Baldur's Gate 3 title screen

Image source: Larian Studios

Sooner than expected.

In a recent Twitter update, Larian Studios has reassured fans that the Xbox Series X/S version of Baldur’s Gate 3 is still expected to launch this year. Swen Vincke, the founder and CEO of the studio, mentioned that the Xbox version is currently in active playtesting and emphasized that they will announce a precise release date once they are certain of the game’s completion.

The PC and PS5 versions of Baldur’s Gate 3 were already made available in August and September respectively. However, Xbox gamers have been patiently waiting as the development team worked through challenges, particularly with implementing split-screen co-op functionality on the Xbox Series X and S consoles. The issue was significant enough to delay the Xbox release, as the studio aimed to achieve a consistent standard of quality across both models.

Notably, the studio had originally suggested that the delay would extend to 2024. That’s apparently not the case. Why? Because Xbox has dropped its insistence that both Series X & S needed the same co-op functionality.

Indeed, after consultations with Microsoft and its head of gaming, Phil Spencer, Larian decided to omit the split-screen co-op feature from the Series S version to ensure a smoother launch later this year. This decision came amidst previous statements from Larian that suggested Microsoft required complete feature parity between the two console versions. However, Spencer clarified that this is not the case, noting that the Xbox Series S does not always include certain features present in Series X, such as ray tracing.

The ongoing discussions and feedback from developers like Larian are crucial for Microsoft, as Spencer highlights the company’s commitment to finding solutions that benefit both developers and gamers. Furthermore, Xbox has recognized the potential of Baldur’s Gate 3 by considering an investment of $5 million to include the title on Game Pass, though it remains uncertain if this deal will proceed.

Larian Studios continues to work closely with Microsoft to ensure that Baldur’s Gate 3’s arrival on Xbox is a success, providing an experience that meets the expectations of its eager fan base. But if Microsoft had any intentions of acquiring Larian as it has other game studios, the developer has remained committed to independence.