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What drove BG3's success, game mechanics or emotional engagement?

Lemming42

Arcane
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
6,223
Location
The Satellite Of Love
I'm talking about me, Infinitron and sser, the people in the quote pyramid.
 

agris

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Apr 16, 2004
Messages
6,869
I'd never say gameplay is unimportant. The point is how do you get a hold of a broader consumer base. The D:OS series alone are already quite successful, but still weren't scratching that broad appeal. "Good gameplay" has a limit. Just like "good cinematics" would have a limit going in the other direction. Off BG name recognition alone + Larian's buildup (Divinity), BG3 would have sold the most Larian has ever done. We're talking about that last chunk of the pie.

Get into the mindset of those customers. They don't follow gaming news. They don't know devs. They have a casual awareness of what turn-based is (like XCOM, right?). Outside of phone games, they only buy maybe 1 game a month.
precisely, and a point that infinitron is uncurious in examining when discussing the breadth of BG3's success
 

Baron Tahn

Scholar
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Messages
345
I'm talking about me, Infinitron and sser, the people in the quote pyramid.

Oh sorry for some reason I couldnt see your quote pyramid, just a wall of text, seemed like just a classic 'if I ignore everyones elses opinion completely, we all agree! Yay!' Type post. Carry on, carry on.
 

Laz Sundays

Educated
Joined
Jan 12, 2020
Messages
191
The Codex played new Baldur's Gate,
suspicious of it's tale.
Though some have just accepted fate,
the others hath turned pale.

While ending up in bed with bear
just because they can,
They did not like and didn't dare
to do it with a man.

Outraged when it happened still,
their butthurt was strong:
"FUCK I THOUGHT IT WAS A GRILL!"
"Dammit I clicked wrong.."

To this day, the forums filled
with this hateful crowd.
I wonder - when they got drilled,
were they all as loud?
 

HumanMaleFighter

Literate
Joined
Aug 26, 2023
Messages
27
The Codex played new Baldur's Gate,
suspicious of it's tale.
Though some have just accepted fate,
the others hath turned pale.

While ending up in bed with bear
just because they can,
They did not like and didn't dare
to do it with a man.

Outraged when it happened still,
their butthurt was strong:
"FUCK I THOUGHT IT WAS A GRILL!"
"Dammit I clicked wrong.."

To this day, the forums filled
with this hateful crowd.
I wonder - when they got drilled,
were they all as loud?

10/10 power metal:

https://app.suno.ai/song/502962b4-f759-4fad-aa60-a205d684beae
 

Lemming42

Arcane
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
6,223
Location
The Satellite Of Love
Oh sorry for some reason I couldnt see your quote pyramid, just a wall of text, seemed like just a classic 'if I ignore everyones elses opinion completely, we all agree! Yay!' Type post. Carry on, carry on.
Sorry! I thought people would take the post in the context of the ongoing discussion occurring immediately above it and occupying most of that page of the thread. I could quote every individual person next time if it helps.

Feel free to tell me what your opinion is, though. A turn-based isometric cRPG just sold incredibly well and attained huge popularity on the mass market. My conclusion from this is that turn-based cRPGs are economically viable - which they objectively are, given that one just sold like crazy. Players who were not initially interested in this type of gameplay demonstrably weren't repelled by it, and went onto engage with it enough to complete the game, often multiple times with multiple builds.

If you disagree with that, then what is your take? The sales were all bots? Swen bought the game himself ten million times? You have a new definition of "turn-based" that manages to exclude BG3? Consumers are collectively mass-lying about enjoying the game? Aurora borealis?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 23, 2017
Messages
4,188
  • D&D name recognition
  • Baldur's Gate name recognition

These mean nothing. At best, this name recognition gets them slightly more coverage from video game outlets than Larian Studios name alone would’ve. But the average gamer doesn’t fucking know what the fuck Baldur’s Gate is. And the average person doesn’t give a shit about D&D.

BioWare’s Baldur’s Gate games were fairly niche. They did alright for CRPGs released in that late ‘90s early 2000s period. But they weren’t big. Baldur’s Gate wasn’t a name that meant something to a large number of gamers like Diablo and Final Fantasy did. The second Baldur’s Gate, which was the better selling of the two BioWare ones, took five years to surpass 2 million copies sold.

