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Baldur’s Gate 3 developer says saved games won’t be compatible with the next patch

There’s a work-around, but switching builds will require players to start over

A dark-skinned character in Baldur’s Gate 3. She wears a wooden headdress of some kind. Image: Larian Studios
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Baldur’s Gate 3 launched in early October, only to be received with open arms by consumers. Critics, on the other hand, were less enthusiastic about the early access release, which left the game in a clearly unfinished and incomplete state. Now Larian Studios is looping back with players, warning them that their saved games won’t be compatible with newer versions of the game. The developer also describes how to work around the problem.

Shortly after the game launched on Oct. 6, Larian founder Swen Vincke seemed stunned by the game’s reception. “Now what are we going to do?” he mused openly on Twitter, but he clearly already knew the answer — finish the game. While no final release date has been established, work continues apace. That means major changes are on the way for foundational elements of the gameplay itself, as well as massive new sections of the storyline.

“Patch 3 [...] is just around the corner,” Larian announced Nov. 24 on Steam, “and with it comes the first changes that affect the story. Unfortunately, this means Patch 3 will introduce the first save incompatibility, transitioning to the new version.”

In short, that means that the many hours that players have put into the game will need to be thrown away before they can move on to the next version of the game. There is one solution, however. Larian will be keeping the older version of the game alive as a “secondary branch.” Players can opt into this branch through the options menu, where it will be listed as a beta titled “patch2.” Then they can play that branch for as long as they like.

“You can already move to the beta branch now, if you’d like to protect your save file and continue on the current version,” Larian added. “Save files are not ‘deleted’ from your computer; they’ll remain in your folder, but you’ll only be able to load saves specific to their respective versions.”

The work around only applies to the Steam version of the game, and no branching will be available for the Google Stadia version. For more details, check out the full post on Steam.

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