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Tiefling Astarion: Swen Vincke’s Iteration in Baldur’s Gate 3 | Game Developers Conference 2024

Baldur’s Gate 3 was the star of this year’s Game Developers Conference, earning the admiration and recognition of most attendees and literally winning Game of the Year at the GDC Awards. Several game developers from Larian Studios discussed the process of making and marketing games on a GDC panel, and one of the most extensive topics was director Swen Vincke’s discussion of the iterative process of game creation.

Vincke spoke openly about several challenges Larian faced while making the game, including pulling out the Russian team when the war in Ukraine began, and how it was forced to push back its release date in response to Starfield. Vink insists, however, that the game’s sheer size isn’t a major impediment to its development. “Size doesn’t matter if you don’t let it affect your vision.”

Instead, Vincke gave an example of how a game’s development must iterate its development pipeline to smooth the process, and offered developers tips for organizing iteration and flexibility. He laid out several charts detailing the entire process and how it changed over time, including how the writing team approached the story before the dialogue.

Vincke noted that even in its earliest stages of access, the earliest versions of the game were nearly unrecognizable compared to the eventually released version. As an example of how the game has changed over time, Vincke showed early footage featuring Astarion, the handsome high elf vampire and poster boy for the game’s launch version, a fair-skinned tiefling trickster. Needless to say, Vink noted, “things have changed since then.”

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