The video game industry has changed in recent years by having games come out unfinished. That is where Early Access on Steam comes into the picture for PC players. One of the biggest releases coming to the service is Baldur’s Gate 3, which will cost the full price of $60 USD when it launches later this month, with prices for other regions coming at a later date. Director of publishing Michael Douse at Larian explains that charging a full amount for a 25-hour experience of a much larger game is because of the amount of content that is on the horizon.
Also, the price will be $59.99. Don't feel pressured to buy it during EA. It's not going to disappear, and neither are we. Eventually, it'll be a very large game. Though EA is 25 hours of one play-through, the final game will be *does brain math* a lot longer.
— Very Games Michael (@Cromwelp) September 2, 2020
What makes this unique for Larian is that this makes the price of Baldur’s Gate 3 the most expensive release on PC from the studio. For the industry, it is not the biggest shocker. Comparing to the studio’s last big hit, Divinity: Original Sin 2, that was $60 on consoles, but $45 for PC players.
Douse goes more in-depth about the production side of it with PC Gamer. Spending more money and having a larger team will mean charging enough to make a profit.
“DOS2 was finished with a much smaller team,” he told PC Gamer. “Larian is over double the amount of people now, compared to when DOS2 launched. And BG3 is a bigger, deeper game with far higher production values. So not only did we increase depth, but we actually increased production values alongside it.”
Douse does see the potential “perception problem” that the community may have towards the price of Baldur’s Gate 3. Most Early Access games are cheaper than the full release. Players who buy-in early on get rewarded by saving money and being a part of a community that helps bring the game to the destination it is heading. Douse makes an argument why this makes sense to make the unfinished version cost as if it were complete.
“It’s better to think of Early Access as a playable preorder,” he said. “Though of course, it isn’t exactly that. Its function is entirely to make the game better through pooling feedback and testing ideas, iterating directly with our audience.”
It goes beyond getting free QA work out of early adopters. Even in the days of DOS2, Larian repaid its players by continually communicating with them and giving out gifts. Gift Bag DLCs for DOS2 came to those who played before they got a fully fleshed out game. The studio gave the latest present out this year, even though the latest entry in the Divinity franchise is three years old.
Baldur’s Gate 3 players may pay the full price right away, but Larian plans to repay those players like it did in DOS2. The game was planning on coming sooner, but Larian put an asterisk on the August date due to the possibility of a delay, which did happen. Now instead of last month, you can play the fantasy RPG on September 30 on PC and is available to stream on Google Stadia.
What do you think of Larian’s reasoning behind charging $60 for Early Access of Baldur’s Gate 3? Let us know what you think in the comments.