If balancing encounters and mechanics for co-op gameplay on consoles truly is their main rationale for maxing at 4, that would indeed be a shame. Like why not just develop the thing for consoles in that case, and be up front about it? Or target the EA at PC players with controllers now, instead of punishing us with a controller style scheme that's forced into a mouse and keyboard experience here?
I think it would be more expedient to develop the encounters with a full party of 6 in mind, if only because in a video game there are more ways to manage the challenge for a scaled down party (at the players discretion) than are for a scaled up party after the fact with mods. Like it doesn't always have to be about adding or subtracting monsters in encounters (although it could be if they wanted). For example a smaller co-op party might just be given additional special starting equipment, like say a ring that provides bonuses or buffs, or some other reward for rolling with a tighter crew at the outset. Things that might make sense in-universe without busting immersion. This could be something that happens when you launch a game as co-op and knowing it will max at 4 because that's how consoles are geared, with the settings scaled to match the playstyle.
Also aren't co-op and single players both probably more interested in ways to increase the challenge generally (by rolling with a smaller crew) than they are in decreasing the challenge by rolling with a larger crew than intended? Like esp if the only option for the later is via mods?
Like its a silly logic, but if the idea is that a game geared for 4, is really more about making sure its still fun for a party of 2 or 3 (which is probably more likely in co-op) then the game is probably less engaging when you actually do manage to get 4 people together at the same time. And I guess its also a shame if you happen to have a 5th friend, who just doesn't make the cut because 'not enough controllers dude!' lol.
Why does this have to be Golden Eye in the living room? Don't we have the internet for that now? Hehe
It just seems weird to fixate on strict balancing for a party 4, when there is a ready solution in the DMG and most materials for adapting campaigns to parties of different sizes... like say 3 vs 5. Or if a party is just demonstrably too weak to handle the campaign and the PCs keep getting their asses handed to them... like if they are just going to get TKO'd in every encounter, you'd kind of expect the DM to make an effort and adjust some of the CRs in the encounters to fit the actual group, so it remains enjoyable, instead of just being a sadist about it. Or from the other end, if its the players who are being all masochistic and opting to roll light in a game balanced around 6 party members, that's a ready way for players to make things more interesting/challenging for themselves with a party of 2 or 3 or 4 handled that way. But there's no encounter scaling in this one that I've seen.
I'm with Ianthebea on this one, but mainly because 6 just fits my idea of what a Baldur's Gate game should be. Its a significant source of disappointment for me with the current game and I worry that its just going to mean fewer companions, worse party management controls, and a generally 'less than epic' vibe later if they don't start shoring it up here.