculously smaller than today, at the same time the game offered more hours of gameplay than many of today's games which might be a lot larger in terms of data while in terms of actual content I would even say they became a lot smaller.

Also Larian, please BEWARE OF THE CYBERPUNK CURSE. That game made extremely similar claims of being one of the most reactive living open world RPG blahblahblah, obviously the bugs and underperformance on consoles were important issues, to me the ultimate fail of this game was how weak the actual consequences and choices in the game were (merely different cinematics or one extra dialogue detour towards the same conclusion). As a somewhat older, def. more of a PC-untermensch than masterrace kinda gamer, I totally blame this on the insane resources wasted on having those 'nice' cinematics (which -ironically - will look outdated inevitably in x-years) instead of focusing on 'the game' itself. I really don't understand how people can be so idiotic as to repeat the same mistake again and again. What makes any 'creative' product a classic, cult, genre-defining is not the fucking surface level niceness or polish, it's the fucking basics that need to be extremely well done. To me it's like all those bands/musicians who started in the underground and became super big thanks to their first albums and then start doing stupid over-produced bland productions, thinking that that's what people want while that's actually an afterthought which - most importantly- can not fix the initial product not being genuine, authentic, or soul-less. People don't listen to the rolling stones because of their latest album, collectors don't pay excessive money for the latest single either, no they re-listen to the OG albums and singles because that's when the band was still authentic and had the fucking courage to represent what they want to on stage instead of being driven by an army of marketeers and suits. So yeah, Larian, please don't be that guy, everybody loves you because of that, not because you try to live up to the expectation of what you think most people desire from someone like you.


Also do the fucking day/night please, i'm sure a lot of people would prefer having nights. If you're scarce on resources I'm sure you can cancel some expensive talking bird cinematic and redirect them towards the D/N team without anyone noticing. No one will notice if there would be less animals or even corpses to talk to. Who even wastes equipment/spell slots on speak with dead, or is willing to go trough the multiple click loops of (un-)equipping/learning this anyway? Like, the animal can talk and the corpse too, whatever, right ? If it were important enought to better not be missed the game will tell me anyway, right ? Or am I seriously missing something consequential disregarding what the animals and corpses have to say?

Ok. end of rant. Have a nice day everyone wink
"I never expected us to be 400 people to make BG3"

I just happen to have my old Shadows of Amn manual right here! Let's look at the end where the credits are listed ... hmmm, I see about 43 voice actors, about 44 people in the QA groups, 21 people on audio stuff, tons of art, animation, and programmer people, etc. I am not going to count them all, and the list is several pages long. So I guess my question for Larian would be, then how many people did you expect to make BG III?

***

"let's not spend time thinking ahead at the beginning, we'll just do a quick-and-dirty first draft now, implement it, and later we'll iterate over and over until we've got something good"

I think that is the basic philosophy of "Agile" software development ... ever hear the story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby?
Sheesh everyone is so doom and gloom. For all we know, they’ve implemented all classes, races, day/night cycle, and reactions but they haven’t publicly released them yet because they aren’t polished, still need testing, or they’re simply holding things back for final release. We really have no idea the state of the game. Early Access is meant to give us a taste of the final game. It doesn’t reflect where they are in development.
Looks like we’re getting gnomes at least:
https://twitter.com/larianstudios/status/1506981445016948743?s=21
Originally Posted by Niara
Quote
I asked Vincke where he thinks BG3 fits within the broader D&D landscape, in all its forms, and the answer came easily. "The benchmark incarnation of 5th Edition in a videogame," he said.

....

I honestly don't know whether to derisively laugh out loud or just put my head in my hands and cry - though since I'm physically incapable of the former I guess it's an easy enough question. *sigh*


Quote
When you go to the character creation and you can select all those classes, all those sub classes, and then you start that journey—knowing everything you can do on that journey, it's going to be quite the thing.

Despite the seeming disconnect with reality that the interviewee seems to have between what he imagines is being produced, and what we're actually seeing, I do find myself wondering if this means that in a future patch they'll actually do something about the gods-awful character creation UI, and if it will, indeed, include the ability to view in clear and legible ways what each class and subclass gives you at which levels - something you cannot, in fact, do right now.
You always say it so well, @Niara! 1000% agree with you here.

And furthermore, the artcile itself was completely empty of any meaningful information. It was a pure fluff-piece where Vincke gets to pat himself and his team on the back about how awesome they are. Shame on PC Gamer for allowing themselves to be used for Larian PR.

If Vincke/Larian wants to have a real and meaningful discussion about BG3, they should agree to an interview with someone who has significant misgivings about the game. Several posters right here in this forum would be excellent such interviewers.
Originally Posted by gaymer
This only confirms what I knew and posted on here a year ago about Larian being in way over their head and understaffed. Swen all but confirms it here, which is why they did so much hiring for more staff.
Whenever they are "over their heads" will depend on how 1.0 will turn out. It can turn out to be a cautionary tale just as well as a success story.

Originally Posted by gaymer
The game when it was released in October 2020 was not fit or suitable for public consumption, especially at a $60 price point.
Which I don't think is the problem - the very point of releasing pre-alpha build is to get feedback while the game is in development. And I stand behind $60 price point, as Larian was very transparent with what EA is, and there was no incentive to buy into it if you are not interested in participating in this feedback gathering excercise. The more finished the release would be the less potential to steer the direction based on feedback/data.

Originally Posted by fylimar
I laughed at the 5e incarnation remark. BG3 has a lot of Work to do to be a faithful 5e adaption.
"The benchmark incarnation of 5th Edition in a videogame," not "the most faithful adaptation of 5e". It is rather clear by now that Larian doesn't believe D&D to be very good, or at least not a good fit for a PC release. That of course leads to some questions: why work on IP that you seem to hate everything about, and "because D&D is popular" is a poor answer for a company "that is not about the money".

Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
Originally Posted by Interview
"There are so many steps in between now, so many people that need to look at it," Vincke said. "Cinematic designers, cinematic animators, the casting director, lighting, VFX, SFX. So you don't just add a line like that anymore. You're very aware of your cinematic budget, the cost, and the waterfall that follows from it. We've had to reinvent ourselves, how we work… so that we can still iterate."
Sooo ...

Thats the excuse for having such limiting dialogue options?
That "it involves many people and much work to add another"?

If so its poor one.

And also dont tell me that in between all those 400 people nobody thinks that curent options are lacking some basic choices. :-/
At the same time current cinematics still lack in quality. So which path should Larian follow? Focus on polishing "smaller" amount of content to provide a passable "cinematic" experience, so they can try to stand amongside Mass Effect and Witcher3, or try to cram as many choices for the player as possible, aiming to create janky cult classic? I expect the final result to be somewhere in the middle - not terribly good cinematics with still impressive amount of choices but doesn't quite succeed in covering choices player's might expect or want. Again: Dragon Age = not a terribly good RPG, not a terribly good cinematic experience, but scratches somewhat both itches.

