Microsoft’s huge leak of internal documents and emails today has exposed quite a lot of the company’s thinking about the game industry. That includes its assessments of games that had yet to be released at the time.
Polygon reports that in one of those leaked emails from May 2022, Microsoft showed its opinion of Larian Studios’ then upcoming D&D RPG sequel Baldur’s Gate 3. The email showed that the game was last on a list of games that Microsoft felt could be included in its Xbox Game Pass service. Even more damming was that the game was labeled as a “second-run Stadia PC RPG”. Baldur’s Gate 3 was released as an early access game in 2020 for the PC, Mac, and for Google’s now shut down Stadia cloud gaming service.
In August 2023, the full 1.0 version of the game launched for the PC, and it became a massive critical and sales hit. The game is still the second most played game on Steam as of this writing and its sales are still in the top 10 on the service. It launched for Sony’s PlayStation 5 console earlier this month, and later this week, it will make its full MacOS debut alongside its third major patch update.
All of that certainly makes it look like Microsoft seriously underrated the game in 2022. However, it’s all good, according to Larian’s director of publishing, Michael Douse. In a post on X (formerly Twitter), he stated, “In their defence (sic), so did everyone else.” he added, “There just isn’t any existing data that could have told anyone how BG3 was going to perform.”
In their defence, so did everyone else. Same with DOS2. Comes with the genre, and the way we approach things, and the way we execute things. There just isn’t any existing data that could have told anyone how BG3 was going to perform. We just had to take giant spooky leaps. https://t.co/BgLyW4cZZx
— Very AFK (@Cromwelp) September 19, 2023
Baldur’s Gate 3 will launch for the Xbox Series X and S consoles by the end of 2023. The Xbox Series S version won’t support the game’s split-screen co-op mod at launch, but Microsoft says it is working to add that feature in a post launch update.