Baldur’s Gate 3 sold well because it’s nice looking, and because all the different ways it allows players to approach situations was a fresh novel thing for the majority of people to fuck around with. And it’s not even like Baldur’s Gate 3 is some crazy fantastic looking game either, it’s like a nice looking (better textured) Xbox 360 game as far as visuals go...but as far as visuals go, looking that good isn’t something you really get in RPGs that are heavy in C&C and have turn based combat. Like you could remake Fallout 1 and 2 today, you could remake Arcanum today, and if they looked as good as Metal Gear Solid 5 from 2015 they’re going to move units. Most studios make something like Baldur’s Gate 3 and they’re just preaching to the choir as far as presentation goes; it’s like: Well, this is a niche thing, the audience we’re making this for will overlook the visuals, so we aren’t even going to try reacher for a larger audience in that way.
 

Kiste

Augur
Joined
Feb 4, 2013
Messages
680
These mean nothing. At best, this name recognition gets them slightly more coverage from video game outlets than Larian Studios name alone would’ve. But the average gamer doesn’t fucking know what the fuck Baldur’s Gate is. And the average person doesn’t give a shit about D&D.

BioWare’s Baldur’s Gate games were fairly niche. They did alright for CRPGs released in that late ‘90s early 2000s period. But they weren’t big. Baldur’s Gate wasn’t a name that meant something to a large number of gamers like Diablo and Final Fantasy did. The second Baldur’s Gate, which was the better selling of the two BioWare ones, took five years to surpass 2 million copies sold.

Baldur’s Gate 3 sold well because it’s nice looking, and because all the different ways it allows players to approach situations was a fresh novel thing for the majority of people to fuck around with. And it’s not even like Baldur’s Gate 3 is some crazy fantastic looking game either, it’s like a nice looking (better textured) Xbox 360 game as far as visuals go...but as far as visuals go, looking that good isn’t something you really get in RPGs that are heavy in C&C and have turn based combat. Like you could remake Fallout 1 and 2 today, you could remake Arcanum today, and if they looked as good as Metal Gear Solid 5 from 2015 they’re going to move units. Most studios make something like Baldur’s Gate 3 and they’re just preaching to the choir as far as presentation goes; it’s like: Well, this is a niche thing, the audience we’re making this for will overlook the visuals, so we aren’t even going to try reacher for a larger audience in that way.

I agree for the most part but I think the D&D brand recognition certainly helped, given the popularity of stuff like Stranger Things and Critical Role. D&D feels familiar to a lot of people - from spell names to tidbits from FR lore, even normies might have caught a glimpse of it here and there. I think name recognition and familiarity were important to the success of BG3.

I doubt the game would have done as well if it was named "Gates of Absalom" and was a Pathfinder 2E game.
 

jaekl

Learned
Patron
Joined
May 1, 2023
Messages
1,014
Location
Canada
You've really got to get into a Normie frame of mind here. For example, I'm a movie Normie so I'll never actually sit down and watch a whole movie, in my mind they exist to trick women into sitting next to you so you can start exploring with your hands.

Now I've heard of citizen Kane and know people think that's an amazing movie and I even know how it ends even though I'll never watch it as long as I live and I think black and white movies are trash universally. I could talk to people about citizen Kane as if I knew what I was talking about and get away with it if I wasn't talking to a movie nerd.

That's why the brand recognition for baldurs gate 3 is a factor even though no one played it. It's on all sorts of best rpgs ever lists and Normies think it rules because they're supposed to. So a 3rd installment with good graphics comes out and suddenly they can be a part of history. Half of the fans you'll see online probably don't even know that baldurs gate isn't turn based.
 

Iucounu

Educated
Joined
Jul 4, 2023
Messages
649
[Players who were not initially interested in this type of gameplay demonstrably weren't repelled by it,
Or by the faggotry.

If you disagree with that, then what is your take? The sales were all bots?
I wouldn't rule it out. Buy a million bot copies, then refund them once the public jump on the bandwagon. I'm sure all the AAA publishers are doing it.
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2017
Messages
4,188
These mean nothing. At best, this name recognition gets them slightly more coverage from video game outlets than Larian Studios name alone would’ve. But the average gamer doesn’t fucking know what the fuck Baldur’s Gate is. And the average person doesn’t give a shit about D&D.

BioWare’s Baldur’s Gate games were fairly niche. They did alright for CRPGs released in that late ‘90s early 2000s period. But they weren’t big. Baldur’s Gate wasn’t a name that meant something to a large number of gamers like Diablo and Final Fantasy did. The second Baldur’s Gate, which was the better selling of the two BioWare ones, took five years to surpass 2 million copies sold.

