Larian Founder on Working With Google Stadia for Baldur’s Gate 3: ‘It Was a Really Stupid Deal’

Larian Founder on Working With Google Stadia for Baldur’s Gate 3: ‘It Was a Really Stupid Deal’

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Baldur’s Gate 3 director Swen Vincke has had some time to reflect on Larian Studios’ Google Stadia deal, and he thinks it was “really stupid.”

The studio’s founder opened up about the early days of Baldur’s Gate 3 during a Game Developers Conference (GDC) panel that IGN attended today. While explaining how Larian learned to adapt to issues on the fly, he spoke about how Stadia played a role in the Baldur’s Gate 3 reveal.

For those who may have forgotten, Vincke and his team revealed the latest Baldur’s Gate at a Google Stadia conference in June 2019. It was a bombshell announcement during an event for a product that would ultimately fail, but it also came with other potential benefits. Stadia originally promised enticing features for developers to take advantage of while also offering a path to boost word of mouth.

“You talk to these people who say ‘I didn’t think it was for me, it looks like maybe a little bit too much,’ ” Vincke said to us in 2020. “With something as easy as sending somebody a link and saying, ‘Hey, let’s try it out and you can jump into my game instantly without having to install anything,’ I think that has a very great conversion power.”

Fast forward to 2024, however, and Stadia is no more. Google officially shut down its game streaming service in early 2023, with Baldur’s Gate 3’s full PC launch not arriving until that following August. Vincke says hindsight is 20/20, calling out the challenges of releasing the Early Access build for an additional platform.

“It was a really stupid deal and I should never have done it, but it allowed me to pay for the CGI,” he said.

All of the details of the Stadia deal have not been made public, but unsurprisingly, Vincke isn’t happy with the way things turned out. Elsewhere in the GDC panel, Vincke talked about how the team’s ambitions grew throughout development.

One thing Larian wanted form the beginning was a lot of cinematics and a big narrative, for example. These plans absolutely came through, as Vincke also confirmed that Baldur’s Gate 3 contains triple the word count of The Lord of the Rings books and double the cutscene runtime as Game of Thrones. It’s clear the game has come a long way, as he also showed off an early version of Astaron that was a Tiefling instead of a High Elf.

While Baldur’s Gate 3 has turned out to be a massive success for Larian, the team won’t be revisiting the world with DLC or even a fourth game anytime soon. For more on the studio’s latest, be sure to check out our 10/10 review.

Michael Cripe is a freelance contributor with IGN. He started writing in the industry in 2017 and is best known for his work at outlets such as The Pitch, The Escapist, OnlySP, and Gameranx.

Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter @MikeCripe.

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