In a recent interview on the Dungeons & Dragons official channel, founder and CEO of Larian Studios Swen Vincke dove into the nuts and bolts of how the team's been turning around patch fixes so quickly, especially as a response to community critique.
For context, the first major patch for Baldur's Gate 3 dropped August 25, with promises that the second patch would be "right around the corner". I don't think I was alone in thinking that probably meant 'early next month if they're quick'. August 31, the second patch dropped—that's less than a week, which is blisteringly fast.
"We set up our studio so that it can work 24 hours [a day], so we have studios in Malaysia, we have them in Europe, we have our Canadian studio—so we can basically pass on work … that means if somebody in Europe made a feature, by the next day they'll know if it worked or not because it went through QA, or vice-versa."
Vincke also highlighted the automated testing programs Larian's been developing alongside its games: "We have systems that tell you before you even made the change: 'You broke it! Go and fix it again', so that helps also … that allows us to be very reactive to what we're seeing in the community."
There have also been some criticisms—ones I've shared—on Karlach's epilogue. I won't go deep into spoilers here, but it did genuinely feel underwritten, wrapping up the threads of my favourite characters without so much as a goodbye. I was pretty pleased with the changes to her ending, especially since I wasn't expecting a whole new scene to be written, voice acted, animated, and released within a month.
"Within the week [Samantha Béart], the actress, was called back … first the scene was written, but that went fast, then that was recorded using the pipeline that's been set up, it went to the cinematics team, then they spent two weeks working on putting everything in, then it just rolled into whatever next patch or hotfix was in the pipe."
It's clear Larian has set up a well-oiled machine—one that's only grown more efficient as time's rolled on. I remember back when Divinity: Original Sin 2's third act had some similar (though far more prevalent) wobbles, such as origin character Beast's storyline just sort of dropping off the face of the earth. That was fixed the following year with the game's definitive edition. Improving that timeline from roughly one year to less than a month is pretty awesome, though BG3 isn't quite at 'definitive edition' levels of improved just yet.
"[Our listening to the community] hasn't changed, honestly, that's been day one … you can only do that really well if you remove all barriers between developers and players as much as you can. There's risks with that, things can go wrong, sometimes you're too open or you say something wrong … but if you don't do that, you become very silo'd. You can't do cool stuff in a silo."