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Baldur’s Gate 3 had “a bit” of crunch, as director claims that will “always” be the case to get games finished

It was less than on previous Larian games and devs were paid for any overtime, reassures Swen Vincke

Withers, the NPC you must find before you can respec your character in Baldur's Gate 3.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Larian Studios

The director of Baldur's Gate 3 and CEO of developers Larian has revealed that the studio experienced crunch in order to get the sprawling Dungeons & Dragons CRPG finished. While Swen Vincke admitted that “it would be a lie to say that we didn't [crunch]”, he insisted that it was less than on past Larian games such as Divinity, staff were paid for the overtime and it seemingly didn’t go as far as working late nights or weekends (for the most part, anyway).

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Vincke made the comments during a Q&A session at last week’s Digital Dragons developer conference, as GamesRadar spotted, responding to a question about whether finishing Baldur’s Gate 3 had required the team to work excessive hours, as has become a common issue and criticism among many other studios working on large blockbuster games.

According to Vincke, the crunch was “certainly less” than the studio had experienced before, but did occur when “things happen[ed] that we didn't foresee”. In an apparent relative improvement from the reportedly unpaid overtime of crunch in other companies, Vincke said that any overtime was paid, and that Larian’s building would typically be empty after 8pm latest. That minimising of overtime was helped by utilising Larian’s other studios around the world, letting the developers as a whole work across 24 hours on the game without staff in any one office have to work late into the night. Staff seemingly only “very, very, very rarely” worked weekends in the office, too.

Shadowheart holds a glowing magical object in Baldur's Gate 3
Image credit: Larian Studios

Vincke’s read on the situation is that Larian didn’t “overly crunch” and that any overtime hours weren’t “as long as you would consider crunch”, while still acknowledging that there was at least “a bit” needed.

“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 concluded, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

With the marked improvement on Baldur’s Gate 3 compared to their past games and what sounds like at least solid efforts to compensate staff and keep any overtime to a minimum, hopefully Larian’s upcoming projects - which won’t include Baldur’s Gate 4 or DLC - will see them find even more ways to cut crunch out entirely.

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