D&D General Hasbro Is Looking For Partners For Baldur's Gate 4

Sequel is still "very much on the cards".

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Last month, Baldur's Gate 3 developer Larion Studios revealed that it was 'elated' not to be working on further D&D video games, expansions, or DLC.

However, Wizard of the Coast's Eugene Evans says that a sequel is still "very much on the cards". Evans is Senior vice president of Digital Strategy and Licensing for Hasbro and WotC, and was talking in an interview with PC Gamer.

“We’re now talking to lots of partners and being approached by a lot of partners who are embracing the challenge of, what does the future of the Baldur’s Gate franchise look like? So we certainly hope that it’s not another 25 years, as it was from Baldur’s Gate 2 to 3, before we answer that. But we’re going to take our time and find the right partner, the right approach, and the right product that could represent the future of Baldur’s Gate. We take that very, very seriously, as we do with all of our decisions around our portfolio. We don’t rush into decisions as to who to partner with on products or what products we should be considering.”

Fans of the characters, such as Shadowheart and Astarian, created by Larion and introduced in BG3 will be pleased to know that they are now owned by WotC, meaning that it's not impossible that they would show up in any sequels. Evans said "Larian created a much loved cast of characters, who were even celebrated by their nominations, the voice actors behind them and the talent behind them was celebrated at the [BAFTAS]...And they are now essentially part of D&D canon."
 

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So what studios do a descent BG4 turn based D&D game?
There are quite a few who theoretically could, but literally all of those are currently busy with other games, and don't seem like they're positioned financially such that they'd actually benefit from making a game for WotC, as it were.

Obsidian is the one obvious example, but if we compare how many copies a "New Vegas 2" (I mean it wouldn't be set in New Vegas but you know what I mean) would sell compared to an Obsidian D&D effort, I think it would be a total no-brainer for them to go with a New Vegas 2 - also, Microsoft ultimately own the company who own the Fallout licence, so Microsoft could just direct Bethesda to allow that - they mostly haven't acted like that yet, but it's Microsoft - they probably will eventually.

That said, most of WotC's high command is ex-Microsoft so those connections might make an Obsidian D&D game a little more likely.

However, Obsidian have two big games on the hob right now - Avowed, out in like September, and The Outer Worlds 2, which I'm guessing we're looking more like 2026. They're presumably in pre-production on another AA or AAA game or two, which I would imagine would involve the mighty Josh Sawyer - but he's specifically rejected working with Hasbro - I imagine he'd just quit Obsidian and then be quite a catch for another studio.

Owlcat might be able to, but they'd need a lot of investment (tens and tens of millions) and have never done most of the stuff they'd need to do. They also don't have exceptional flair or much of a mainstream audience.

Paradox are basically circling the plughole at this point - they're a terrible company with low standards, who just happen to have a number of grand strategy games with good teams working on them. I will be surprised if any more good games come out of Paradox after EUV.

I will hold out hope for Supergiant Games. Which I know... never gonna happen. But still.
That's an interesting one. They have the writing talent, they have the visual flair and game design skills (far more than Larian, actually), and I feel like they're so competently run that they wouldn't have big problems upping their numbers to do a full-size AAA game. They'll probably be on Hades 2 for the next 18 months or so though. Perhaps they could go into pre-production for a BG4. I dunno how possible it would be to convince them, but it might be.

But why would Larian leave cash on the table?
Because Larian actually have principles and don't just do long-term counterproductive things just for the money. That won't last forever, but it's currently true. They're privately own - Swen has like 62%+ of the stock, so he is the sole ultimate decision-maker. And he's an eccentric (re: decent person) who values what he sees as quality and independence over $$$.

Licencing their engine to WotC or whoever is also not a "fire and forget" mission like a lot of people seem to think. They'd have to have a tech team continually supporting whatever company for probably a couple of years at least, and when that game was inevitably shameful and mediocre, some of the blame would be attached by gamers to Larian, which is just not something they want.
 

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Hurin70

Adventurer
It's like WotC never learns. They farmed D&D out to obscure developers for years, with terrible results. Then they hit gold with an established developer. So, what do they do next? I am almost certain they will go with another obscure developer and we will be back where we started, with awful games like Dark Alliance.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
But why would Larian leave cash on the table?
Likely because they feel constrained by the 5E ruleset (and possibly WotC/Hasbro's decision making...) and want to make games where they can add in lots of splashy effects that just don't have an analog in D&D.

The rules of D&D simply don't take full advantage of the fact a computer is running the numbers. You can have much much more going on in a video game than would be practical or even feasible in a table-top "manual" game.
 



Likely because they feel constrained by the 5E ruleset (and possibly WotC/Hasbro's decision making...) and want to make games where they can add in lots of splashy effects that just don't have an analog in D&D.
Sven has outright expressed similar sentiments. And on an anecdotal level, I still have a little cackle whenever I hear someone coming from DoS2 complaining about the lack of flashy effects for martial attacks.
 



ECMO3

Hero
No fan of BG series or any D&D video games, but I will say this. Without the engine that runs BG3, there is likely no chance BG4 will have a chance, as most players said they like BG3 but have no interest in D&D.

That tells me how the game plays is more important than the "brand". Original BG games were nothing like the well polished engine behind BG3. even NWN was a lot worse system than BG3 used in all 5 video games carrying through the NWN franchises.

Larian had lightning in a bottle, the same as Covid was for Chris Cocks when he was in charge of WotC. These will not be easily replicated, nor surpassed.

I think this is the times and technology. BG1 was pretty darn awesome and polished when it came out and the Infinity Engine it ran on was brand new in 1998. It is less polished now because it is 27 years later and computer games and graphics have come a long way.
 

ECMO3

Hero
I don't know enough about video game design to know if my impressions are correct. But I always assumed the ability to add new content to an existing game like this one, in the form of a DLC, was built into the back end designer access for the game. As in you don't need to do most of the difficult work of system design to add new content, you have an existing well organized graphic user interface developer system in place. You obviously still need to create graphics, text and voiceover, items, etc.. but the work of that is more of a routine nature and not a complicated design nature.

If that is the case, and WOTC owns that system along with the game, I wonder why they couldn't hire someone to issue a DLC for BG3?

I think this is generally true, but the amount of content in BG3 is overwhelming. If a DLC is going to have that many places, that many plot paths/turns, that many voice lines consistent with what Larian produced then it will be very difficult.
 

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