It was very clear from available game footage and developer interviews that BG3 was never intended to be a tabletop emulator, or a tabletop game-aid; unlike NWN/NWN2 which were both designed to be used in that way. There have been no guarantees of providing anything beyond a story-driven co-op RPG; everything else that has been mentioned by Larian is aspiration, at best.
If anyone posting here thought there was a promise to implement 5e closely, then that is wishful thinking.
Larian have never said they cannot implement the 5e rules exactly; tabletop RPG rules sets are sometimes exhaustive, but rarely exceed simple arithmetic in mathematical complexity. What they have said is that the 5e rules do not always work well for the game they are making and the broad audience they are aiming to please.
Two points here:
One can wonder why WotC went with Larian given the intention of not adapting the 5e rules, or why they did not enforce a faithful adaptation, which would be better for their product (the D&D books).
IMO that's a bad strategy from Larian and WotC. D&D has an estimated 40 million playerbase
, if they went with a faithful adaptation, they would be drawing from the D&D and CRPG public, and a fraction of this would make a smash hit. DOS playerbase is much smaller, so it seems strange to focus on those, given that probably a large share would buy the game regardless.
On point 1 (why would WotC go with Larian), I'd say several things:
- they talked about and agreed the game approach and modifications ( according to Swen )
- any publicity is good publicity
- they want to cross-sell to people that don't already play DnD
- WotC may simply not be as dogmatic and purist as some of their players
It is also worth pointing out that recent DnD videogame products have included new 2e and 3.5e content from Beamdog, so WotC are clearly not only
interested in 5e licencing.
On point 2 (addressable market), I was unable to find any original link to anything that supports the 40M number ( it was not in the Bloomberg story that your link referenced ), and the figure is not properly explained either.
The real number of players is unknowable, and must be estimated. The last time I saw credible figures that appeared to quote WotC directly, about year before the Bloomberg article, the active
player base was estimated at 10M for 5e, and 5M for all other editions. Most likely, if the 40M was a 2018 WotC estimate, it included inactive players that used to play DnD ( which would include me, last played 2e on the TT ).
As a comparison market size, the active videogame player base is conservatively estimated at 300M ( Ignoring the players who only like things like candy crush / angry birds ).
Relatively few videogame players will buy BG3, and relatively few DnD players will buy BG3; but the disparity in market sizes does show where the potential is, and that matters when making design decisions.