Baldur's Gate III Just Changed The Face of Xbox Policies
Baldur's Gate III, the talk of the gaming community, hasn't even graced consoles yet. Larian Studios, its creator, holds steadfast to a policy of releasing it "when it's perfected" across different platforms. Already captivating audiences with its Windows debut after emerging from early access, the game is poised to launch on PlayStation 5 and macOS by September 6th. As for Xbox enthusiasts, the wait may be a tad longer, but Larian assures that the acclaimed RPG is set to be part of Microsoft's console portfolio by year's end.
One might wonder why Xbox had to wait in line, even allowing the game to temporarily wear the mantle of a PlayStation console exclusive. The answer lies in the complex intricacies of Microsoft's Series S and Series X parity regulations. With Series X standing as the more robust sibling, it often offers enhanced visual dynamics, superior framerates, and even the shimmering beauty of ray-tracing. As I've stated from the start, Microsoft offering two different consoles was a terrible idea, now we see why.
As per Michael Douse, Larian Studios' director of publishing, there's no hidden exclusivity pact keeping the game away from Xbox. Instead, the challenge is technological. He mentioned:
"The need for feature consistency prevents us from eliminating the split-screen function. Hence, our commitment to ensuring it works optimally remains undeterred."
However, hope emerged from a Gamescom meeting between Larian CEO and the game's director, Swen Vincke, and Microsoft Gaming's top brass, Phil Spencer. Vincke conveyed that their collaborative brainstorming has paved a way to introduce Baldur’s Gate III to the Xbox community within this year - a vision they've nurtured for ages.
Gleaning from their discussion, it seems Spencer made a rare exception, allowing some flexibility in features between the Series S and Series X. While Series X will boast the split-screen feature, Series S will forego it. Nevertheless, both will benefit from the cross-save feature between Steam and Xbox platforms.
The BIGGER Issue
This development has spurred a broader debate. Some developers opine that the Series S might limit their aspirations to render cutting-edge gaming sensations. Concerns about potential compromises, like the elusive 60 fps gameplay on Series S, loom large. Larian's unique position to exclude the split-screen co-op solely for Series S might just be the precedent that emboldens other studios to advocate for similar feature adjustments tailored to specific consoles.
...Microsoft has found themselves up a creek without a paddle. Only time will tell how this narrative unfolds. ~Smash