Baldur’s Gate 3 sold well because it’s nice looking, and because all the different ways it allows players to approach situations was a fresh novel thing for the majority of people to fuck around with. And it’s not even like Baldur’s Gate 3 is some crazy fantastic looking game either, it’s like a nice looking (better textured) Xbox 360 game as far as visuals go...but as far as visuals go, looking that good isn’t something you really get in RPGs that are heavy in C&C and have turn based combat. Like you could remake Fallout 1 and 2 today, you could remake Arcanum today, and if they looked as good as Metal Gear Solid 5 from 2015 they’re going to move units. Most studios make something like Baldur’s Gate 3 and they’re just preaching to the choir as far as presentation goes; it’s like: Well, this is a niche thing, the audience we’re making this for will overlook the visuals, so we aren’t even going to try reacher for a larger audience in that way.

I agree for the most part but I think the D&D brand recognition certainly helped, given the popularity of stuff like Stranger Things and Critical Role. D&D feels familiar to a lot of people - from spell names to tidbits from FR lore, even normies might have caught a glimpse of it here and there. I think name recognition and familiarity were important to the success of BG3.

I doubt the game would have done as well if it was named "Gates of Absalom" and was a Pathfinder 2E game.

Why does your quote of my post go to another post?

I’m not saying the average person doesn’t know what D&D is, they just don’t give a shit about it. Having heard about D&D in Stranger Things and Big Bang Theory doesn’t translate into caring about it. Like I get the impression sometimes reading post here that some here think the BioWare Baldur’s Gate games were these big hits that did massively better than they did. Like the person I was quoting seemed to be under the impression that Baldur’s Gate 3 (partly) sold 10 million because of the name recognition of Baldur’s Gate...but Baldur’s Gate doesn’t really have any name recognition outside of a fairly small audience of people that played CRPGs in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Here’s an example of how little people knew about Baldur’s Gate before this game. I ended up watching a bunch of reaction videos to that Baldur’s Gate 3 trailer with the Minsc reveal in it. I’m not sure any of those videos I watched had a person in them that knew who Minsc was. The trailer is also built in a way that even if you don’t know who Minsc is, you can at least tell he’s meant to be someone, which had a funny moment in one of the videos where someone asked: Is he Baldur?

Divinity: Original Sin 2, by 2023, had sold somewhere in the range of 7 million. If Baldur’s Gate 3 was Divinity: Original Sin 3, it’s not outrageous that maybe it could’ve sold similarly to their Baldur’s Gate 3 game. Now, Larian Studios working with the D&D license and making a Baldur’s Gate 3 might generate more media hype than a DOS3, because that’s a story with an angle, (even if the angle is built around something most people haven’t played...remember how many people were “mad” about the FPS versions of Syndicate and X-Com? You think all those people had actually ever played Syndicate or X-Com before? And that “outrage” was nowhere when Bethesda turned Fallout into a first person shooter) but the thing that seemed to help them sell most is just having it be in early access for about three years, and the word-of-mouth on all the different kinds of things would could do...and it not looking bad while it did these things. If Baldur’s Gate 3 had looked as off and low budget as Disciples: Liberation or Marvel’s Midnight Suns I’d guess a lot of people wouldn’t just dismissed it out of hand.
 

Hagashager

Educated
Joined
Nov 24, 2022
Messages
549
I have found Codexers to be shockingly insular. It makes me a little sad, sincerely so. I wish RPGs were as mainstream as some 'Dexers think they are.

A few weeks ago I saw a post from someone saying they were astounded at No Man's Sky having continued to pull the numbers it does despite Pathfinder: Wrath of Righteous being a far better and far more well-known property.

It was like having to tell a child that Santa Clause isn't real.
 

mediocrepoet

Philosoraptor in Residence
Patron
Joined
Sep 30, 2009
Messages
12,261
Location
Combatfag: Gold box / Pathfinder
Codex 2012 Codex+ Now Streaming! MCA Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
I think most of the drama about BG3 around here stems from a translation problem. One misunderstanding later about what D&D dungeon crawler fans want and here we are.

Has anyone ever told Swen what "loaded for bear" actually means?
 

Kiste

Augur
Joined
Feb 4, 2013
Messages
680
I agree for the most part but I think the D&D brand recognition certainly helped, given the popularity of stuff like Stranger Things and Critical Role. D&D feels familiar to a lot of people - from spell names to tidbits from FR lore, even normies might have caught a glimpse of it here and there. I think name recognition and familiarity were important to the success of BG3.

