Baldur’s Gate 3, Larian Studio’s epic new Dungeons & Dragons game, has consumed a not-insignificant amount of my free time since it launched earlier this month. An amount that even I, who had been waiting half a decade to play it, thought was a little extreme. So shout out to the absolutely unhinged folks who apparently got it all done and dusted in the time it’s taken me to get at most halfway through.
Apparently, 368 people managed to finish the new CRPG in its opening weekend, according to raft of fascinating new player stats released by Larian to celebrate Baldur’s Gate 3's massive launch success. There’s a lot of interesting things in here, like player class and character breakdowns—93% of players chose to make their own character rather than play one of the pre-set “Origin” companions, shout out to my fellow Paladins—and details like how those players have engaged with the games’ romance systems (Astarion is breaking hearts all over Faerun) and its novel, physics-heavy approached to D&D combat (pro-tip for the many fans of pushing people off of ledges: consider the repelling Eldritch Blast).
But I am mostly fascinated by the first stat Larian highlighted: just under 370 people managed to complete a playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3 by the end of its launch weekend. That’s not a lot of the people playing—the game has been breaking concurrent player records on Steam to the tune of almost a million people at a time— but it’s not not a lot of people either. And it’s wild because Baldur’s Gate 3 is probably a lot longer than most actual D&D tabletop campaigns, let alone long for a video game.
I’ve managed to sink in 80 hours over the past 11 or so days the game has been out (yes, I know, I know) and I’ve just started wrapping up Act 2 of Baldur’s Gate 3, and I thought I was kind of going a little quick myself. But this is a game Larian boasted had over 170 hours of cutscenes, a script triple the size of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Obviously, in a game about choice and consequence, there’s no way to see all of that in a single playthrough—that’s the whole point, there’s so many ways to navigate a situation, you’ll only see the one you pick. But still, it’s a long game. I have no idea how these people got through it in the space of a few days—surely even skipping cutscenes, there’s still a lot of the actual game itself to play, combat encounters and puzzles to navigate. And I’ve sunk more hours into it already than I do most other games.
I’m sure many more people have joined these 368 heroes in the week since launch at this point, but I think I’ll stick to taking the long way round as I continue my own adventure across the Forgotten Realms.
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