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Here's Why Baldur's Gate 3 Won't Be On Game Pass

Baldur’s Gate 3 director Swen Vincke believes the Dungeons & Dragons-based RPG is a big game worth paying for. I have to agree. The Larian Studios founder says that’s why the game isn’t coming to Xbox Game Pass.

Baldur's Gate 3's Karlach Actor On Playing The Beloved Barbarian

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“Oh, we always said from the get-go, it wasn’t going to be on Game Pass, it’s not going to be on Game Pass,” Vincke told IGN in a new interview. He added that Baldur’s Gate 3, a roughly 50-hour game filled with tons of player choice and branching dialogue that invites multiple playthroughs, has a beginning, middle and end, with no microtransactions wedged in-between.

“We made a big game, so I think there’s a fair price to be paid for that, and I think that that is okay,” he said. “Upfront it’s a big meaty game. So I think that should be able to exist as it is. This is what allows us to continue making other games.”

Larian Studios is an independent company. That’s one of the reasons Baldur’s Gate 3 was possible in the first place, Vincke told Kotaku earlier this year. Where an outside publisher or larger corporation might have cut content or rushed the game out, Larian’s team, thanks in no small part to the success of the studio’s earlier game, Divinity Original Sin 2, was able to take the time it needed to deliver on the riskier parts of its vision.

While Game Pass has been a boon for lots of players and developers, there’s also a fear that the all-you-can-eat Netflix-style buffet of the monthly subscription service will devalue games in the long run, encouraging users to sample and graze but never go back and outright purchase the games they end up falling in love with.

Microsoft has pushed back against that logic, claiming that Game Pass subscribers actually spend more money on games than players who only buy to own. And unlike Netflix or Spotify, Game Pass doesn’t remove the option to purchase games or add-on content.

Still, it’s hard not to look at the glut of content on movie and TV streaming services, and the recent bloodbath of cuts they’ve implemented, and worry if the whole model isn’t wildly unsustainable. Unlike Microsoft, Sony has resisted putting its biggest games day-and-date on its rival subscription service, PlayStation Plus, claiming that wouldn’t be financially viable.

Interestingly, we got a look at just what it can cost Microsoft to load up Game Pass with new releases. Leaks from the Activision Blizzard acquisition trial showed ballpark estimates of $100 million and $250 million to get Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Mortal Kombat 1 on the service, respectively. How much for Baldur’s Gate 3? An initial projection put it at $5 million. I’m not surprised the game didn’t end up on Game Pass.

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