I doubt the game would have done as well if it was named "Gates of Absalom" and was a Pathfinder 2E game.

I’m not saying the average person doesn’t know what D&D is, they just don’t give a shit about it. Having heard about D&D in Stranger Things and Big Bang Theory doesn’t translate into caring about it. Like I get the impression sometimes reading post here that some here think the BioWare Baldur’s Gate games were these big hits that did massively better than they did. Like the person I was quoting seemed to be under the impression that Baldur’s Gate 3 (partly) sold 10 million because of the name recognition of Baldur’s Gate...but Baldur’s Gate doesn’t really have any name recognition outside of a fairly small audience of people that played CRPGs in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Here’s an example of how little people knew about Baldur’s Gate before this game. I ended up watching a bunch of reaction videos to that Baldur’s Gate 3 trailer with the Minsc reveal in it. I’m not sure any of those videos I watched had a person in them that knew who Minsc was. The trailer is also built in a way that even if you don’t know who Minsc is, you can at least tell he’s meant to be someone, which had a funny moment in one of the videos where someone asked: Is he Baldur?

Divinity: Original Sin 2, by 2023, had sold somewhere in the range of 7 million. If Baldur’s Gate 3 was Divinity: Original Sin 3, it’s not outrageous that maybe it could’ve sold similarly to their Baldur’s Gate 3 game. Now, Larian Studios working with the D&D license and making a Baldur’s Gate 3 might generate more media hype than a DOS3, because that’s a story with an angle, (even if the angle is built around something most people haven’t played...remember how many people were “mad” about the FPS versions of Syndicate and X-Com? You think all those people had actually ever played Syndicate or X-Com before? And that “outrage” was nowhere when Bethesda turned Fallout into a first person shooter) but the thing that seemed to help them sell most is just having it be in early access for about three years, and the word-of-mouth on all the different kinds of things would could do...and it not looking bad while it did these things. If Baldur’s Gate 3 had looked as off and low budget as Disciples: Liberation or Marvel’s Midnight Suns I’d guess a lot of people wouldn’t just dismissed it out of hand.

BG3 sales are (reportedly) at 15 million now and, as far as i know, the game hasn't been discounted as of yet. DOS2 sold 7.5+ million copies but that includes millions of copies that were sold years after release at discount prices and are just sitting in steam accounts gathering dust. BG3 is vastly more successful and I doubt a DOS3 would have sold anywhere near as well.

The name recognition of the Baldur's Gate franchise goes far beyond the 2 million or so people who have bought and played BG2 back in the day. The BG games have been regularly cited in "Best RPG" listicles and hundreds of Youtube videos. Not a lot of people might particularly care about BG, or even know anything about those games, but they might have heard the name and know that the games are considered "classics" of the genre.

I didn't specifially mention Baldur's Gate, though. I explicitly refered to D&D brand recognition, which is much bigger. D&D is peculiar because it is a niche hobby that enjoys widespread recognition outside of the hobby. Not many people play it, but many people have heard about it and know about it.

D&D has been around for 50 years. Over the decades, we've had D&D branded movies and TV shows. We've had comic books and almost 250 D&D novels have been published and those were not only read by people who played the game. The fucking Drizzt novels made it on the NYT best seller list more than 20 times, for fucks sake. We have stuff like Stranger Things and Critical Role, as already mentioned.

For better or worse, D&D has been something of an enduring cultural staple, especially in the english-speaking world. Sure, it's not Star Wars level of brand recognition, but many, many people know what Dungeons & Dragons is.

That kind of popular brand name recognition is extremely valuable, especially when you're trying to sell a game like BG3, that has all the hallmarks of a niche game. TB combat. Comparably complex systems. Zero action elements. Dice rolls out the ass. I find it utterly implausible that such a game could sell 15 million copies at full price in only 8 months. That's more than Final Fantasy 7 has sold since 1997. But here we are.

Could it have been done under Larian's own Divinity brand? Or any other brand, like Pathfinder or, I don't know, fucking GURPS? I highly doubt it.
 
Last edited:

scytheavatar

Scholar
Joined
Sep 22, 2016
Messages
449
I agree for the most part but I think the D&D brand recognition certainly helped, given the popularity of stuff like Stranger Things and Critical Role. D&D feels familiar to a lot of people - from spell names to tidbits from FR lore, even normies might have caught a glimpse of it here and there. I think name recognition and familiarity were important to the success of BG3.

