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Baldur’s Gate 3 developer points to Catholic teaching for success

Baldur's Gate 3 poster

Artsaba Family | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 04/25/24

The head of Larian Studios, which won every Game of the Year award in 2023, had a distinctly Catholic answer for how to gain and maintain a fanbase.

The lead developer of the most popular video game in the world, Baldur’s Gate 3, gave a distinctly Catholic answer in a recent interview. His comments come as gamers are beginning to shift away from AAA titles in favor of games made by independent studios.

Swen Vincke, founder and CEO of Larian Studios, is known for his humility and eccentricity (like showing up at award shows in a full suit of armor). The 51-year-old game developer has been drawing a lot of attention since 2023, and not just because Baldur’s Gate 3 won every Game of the Year award under the sun, but because he is speaking out against some practices that have become popular in the industry, often to the detriment of the games.

These practices include things like rampant monetization, with microtransactions creating avenues for players to spend many times more money than they would have on the initial purchase of a game.

The passionate game designer has spoken about the need to show sustained quarterly profits in publicly owned game publishers, a practice that has been driving players away from AAA titles of late. Indeed, recent indie titles like Helldivers 2 and Palworld have shown that smaller games can become even more popular than major titles like Diablo 4 and Starfield.

Golden Rule

In the end, when asked how Larian Studios had such great success in building a community of fans and maintaining their trust, Vincke leaned on Catholic social teaching. He told Games Industry in an interview:

I’ll give you a very Catholic answer – treat your players as you would like to be treated, that’s it,” Vincke said. “We had the best marketing campaign in the world, which was our players talking about it. We had over a million players from the first week that were talking to their friends about the game.”

That much of Baldur’s Gate 3’s 10 million sales were driven by word of mouth is a testament to the truth behind Vincke’s views. This can only happen when players have had a good time playing the game. In the end, if you treat the gamers well and bring them a product completely free of microtransactions, it would seem they will reciprocate.

Another reason gamers are loving Larian is because they don’t rest on their laurels. Where some studios would be planning a sequel for Baldur’s Gate 3, or at least DLC (Downloadable Content), in order to milk as much money from the franchise as they can, Larian has announced that they are completely done with Baldur’s Gate 3, and will soon begin work on a new, unrelated – but likely to be successful – project.

Read more of Vincke’s comments in his interview with Games Industry.

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