Baldur's Gate 3 PS5 PlayStation
Image: Push Square

Baldur's Gate 3 represents a shift for AAA RPGs that's hard to put into words without sounding overly trite but needs must. If Breath of the Wild was an event horizon for exploration in open worlds, then BG3 does the same for depth and character choice in RPGs. It's been causing other developers no end of anxiety, with lots of pre-emptive sandbagging being done over the last month in an attempt to brand the game as an anomaly, that gamers shouldn't expect this "raised standard" moving forward. The conversation was largely spurred by this viral post on X.

Apparently, the murmurs have grown such that outspoken Larian Studios CEO and founder, Swen Vincke, felt the need to respond. He acknowledges that "obviously, yeah, if you're a 50-man studio or 10-man studio, you shouldn't try to make a game like BG3" before proceeding to roll a 20 on a Charisma check, firing a shot across the bow of the AAA video game industry writ large. Speaking to PC Gamer, Vincke declared:

"The problem I have is with the use of the word 'standards'. This is video games, standards just die every day. Things get reinvented. New things appear all the time. When I was starting out in the industry, Assassin's Creed set a new standard. It was over: nobody could make games like Assassin's Creed, there was too much budget behind it, that was going to be the future, everybody had to consolidate, blah blah blah. That didn't materialise. In video games, there's so much free space to explore, still, in the creative tree."

As far as we can tell, big-bad, fiercely independent developer Larian Studios' huge advantage was that it took its time crafting something worth playing and implemented player feedback through an extended Early Access phase. Larian was afforded the luxury of doing so by already earning the goodwill of a loyal player base with its previous effort, Divinity: Original Sin 2.

Should players expect this new RPG standard moving forward? Is any of this the consumer's concern at the end of the day? Let us know in the comments section below.