Originally Posted by mr_planescapist
Or just be done with it and make BG3 a tale tale game and remove all combat and RPG elements. I mean right? thats what everyone here who loves BG3 just wants, to make a boner inducing character and to see everyone naked dancing around a bondfire romancing and arguing for eternity.
Yeah, but Larian wants all the cakes and eat them too. It is a game with robust multiplayer support but also dedicated singleplayer content. A top down, highly customisable adventure, but with pre-made, directed cinematics. It is adaptation of nerdy D&D property that triest to satisfy D&D, D:OS2 and non RPG players. In other words Larian tries to cram many conflicting goals into one game, and to their credit trying to do justice to all. It's one thing to create a product with wide appeal - it is another to create product that will try to be various different products at the same time.

EDIT:
Originally Posted by kanisatha
And furthermore, the artcile itself was completely empty of any meaningful information. It was a pure fluff-piece where Vincke gets to pat himself and his team on the back about how awesome they are. Shame on PC Gamer for allowing themselves to be used for Larian PR.
That's gaming media in the nutshell, no? Then again, as Niara point out, it is difficult to talk about what the game will be before it is finished. Anything said until the game is close to release is nothing more then selling hopes and dreams of what may one day be.
Originally Posted by sublimeclown

We kinda already knew that, I think. The question is when. In the EA? At release?
Originally Posted by SerraSerra
Also Larian, please BEWARE OF THE CYBERPUNK CURSE.
(…)
What makes any 'creative' product a classic, cult, genre-defining is not the fucking surface level niceness or polish, it's the fucking basics that need to be extremely well done.
The issue with “cult-classics” is that they don’t sell well, and aren’t widely appreciated until much later after their release.

What you miss in “cyberpunk curse” is that cyberpunk made a lot of monies. And yes, while graphic age and date the game the more they are the focus of the title, the also sell the game. Hype sells games, and you won’t build hype with sparkly visuals. While investing in presentation might result in worse game, it also make the game more likely to do well.

Originally Posted by Argyle
"I never expected us to be 400 people to make BG3"

I just happen to have my old Shadows of Amn manual right here! Let's look at the end where the credits are listed ... hmmm, I see about 43 voice actors
I am sure Sven didn’t mean contract work, like actors. About 400 is what they have within their studios, which is a massive amount. Not sure if it is a good thing - I remember someone saying that “just bring more people in” is publishers way of solving problems and is not always beneficial - more people for example, won’t result in better designed systems, or better written story and they require training that takes time away from the project. That said, considering that Larian titles seem to lack focus and clear artistic direction and tend to be a tangled mess of conflicting tones, designs and ideas maybe it is their way of just jamming as much stuff into BG3 as possible.
Originally Posted by Wormerine
At the same time current cinematics still lack in quality. So which path should Larian follow?
Was that rhetoric question ... or do you ask for my opinion? laugh
Personaly i dont need cinematic dialogues ... im quite used from games that NPCs are just standing there and from time to time they nod their head a little so they seem like they are speaking. laugh

So ...
My vote goes for 10.000% to "implement as much choices as possible" path.

Sadly i dont think that would be their decision. laugh
They desire the sexiness of the D&D IP and the Baldur's Gate legacy (for marketing); gotta pimp the company name, after all. But...as for a faithful implementation of either?

[Linked Image from media4.giphy.com]


^ Jump to 3:30.

Originally Posted by Swen Vincke
... so, the chance to do that, and to bring what basically is our RPG identity to Baldur's Gate as a franchise was an opportunity too good to resist. And so, what it will do for us... uh, what we think it will do for us is it's going to show a larger segment of people, because I think Baldur's Gate 3 will reach more people than Divinity will have done... it will show a larger segment of the population what our RPGs feel like and hopefully bring them to play our other games also.

I am really not interested in a new(er) studio trying to push their identity through a beloved established series. Sadly, this only confirms my initial suspicions of BG3. The game could still be decent on its own merits, sure, but it won't be Baldur's Gate.
Perhaps it's the ecstasy I've been slipping into the morning cereal but I'm happier with this interview than many others and I see some signs that Larian is listening to critics:

Quote
we could scale it down, or we could scale ourselves up. And so we chose to scale ourselves up.

That's good news. I mean BG1 was all about just walking into random houses and getting quests. I've never measured hours completionist run takes me about 2 weeks. We'll see if this is what we actually get but the goal is the right one.

And while I share everyone's skepticism on this statement:

Quote
"The benchmark incarnation of 5th Edition in a videogame," he said. "That's what we're trying to do. I think it's already very good, and it's still getting better

I'm happy that we are no longer getting "we made a 5e game, it wasn't very much fun so we decided . . ." Of course I have I share the skepticism that this is what we're going to get but at least the goal is clearer now. If they want to Larianize the game with optional, skippable lightning themed items I'm okay with that as long you don't need those to complete a quest or defeat a boss.

Happy spring everyone.
Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
Perhaps it's the ecstasy I've been slipping into the morning cereal but I'm happier with this interview than many others and I see some signs that Larian is listening to critics:

Quote
we could scale it down, or we could scale ourselves up. And so we chose to scale ourselves up.

That's good news. I mean BG1 was all about just walking into random houses and getting quests. I've never measured hours completionist run takes me about 2 weeks. We'll see if this is what we actually get but the goal is the right one.
Sure, but I have doubts if some things Larian upscaled itself for are worth pursuing. Maybe Larian is having some aces up their sleeve, but between their previous titles and what we have seen in EA I feel it is pretty obvious where they are going with this title - and at least for me, it is not a terribly exciting vision.
Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
If they want to Larianize the game with optional, skippable lightning themed items I'm okay with that as long you don't need those to complete a quest or defeat a boss.

Any "Larianization" is too much; that is time and effort that could have been spent making a proper Baldur's Gate 3.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New Larian interview (PC Gamer, March 2022) - 24/03/22 06:59 PM
Bioware made one game, a mech sim, before making BG. You never know with these things.
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
I haven't seen a single complaint from you; all I have seen is cheerleading. Even the people generally on board with this game have raised an objection or two (minor or otherwise).

Oh leave Icelyn alone you big grump. We have enough Debbie downers on this forum as it is (including me). They're a splash of positivity in an otherwise all too serious forum.

throw some confetti, you might enjoy it

celebrate celebrate celebrate
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
I haven't seen a single complaint from you; all I have seen is cheerleading. Even the people generally on board with this game have raised an objection or two (minor or otherwise).

Oh leave Icelyn alone you big grump. We have enough Debbie downers on this forum as it is (including me). They're a splash of positivity in an otherwise all too serious forum.

throw some confetti, you might enjoy it

celebrate celebrate celebrate

Come now...I too can be positive; in fact, I am positive that this game - in its present state - is far too muddled.
Adding more people to the project is a fallacy that has been known for decades as Brooks's law, usually summed up as "nine women can't make a baby in one month".

It is possible that Larian has avoided, or tried to avoid, this pitfall. For example, it usually doesn't apply when you add people early on in the process. Another important aspect to consider is where they added these people to? QA, for example, is relatively easy to scale up with more people; working on their engine's core, not so much.

If anything that Swen said about the development process has any connection to reality, they should have been hiring DevOps engineers, so they would be able to automate more, and leave actual humans to do the creative stuff, be it engine redesign or dialogue's writing. Although I can imagine the horror in their eyes when they realise that, instead of using industry-standard tools, they have to deal with a smorgasbord of clunky inhouse-built crap. They have a single position on their Careers page that looks like a DevOps engineer, but it's just a single one, and I don't know how long it has been there.
If you want to be the benchmark implementation of 5E, you would have to actually implement the 5E rules as they are written. BG3 isn't even close to that. It's a homebrew with major mechanical changes to the game.
Originally Posted by Argyle
"I never expected us to be 400 people to make BG3"

I just happen to have my old Shadows of Amn manual right here! Let's look at the end where the credits are listed ... hmmm, I see about 43 voice actors, about 44 people in the QA groups, 21 people on audio stuff, tons of art, animation, and programmer people, etc. I am not going to count them all, and the list is several pages long. So I guess my question for Larian would be, then how many people did you expect to make BG III?

