April 16, 2024

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Swen Finke insists Coast wizards are 'not responsible' for Larian leaving Baldur's Gate 3 and D&D successor

Swen Finke insists Coast wizards are 'not responsible' for Larian leaving Baldur's Gate 3 and D&D successor

Following Larian's surprising decision to move on from Baldur's Gate 3 and Dungeons & Dragons, some fans have pointed the finger at Wizards of the Coast – but according to Swen Vincke, the Hasbro-owned company is not to blame.

Last week, Larian confirmed that it has no plans to release downloadable content (DLC) or expansions for its smash-hit Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game Baldur's Gate 3, and indeed has no plans to create another video game in the D&D universe, excluding Baldur's Gate. 4 from the studio. Instead, it creates an entirely new game.

Following the news, some fans expressed concern that Wizards of the Coast, which owns and operates Dungeons & Dragons, had caused Larian to move away from the fantasy world. Wizards of the Coast is owned by toy maker Hasbro, which issued a statement to IGN addressing Larian's decision:

“Larian has been a great partner, and together we are proud of the success of Baldur's Gate 3. Watch this space to learn more about some of the great D&D games we are bringing to life through Hasbro Studios and our network of licensing partners. We have an unbeatable game library, brands and many great partners around the world.

Hasbro failed to respond to IGN's question about the future of Baldur's Gate now that Larian has moved on, and did not say whether Wizards of the Coast plans to hand over the license to a new developer. Baldur's Gate 3 grossed about $90 million for Hasbro, an impressive amount even at a time when the company was struggling overall, seeing a 15% drop in revenue and operating at a loss of $1.5 billion in 2023.

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In December, Hasbro announced a major wave of layoffs affecting more than 1,000 employees just before the holiday. Following the news, Finke offered his condolences to the huge group of Wizards of the Coast workers affected by the cutbacks, drawing particular attention to the fact that nearly everyone at the company who was part of the early discussions about Baldur's Gate 3 has left.

“I also want to thank [Wizards of the Coast] Specifically the Dungeons & Dragons team for giving us carte blanche. Finke said at the time. “I'm really sorry to hear that so many of you have been let go. It's sad to realize that of the people who were in the original meeting room, there's almost no one left. I hope you're all doing well in the end.”

“…They really went out of their way and were great donors to us, letting us do our job.

Now, clearly aware of the growing resentment towards Wizards of the Coast following Larian's announcement, Finke issued a follow-up statementdefending the company.

“When reading Reddit threads, I want to clarify something,” Finke said. “WOTC is not to blame because we are taking a different direction. On the contrary, they have really tried their best and been a great donor to us, allowing us to do our job. This is because it is what is best for Larian.”

In an interview with IGN at GDC 2024, Vincke revealed that Larian began working on Baldur's Gate 3 DLC and even thought about a potential Baldur's Gate 4 before turning away to other projects because the team was “going through the motions.” “You could see that the team was doing it because everyone felt like we had to do it, but it wasn't really from the heart, and we're a studio from the heart,” Finke added. “This is what made us miserable and was also the reason for our success.”

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With Larian moving on to new things, Hasbro is now thinking about what to do with the Baldur's Gate series and the amazing characters Larian created for Baldur's Gate 3. Will they hire a new developer to take the reins? Will she leave Baldur's Gate 3 behind, like Larian did? in tweetFinke passed the torch: “As for BG3 and its characters – they now belong to WOTC and I think they understand how important they are to society. I'm confident they will be treated with respect.”

What we do know is that there are a number of Dungeons & Dragons video games in development that are not Baldur's Gate 4. Gameloft Montreal, the maker of Disney's Dreamlight Valley, is working on a new Dungeons & Dragons game set in the Forgotten Realms. It is described as “a unique and innovative experience blending survival, RPG, and life simulation that will test players' skills in an unforgiving campaign set in the D&D universe.” The developer of Payday Starbreeze is working on A cooperative multiplayer Dungeons & Dragons game codenamed Project Baxteralthough it's not scheduled to be released until 2026.

Wesley is IGN's UK news editor. You can find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can contact Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].