Microsoft confirms possibility of split-screen mode in Xbox Series S version of Baldur’s Gate 3, despite sacrificing it previously. Xbox Series S seen as key to Microsoft’s console generation success, but exception for Baldur’s Gate 3 raises concerns. Microsoft will work with Larian to explore adding split-screen functionality post-launch, but sets precedent for potential future developer requests.
A split-screen mode for the Xbox Series S version of Baldur’s Gate 3 is still a possibility, Microsoft has confirmed. This insight into the most challenging port of Larian Studios’ hit RPG arrives mere days after the Belgian developer was given the green light to accelerate the Xbox Series S version of Baldur’s Gate 3 by sacrificing its split-screen multiplayer functionality.
Back when the latest Xbox systems were first unveiled in 2020, many industry watchers opined that the Xbox Series S is the key to Microsoft winning the ninth console generation. Between its $299 price tag and the promise of gameplay feature parity with the $200 more expensive Series X, the Series S seemed like an extremely compelling proposition. Though that perspective largely persists to this day, the fact that Microsoft allowed a feature parity exception for Baldur’s Gate 3 prompted speculation that the popular RPG is just a sign of things to come and could usher in an era wherein the Xbox Series S is treated as an afterthought to the Series X.
In an attempt to respond to some of those fan-raised concerns, Microsoft has now taken online to clarify that split-screen multiplayer remains on the cards for the Xbox Series S version of Baldur’s Gate 3. The gaming giant explained that it intends to continue its close collaboration with Larian in order to “explore” the possibility of eventually bringing the coveted Baldur’s Gate 3 feature to its weaker current-gen console. The company’s statement thus essentially confirms that the gameplay feature parity exception provided to Baldur’s Gate 3 was primarily motivated by a desire to bring the highest-rated new game of 2023 to Xbox systems as soon as possible instead of signaling a major shift in its developer policy.
That notwithstanding, even if Larian were to manage to add split-screen multiplayer to the Xbox Series S port of Baldur’s Gate 3, the very fact that the day-one version of the game will lack that functionality already set a major precedent for the console’s developer policy; by allowing an exception for Larian’s latest title, Microsoft is unavoidably opening the doors for other studios to ask for a similar level of leeway while porting their games to the Xbox Series S.
The company can at least take some solace in the fact that its decision to facilitate the Xbox versions of Baldur’s Gate 3 by any means necessary seemingly won it the loyalty of one of the most beloved developers on the planet. Larian’s dedication to Microsoft was last underlined in late July, when the Baldur’s Gate 3 boss insisted that the Xbox Series S does not hold back gaming in spite of the studio’s ongoing struggles to bring its newest game to that console.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is out now for PC. A PS5 version releases on September 6, and an Xbox Series X/S version is also in development.