One of the main critiques levied against the Xbox Series S is that it’s holding gaming back–it’s a weaker budget console that serves as an in-between for last and current-gen hardware. That means devs have to optimise games not only for the Xbox Series X but also for a much weaker system, all without sacrificing performance and quality. However, Larian Studios CEO and Baldur’s Gate 3 creative lead Swen Vincke says that “the platform is perfectly fine”.

“Do I think it holds [gaming] back?” Vincke said in an interview with Skill Up. “It just defines certain parameters within which you have to develop. There are ways of doing that – it just takes development effort […] Despite us having grown, we don’t have infinite resources. That means we can’t do everything at the same time.”

Vincke also likened developing for the Xbox Series S to developing for the Nintendo Switch and minimum spec PCs. Unlike consoles, PC gaming isn’t a homogenised singular platform–everyone has their own build with its own hardware. You might have a top-of-the-line graphics card that set you back thousands of pounds, or something from two years ago that still holds up okay. Porting to a PC typically means casting a wide net, implementing plenty of graphical options to let people find what works for them. The Switch meanwhile is the weakest of all ‘current-gen’ consoles, but Larian Studios did get Divininity: Original Sin 2 to work on the platform. It just took a little longer. Xbox Series S is in the same boat.

“Right now, all the focus is obviously on the PC and PS5 [versions] coming out,” Vincke said. “There’s a team working on [the Xbox version] and they’re making progress. It is already a lot better than what it was. Our hope is that we get it done this year, but I don’t want to commit to it because optimisation comes with this annoying thing where you know where you start but not where you end.”

While there are worries about the Xbox Series S version of Baldur’s Gate 3 having cutbacks to work on the platform, Vincke stressed that Larian Studios “always try to make the most of whatever platform is there”. This isn’t just true of XSS, but also Valve’s own handheld console, the Steam Deck.

Larian Studios head of publishing Michael Douse said that playing it on the handheld is “absolutely wild” and that, while it won’t be verified on launch, the team is actively working towards it. This is a unique approach. Rather than developing for each console simultaneously, Larian Studios is rolling out Baldur’s Gate 3 when it’s ready for each. First, it’ll arrive on PC, then PS5, and then Xbox or the Steam Deck–whichever comes first. While the wait might be longer, it saves the game from being delayed across the board.

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