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BG3 is great, but Larian’s next epic adventure should be an original

News that Larian Studios’ next project after Baldur’s Gate 3 is “not what you think” makes me hopeful it’s returning to a world all of its own.

Baldur's Gate 3 Larian Studios next game: Fane, a skeleton, from Divinity Original Sin 2 wearing a gothic leather coat and cloak with his arms raised, set against a blurred background of Baldur's Gate 3, Star Wars KOTR, and Warhammer 40K Space Marine respectively.

Larian Studios’ Baldur’s Gate 3 was undoubtedly my favorite game of 2023, and I’m still enjoying it now, well over 60 hours later. While I absolutely adore it, the news that Larian CEO and BG3 developer Swen Vincke has “finally figured out what Act 1” is on its unannounced future project – based in a universe that’s “not what you think” – has me concerned and elated in equal measure.

As a long-time fan of Larian, I’ve seen the studio grow into the behemoth it is today thanks to Baldur’s Gate 3, with Divinity Original Sin 2 being a particularly high point for me along the way – both are among the best RPG games ever made if you ask me. With this extraordinary success of BG3, showing that a traditionally niche CRPG title based on Dungeons & Dragons can break into the mainstream, all eyes are on Larian’s next moves.

Vincke’s post reads: “After 4 months of rewriting and rewriting and abandoning ideas and then revisiting them, finally figured out what act 1 on this thing I’ve been working on needs to be”, going on to claim “it’s not what you think”. While BG3 DLC is planned, Vincke is undoubtedly referring to a brand-new project rather than updates to the seminal new RPG. Naturally, this has everyone’s heads turning.

Many are hoping Larian tackles another existing IP to flex their penchant for intricate and incredibly focused roleplaying experiences elsewhere as it did with Baldur’s Gate, whether that’s another DnD world, Star Wars, or something as out-there as Warhammer (including 40K). As much as I’d love more DnD or a Larian-take on another existing universe, I’d much rather see the studio return to its own ideas for the time being – and that’s not limited to just Divinity.

Baldur's Gate 3 Larian Studios next game: Four characters surrounded by large, fantasy plants in Divinity Original Sin 2.

In the current landscape, Baldur’s Gate’s fantasy setting can at times feel rather mundane – dwarves, elves, goblins; it’s all iconography and themes we’ve seen many times by now, ironically owing largely to DnD in the first place. In many ways, its setting is predictable in ways that its combat encounters, character, and quest design are not. However, Larian’s Divinity series has always offered that little extra spice for me. Unbound by the tropes of DnD, Larian’s world of Rivellon gives the developer free rein to do whatever absurd thing it pleases and offer up a richer, more unique universe from what has now become, unfortunately, staple fantasy. Though, with seven games in the Divinity series, perhaps it’s time we moved on from Larian’s first major creation too.

Baldur's Gate 3 Larian Studios next game: Astarion in the class level up screen in BG3.

With the uniqueness of Divinity’s world and the exceptionally engrossing writing, combat, and overall design of Baldur’s Gate 3, I’m hoping Larian Studios will wow us with an all-new IP. With that said, the wording of Vincke’s statement that “it’s not what [we] think”, I’m more inclined to believe it’s an existing but surprising IP that Larian will take on and transform into another mammoth RPG.

Nevertheless, no matter what Larian Studios works on next, it’s certainly deserving of the attention, even if it’s not quite as fresh as I know they’re capable of. Given its early stages in development, we’ll be lucky to see this new project land on PS5 and Xbox Series X, though there’s a good chance it emerges as one of the best games of the next generation.