Larian confirms Baldur's Gate 3 isn't coming to Xbox Game Pass: "We made a big game, so I think there's a fair price to be paid for that, and I think that that is okay"

Baldur's Gate 3: Dragborn with Astarion and Lae'zel.
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Baldur's Gate 3 director and Larian Studios CEO Swen Vincke has confirmed Baldur's Gate 3 isn't coming to Xbox Game Pass, according to a report that appeared in Eurogamer.
  • Vincke says that he believes "there's a fair price to be paid" for the colossal scope of Baldur's Gate 3, and noted that you "get what you pay for" since it doesn't have any microtransactions.
  • Vincke also noted that its chosen business model is "what allows us to continue making other games."
  • Baldur's Gate 3 finally launched on Xbox Series X|S last week, having been delayed due to issues with split screen on the Series S version.

It's been long-suspected that Baldur's Gate 3 developer Larian Studios wouldn't bring its Game of the Year-winning juggernaut to Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass service, but according to a report that appeared in Eurogamer, it's now been confirmed officially.

In the report in Eurogamer, Larian CEO Swen Vincke explained that he believes the game's size and its lack of microtransactions fully justifies keeping its availability limited to a full purchase, and that that decision is important for the studio's ability to carry out its future development plans.

"Oh, we always said from the get-go, it wasn't going to be on Game Pass, it's not going to be on Game Pass ... We made a big game, so I think there's a fair price to be paid for that, and I think that that is okay," Vincke said. "We don't charge you any micro-transactions on top of it, so you get what you pay for. Upfront it's a big meaty game. So I think that should be able to exist as it is. This is what allows us to continue making other games."

My Tav, lovingly named "Mister Scales." He's a good boy. (Image credit: Windows Central)

In September, leaked documents from the Xbox vs. FTC case revealed that Microsoft previously considered Baldur's Gate 3 a "second-run Stadia PC RPG," and that it estimated it would cost just $5 million to bring to Xbox Game Pass (it expected it would have to pay $300 million for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor to come to the service, by comparison).

Larian said it wasn't the only big player in the industry to do so, however, and that the studio itself was never sure the award-winning isometric CRPG would take off and dominate industry conversation like it has in the months since its release.

"In their defence, so did everyone else. Same with [Divinity: Original Sin 2]. Comes with the genre, and the way we approach things, and the way we execute things," wrote Larian's director of publishing Michael Douse in response to criticism of Microsoft's assessment. "There just isn’t any existing data that could have told anyone how [Baldur's Gate 3] was going to perform. We just had to take giant spooky leaps."

Notably, Douse previously spoke with Eurogamer and explained that even though he views Game Pass as "fantastic," he prefers when a game's success comes as the result of direct purchases made by players instead of inclusion in a data-driven subscription service. 

"My point, explicitly, is that I would always rather have our fate in the hands of the players than anyone else," he said.

Minthara, one of the companions you can recruit to your party in Baldur's Gate 3. (Image credit: Larian Studios)

Ultimately, this news is disappointing for Game Pass subscribers hoping they'd be able to dive into the Forgotten Realms without having to fully buy the game, but it's hardly surprising. Larian has never expressed interest in bringing Baldur's Gate 3 to Game Pass before now, after all, and Swen Vincke's comments from the report in Eurogamer as well as previous ones from Douse make it clear that the studio doesn't intend to change its position anytime soon.

The good news for Xbox fans, though, is that Baldur's Gate 3 is finally available on Microsoft's consoles. Though it originally launched in August and then came to PS5 in September, the game was delayed on Xbox Series X|S due to issues with split screen co-op on the Series S. Following the omission of that feature on the Series S version, though, it came out on Xbox Series X|S at the end of The Game Awards 2023 last week.

Baldur's Gate 3 is available now on Xbox Series X|S, PC, and PS5. It stands tall as one of the best Xbox games and best PC games of 2023 (and also, all time), and is a must-play for fans of fantasy RPGs and the D&D universe.

Baldur's Gate 3 | See at GOG

Baldur's Gate 3 | See at GOG

Enter the Forgotten Realms while playing as a customized character of your own choosing. The decisions you make determine what you encounter as you discover more and more about the stories and world around you. 

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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.