It hasn't been a Mass Effect 3-degree ending controversy, but Larian has gotten a bit of heat for Baldur's Gate 3's conclusion over the past couple weeks, especially regarding the fate of Karlach. I can't spoil what happens because I don't know what it is—I'm in Act 2 like a normal person!—but I do know that enough players were unhappy about their tiefling companion's endings to make petitions about it. Larian has decided to respond: In a blog post about what's coming in the next big Baldur's Gate 3 patch, the studio says it's adding "better closure to the story's final act in the form of a more fleshed-out ending for Karlach."
Specifically, Baldur's Gate 3 Patch 2 will include "a new optional ending with Karlach" which Larian says is "fiery, poignant, and gives her the ending she deserves."
The bulk of the blog post addresses discussion over "cut content" that's been found through data mining and speculation that Baldur's Gate 3's third act suffered from the last-minute dropping of previously-planned scenes and quests. Although Larian says that, yes, things were cut from Baldur's Gate 3, the studio pushes back on the presumed reason for cuts, and says some things being referred to as "cut content" aren't actually cut content at all—they're just bugs.
"Some things that are currently being associated with 'cut content' are actually things like companion reactions to events in the world that didn't trigger," Larian said. The studio has been fixing bugs like that with each patch, and says it'll fix more of them in Patch 2, including issues that appear in Act 3. A problem with "Minthara's reactivity" in the third act is one specific target: Larian says it's found the cause of it and is working on a fix.
Also lumped into the "cut content" discussion, says Larian, is Act 3's technical performance, which it acknowledges "isn't as good as the first two acts." The studio says that "Patch 2 is bringing major performance improvements to the entire game, but more specifically to Act 3."
One of the reasons why we trimmed the epilogue is because we were afraid the ending cinematics were becoming too long and would detract from the epicness of the experience.
Returning to the endings, Larian also quibbles with the "cut content" designation there, saying that epilogue scenes found by data miners are "not really cut content but content that we didn't want to release because we didn't think it worked." It literally is content that was cut, so I think it's fair to call it that, but Larian's argument here is that the scenes weren't cut as part of a reckless attempt to get the game out the door, but because they chose to go in another direction.
"One of the reasons why we trimmed the epilogue is because we were afraid the ending cinematics were becoming too long and would detract from the epicness of the experience," reads the blog post. "But clearly, not everyone agrees with us! So we're going to do something about it."
The new Karlach ending will appear in Patch 2, with other epilogue expansions to come down the line.
"We feel confident that there's enough content in Baldur's Gate 3, and the city itself, clocking in weeks-long playthroughs at a time," wrote Larian in the post's conclusion. "But that's not to say Baldur's Gate 3 didn't see cuts just as every game [does]. It's just important to know that what ultimately shipped was planned long ago, in function primarily of making Baldur's Gate 3 fun to play, not for us to close development quickly. Baldur's Gate 3 is a game with many release dates, and despite us moving its launch up by around a month, it's still a couple years late. It was late because we grew teams, ambition, and ideas in function of it being the best game it could possibly be. Thankfully, not every idea makes it into the final launch. It wouldn't be the game you enjoy if they did."
The pace of Larian's Baldur's Gate 3 updates has been mildly astonishing. In under a month, it's put out several hotfixes and a major patch, and although it doesn't have a date yet, it sounds like Patch 2 is on the way soon: Larian said earlier today that it's "around the corner."
Today's blog post also mentions two much-requested features that are in the works: A way to remove co-op characters from your party, and a previously promised method for changing your character's appearance mid-campaign. The studio didn't say whether either would make it into Patch 2.