***

"let's not spend time thinking ahead at the beginning, we'll just do a quick-and-dirty first draft now, implement it, and later we'll iterate over and over until we've got something good"

I think that is the basic philosophy of "Agile" software development ... ever hear the story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby?

Counting everyone around 350ish for BG2.
Originally Posted by sublimeclown
Sheesh everyone is so doom and gloom. For all we know, they’ve implemented all classes, races, day/night cycle, and reactions but they haven’t publicly released them yet because they aren’t polished, still need testing, or they’re simply holding things back for final release. We really have no idea the state of the game. Early Access is meant to give us a taste of the final game. It doesn’t reflect where they are in development.

Looking at history of video games, the state of a game we get in EA is usually pretty much 80% to 90% of what we will get.
And people who usualy say : <they are holding back, still in testing, arent polished etc....> are nearly ALWAYS pretty much wrong lol. For this game, they are too busy with CINEMATIC DIALOGUES and the multitude of bugs and game problems this creatures.
Hence why we are all bitching about it, since its been nearly 2 yearsEA ...with a TRINKLE of change. Yea more content, but little base game changes.
It's very interesting to read this forum from a socio-psychological standpoint, and this thread is no disappointment. Poor Sven, what is he to do? grin
The great thing about this forum is that just about everyone here is a real human, or perhaps a gnome in just a few instances. That is not the case on a lot other message boards, especially news feeds, where AI robots roam in great numbers. I have learned how to spot some of them, especially the mockingbird types which post the same exact phrases in multiple locations.

The power of the One Ring is to walk in invisible realms, and to know the thoughts of those around you, and to be able to influence their thinking and bend them to your will. How prescient Tolkien was.

I would rather have Sven work on a City of Brass adventure than do more cinematic segments. Look deep into my eyes ,,,
Originally Posted by mr_planescapist
Originally Posted by sublimeclown
Sheesh everyone is so doom and gloom. For all we know, they’ve implemented all classes, races, day/night cycle, and reactions but they haven’t publicly released them yet because they aren’t polished, still need testing, or they’re simply holding things back for final release. We really have no idea the state of the game. Early Access is meant to give us a taste of the final game. It doesn’t reflect where they are in development.

Looking at history of video games, the state of a game we get in EA is usually pretty much 80% to 90% of what we will get.
And people who usualy say : <they are holding back, still in testing, arent polished etc....> are nearly ALWAYS pretty much wrong lol. For this game, they are too busy with CINEMATIC DIALOGUES and the multitude of bugs and game problems this creatures.
Hence why we are all bitching about it, since its been nearly 2 yearsEA ...with a TRINKLE of change. Yea more content, but little base game changes.

Um except Larian has LITERALLY stated EA is only going to be the first act and that they are even holding back things from Act 1 until final release. So unless they are downright lying and they haven’t even started working on Act 2 yet, I think it’s safe to assume they are much further along in development than it appears. It would be nice to have more communication from them so we could at least get glimpses of what they’re working on.
Posted By: Tuco Re: New Larian interview (PC Gamer, March 2022) - 25/03/22 02:05 PM
Originally Posted by sublimeclown
Um except Larian has LITERALLY stated EA is only going to be the first act and that they are even holding back things from Act 1 until final release. So unless they are downright lying and they haven’t even started working on Act 2 yet, I think it’s safe to assume they are much further along in development than it appears. It would be nice to have more communication from them so we could at least get glimpses of what they’re working on.
I doubt he was referring to the percentage of playable content. Most likely he was talking about the general state of the game.
They did Witcher 3 with 250 people.

And we have 400 people for this mess.

It seems like a very poor resource management.
Originally Posted by Argyle
"I never expected us to be 400 people to make BG3"

I just happen to have my old Shadows of Amn manual right here! Let's look at the end where the credits are listed ... hmmm, I see about 43 voice actors, about 44 people in the QA groups, 21 people on audio stuff, tons of art, animation, and programmer people, etc. I am not going to count them all, and the list is several pages long. So I guess my question for Larian would be, then how many people did you expect to make BG III?
I assume you don't know the process by which videogames are made and game credits are given.

Games are made by a wide selection of individuals, working for the developer, the publisher, a variety of sub-contracted companies, and freelancers.

Typically, all voice/performance capture actors are freelance. Some or all of the faciilities and staff used to acquire the voice/animation/performance data may be sub-contracted, localization is generally subcontracted, some or all of the QA may be subcontracted, and even core game engine code and art assets may sub-contracted. Similarly, publishing, sales and marketing may not be part of the company developing a game.

All these people are traditionally included in the game credits, whether or not they actually work for the developer. Not only that, but the credits contain lists of people that fulfill particular roles within the game development and production. If you go back to the SoA credits list, I'm sure you will find that some names appear many times in different roles.

Further, it's not really possible to know what a developer headcount means without having an organisational chart. For example, Larian are both developer and publisher, which might mean including publishing headcount that are normally external to the developer company.

In the case of our BG3 versus SoA comparison, we see Swen saying 400 people to make BG3, but we don't know which people Swen is including in this, while SoA has 220 final credits, some of which are duplicate individuals in different roles, while many others are for language localization, and other ancillary roles that are not usualy quoted in developer headcount.

From the SoA credits I would (gu)estimate Bioware was about 100 headcount at the time, developing their games at a relatively quick pace (1-2 years) because the capabilities of PCs at the time severely limited the graphical assets that had to be developed, and the cost of audio meant that very little was used.

Recent AAA studio team sizes for games such as Cyberpunk 2077 have been quoted in the region of 400, so Swen's quote of 400 seems aligned with the industry, depending on what he actually includes. Also note that the total development time when BG3 actually releases will be perhaps 4+ years.

The end result is probably at least 10x the input required for SoA, possibly much more. While some of the added cost for BG3 was predictable because SoA had almost no cutscenes, and very limited voicing, I think Swen was really saying he was surprised by how the development scope increased as they fleshed out their design, in order to keep the quality metrics they were aiming for.

Apart from some fuzziness over the expected duration of EA, I feel Larian have been perfectly clear about BG3 development. Unfortunately, interpretation of the meaning of language can be slippery, and judging by a number of the comments in this thread ( and others ), some people on these forums think they have been misled.
Originally Posted by Wormerine
Yeah, but Larian wants all the cakes and eat them too. It is a game with robust multiplayer support but also dedicated singleplayer content. A top down, highly customisable adventure, but with pre-made, directed cinematics. It is adaptation of nerdy D&D property that triest to satisfy D&D, D:OS2 and non RPG players. In other words Larian tries to cram many conflicting goals into one game, and to their credit trying to do justice to all. It's one thing to create a product with wide appeal - it is another to create product that will try to be various different products at the same time.

