Baldur’s Gate 3 is looking to be one of the best games of 2023 in a year already full of some of the best games of the generation. It hit nearly 600,000 concurrents yesterday on Steam, and that may continue to rise as the weekend presses on.
One item from Larian Studios, Baldur’s Gate 3’s developer, has been circulating around the internet for a while now, but it’s resurfacing after the success of the game. It’s an update from their newsletter about the game, which answers some FAQs. One of them:
Are there any in-game purchases?
“No, there are no in-game purchases in our game. We believe in providing a complete and immersive gaming experience without the need for additional purchases. Enjoy the game to its fullest without any additional costs or microtransactions.”
It’s almost a little shocking to hear such a frank dismissal of microtransactions in this day and age. This includes cosmetic ones, which have generally been begrudgingly accepted by players over time, even though there is certainly an argument to be made that cosmetics as an in-game reward is certainly better than purchasing them outside the game. But everything is inside Baldur’s Gate 3 from the start.
There are a few extras in Baldur’s Gate 3, like the deluxe edition that comes with an item that lets you change your race in the game. However, that definitely is not in the same category as microtransactions, and you cannot purchase that within the game itself. I’ve seen a similar argument about DLC, that the game is not “complete” if it has to sell more DLC later, but I can’t really get behind that idea. It’s a different thing.
One reason that Larian can get away with this is that they have no corporate overlord demanding live service-style microtransactions to help their bottom line and quarterly earnings reports. They’ve previously talked about how that allows them freedom, which is something other studios reporting to larger entities do not have. Usually, that’s mainly about smaller scale studios with much smaller games. Baldur’s Gate 3 is a AAA blockbuster, which you almost never see without the backing of some much, much larger publisher trying to maximize their revenue, usually through microtransactions. There are certainly some other games that still don’t have cash shops and things, but Baldur’s Gate is a prominent example, and their statement is very direct and heartening to see.