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Baldur’s Gate 3 coming to Xbox Series X in 2023, with a concession from Microsoft

Series S version no longer holding up an Xbox release

A character from Baldur’s Gate 3 crosses their arms Image: Larian Studios
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Larian Studios will bring Baldur’s Gate 3 to Xbox Series X (and Series S) later this year, the studio’s creative director, Swen Vincke, confirmed Thursday. That’s good news for players on Xbox who have been waiting for news on the Dungeons & Dragons game, as until recently it seemed like they would have to wait until 2024.

But Larian’s making it happen with one important concession: The Xbox Series S version of Baldur’s Gate 3 won’t have split-screen cooperative play on the lower-powered Xbox. That feature was previously holding up a current-gen Xbox release, but it appears Microsoft is letting Baldur’s Gate 3’s developers bypass feature-parity requirements on the Xbox Series consoles.

On X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, Vincke said that after meeting with head of Xbox Phil Spencer at Gamescom, he was “super happy to confirm” that Larian “found a solution that allows us to bring Baldur’s Gate 3 to Xbox players this year still, something we’ve been working towards for quite some time.”

Added Vincke, “All improvements will be there, with split-screen coop on Series X. Series S will not feature split-screen coop, but will also include cross-save progression between Steam and Xbox Series.”

Just a few weeks ago, Michael Douse, director of publishing at Larian, reinforced that technical limitations — not platform exclusivity deals — were holding up the Xbox Series X and Series S release of Baldur’s Gate 3. “We’ve said many times in the past that the issue is getting split-screen working on the Series S, which is taking more time, but is in progress,” Douse said at the time. “This is a huge technical hurdle, but we are unable to release the game on the ecosystem without this feature.”

The Series S has been at the center of a debate over the last year regarding whether the console is “holding back gaming” or, at the very least, resulting in compromises for Xbox Series X games. Microsoft appears to have stepped in to quiet that kind of discussion, which has only gotten louder amid Baldur’s Gate 3’s incredible popularity. The D&D role-playing game is already one of the most-played games on Steam and has become a top-selling game on Sony’s PlayStation Store, where it is available for pre-order.

Baldur’s Gate 3 was released on Windows PC on Aug. 3, and is coming to PlayStation 5 on Sept. 6.

Update (Aug. 28): On Friday, after affirming that “Baldur’s Gate 3 will be coming to Xbox later this year,” Microsoft said on social media that it will “continue to work with Larian to explore the addition of split-screen on Series S post launch.”

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