While Baldur’s Gate 3 is appreciably big in size—its three acts spanning a lot of square miles —its sheer largeness comes more from the amount of pieces on the board. A tool recently discovered that the thing has around 1,800 characters and over 110,000 lines of text.
So when the game’s principal narrative designer Lawrence Schick tells Inverse in an interview that “every stone will not be turned for years”, I believe him. That’s despite the fact we have a pretty stellar list of hidden dialogues already—every time something new pops up on the internet, I’m just staggered that it just keeps happening.
“So much of the game is a concatenation”—an interconnected web of things—”of unlikely variables. There’s stuff that people will be discovering, including us, because of the way it was built, with synergies, and layers, and interacting reactivity.”
It helps that Larian keeps adding new ways for stuff to combine together. The game’s most recent patch added a new epilogue with over 3,000 new lines of dialogue—the thing’s not 3,589 lines long, of course, that’s just a metric of how many ways your playthrough can create a bespoke ending. Including pissing Withers off enough to get thine sorry flesh yote into the shadow realm.
Of course, it’s not a perfect machine—back during the game’s post-launch era, the Rube Goldberg of chatter produced an effect where everyone (namely, Gale) was a little too thirsty. There was also that time where Minthara—who you can get on a good-aligned playthrough now, wahey—was missing about 1,500 of her lines. The fact that a companion can be missing over 1,000 lines and still mostly work feels like it’s proving Schick’s point, here. You think it’d be irrevocably broken at, like, 200.
The fact that Larian’s machine works at all is a marvel. Of course, entropy’s a thing. There will come a day when we have plundered all of Baldur’s Gate 3’s secrets, but as Schick himself says: “It astounds us, the stuff that comes up.” I figure if the principle narrative designer—you know, designs the narrative—is still getting surprised, we’ll need to stay on our toes for a while yet.