Baldur’s Gate 3 Developers Say Early Access is Best, May Use For Next Game

The developers of Baldur's Gate 3 found success with the Early Access model and may use it for their next ambitious game.
Baldurs Gate 3 Long Haired Man Index
Image: Larian Studios

Larian Studios, known for the popular RPG Baldur’s Gate 3, strongly supports the Early Access development model. In recent interviews, Michael Douse, Larian’s Director of Publishing, emphasized their belief that Early Access is becoming the favored method for game development, especially for larger projects. This seems kind of well-known since Larian used it for BG3.

The studio’s decision to embrace Early Access was influenced by their success with Baldur’s Gate 3. The game underwent almost three years in Early Access, allowing Larian to collect valuable player feedback. This collaboration with the community enabled them to enhance the gameplay, resolve issues, and produce a more robust final product. Douse feels that this step-by-step method assists in minimizing the inherent risk linked with standard AAA releases.

In the interview, he highlighted the importance of creating strong connections with players by maintaining an ongoing, transparent conversation throughout the development phase. Early Access encourages the growth of a lively community centered around the game and enables developers to assess player feedback instantly. This allows them to adapt and meet the audience’s needs.

Larian intends to use the Early Access model again for their next game, which has not been officially announced. Douse believes that, despite the challenges, Early Access can be highly effective for studios willing to adapt to a more live service type of development environment.

It’s hard to argue with him. Baldur’s Gate 3 was probably one of the best games ever made, and working with the community helped that. We’ve seen the developer work with their community on the creations of Minecraft and Stardew Valley, so it’s not unheard of. Those had early access, which allowed fans to playtest the games. Even Palworld is doing something similar.

“It’s scary. It turns your company sort of into a live service company because you’ve got to feed that machine. But we were very open about not doing that. [We said:] ‘We’re not going to add story. Don’t expect that. We didn’t really add content. We added some, but we really slowed down. Setting expectations is really key. It’s just going to be this one sort of fractal loop that’s going to sort of adapt. If you don’t know how to do early access, I wouldn’t do early access, but if you are interested in creating a really strong core gameplay loop and then building around that, to foster a strong community, that’s a really good way to do it. It’s probably the best way to do it.”

Michael Douse (Found by EG)

The studio emphasizes that being open and clear with players is crucial for a successful Early Access experience. By establishing clear expectations from the start and outlining any limitations, they aim to prevent misunderstandings. Larian has finished developing significant expansions after launching Baldur’s Gate 3 and currently has no plans for a direct sequel (Baldur’s Gate 4).

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar, also known as Aggy, is the current Assigning Editor.

He started his career as an esports, influencer, and streaming writer for Sportskeeda. He then moved to GFinity Esports to cover streaming, games, guides, and news before moving to the Social team where he ended his time as the Lead of Social Content.

He also worked a writer and editor for both Pro Game Guides and Dot Esports, and as a writer for PC Invasion, Attack of the Fanboy, and Android Police. Aggy is the former Managing Editor and Operations Overseer of N4G Unlocked and a former Gaming editor for WePC.

Throughout his time in the industry, he's trained over 100 writers, written thousands of articles on multiple sites, written more reviews than he cares to count, and edited tens of thousands of articles. He has also written some games published by Tales, some books, and a comic sold to Telus International.

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