Former Skyrim dev applauds Baldur’s Gate 3 for doing what they could never

Former Skyrim dev applauds Baldur’s Gate 3 for doing what they could never
Bethesda | Larian Studios

Written by 

Jack Marsh


26th Oct 2023 16:14

Although Skyrim might have been the catalyst and benchmark for RPGs to be measured against since its release, the trend-setting game did have its limitations.

The Elder Scrolls title might have been so good that a succession in the series is a decade in the making, but other series have built upon what Skyrim had built, and now the developers are rather envious of how the genre is headed.

Case in point: Baldur's Gate 3. 

Skyrim Lead Designer loves Baldur's Gate 3

Click to enlarge

Although you have no obligation to fulfil all of Skyrim's questlines, there are a few times in the series where you are forced into making game-changing decisions. 

Only a handful of times will you need to make a decision which changes the course of the game (Imperials or Stormcloaks, or the fate of Paarthurnax, for example), with most questlines like the Nightingales, Thieves Guild, and the College of Winterhold all being available even if you say no when first asked.

But that's not the case in Baldur's Gate 3, and now former Design Lead at Bethesda Bruce Nesmith has applauded the game for going where Skyrim couldn't.

"I love Baldur's Gate, I'm a huge Dungeons & Dragons fan," Nesmith began in an interview with Minnmax.

"I think [Baldur's Gate 3] is a triumph of making the tabletop experience actually happen right there in the computer. My hat's off to Larian and the groups there," he said.

Skyrim Designer applauds Baldur's Gate 3 for its "meaningful" decision process

Click to enlarge

The main point of praise for Baldur's Gate 3 from Nesmith was in the way in which the developers would shut off entire storylines if a player made a certain decision, making every player's experience different and putting a lot of weight on what you choose to do.

"We could never get ourselves to do [it]," he continued, "They've come out and said, quite bluntly, 'we don't care if only 1% of the players will ever see this.'

"At Bethesda, the games we were making were so big that we had to take the approach of 'well, everybody's got to be able to do this at some point' … you can get to be the heads of all the guilds, you can be friends with all the companions, you can go to all the places. Nothing is off-limits.

"When you play Baldur's Gate 3 you get the impression, rightly so, that this decision I'm about to make will close off parts of the game and open up others. It's meaningful … very few of the decisions in a Bethesda game feel highly meaningful, you get maybe three or four of those."

Nesmith left his role as Skyrim Lead Designer in 2021 and continued to move into becoming an Author, publishing his first book in July of that year.

With Skyrim's successor in the works, it's likely that Bethesda will continue on this ethos of letting players unlock the whole world in the same run-through, but maybe this does put some shackles on just how immersed a player can really get in the world.

Jack is an Esports Journalist at GGRecon. Graduating from the University of Chester, with a BA Honours degree in Journalism, Jack is an avid esports enthusiast and specialises in Rocket League, Call of Duty, VALORANT, and trending gaming news.

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