I doubt the game would have done as well if it was named "Gates of Absalom" and was a Pathfinder 2E game.

I’m not saying the average person doesn’t know what D&D is, they just don’t give a shit about it. Having heard about D&D in Stranger Things and Big Bang Theory doesn’t translate into caring about it. Like I get the impression sometimes reading post here that some here think the BioWare Baldur’s Gate games were these big hits that did massively better than they did. Like the person I was quoting seemed to be under the impression that Baldur’s Gate 3 (partly) sold 10 million because of the name recognition of Baldur’s Gate...but Baldur’s Gate doesn’t really have any name recognition outside of a fairly small audience of people that played CRPGs in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Here’s an example of how little people knew about Baldur’s Gate before this game. I ended up watching a bunch of reaction videos to that Baldur’s Gate 3 trailer with the Minsc reveal in it. I’m not sure any of those videos I watched had a person in them that knew who Minsc was. The trailer is also built in a way that even if you don’t know who Minsc is, you can at least tell he’s meant to be someone, which had a funny moment in one of the videos where someone asked: Is he Baldur?

Divinity: Original Sin 2, by 2023, had sold somewhere in the range of 7 million. If Baldur’s Gate 3 was Divinity: Original Sin 3, it’s not outrageous that maybe it could’ve sold similarly to their Baldur’s Gate 3 game. Now, Larian Studios working with the D&D license and making a Baldur’s Gate 3 might generate more media hype than a DOS3, because that’s a story with an angle, (even if the angle is built around something most people haven’t played...remember how many people were “mad” about the FPS versions of Syndicate and X-Com? You think all those people had actually ever played Syndicate or X-Com before? And that “outrage” was nowhere when Bethesda turned Fallout into a first person shooter) but the thing that seemed to help them sell most is just having it be in early access for about three years, and the word-of-mouth on all the different kinds of things would could do...and it not looking bad while it did these things. If Baldur’s Gate 3 had looked as off and low budget as Disciples: Liberation or Marvel’s Midnight Suns I’d guess a lot of people wouldn’t just dismissed it out of hand.

BG3 sales are (reportedly) at 15 million now and, as far as i know, the game hasn't been discounted as of yet. DOS2 sold 7.5+ million copies but that includes millions of copies that were sold years after release at discount prices and are just sitting in steam accounts gathering dust. BG3 is vastly more successful and I doubt a DOS3 would have sold anywhere near as well.

The name recognition of the Baldur's Gate franchise goes far beyond the 2 million or so people who have bought and played BG2 back in the day. The BG games have been regularly cited in "Best RPG" listicles and hundreds of Youtube videos. Not a lot of people might particularly care about BG, or even know anything about those games, but they might have heard the name and know that the games are considered "classics" of the genre.

I didn't specifially mention Baldur's Gate, though. I explicitly refered to D&D brand recognition, which is much bigger. D&D is peculiar because it is a niche hobby that enjoys widespread recognition outside of the hobby. Not many people play it, but many people have heard about it and know about it.

D&D has been around for 50 years. Over the decades, we've had D&D branded movies and TV shows. We've had comic books and almost 250 D&D novels have been published and those were not only read by people who played the game. The fucking Drizzt novels made it on the NYT best seller list more than 20 times, for fucks sake. We have stuff like Stranger Things and Critical Role, as already mentioned.

For better or worse, D&D has been something of an enduring cultural staple, especially in the english-speaking world. Sure, it's not Star Wars level of brand recognition, but many, many people know what Dungeons & Dragons is.

That kind of popular brand name recognition is extremely valuable, especially when you're trying to sell a game like BG3, that has all the hallmarks of a niche game. TB combat. Comparably complex systems. Zero action elements. Dice rolls out the ass. I find it utterly implausible that such a game could sell 15 million copies at full price. That's more than Final Fantasy 7 has sold since 1997. But here we are.

Could it have been done under Larian's own Divinity brand? Or any other brand, like Pathfinder or, I don't know, fucking GURPS? I highly doubt it.

Pillars of Eternity was dubbed as the spiritual successor to BG2 and received tremendous hype because of it. Sold less than Divinity Original Sin 1. I think you are vastly overestimating the "classic" status of BG2 if you think it is a bigger brand name than DOS2.
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2017
Messages
4,188
I agree for the most part but I think the D&D brand recognition certainly helped, given the popularity of stuff like Stranger Things and Critical Role. D&D feels familiar to a lot of people - from spell names to tidbits from FR lore, even normies might have caught a glimpse of it here and there. I think name recognition and familiarity were important to the success of BG3.

