While it was clear many players were looking forward to the release of Baldur’s Gate 3, what’s happening now has to be far above and beyond what developer Larian could have hoped for.
Baldur’s Gate 3 has peaked at 472,136 players on Steam in the last day, putting it right alongside mainstays like CSGO and Dota 2 as the third most-played game on the service.
These numbers also make it the second biggest Steam launch of the year, second only to Hogwarts Legacy which peaked at 879,308 players near launch. But that was an accessible open world game based on one of the most popular IPs on earth. This is a complex, sprawling RPG set in the world of Dungeons and Dragons.
It has been 23 years since Baldur’s Gate 2 came out in 2000, when just two years before that in 1998 we saw Baldur’s Gate 1. That’s…a whole lot of time to generate hype for a new installment, and Larian has not dropped the ball here, clearly.
Something went wrong with review copies, however, where they were only sent out four days before launch, which is absurd for a 100-400 hour RPG. As such, it doesn’t even have a Metascore yet, but early “in progress” reviews are overwhelmingly positive. And fans are raving about it as well. The botched release code thing is a bit annoying on the press side, but in this case it wasn’t because something bad was being hidden from the public. Just some sort of unfortunate logistics problem.
Baldur’s Gate 3 launching well adds to the narrative that this is one of the best years for gaming in ages, that 2023 will go down in history for a massive number of fantastic games, Jedi: Survivor, Tears of the Kingdom, Final Fantasy XVI, Diablo 4, Street Fighter 6, Resident Evil 4, Remnant 2 and now Baldur’s Gate 3. And we still have massive games like Starfield and Spider-Man 2 to come this fall. It really is a totally insane year.
As for Baldur’s Gate 3, it’s heartening to see the series return with such force. As we head into the weekend with more time for players to get their hands on the game and really dig in, we will probably see those concurrent records broken. Very curious to see just how high it can go. Well-deserved.