Here's why you can't preload Baldur's Gate 3's massive 122GB file size

Baldur's Gate 3
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

What you need to know

  • Larian Studios' Baldur's Gate 3 is a massive RPG set in the D&D universe that's about to launch on PC, with the PS5 version arriving at the start of September and an Xbox version coming at some point in the future.
  • The game has been confirmed to have a massive 122GB file size on PC, no doubt the result of its gargantuan scale. However, there's no way to preload any of it ahead of its release.
  • The developers say it was impossible to offer preloads due to a Steam limitation that makes it impossible to preload the full version of a game currently in Early Access.
  • Larian also says installing the currently available Early Access version of the game would interfere with the full release and cause "unintended conflicts," so you'd have to do a full reinstall anyway. Early Access saves won't carry over, either.

Baldur's Gate 3 is undoubtedly one of the biggest games of 2023 in terms of both fanfare and scope, and it's expected to be one of the top PC games of the year. It's scheduled to go live on Windows PCs tomorrow, Aug. 3, at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET, with a PS5 version launching on Sept. 6 and an Xbox one coming at some point. Frustratingly, though, the game's gargantuan 122GB file size can't be preloaded ahead of time.

That means that you'll have to wait until the game is out before you can install it, which is particularly irritating for players that have slower internet connections. Developer Larian Studios didn't clarify why preloads aren't being offered in its Community Update post on Steam, though the studio has since provided an explanation on Twitter. The reason? There's a Steam limitation that prevented it.

"Unfortunately we’re unable to make Baldur’s Gate 3 available for preload — Steam doesn’t support preload for Early Access titles," wrote the developer. "Switching to preload would break the game for people currently playing Early Access."

Indeed, Baldur's Gate 3 has been in Early Access since October 2020, with much of the full game developed with player feedback in mind. The game's Early Access availability has no doubt been invaluable for both the developers building it and players excited to try it out early, but in this case, it's made it impossible to preload the game due to the aforementioned Steam issue.

Keep in mind that you won't be able to partially preload the game by installing the Early Access version, either. "There might be a few bytes that are the same but basically it's going to be a full reinstall," confirmed Larian CEO Swen Vencke in an interview.  The studio has also stated that Early Access saves won't carry over, anyway, so there's no point in risking the "unintended conflicts" that the developers have warned fans about. Wait until the full game is out before you download, and make sure to delete your saves and uninstall if you've been playing early.

Ultimately, even though it was out of the developer's hands, it's incredibly unfortunate that there's not a way to preload Baldur's Gate 3 given how large it is. The wait will surely be worth it, though — Larian are masters at their craft, and I've been itching to play a new fantasy RPG...

Baldur's Gate 3 will launch on Windows PC on Aug. 3, 2023 at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET, with the PS5 version scheduled for Sept. 6. We expect it to stand tall as one of the best PC games of 2023, and it looks like a must-play for fans of fantasy RPGs and the D&D universe.

Baldur's Gate 3 | See at Steam

Baldur's Gate 3 | See at Steam

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Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.