I doubt the game would have done as well if it was named "Gates of Absalom" and was a Pathfinder 2E game.

I’m not saying the average person doesn’t know what D&D is, they just don’t give a shit about it. Having heard about D&D in Stranger Things and Big Bang Theory doesn’t translate into caring about it. Like I get the impression sometimes reading post here that some here think the BioWare Baldur’s Gate games were these big hits that did massively better than they did. Like the person I was quoting seemed to be under the impression that Baldur’s Gate 3 (partly) sold 10 million because of the name recognition of Baldur’s Gate...but Baldur’s Gate doesn’t really have any name recognition outside of a fairly small audience of people that played CRPGs in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Here’s an example of how little people knew about Baldur’s Gate before this game. I ended up watching a bunch of reaction videos to that Baldur’s Gate 3 trailer with the Minsc reveal in it. I’m not sure any of those videos I watched had a person in them that knew who Minsc was. The trailer is also built in a way that even if you don’t know who Minsc is, you can at least tell he’s meant to be someone, which had a funny moment in one of the videos where someone asked: Is he Baldur?

Divinity: Original Sin 2, by 2023, had sold somewhere in the range of 7 million. If Baldur’s Gate 3 was Divinity: Original Sin 3, it’s not outrageous that maybe it could’ve sold similarly to their Baldur’s Gate 3 game. Now, Larian Studios working with the D&D license and making a Baldur’s Gate 3 might generate more media hype than a DOS3, because that’s a story with an angle, (even if the angle is built around something most people haven’t played...remember how many people were “mad” about the FPS versions of Syndicate and X-Com? You think all those people had actually ever played Syndicate or X-Com before? And that “outrage” was nowhere when Bethesda turned Fallout into a first person shooter) but the thing that seemed to help them sell most is just having it be in early access for about three years, and the word-of-mouth on all the different kinds of things would could do...and it not looking bad while it did these things. If Baldur’s Gate 3 had looked as off and low budget as Disciples: Liberation or Marvel’s Midnight Suns I’d guess a lot of people wouldn’t just dismissed it out of hand.

BG3 sales are (reportedly) at 15 million now and, as far as i know, the game hasn't been discounted as of yet. DOS2 sold 7.5+ million copies but that includes millions of copies that were sold years after release at discount prices and are just sitting in steam accounts gathering dust. BG3 is vastly more successful and I doubt a DOS3 would have sold anywhere near as well.

The name recognition of the Baldur's Gate franchise goes far beyond the 2 million or so people who have bought and played BG2 back in the day. The BG games have been regularly cited in "Best RPG" listicles and hundreds of Youtube videos. Not a lot of people might particularly care about BG, or even know anything about those games, but they might have heard the name and know that the games are considered "classics" of the genre.

I didn't specifially mention Baldur's Gate, though. I explicitly refered to D&D brand recognition, which is much bigger. D&D is peculiar because it is a niche hobby that enjoys widespread recognition outside of the hobby. Not many people play it, but many people have heard about it and know about it.

D&D has been around for 50 years. Over the decades, we've had D&D branded movies and TV shows. We've had comic books and almost 250 D&D novels have been published and those were not only read by people who played the game. The fucking Drizzt novels made it on the NYT best seller list more than 20 times, for fucks sake. We have stuff like Stranger Things and Critical Role, as already mentioned.

For better or worse, D&D has been something of an enduring cultural staple, especially in the english-speaking world. Sure, it's not Star Wars level of brand recognition, but many, many people know what Dungeons & Dragons is.

That kind of popular brand name recognition is extremely valuable, especially when you're trying to sell a game like BG3, that has all the hallmarks of a niche game. TB combat. Comparably complex systems. Zero action elements. Dice rolls out the ass. I find it utterly implausible that such a game could sell 15 million copies at full price in only 8 months. That's more than Final Fantasy 7 has sold since 1997. But here we are.

Could it have been done under Larian's own Divinity brand? Or any other brand, like Pathfinder or, I don't know, fucking GURPS? I highly doubt it.

It doesn’t matter that it took them six years to sell more than 7.5 million copies. What matters is they sold that many copies, and there’s presumably a large amount of people looking forward to their next game. If there next name had been Divinity: Original Sin 3, and it was doing all the same kind of stuff they were doing in Baldur’s Gate 3, it likely would’ve done just as well.

