When developing Baldur’s Gate 3, the studio took inspiration from some games you might not expect.
Larian Studios’ lead writer Adam Smith recently appeared on the Official Xbox Podcast to discuss the team’s game of the year winner, and he unexpectedly cited Arkane (Dishonored, Deathloop, Marvel’s Blade) and IO Interactive (Hitman, James Bond) as two studios that inspired the game.
When asked about Baldur’s Gate 3’s out-of-the-box problem-solving, Smith says “We’re often looking to studios like Arkane and immersive sims. And the way that they approach how level design works. And the way that you have all these different avenues to go in.”
He elaborates with an analogy that a designer over at IO Interactive made: “They said a level is [like] a block of Swiss cheese,” Smith continues. “It has all these holes in it, and you make sure the player navigates them and keeps popping out in different places.”
Smith explains that creative problem-solving has “always been a part” of these flexible RPGs, but the tech that was now available to the studio made outlandish playthroughs possible. He even mentioned the viral clips that had players stacking boxes to overcome challenges.
One of Smith’s favorite examples comes from what he calls the Owlbear Belly Drop: “They went to Moonrise Towers which is an area in Act Two – a very, very dangerous area that we made sure was very hard to tackle if you didn’t do it carefully,” he explains. “If you go in all guns blazing, you’re in a lot of trouble. But somebody got a druid while shaped into an Owlbear, jumped from the top of [the tower] and the game’s systems [calculated weight and momentum], and just obliterated every enemy in the area. Just from this massive belly flop.” Supposedly, the team briefly considered balancing that kink out but instead decided that the discovery and fun was more important.
Elsewhere, Smith reiterated the team’s commitment to more post-launch support in the new year via free updates and patches.