“Baldur’s Gate 3” (BG3) is a new role-playing video game developed by Larian Studios. It has garnered significant acclaim, securing the 2023 top-rated spot on Metacritic with a score of 96, currently sharing this honor with “Tears of the Kingdom.” Many fans and critics alike are hailing BG3 as the best RPG ever made.
The fervor surrounding BG3 has reached such heights that it has become a platform for criticism against developers who release games plagued by bugs and microtransactions. Advocates of this viewpoint argue that BG3 should set a new standard for the industry. Specifically, they call for abundant playable content, no microtransactions, and minimal bugs.
This ongoing debate intensified when Xalavier Nelson Jr., the Studio Head of Strange Scaffold, posted a message on X challenging the notion that all developers should be expected to match Larian’s achievement with BG3. This sentiment was soon echoed by other developers.
Fans were quick to react, vehemently criticizing these developers for their stance. The prevailing attitude became that developers were greedy and lazy for suggesting they should not be held to a higher standard. Fans no longer want games to be released that are incomplete or have content hidden behind paywalls.
The backlash against developers reached its zenith when IGN released a YouTube video titled “Baldur’s Gate 3 is Causing Some Developers to Panic.” The video detailed many of the grievances raised by fans regarding the current state of the gaming industry.
However, despite valid points being made about AAA game studios releasing subpar products, a significant portion of this anger appears to have been misdirected. The original post by Nelson that ignited this debate seems to have been widely misunderstood.
Nelson’s main argument, which he later expounded upon in later posts, was that smaller indie studios should not be expected to achieve what a massive studio like Larian did. It is unreasonable for gamers to have the same expectations when approaching an indie game as they would from BG3.
Nonetheless, the discourse surrounding this issue was framed in a misleading manner. Many individuals appeared more interested in capitalizing on the hype generated by the controversy than in grasping the underlying point.
Destin Legarie, the writer for IGN who created the YouTube video, has publicly apologized and announced plans to release a follow-up video addressing this topic comprehensively.
While the anger may have been misdirected, there is no denying that this discussion has resonated with gamers. BG3 may not be causing developers to panic, but it has prompted gamers to voice their dissatisfaction with AAA studios that release incomplete products. Whether AAA studios heed this message remains to be seen.