Baldur’s Gate 3 Development Had Crunch, Larian CEO Admits

Baldur’s Gate 3 Overtime Necessary but Minimized Compared to Previous Projects, Says Vincke

Larian Studios CEO Swen Vincke has acknowledged that the development team for Baldur’s Gate 3 had to engage in “a bit of crunch,” requiring employees to work overtime to meet the game’s deadlines. This admission came during Vincke’s appearance at the Digital Dragons conference, as reported by Games Radar.

Vincke explained that the crunch experienced during Baldur’s Gate 3’s development was significantly less severe than what the studio endured with previous titles. He emphasized that some level of overtime is almost always inevitable when completing a complex project like Baldur’s Gate 3. “Certainly less on Baldur’s Gate 3 than we did in the past,” Vincke noted. “It would be a lie to say that we didn’t. We had things happen that we didn’t foresee.”

While acknowledging the necessity of some crunch, Vincke stressed that it was not excessive. Employees, including himself, generally left the office by 8 pm and rarely worked weekends. “We didn’t overly crunch but did have to do a bit to wrap up Baldur’s Gate 3,” he added. He also mentioned that the complexity of the project made a small amount of crunch unavoidable. “To be honest, you will always have a little bit when you’re trying to finish something, especially when there’s so much complexity that needs to be brought together,” Vincke said.

Crunch has been a contentious issue in the video game industry, with companies like CD Projekt Red facing criticism for mandatory overtime during the development of titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher series. In response to the backlash, CD Projekt Red has since pledged to move away from such practices.

Despite the challenges, Baldur’s Gate 3, a role-playing game based on Dungeons & Dragons, was a massive success upon its 2023 release. The game received numerous game of the year awards and a perfect 10/10 review from IGN. “With crunchy, tactical RPG combat, a memorable story with complex characters, highly polished cinematic presentation, and a world that always rewards exploration and creativity, Baldur’s Gate 3 is the new high-water mark for CRPGs,” praised IGN.

Vincke’s comments highlight the ongoing debate about the necessity and impact of crunch in the gaming industry, underscoring the importance of balancing project demands with employee well-being.