Spot on. Larian want to please everyone, but have to compromise to do that. For instance, I would willingly drop MP to get a better SP game, but for many modern players, MP is their main interest. I accept that there will be aspects of this, and any other videogame, that I will find sub-optimal, and deal with it. I find it slightly disturbing how much bile some people throw at Larian.
Originally Posted by etonbears
From the SoA credits I would (gu)estimate Bioware was about 100 headcount at the time

BG1 had about 30 people (90 man-years) per Ray Muzyka. I imagine BG2 was not that different.

https://www.gamedeveloper.com/design/-i-baldur-s-gate-ii-i-the-anatomy-of-a-sequel
Originally Posted by RutgerF
Another important aspect to consider is where they added these people to?
Cinematic dialogues probably called for a new department in itself.
I want to know what caused them to decide to do the game with 100% cinematics. That was not the initial decision and changed during EA.

I would have much rather resources go to other aspects of the game.
Originally Posted by etonbears
I feel Larian have been perfectly clear about BG3 development. Unfortunately, interpretation of the meaning of language can be slippery, and judging by a number of the comments in this thread (and others), some people on these forums think they have been misled.

Yes, the meaning of language is very slippery, like when you name your game "Baldur's Gate 3" but then decide not to create any more of its franchise-defining gameplay, or market your game off the official D&D license but then ignore critical class and mechanical features of D&D. Man, it's so weird that some people on these forums "feel misled" by a company that spends enormous amounts of development time on producing a 3D fantasy drama, but no time on including basic mechanical features that brought the actual fans of D&D and Baldur's Gate here in the first place.

I can't wait to watch 100 hours of carefully cinematographed 3D fantasy drama, and then not be able to choose when to cast Shield as a reaction during the game part of the game.
Originally Posted by etonbears
I find it slightly disturbing how much bile some people throw at Larian.

*points to writing on the wall*

"What writing? confused"

--- --- ---

Juding by this alone thread, I truly hope nobody at Larian reads a single post on these forums. This is a toxic wasteland
I think you should look up the definition of toxic and reassess your judgement. It seems these days any criticism or anything negative is construed as ‘toxic’.

Conversely, one could easily besmirch those who praise every aspect of this game and Larian with the phrase ‘toxic positivity’.

Anyway, back to the thread. It’s no surprise to read these quotes from Swen. I have no doubt this will be a good game, perhaps a very good one but a worthy successor to its predecessors? Not a chance. It’s trying to be too many things to too many people and suffers for the lack of concise, coherent vision.
Originally Posted by Etruscan
I think you should look up the definition of toxic and reassess your judgement. It seems these days any criticism or anything negative is construed as ‘toxic’.

Conversely, one could easily besmirch those who praise every aspect of this game and Larian with the phrase ‘toxic positivity’.

Anyway, back to the thread. It’s no surprise to read these quotes from Swen. I have no doubt this will be a good game, perhaps a very good one but a worthy successor to its predecessors? Not a chance. It’s trying to be too many things to too many people and suffers for the lack of concise, coherent vision.

Yeah, I don't really talk much on these forums anymore because everything that needed to be argued has already been stated. It's actually been a whole year since we've had major debates on the absence of reactions most of all, and like nothing has really happened on that front besides an assurance from about half a year ago saying that they're supposedly working on it. Meanwhile the cinematic stuff has been a focus in every patch. I've pretty much increasingly distanced myself from the community, seeing the discourse around this game distilled into its present state along with the overall messaging seemingly being so unfocused and increasingly filled with buzzwords as is. I mean I already bought the EA and don't regret it as I know full well what I was getting into, but I'd highly discourage against a day 1 purchase with the pre-release Cyberpunk level vibes that I'm sensing from everything associated with this game now. And I'm not talking about bugs and stuff being unfinished on release (which DOS2's last act clearly was on release), I'm talking about deep fundamental flaws present in the actual gameplay that would take a definitive edition to address, if they are even acknowledged at all.

They've deliberately avoided implementing the classes highly reliant on a working reaction choice-based system so far, to the point where the last couple of classes implemented have been accurately predicted months ahead of time by some of the most pessimist people on these forums. One would think reactions are a high priority to work something out to test, but one also has to wonder if the reason for this isn't so much that they need time to figure something out, but... Because the coding base for this game can't actually handle reactions, and any possible solution is being delayed because development on the actual gameplay is seemingly taking a complete back seat to this cinematic focus. A mod on these forums gave me shit a year ago for insinuating such a thing about the engine, but again, it has been a year since then and we've barely had whispers on something that's clearly a major issue for a lot of people following this game.

I don't even have a horse in the whole 'not like BG1 or BG2' race as I haven't played either game. But in the game's current direction, I'm sure it'll make for a wonderful first playthrough. But it wouldn't be something I'd bother replaying, as I discovered during each attempt to replay the EA and found that the moment to moment gameplay was... Off and feeling like an absolute slog as a consequence, somehow. The combat is heavily focused on offense since a lot of the defensive tools present in 5E such as reactions aren't in the game, and may not even be implemented at all. On the other side of the spectrum, it lacks the environmental reactivity and build variety that DOS2 had. In the months leading up to DOS2's release, you had people swearing up and down that it was the ultimate proof that turn-based combat still had a place in the gaming industry, and it would herald the beginning of that combat style being embraced by the industry once more, which it arguably did. BG3? A blip on the radar in an industry dominated by other studios far more experienced with story and cinematics. The camp that values gameplay over story/writing seems rather tepid about this game, but the story-craving camp (or well, the camp that likes this style of writing and cinematic focus) seems to be loving this.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that hedging the majority of effort into the writing and cinematics at the expense of the moment to moment gameplay is a BAD long term idea. We've seen plenty of examples of other games that had done exactly this and failed. They still sold a lot due to hype culture, but no one heralds them as masterpieces. Coincidentally, all of them are plagued by stories coming out years later of troubled development that broke the development studios in some way.

Maybe the sooner we accept that the game is meant to be this way and move on, the better off we'll all be for it. A dozen forumers arguing in circles holds little sway in development, compared to the tide of people that will judge the game upon full release. Only then will we see if we were more than people making delusional rants. Not that anyone who thought we were only here to be mean to Larian would admit to that.
Originally Posted by gaymer
I want to know what caused them to decide to do the game with 100% cinematics. That was not the initial decision and changed during EA.
I am not sure where you get the impression from - from the very reveal cinematics were as they are now. Sure some of them were missing, resulting in overhead view (some goblins, corpses), just as Astarions bite scene didn't have a cinematic in previous patch. At no point those were to stay that way, even though I really wouldn't prefer if Larian did fewer, better cinematics, then add "cinematic" for every bark a character has.

Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
I guess what I'm trying to say is that hedging the majority of effort into the writing and cinematics at the expense of the moment to moment gameplay is a BAD long term idea.
Overall I agree with you - issues with core camplay loop are a big worry in BG3. I am not sure how much cinematics are to blame, and how much is Larian attempt to marry D&D and D:OS2 - no matter which you lean toward prefering, those are very, very different system. While I didn't find D:OS2 combat very interesting, it was enjoyable. BG3 combat neither gives justice to D&Ds dice roll buff/debuff based combat, nor D:OS2's positioning/skill usage one. D&D is a system with strict classes forcing cooperation, while D:OS2 had classless, mix what you want approach.
Originally Posted by Bercon
Juding by this alone thread, I truly hope nobody at Larian reads a single post on these forums. This is a toxic wasteland

One can only imagine the dream project if that man extra power for once weren't put into "cinematics" but actual core RPG stuff such as added choice, player agency, world reactivity/interactivity and all that stuff that actually does aim to emulate tabletop freedom as opposed to a hollywood movie / Netflix show experience. (Mind you, I also don't understand how like three decades after the hype surrounding Interactive Movies cinematics are seen as such a hot thing again, especially in AAA gaming).