It doesn’t matter that BioWare’s Baldur's Gate games are well regarded by some CRPG games that make some YouTube video about them.

I didn’t say anything about you specifically mentioning Baldur's Gate.

I didn’t say people don’t know what Dungeons & Dragons is. I said people don’t give a shit about it. People know it’s a things. But knowing something is a thing doesn’t translate to actually caring about.

You can say the brand name recognition of D&D is import for trying to sell a game doing all the stuff Larian Studios has already done, and had previously sold 7.5+ million units of DOS2, but if it is: Why is Baldur’s Gate 3 the only D&D game to sell like Baldur’s Gate 3 did? It seems like Divinity: Original Sin 2 has better sales than the lifetime sales of both BioWare Baldur’s Gate games combined.

Bring up D&D books is just weird. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess the only people reading D&D books are people that play D&D. Maybe there’s a small percentage of people that just read a ton of book and pick up this or that D&D book because they want to some new fantasy thing, but I feel like the book are for fan and not something pulling in a new audience.
 

Kiste

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I agree for the most part but I think the D&D brand recognition certainly helped, given the popularity of stuff like Stranger Things and Critical Role. D&D feels familiar to a lot of people - from spell names to tidbits from FR lore, even normies might have caught a glimpse of it here and there. I think name recognition and familiarity were important to the success of BG3.

I doubt the game would have done as well if it was named "Gates of Absalom" and was a Pathfinder 2E game.

I’m not saying the average person doesn’t know what D&D is, they just don’t give a shit about it. Having heard about D&D in Stranger Things and Big Bang Theory doesn’t translate into caring about it. Like I get the impression sometimes reading post here that some here think the BioWare Baldur’s Gate games were these big hits that did massively better than they did. Like the person I was quoting seemed to be under the impression that Baldur’s Gate 3 (partly) sold 10 million because of the name recognition of Baldur’s Gate...but Baldur’s Gate doesn’t really have any name recognition outside of a fairly small audience of people that played CRPGs in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Here’s an example of how little people knew about Baldur’s Gate before this game. I ended up watching a bunch of reaction videos to that Baldur’s Gate 3 trailer with the Minsc reveal in it. I’m not sure any of those videos I watched had a person in them that knew who Minsc was. The trailer is also built in a way that even if you don’t know who Minsc is, you can at least tell he’s meant to be someone, which had a funny moment in one of the videos where someone asked: Is he Baldur?

Divinity: Original Sin 2, by 2023, had sold somewhere in the range of 7 million. If Baldur’s Gate 3 was Divinity: Original Sin 3, it’s not outrageous that maybe it could’ve sold similarly to their Baldur’s Gate 3 game. Now, Larian Studios working with the D&D license and making a Baldur’s Gate 3 might generate more media hype than a DOS3, because that’s a story with an angle, (even if the angle is built around something most people haven’t played...remember how many people were “mad” about the FPS versions of Syndicate and X-Com? You think all those people had actually ever played Syndicate or X-Com before? And that “outrage” was nowhere when Bethesda turned Fallout into a first person shooter) but the thing that seemed to help them sell most is just having it be in early access for about three years, and the word-of-mouth on all the different kinds of things would could do...and it not looking bad while it did these things. If Baldur’s Gate 3 had looked as off and low budget as Disciples: Liberation or Marvel’s Midnight Suns I’d guess a lot of people wouldn’t just dismissed it out of hand.

BG3 sales are (reportedly) at 15 million now and, as far as i know, the game hasn't been discounted as of yet. DOS2 sold 7.5+ million copies but that includes millions of copies that were sold years after release at discount prices and are just sitting in steam accounts gathering dust. BG3 is vastly more successful and I doubt a DOS3 would have sold anywhere near as well.

The name recognition of the Baldur's Gate franchise goes far beyond the 2 million or so people who have bought and played BG2 back in the day. The BG games have been regularly cited in "Best RPG" listicles and hundreds of Youtube videos. Not a lot of people might particularly care about BG, or even know anything about those games, but they might have heard the name and know that the games are considered "classics" of the genre.

I didn't specifially mention Baldur's Gate, though. I explicitly refered to D&D brand recognition, which is much bigger. D&D is peculiar because it is a niche hobby that enjoys widespread recognition outside of the hobby. Not many people play it, but many people have heard about it and know about it.

