Larian CEO recognizes the layoffs at Wizards of the Coast, during the Game Award Address

There were just thirty seconds left for Baldur’s Gate 3 creator Larian Studios’ chief, Swen Vincke, to receive the Game of the Year award at The Game Awards 2023 before the dreaded “please wrap it up” message ordered him off stage. Vincke was dressed in armor for the occasion. Vincke, like many other people presenting prizes throughout the program, was pressed for time. Not even the Xbox version of Baldur’s Gate 3 release that evening was announced by him.

Vincke tweeted,

“My statements for the Game Awards. It is a huge honor to win Game of the Year, and I would want to thank all of the voters as well as congratulate all of the other candidates. Given how competitive this year has been, you all should have been the recipients of this honor.

Vincke mentioned Capcom and Remedy, two companies that published games that were contenders for Game of the Year: Resident Evil 4 and Alan Wake 2, respectively. The Game Awards, he said, “for creating an award show so big that it gets mainstream attention,” although he felt that 30 seconds was a bit short for an acceptance speech. This is consistent with most of the industry’s response to the Game Awards. Yes, IGN covered the Game Awards winner speeches not shown this week.

Vincke’s gratitude towards the production team

Vincke continued by expressing gratitude to the production team, the Baldur’s Gate 3 community, and the more than 2,000 individuals included in the game’s credits. Baldur’s Gate 3 wouldn’t exist without Larian’s teams working on quality assurance, localization, customer service, operations, publishing, and playtesting, Vincke said, praising every one of them for their hard work.

Vincke brought up the recent loss of Jim Southworth, Larian’s principal cinematic animator, in his actual acceptance speech. He also brought up Southworth’s father, who passed away before Baldur’s Gate 3’s early access campaign in 2020, in the sequence of tweets. PitStop Productions, with whom Larian collaborated to record performance capture, is mentioned. In light of this, Vincke complimented the Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons team and commended the Baldur’s Gate 3 cast (voice of Astarion Neil Newbon received the Best Performance award). Baldur’s Gate 3 is an officially licensed Dungeons & Dragons game.

Vincke also said,

“I’m so sorry to hear that so many of you lost your jobs.”It is disheartening to observe that hardly none of the individuals who first occupied the conference room remain. I wish you all the best of luck. That alludes to the widespread layoffs that toy manufacturer Hasbro, which owns Wizards of the Coast, the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons, is presently experiencing.

Vincke concluded

“I’d like to share a story about a long-ago conversation I had with a publisher before I end.”He informed me that, fortunately for them, idealism powers games. Though he was correct, he did it in an exploitative manner. “Video games are a distinct kind of art, just like music, movies, or books.” Like me, a lot of creators create games because they like watching people interact with their works in a manner that only gaming can.

“Aside from using the money as fuel to make more and better games, they don’t really care about the money made. Everyone should be reminded that gasoline is only a means, not an end in itself. What matters and what we remember is where we go and how we go. I’m grateful.