"You're an idiot," Baldur's Gate 3 boss says of studios firing critical technical artists, and "anyway, we're hiring them to come work for us"

Screenshot of Gale from Baldur's Gate 3 trailer shown at The Game Awards 2022
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Swen Vincke, head of Baldur's Gate 3 developer Larian, has been vocal about the ongoing wave of layoffs in the games industry, and reckons that cuts affecting critical departments and senior developers are especially shortsighted. 

In a new interview with Eurogamer, Vincke comments on how studios can hold onto the institutional knowledge that senior developers contribute, jokingly (and also not at all jokingly) asserting that "not firing them" is one straightforward route. More broadly, while you can't keep everyone on board simply because life happens, Vincke reasons that "you can typically maintain a good portion of [seniority] by treating them with respect."

"I see companies, like with the current layoffs, when I hear who's being fired I said, 'What?! That doesn't make any sense.' Because that person is like a beacon of knowledge within that company. And it's what shows that disconnect I was telling you about, because I know it's being looked at in an Excel file, right, and the person that makes a decision with that Excel file does not understand what they just lost. And it's going to cost them way more, long term - they just don't realize it yet. But it will cost them a lot."

Vincke singles out one especially vital department: technical artists. "I'll give you an example: I heard of a group of technical artists being fired. I can tell you, I'm a developer: if you fire your technical artist, you're an idiot," he says. "Because they define your entire pipeline, which is going to define your cost of your assets. They can define so many things and they know your games - especially if the senior ones, it really doesn't make any sense. Anyway, we're hiring them to come work for us."

The CEO doesn't single out who these folks were, but Larian's clearly happy to have them on board as the studio moves on from Baldur's Gate 3 – and D&D as a whole – to push forward with another big game that is itself yet another stepping stone on the path to a still bigger game rolling around Vincke's noggin

Larian was "thinking about" Baldur's Gate 4, but D&D 5E wouldn't work with "all these ideas of new combat that we wanted to try out."

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.