D&D has been around for 50 years. Over the decades, we've had D&D branded movies and TV shows. We've had comic books and almost 250 D&D novels have been published and those were not only read by people who played the game. The fucking Drizzt novels made it on the NYT best seller list more than 20 times, for fucks sake. We have stuff like Stranger Things and Critical Role, as already mentioned.

For better or worse, D&D has been something of an enduring cultural staple, especially in the english-speaking world. Sure, it's not Star Wars level of brand recognition, but many, many people know what Dungeons & Dragons is.

That kind of popular brand name recognition is extremely valuable, especially when you're trying to sell a game like BG3, that has all the hallmarks of a niche game. TB combat. Comparably complex systems. Zero action elements. Dice rolls out the ass. I find it utterly implausible that such a game could sell 15 million copies at full price. That's more than Final Fantasy 7 has sold since 1997. But here we are.

Could it have been done under Larian's own Divinity brand? Or any other brand, like Pathfinder or, I don't know, fucking GURPS? I highly doubt it.

Pillars of Eternity was dubbed as the spiritual successor to BG2 and received tremendous hype because of it. Sold less than Divinity Original Sin 1. I think you are vastly overestimating the "classic" status of BG2 if you think it is a bigger brand name than DOS2.

I don't think being a "spiritual successor" matters. Being an actual successor matters, or at least being in the same fucking universe. Pillars wasn't a BG game and, more importantly, it wasn't a D&D game with all the Forgotten Realms shit and all the familiar class and spell names that people know.

It was a crummy 2D game with walls of text and no-fun-allowed Josh Sawyer balancing that tried to harvest Infinity Engine nostalgia and offered little more than that.

Again, I think BG3 being D&D, with D&D going through something of a second spring in recent years, is a much more important factor than it carrying the BG name, though the BG name might have helped with catching eyeballs when it was first announced.

Fundamentally, though, it is successful because it is a really fun game, even if Codex basement nazis don't want to see it because they can't get past teh ghey. For all the screeching about the "shit writing" and "shit combat" in this here shithole forum, most people actually enjoyed the story and the companions and most people even like the combat, despite it being turn-based.
 
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Lemming42

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I keep thinking about this thread and honestly this is what it comes down to:
Fundamentally, though, it is successful because it is a really fun game
It's popular because it's good. When things are good they spread through word of mouth, hence the amount of online enthusiasm toward the game which seves to draw even more players in. The reason it's done so much better than other RPGs in recent years is because it basically is just better. Nobody's calling their friends up to tell them they simply have to check out fucking Wasteland 2.

I think the other thing is that we're going through a period of gaming having renewed interest among the public and BG3 is a superb entry point for new gamers, for all kinds of reasons.
 

agris

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It's popular because it's good.
i think you’re struggling with what makes something good here, in the local environ, versus what makes it popular enough in the marketplace to drive 15 million sales within ~6 months of release

sure, we can say “good”. but that means very different things to different groups.
 

Lemming42

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It's "good" to me because it features solid C&C, Fallout-style quest design with plenty of dialogue skill checks (some of which have interesting fail states), an absolute ton of environmental interactivity which encourages emergent gameplay and imsim-like solutions to quests, turn-based combat that offers a lot more depth than many of its competitors, and world design that rewards exploration (in Act 1, at least - less so in Act 2 and not really at all in Act 3). I also thought the writing was okay, a mixed bag; the actors give great performances even in parts where the script is weaker. Also worth mentioning the production values of course which are very slick and professional.

These are the same elements that have made it a success with the public, I assume.
 

Kiste

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It's "good" to me because it features solid C&C, Fallout-style quest design with plenty of dialogue skill checks (some of which have interesting fail states), an absolute ton of environmental interactivity which encourages emergent gameplay and imsim-like solutions to quests, turn-based combat that offers a lot more depth than many of its competitors, and world design that rewards exploration (in Act 1, at least - less so in Act 2 and not really at all in Act 3). I also thought the writing was okay, a mixed bag; the actors give great performances even in parts where the script is weaker. Also worth mentioning the production values of course which are very slick and professional.

These are the same elements that have made it a success with the public, I assume.

I'd add itemization to that. While certainly not "balanced" in any way (some items are pretty bonkers), there is some stuff that's mechanically interesting and you can build your character around it. I like build-defining items because it adds another layer to character development. In BG3, some items offer synergies that can lead to some pretty degenerate gameplay. It's fun. It's certainly much more interesting than items that just offer numerical improvements or resistances and it's a huge step up from what Larian did in DOS2.
 

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