Larian Studios expands: New Warsaw studio and ambitious RPG plans

Baldur's Gate 3 - ©2023 Larian Studios
Baldur's Gate 3 - ©2023 Larian Studios /

Larian Studios, the Belgian game developer known for its acclaimed titles Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Baldur’s Gate 3, has announced the opening of its seventh studio in Warsaw, Poland. This move marks a significant expansion for the company, which is now working on two new "very ambitious" RPG projects.

Founded 28 years ago by Swen Vincke, Larian has grown from a small indie developer to a global powerhouse in the RPG genre. The company's expansion now includes studios in Ghent, Kuala Lumpur, Quebec City, Dublin, Guildford, Barcelona, and Warsaw. This geographic spread is more typical of major publishers, showcasing Larian's impressive growth and ambition.

Larian's success story is remarkable, especially considering its modest beginnings. The early Divine Divinity series received average reviews, but the company turned heads with the 2014 release of Divinity: Original Sin. Funded through Kickstarter, it was a critical and commercial success. Its sequel, Divinity: Original Sin 2, built on this success, further establishing Larian's reputation.

Baldur’s Gate 3, released in 2023, was a game-changer. With a budget reportedly around $100 million, it generated over $650 million in revenue, solidifying Larian's financial stability and allowing further expansion. The game's success underscores Larian's ability to deliver high-quality, engaging RPGs that resonate with players worldwide.

The new Warsaw studio will contribute to two new RPG projects. While details are scarce, it is expected that one of these will be a new entry in the Divinity series. The other project remains a mystery, sparking excitement and speculation about a potential new IP. Larian's independence from publishers and shareholders grants it the creative freedom to take risks, a luxury few studios enjoy.

The Warsaw studio's location is particularly noteworthy, given it is also the headquarters of CD Projekt Red. This proximity could attract experienced RPG developers looking for new opportunities, potentially boosting Larian's talent pool.

As Larian continues to expand, its innovative approach and dedication to quality will likely have a lasting impact on the RPG genre and the broader gaming industry. The success of Baldur’s Gate 3 and the ambitious plans for the future suggest that Larian is poised to continue shaping the landscape of role-playing games for years to come.

The establishment of Larian's Warsaw studio is a strategic move that highlights the company's commitment to growth and innovation in the RPG genre. This new studio will not only aid in the development of their two ambitious RPGs but also serve as a hub for talent acquisition, particularly from the rich pool of experienced RPG developers in Poland. Given Warsaw's status as a major center for game development, home to CD Projekt Red and other prominent studios, Larian's expansion into this market is a calculated effort to harness local expertise and foster creativity.

Larian's trajectory from a small Belgian studio to a global RPG powerhouse is a testament to its adaptive strategies and dedication to quality. The success of Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Baldur’s Gate 3 has set high expectations for their future projects. The financial success of BG3, with its $100 million budget and $650 million revenue, has provided Larian with the resources and confidence to pursue even more ambitious endeavors. 

The RPG community eagerly anticipates what Larian will deliver next. The confirmation that one of the upcoming projects will be a continuation of the beloved Divinity series is thrilling for fans. However, the potential for a brand new, original IP adds an element of mystery and excitement. This aligns with Larian’s history of taking bold risks and pushing the boundaries of the RPG genre.

Larian's ability to remain privately owned and free from the pressures of external publishers and shareholders is a significant advantage. This autonomy allows the company to prioritize creative vision over commercial constraints, resulting in games that are both critically acclaimed and commercially successful.

As Larian continues to expand and innovate, its influence on the games industry is likely to grow. The company's success story serves as an inspiration for other independent developers, demonstrating that with dedication, creativity, and strategic growth, it is possible to achieve both critical and commercial success in the competitive gaming market.

Larian Studios' expansion into Warsaw marks a new chapter in its impressive journey. The company's continued commitment to high-quality RPGs, coupled with its strategic growth and financial success, positions it as a leading force in the games industry. The anticipation surrounding their upcoming projects reflects the high expectations and excitement of the RPG community, eager to see what groundbreaking experiences Larian will create next.

The impact of Larian Studios' expansion and its ongoing projects is profound for the gaming industry. Here's a closer look at how this development affects various aspects of the sector:

Larian's new studio in Warsaw is set to attract top-tier talent, particularly from the Polish game development scene, which is renowned for producing high-quality RPGs. This influx of talent could lead to increased competition for skilled developers, potentially driving up wages and improving working conditions as companies vie for the best employees. Additionally, Larian's reputation for avoiding crunch culture might attract developers seeking a healthier work-life balance, further influencing industry standards.

Larian Studios has consistently pushed the boundaries of what RPGs can achieve, both in terms of storytelling and gameplay mechanics. The success of Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Baldur's Gate 3 demonstrated that players crave complex, engaging narratives and deep, strategic gameplay. By working on two ambitious new RPGs, Larian is likely to continue setting new benchmarks for the genre, encouraging other developers to innovate and refine their own RPG offerings to keep pace.

Larian's growth underscores the potential for independent studios to achieve significant success without the backing of major publishers. This serves as an inspiring model for other indie developers, showing that with the right combination of talent, vision, and business acumen, it's possible to compete with industry giants. Larian's ability to maintain creative control over its projects could also embolden other studios to seek similar paths, prioritizing artistic integrity over commercial pressures.

The financial success of Baldur's Gate 3, with its substantial budget and even greater revenue, highlights the lucrative potential of well-executed RPGs. This could lead to increased investment in the genre, with publishers and investors more willing to fund ambitious RPG projects, knowing the significant returns they can yield. Additionally, the presence of Larian's new studio in Warsaw may foster collaborations and partnerships within the local game development community, potentially leading to new and exciting projects.

Larian's track record of delivering high-quality, immersive RPGs has set high expectations among players. The announcement of two new ambitious RPGs has already generated significant buzz and anticipation. Players can expect innovative gameplay mechanics, rich narratives, and meticulously crafted worlds. This heightened expectation will likely drive other developers to elevate their game design standards, ultimately benefiting players with more diverse and polished gaming experiences.

Larian Studios' establishment of a new studio in Warsaw is more than just an expansion; it's a statement of intent and a harbinger of exciting developments in the RPG genre. By attracting top talent, continuing to innovate, and setting new standards for independent studio success, Larian is poised to shape the future of RPGs and influence the broader gaming industry. As players eagerly await the next masterpieces from Larian, the industry watches closely, ready to be inspired and challenged by whatever this pioneering studio creates next.