Baldur’s Gate 3, which launched for PC this month and is coming to PlayStation 5 on September 6, has endured a complicated saga in coming to Xbox Series X/S. This was largely attributed to difficulty in making split-screen co-op performant in the Series S version, but new info suggests developer Larian Studios is opting to cut that feature out of the game on Microsoft’s weaker console so it can finally bring Baldur’s Gate 3 to both Xbox platforms before the end of the year.
On Thursday, studio founder Swen Vincke tweeted that after a meeting with Head of Xbox Phil Spencer, Larian Studios plans to bring Baldur’s Gate 3 to Xbox Series X and S by the end of 2023, but if you’re playing the game on Xbox Series S, that means you won’t be able to play split-screen co-op on the device. This doesn’t seem to preclude online cooperative play, but if you wanted to roll multiple characters alongside your friends on the same system, it looks like you’ll have to have an Xbox Series X. Beyond that, Vincke also confirms that the Xbox version will support cross saves between Steam and Xbox consoles, but not with the PlayStation 5 version that’s set to launch in two weeks.
The idea behind the Xbox Series S was to be a more affordable, albeit less powerful version of Microsoft’s next-generation console, but that naturally comes with some give and take on demanding technical features like ray tracing and higher framerates. However, Microsoft claims it’s committed to supporting the less-powerful system in the coming years, even as the console generation matures and games become more and more technically demanding. In an interview with Eurogamer, Spencer said parity between both its consoles isn’t a requirement the company holds developers to.
“In terms of parity, I don’t think you’ve heard from us or Larian, that this was about parity,” he told Eurogamer. “I think that’s more that the community is talking about it. There are features that ship on X today that do not ship on S, even from our own games, like ray tracing that works on X, it’s not on S in certain games. So for an S customer, they spent roughly half what the X customer bought, they understand that it’s not going to run the same way.”
However, if you look at Microsoft’s published rules on the matter, “mode” parity between Xbox Series X and S games seems to be a requirement for a game to appear on Xbox. The rule in question says developers must “ensure that identical game modes are offered across console types within the generation.” It’s unclear whether or not Microsoft is lifting the rule entirely or is making an exception for Baldur’s Gate 3. Kotaku’s reached out to Larian and Microsoft about the situation and will update the story should we hear back.
For more on Baldur’s Gate 3, check out Kotaku’s review.