Not gonna happen anytime soon though, people obviously like that stuff (and developers/publishers think it's a safe bet due to movie and Netflix shows being so popular). laugh
Originally Posted by Sven_
(Mind you, I also don't understand how like three decades after the hype surrounding Interactive Movies cinematics are seen as such a hot thing again, especially in AAA gaming).
When was the last time games were sold on graphics? I can't recall many "gameplay looks limited" riddicule campaign, but show low quality model in a trailer and internet will loose their shit. With PS3/XBOX360 era gaming raised entire generation of gamers with high production value games and little interactivity. Larian is way, way above the ambition of your high budget project like that. As to why people spend money on PC/consoles and games only to watch a bad movie is beyond my understanding. I also just played Guardians of the Galaxy and fairly enjoyed it and it is just that, so... grin
Originally Posted by IrenicusBG3
Originally Posted by etonbears
From the SoA credits I would (gu)estimate Bioware was about 100 headcount at the time

BG1 had about 30 people (90 man-years) per Ray Muzyka. I imagine BG2 was not that different.

https://www.gamedeveloper.com/design/-i-baldur-s-gate-ii-i-the-anatomy-of-a-sequel

Sounds like there was even more sub-contracting than I was guessing, given that one site lists 350 game credits for BG1 smile
Originally Posted by machinus
Originally Posted by etonbears
I feel Larian have been perfectly clear about BG3 development. Unfortunately, interpretation of the meaning of language can be slippery, and judging by a number of the comments in this thread (and others), some people on these forums think they have been misled.

Yes, the meaning of language is very slippery, like when you name your game "Baldur's Gate 3" but then decide not to create any more of its franchise-defining gameplay, or market your game off the official D&D license but then ignore critical class and mechanical features of D&D. Man, it's so weird that some people on these forums "feel misled" by a company that spends enormous amounts of development time on producing a 3D fantasy drama, but no time on including basic mechanical features that brought the actual fans of D&D and Baldur's Gate here in the first place.

I can't wait to watch 100 hours of carefully cinematographed 3D fantasy drama, and then not be able to choose when to cast Shield as a reaction during the game part of the game.

Do you mean that upon hearing the hallowed words "Baldur's Gate 3", any analytical or critical thinking skills you may have had were immediately wrapped in cotton wool and stuffed in a drawer somewhere?

Nothing about the way the original games were made, nor direct continuity of their story, would have survived the transition of 20 years of technical improvement, 100 years of world lore and 3 editions of game rules that were needed to meet the requirements of WotC, who appear totally comfortable with the game Larian are making.

Neither was there any hint from the numerous gameplay examples available before EA that the game was likely to resemble BG1/2 in any meaningful way, nor did Larian or WotC ever try to insinuate the game would resemble BG1/2.

The only place where language was an issue is the fact that Swen is not a native English speaker, and sometimes uses scentence construction that can be misinterpreted, particularly by those inclined to do so, often through wishful thinking.

The game/development has many flaws, and will struggle to please everyone, but this was all clear before EA, rather than the result of any concerted attempt by WotC and Larian to dissemble.
Originally Posted by Sven_
One can only imagine the dream project if that man extra power for once weren't put into "cinematics" but actual core RPG stuff such as added choice, player agency, world reactivity/interactivity and all that stuff that actually does aim to emulate tabletop freedom as opposed to a hollywood movie / Netflix show experience. (Mind you, I also don't understand how like three decades after the hype surrounding Interactive Movies cinematics are seen as such a hot thing again, especially in AAA gaming).

Not gonna happen anytime soon though, people obviously like that stuff (and developers/publishers think it's a safe bet due to movie and Netflix shows being so popular). laugh

Unfortunately, since games and other media have converged, the cinematic aspect is a major selling point which justifies the development resources spent. If you cut the cinematics, you would have a reduced market and therefore a reduced budget.

But even if you had a large budget for worldbuilding, games would still not improve much, because the algorithms for decision-making in games don't come close to the imagination and creativity of a good DM.

This is mainly due to the fact that computers are actually stupid. Blazingly fast at being stupid, but still stupid. They will only do what developers tell them, meaning that everything that happens must be pre-defined to some degree or other. A paradigm shift in decision-making and several other areas of development will be needed before gameplay improves very much.

Maybe within the next decade, but I wouldn't hold your breath waiting. frown
Originally Posted by etonbears
Do you mean that upon hearing the hallowed words "Baldur's Gate 3", any analytical or critical thinking skills you may have had were immediately wrapped in cotton wool and stuffed in a drawer somewhere?

Insulting people because you can't formulate a good argument does not make you sound convincing. It does the opposite, unfortunately smirk

My post stands.
Originally Posted by machinus
Originally Posted by etonbears
Do you mean that upon hearing the hallowed words "Baldur's Gate 3", any analytical or critical thinking skills you may have had were immediately wrapped in cotton wool and stuffed in a drawer somewhere?

Insulting people because you can't formulate a good argument does not make you sound convincing. It does the opposite, unfortunately smirk

My post stands.

My apologies if you felt slighted, my sarcasm was unnecessary.

It has been said many times since the game was announced that a different name should have been chosen, but until all the story links are seen in the released game, that will be difficult to judge. Certainly the name is a marketing/branding tactic to generate interest, and you wouldn't expect Larian to be anything but positive about what they are developing, but that does not mean they are lying.
Posted By: Tuco Re: New Larian interview (PC Gamer, March 2022) - 27/03/22 03:14 PM
Originally Posted by IrenicusBG3
Originally Posted by etonbears
From the SoA credits I would (gu)estimate Bioware was about 100 headcount at the time

BG1 had about 30 people (90 man-years) per Ray Muzyka. I imagine BG2 was not that different.

https://www.gamedeveloper.com/design/-i-baldur-s-gate-ii-i-the-anatomy-of-a-sequel
Yup. No idea why some people seem to think BG1 and BG2 were "massive productions" in terms of development team.

I mean, they were heavy weights inside the (THEN) niche genre of CRPGs, but they've never been massive blockbusters with triple A budget.

I read somewhere that BG2 budget was around 5 millions or so. Make it 10 assuming that number was downplayed to an extent.
BG3 is still probably going to be in the ballpark of costing 7-10 times as much.

Which, to be clear, doesn't necessarily mean it will translate in a better game.
Especially not with that control scheme.

AH-HA! Did you guys really think I'd miss my chance to take another gratuitous jab at the toilet chain???
Originally Posted by Tuco
AH-HA! Did you guys really think I'd miss my chance to take another gratuitous jab at the toilet chain???
aargh
Originally Posted by etonbears
Unfortunately, since games and other media have converged, the cinematic aspect is a major selling point which justifies the development resources spent. If you cut the cinematics, you would have a reduced market and therefore a reduced budget.

