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Larian Studios to Part Ways with Hasbro-Wizards and D&D

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By Nelson Schneider - 03/24/24 at 02:49 PM CT

Back in those halcyon days before the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting global socio-political fallout, the Crew at MeltedJoystick was super-excited about our new favorite RPG studio being tapped by Wizards of the Coast and parent company Hasbro to create the next big Dungeons & Dragons cRPG… and the fact that it was going to be a sequel in the beloved ‘Baldur’s Gate’ series. What we didn’t know at the time, however, was the fact that Hasbro-Wizards didn’t actually call upon Larian to work on last year’s Magnum Opus and undisputed Game of the Year/Decade/Generation winner, “Baldur’s Gate 3,” but that the Scandinavian Indie studio actually begged, pleaded, and paid for the rights of their own volition (and dramatized the process in a satiric video).

In recent news, Larian has announced that they are not going to be making any DLC or expansions for “Baldur’s Gate 3,” nor do they plan to make “Baldur’s Gate 4.” Even more tragically, Larian has signaled that it will be moving away from Dungeons & Dragons again entirely and doing their own thing. This is heartbreaking news, considering that Larian’s first and only D&D-licensed game made in excess of $90 million in one year and was the only thing keeping Wizards of the Coast in the black financially, while the company flailed around with its OGL debacle, Woke pandering, and the (admittedly good) D&D movie – “Honor Among Thieves” – flopping at the box office and squashing the corporation’s dream of launching a D&D Cinematic Universe. Furthermore, Larian’s “little” game tossed a metaphorical beehive into the bloated and complacent “AAA” Industrial Game Development space, setting “unrealistic” standards that sent the biggest of the big Devs/Pubs into a tizzy.

Hasbro-Wizards seems perfectly happy to proceed in the videogame space without Larian, however, as they plan to launch their own (grotesquely monetized) virtual tabletop (which will never be able to compete with Berserk Games’ “Tabletop Simulator” in true-to-life tabletop RPG stupidity – including giving Chris the ability to doodle and write little one-liners on EVERY object on the table), and a number of other less-well-regarded videogame studios, such as Tuque Games, which gave us the incredible 2021 flop, “D&D: Dark Alliance.”

Alas, Larian parting ways with D&D means my dream of a Larianized cRPG adaptation of the original DragonLance modules will never be realized. And based on the current state of affairs inside Hasbro-Wizards, videogaming D&D fans will likely have to hold onto “Baldur’s Gate 3” and cherish every single moment with it, as we’re unlikely to see anything even remotely comparable ever again, unless corporate upheaval allows some drastic changes to be made and D&D officially changes hands to an entity that can appreciate and cultivate it instead of exploiting it.

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