Fewer cinematics? That would result in a game which is closer to a game or perhaps a novel (given the sheer amount of text); in other words, a game which is closer in tone to the actual series which it claims to respect. What a shocking idea in this day and age, huh?
Originally Posted by Tuco
Which, to be clear, doesn't necessarily mean it will translate in a better game.
Especially not with that control scheme.

AH-HA! Did you guys really think I'd miss my chance to take another gratuitous jab at the toilet chain???

Not even slightly molified by the new grouping/stealth buttons, Tuco?

Adding shift-click selection and a "create group from selection" button on the portraits "panel" would probably be enough for me, then the chain would be just another way to do something that I can ignore. I can live without rubber-banding.
Originally Posted by etonbears
It has been said many times since the game was announced that a different name should have been chosen, but until all the story links are seen in the released game, that will be difficult to judge. Certainly the name is a marketing/branding tactic to generate interest, and you wouldn't expect Larian to be anything but positive about what they are developing, but that does not mean they are lying.

But this is the name the game has. The name is part of the product. It defines the genre, sells the reputation of the previous games in the franchise, and sets high expectations for the product that customers will receive. No developer is entitled to traffic in other people's reputations without consequences. I don't think anyone expected another 2D-based late 90s game for "3." I did not, and I was actually hoping that they would update the engine and the interface to be more modern. There are plenty of ways this could have been a great, but different, "3." I did not expect it to look the same as the other two. But, the many types of fans who got excited about this game did expect an open-world, customizable RPG with mechanics faithfully adopted from the D&D system. There are some basic qualities to D&D games that Larian knows people are going to assume are in it. There is a reason why Swen worked so hard to earn WotC's blessing to use the intellectual property. Swen knows the enormous value of the brand on the product he is going to sell. Larian could have made DOS3, but they chose not to do that. They chose to develop a game under a different franchise specifically because of the value of its reputation. It doesn't matter what Larian has added to their expectations with press releases or magazine interviews. Calling your product "Baldur's Gate 3," and being licensed by WotC, gives every customer the reasonable expectation that the game will include the class and combat mechanics of some edition of D&D, character customization, an open-world quest system, and importantly, the class and item balancing from 50 years of iteration of that game system.

The reasonable expectations of fans, at all levels of familiarity with this product's development (remember, this game has not been released yet), are not being met, and not due to a lack of time. This is being done on purpose. The production quality of this game is very high, but the developer is clearly more interested in writing stories and creating dramatic moments than in producing deep gameplay. This is less of a game than it is an epic machinima soap opera. I couldn't be less interested in that, and a lot of people who are fans of "Baldur's Gate," "D&D," or just PC games also could not be less interested in that. The primary appeal of the D&D roleplaying system is the ability for players to utilize a deep, balanced, customizable character system to create their own unique player characters, and specifically not to replay tired archetypes and not to re-enact someone else's story. D&D is about gameplay, not drama. Gameplay is what matters in creating videogames, and the distraction of drama and cinematics is a trap that will sink the reputation of "Baldur's Gate" too. Larian is following in the footsteps of Squaresoft in making a pre-written, railroad, cinematic-heavy game which focuses on drama and visual effects, which inevitably all come at the expense of the parts of the game that actually matter. I'm very disappointed every time I read the updates from this game, and see the huge amount of man hours that are being put into the parts of the game that don't really matter, while basic components have still not been included years into the development process.
I place the lion's share of the blame on Hideo Kojima wink.
Originally Posted by etonbears
Originally Posted by Sven_
One can only imagine the dream project if that man extra power for once weren't put into "cinematics" but actual core RPG stuff such as added choice, player agency, world reactivity/interactivity and all that stuff that actually does aim to emulate tabletop freedom as opposed to a hollywood movie / Netflix show experience. (Mind you, I also don't understand how like three decades after the hype surrounding Interactive Movies cinematics are seen as such a hot thing again, especially in AAA gaming).

Not gonna happen anytime soon though, people obviously like that stuff (and developers/publishers think it's a safe bet due to movie and Netflix shows being so popular). laugh

Unfortunately, since games and other media have converged, the cinematic aspect is a major selling point which justifies the development resources spent. If you cut the cinematics, you would have a reduced market and therefore a reduced budget.

But even if you had a large budget for worldbuilding, games would still not improve much, because the algorithms for decision-making in games don't come close to the imagination and creativity of a good DM.


Bethesda seem to disagree (actually, them neglecting the trend of "games as movies" is the one thing I still give them credit for). laugh New Vegas also sold a couple millions, and that game's only cinematics were a bunch of intro videos. I would also cite Arkane, but their last few games kinda tanked sadly, so....

Even with limited computing power and AI, there's still a dozen things I'd rather much see that money spend, in particular for RPGs. Even stuff such as open-ended quest design takes a whole lot of ressources and time (which is why smaller projects such as Pillars Of Eternity typically have only a few truly branching questlines, e.g. Raedric's hold in PoE 1 https://rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=10231 ).

But this isn't my world, so there. This approach has clearly proven successful for others also, e.g. Bioware, CD Projekt et all who clearly see games as sort of movies themselves. In fact the one hope I have for BG3 is that it bridges the massive gap that's been opened up since, also in between audiences. It has the style of presentation of all those "blockbuster games" in that every tiny dialogue must be a movie sequence -- but unlike The Witcher 3, say, it doesn't blatantly play or witcher sense itself outside of the inevitable combat, still favoring player agency, imagination and even systems driven gameplay which far better suits a truly table-top gaming translation. smile
Posted By: Tuco Re: New Larian interview (PC Gamer, March 2022) - 27/03/22 09:52 PM
Originally Posted by etonbears
Not even slightly molified by the new grouping/stealth buttons, Tuco?

Adding shift-click selection and a "create group from selection" button on the portraits "panel" would probably be enough for me, then the chain would be just another way to do something that I can ignore. I can live without rubber-banding.
Well, I mean... It's at very least better than it used to be.
Which isn't enough to make it good.
Posted By: Ange Re: New Larian interview (PC Gamer, March 2022) - 28/03/22 12:27 AM
I dont even know if you guys are playing the same game. So many complainers ... wow. In my opinion, we are lucky to have larian develop this game, which other team would put this much effort and love into a game? Complaining about the process? This game is probably the most complex game that has been made in the history of games ... no other game has that many lines of text, options, and consequences to the game. Ask yourself where is your lack of satisfaction coming from? Are you trying to use the game as a means to find meaning in your own life ? Thanks.
Nvmind
Originally Posted by Ange
which other team would put this much effort and love into a game?

Any other game company taking on a project of this magnitude would. Many would treat it with a great deal more respect than larian is doing. Many would not be simply looking at it (by their own admission in official interviews) as a chance to pimp their own brand and style. Many players and testers have, too date, voiced opinions that they would prefer a company who cares more about the franchise itself to be doing this, based on what we've seen thus far.

Quote
This game is probably the most complex game that has been made in the history of games

No it's not. Empty hyperbole adds nothing of value to any conversation.

In terms of cause and effect, dialogue choices and consequences, the game is actually very simple, and remarkably straight forward; the individual set pieces are isolated from each other and exist in closed vacuums with the exception of individual specific vector references to specific other set pieces, and the whole kit is actually fairly easy to map out. You have surprisingly little impact on the flows of events, compared to what it tries to make it seem like you do - it's cleverly built in a way that makes it seem, over the course of two to three runs through, that you have major impact on lots of things. Do a few more, however, and the seams become very visible, and you realise that, actually, you don't. This game is not nearly as complexly interlaced in its choice mechanics as it pretends to be - but it does it cleverly enough to fool most players on one or two play throughs, which is all that matters in ~90% of cases. If you've not noticed that, then you're most likely within that ~90% of players, and that's fine, there's nothing wrong with that! You're the target audience, and you're welcome to enjoy the game in your own way - but EA may not be the place for you.

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... no other game has that many lines of text, options, and consequences to the game.

This is patently untrue as well.

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Ask yourself where is your lack of satisfaction coming from?

There are a great many threads on this forum that go into quite a lot of analytical depth and detail about the various elements of the game and its implementation, with honest and fair examinations of how things have been done, and what consequences those choices have on the rest of the game, as well as the various problems they cause. A great many people have devoted a great deal of effort compiling a large amount of very thoughtful feedback on why the game's current design iteration and direction is concerning and dissatisfying for different reasons. I'd strongly encourage you to look over them and read thoughtfully on the various topics that are discussed here, to help you understand where people's dissatisfaction is coming from - we're far from a united bunch, and even the most frequent and in-depth posters here don't agree on everything, but there are general trends of things that the greater majority of vocal testers have all reached the same or similar conclusions about.

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I dont even know if you guys are playing the same game.
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Are you trying to use the game as a means to find meaning in your own life ? Thanks.

Facetious rhetoric and ad hominem attacks add nothing to any conversation - we'll all have a much more positive discussion if you (and everyone else ^.^ ) could pleases refrain from this.
Originally Posted by Ange
Are you trying to use the game as a means to find meaning in your own life ? Thanks.

...was that a not-so-subtle "Get a life."? We're all in the same boat and you're complaining about other people rowing the oars.
To see Niara quoting like this somehow makes me happy. laugh
Posted By: OcO Re: New Larian interview (PC Gamer, March 2022) - 28/03/22 07:10 AM
Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
To see Niara quoting like this somehow makes me happy. laugh

I see Niara's and Saito's posts now compared to a year ago and it makes me sad. :-(

We all thought DnD had a chance back then. Criticism was not only constructive but presented intelligently with detailed DnD rules and explanations showing how small homebrews can affect wider things etc.

We were all less jaded back then. hehe
I'm still checking in and reading, and still test, compile and submit reports and feedback - I'm just engaging less and trying not to get myself bogged down in arguments and overly-trodden paths again and again, here. I mostly try to encourage a more positive tone for discussion wherever I notice it getting too... unproductive, let's say; everyone's got their opinion, and we don't all agree with one another, but we can all make an effort to be polite and respectful regardless, and it'll make it easier on everyone if we all do.

That said, yes - my enthusiasm is dampened a lot, compared to the early days, and I am a lot more jaded about the prospects for this game than I was to begin with.

All the old threads that talk in depth about the details of these things are all still there... it's just difficult to convince each new wave of forum guests and newer posters to read through it all, so we're often left giving the short hand version of it, which, in turn, many newcomers don't find as convincing as the full, detailed analytical explanations... so it can lead too said newer voices seeing many of us as being unfair or needlessly hostile towards Larian. I understand why it happens, but there isn't a good solution, really - we can't expect every new forum member to read through everything, and most of us don't have the stamina or energy to repeat what's already been said exhaustively enough to show new faces that, for the most part, we do actually know what we're talking about.
Originally Posted by Niara
All the old threads that talk in depth about the details of these things are all still there... it's just difficult to convince each new wave of forum guests and newer posters to read through it all, so we're often left giving the short hand version of it, which, in turn, many newcomers don't find as convincing as the full, detailed analytical explanations... so it can lead too said newer voices seeing many of us as being unfair or needlessly hostile towards Larian. I understand why it happens, but there isn't a good solution, really - we can't expect every new forum member to read through everything, and most of us don't have the stamina or energy to repeat what's already been said exhaustively enough to show new faces that, for the most part, we do actually know what we're talking about.

Why not make a FAQ then? You could have a summary and link to the threads or posts. Maybe Larian would even read it.
Originally Posted by Ange
In my opinion, we are lucky to have larian develop this game,
I am happy they are making the game, too.😊

I love the cinematic dialogue. It makes the game very immersive for me.
I was going to respond to @Ange, but @Niara said it all for me.
I have avoided the Early Release because I know that I would feel disappointed with it, now matter how good it really is.

Imagine this: "I have a new game I am working on called CHESS. But before I release the full version, I am going to put out an early release version which will have just a King, a Bishop, and two Pawns for each player. And the board will be only one-quarter the size that of the full game. Enjoy!"
Originally Posted by Argyle
Imagine this: "I have a new game I am working on called CHESS. But before I release the full version, I am going to put out an early release version which will have just a King, a Bishop, and two Pawns for each player. And the board will be only one-quarter the size that of the full game. Enjoy!"
Just for the record ...
How exactly do you think Chess was created? laugh

I mean, you realize that some rules were added "after" first release, right?
That we dont play the exactly same Chess as first person ever did ... right? laugh
Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
Originally Posted by Argyle
Imagine this: "I have a new game I am working on called CHESS. But before I release the full version, I am going to put out an early release version which will have just a King, a Bishop, and two Pawns for each player. And the board will be only one-quarter the size that of the full game. Enjoy!"
Just for the record ...
How exactly do you think Chess was created? laugh

I mean, you realize that some rules were added "after" first release, right?
That we dont play the exactly same Chess as first person ever did ... right? laugh

Czech Chess!
My favorite Chess book is "Chess: First Steps" by Bott & Morrison, (c) 1958. It has some particularly wicked illustrations by Patricia Lindsay which are quite memorable. Anyway, the authors state, "It was first played in India, and from there traveled across mountains and valleys to the great Persian Empire. The Arabs conquered Persia, and in their travels brought the game to the rest of Europe through Spain."

I think the India "Chaturanga" version included elephant regiments, which are very cool! And there are rumors that they originally also used random dice rolls to determine which piece got moved in each round ... whoa, wait a minute, that sounds like the D&D precursor "Chainmail" ... could it be that D&D is based on a revival of the original Chess wargame concept? Yeah, I guess after 1400 or so years I would expect to see one or two changes. I don't know if there is any historical evidence of an "early release", however.
Posted By: dwig Re: New Larian interview (PC Gamer, March 2022) - 28/03/22 04:55 PM
I heard that India abandoned the chainmail precursor when they realized that nobody understood the attack of opportunity rules. Taking turns is much simpler.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New Larian interview (PC Gamer, March 2022) - 28/03/22 05:06 PM
Prussian kreigsspeil + Indian chaturanga + the LotR revival = D&D?

I can dig it.
Posted By: dwig Re: New Larian interview (PC Gamer, March 2022) - 28/03/22 05:18 PM
I'm not sure Larian could do a chess like game though. How would they work in exploding barrels?
Originally Posted by dwig
I'm not sure Larian could do a chess like game though. How would they work in exploding barrels?

Ever seen Wizard's Chess in the Harry Potter movies?
Originally Posted by dwig
I'm not sure Larian could do a chess like game though. How would they work in exploding barrels?

People have basically been bypassing the Chessboard Challenge in Durlag's Tower by exploding things for the last 2 decades lol. Exploding chess would be an homage at this point.

chess match begins at 8:33 (warning, lots of save scumming involved)
Originally Posted by Topgoon
Originally Posted by dwig
I'm not sure Larian could do a chess like game though. How would they work in exploding barrels?

People have basically been bypassing the Chessboard Challenge in Durlag's Tower by exploding things for the last 2 decades lol. Exploding chess would be an homage at this point.


Web/cloudkill/fireball is such a better option. You don't even have to move laugh
Originally Posted by Argyle
My favorite Chess book is "Chess: First Steps" by Bott & Morrison, (c) 1958. It has some particularly wicked illustrations by Patricia Lindsay which are quite memorable. Anyway, the authors state, "It was first played in India, and from there traveled across mountains and valleys to the great Persian Empire. The Arabs conquered Persia, and in their travels brought the game to the rest of Europe through Spain."

I think the India "Chaturanga" version included elephant regiments, which are very cool! And there are rumors that they originally also used random dice rolls to determine which piece got moved in each round ... whoa, wait a minute, that sounds like the D&D precursor "Chainmail" ... could it be that D&D is based on a revival of the original Chess wargame concept? Yeah, I guess after 1400 or so years I would expect to see one or two changes. I don't know if there is any historical evidence of an "early release", however.
Chaturanga was invented specifically on the orders of the king to provide a battlefield simulator for him. So if D&D is supposed to be like Chaturanga/chess, then is it just a battlefield sim? I ask because I personally have ZERO interest in sim games (and of course as someone who's been playing D&D since the early 90s, do NOT consider D&D to be anything even close to a combat sim game).
Gygax, Perren, and Arneson and many others were originally involved with the "Chainmail: Rules for Medieval Miniatures" wargame at first. Chainmail had a dice roll system for determining combat probabilities, sort of the like the game "Risk" but on a more detailed level. They used it to simulate historical battles, and then when that got boring, they started making up new scenarios. Then they added the "Fantasy Supplement" to bring in magic and mythical monsters, and that got a lot of people excited. You can still find some of these old documents online in the archives.

Gygax and crew then started the new concept of a roleplaying adventure game which used the combat & magic mechanics extracted from Chainmail. They added the player character, dungeon master, and story concepts, etc., and D&D was born.

So in a way, you could consider that BG III has really been in development for 1400 years. I know it sure seems that way for me right now, geez when is this game gonna be released in full?
Originally Posted by Wormerine
I am not sure where you get the impression from - from the very reveal cinematics were as they are now.

No. At first, the game was only going to have cinematics at select (important) dialogue and standard voiced interactions otherwise. Some time into EA, they announced they decided to go ahead and have cinematics for every scene.

Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Yeah, I don't really talk much on these forums anymore because everything that needed to be argued has already been stated. It's actually been a whole year since we've had major debates on the absence of reactions most of all, and like nothing has really happened on that front besides an assurance from about half a year ago saying that they're supposedly working on it. Meanwhile the cinematic stuff has been a focus in every patch. I've pretty much increasingly distanced myself from the community, seeing the discourse around this game distilled into its present state along with the overall messaging seemingly being so unfocused and increasingly filled with buzzwords as is. I mean I already bought the EA and don't regret it as I know full well what I was getting into, but I'd highly discourage against a day 1 purchase with the pre-release Cyberpunk level vibes that I'm sensing from everything associated with this game now. And I'm not talking about bugs and stuff being unfinished on release (which DOS2's last act clearly was on release), I'm talking about deep fundamental flaws present in the actual gameplay that would take a definitive edition to address, if they are even acknowledged at all.

They've deliberately avoided implementing the classes highly reliant on a working reaction choice-based system so far, to the point where the last couple of classes implemented have been accurately predicted months ahead of time by some of the most pessimist people on these forums. One would think reactions are a high priority to work something out to test, but one also has to wonder if the reason for this isn't so much that they need time to figure something out, but... Because the coding base for this game can't actually handle reactions, and any possible solution is being delayed because development on the actual gameplay is seemingly taking a complete back seat to this cinematic focus. A mod on these forums gave me shit a year ago for insinuating such a thing about the engine, but again, it has been a year since then and we've barely had whispers on something that's clearly a major issue for a lot of people following this game.

I don't even have a horse in the whole 'not like BG1 or BG2' race as I haven't played either game. But in the game's current direction, I'm sure it'll make for a wonderful first playthrough. But it wouldn't be something I'd bother replaying, as I discovered during each attempt to replay the EA and found that the moment to moment gameplay was... Off and feeling like an absolute slog as a consequence, somehow. The combat is heavily focused on offense since a lot of the defensive tools present in 5E such as reactions aren't in the game, and may not even be implemented at all. On the other side of the spectrum, it lacks the environmental reactivity and build variety that DOS2 had. In the months leading up to DOS2's release, you had people swearing up and down that it was the ultimate proof that turn-based combat still had a place in the gaming industry, and it would herald the beginning of that combat style being embraced by the industry once more, which it arguably did. BG3? A blip on the radar in an industry dominated by other studios far more experienced with story and cinematics. The camp that values gameplay over story/writing seems rather tepid about this game, but the story-craving camp (or well, the camp that likes this style of writing and cinematic focus) seems to be loving this.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that hedging the majority of effort into the writing and cinematics at the expense of the moment to moment gameplay is a BAD long term idea. We've seen plenty of examples of other games that had done exactly this and failed. They still sold a lot due to hype culture, but no one heralds them as masterpieces. Coincidentally, all of them are plagued by stories coming out years later of troubled development that broke the development studios in some way.

Maybe the sooner we accept that the game is meant to be this way and move on, the better off we'll all be for it. A dozen forumers arguing in circles holds little sway in development, compared to the tide of people that will judge the game upon full release. Only then will we see if we were more than people making delusional rants. Not that anyone who thought we were only here to be mean to Larian would admit to that.

All the people who were really driving for constructive, positive change gave up. They did address some of the issues, but only to introduce other problematic ones that negated the good they've done.

The camping system didn't actually change people being able to unlimited rest, it just made food not heal you in combat.
They changed disengage to a full action, only to introduce other broken action economy items/skills/equips.

You get the point.

Supposedly, this game is coming out in a year and they can't seem to release more than one class at a time with a lot of bugs and issues throughout each release. The last 3 have to have some sort of reaction input, but are they really going to trickle out 3 more individual patches and then release the game in a year?

Moreover, who in their right mind would play this game Day 1 of release? I played DOS2 like that and it was a janky, awful mess once you left Fort Joy - numerous crash to desktop with no errors, broken quests, bugged interactions, and the overall feeling the game was rushed and incomplete. It made for an awful experience as an owner of the game.

For one, I saw the end of the game so the subsequent playthroughs were no longer new but I didn't get to experience everything I could have.

Most of the people that had good ideas and really tried to have good discourse and dialogue for Larian to consider/implement have given up. Even with these patch releases, the game activity spikes for 72 hours max and then it's barely any coverage on Twitch or YouTube.

People are over it and if (when) Larian botches the release of this thing, it's going to turn into a total shitshow.
i kind of dislike being a silent protagonist with this cinematic thing. also i agree with majority of the poster here on the constructive criticism on the bg3 development. i hope larian will address them.
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