Baldur’s Gate 3 once had a portable hole, but Swen Vincke says it would have been a “crime against humanity”

I’m sure you could fill a bottomless pit with the things Larian decided not to add to Baldur’s Gate 3. One of those things was, in fact, a bottomless pit. Not just a bottomless pit, but a conveniently portable, Looney Tunes-esque hole into which you could seemingly chuck everything from items and equipment to characters. Speaking to me during the same interview in which they discussed long-abandoned plans for bringing back Baldur’s Gate 1’s Candlekeep, Larian CEO Swen Vincke and Baldur’s Gate 3 lead writer Adam Smith (RPS in peace) touched on the subject with tantalising brevity. Argh, if only I hadn’t had to run off and catch a taxi, I’d still be there now, discussing the many applications of a portable hole. Bypassing carrying capacity limits would just be the start of it.

The hole came up during a discussion of whether Larian have considered testing any smaller, more focussed videogame concepts, perhaps to let younger developers try their wits on something less sprawling than a Baldur’s Gate. “Oh, you mean within Larian in terms of incubation? But there’s always stuff happening that you never see,” Vincke began. “I think people still underestimate how much work these big RPGs are already, and how many components there are in there – you never see a lot of small things that are being done, but there’s a lot of innovation happening, other things that never see the daylight.”

“You see small groups, and juniors in those small groups, you know, they’ll bring the things that they care about,” Adam added. “You can see, I think, in Baldur’s Gate 3 that there a lot of scripters who are immersive sim fans, and who are bringing ideas from elsewhere. The world is sandboxy, and within that they are playing with their favourite genres. I get to play with horror, you know, one of my favourite genres, in the storytelling. An RPG of that scale, you’re kind of making lots of things all at the same time. So there’s definitely the space to do that.”

There’d have been even more space if one particular cosmic impossibility hadn’t been left on the cutting room floor. “There’s one mechanic in particular that I’m thinking of that they brought in,” said Vincke, apparently in reference to the aforesaid scripters. “It was fantastic. It was just we couldn’t make it work in all cases, so we had to remove it, but it was fantastic. And it was a portable hole, which is like a mechanic, so you could basically throw down a hole, you can throw people in it, and then you could do start doing all kinds of abusive mechanics in the game.” My audio is a bit smudgy here – Vincke may have said “abusive” or “abuse of mechanics”, both of which would make sense in context.

Larian’s QA staff ultimately “vetoed” the idea, which strikes me as a display of utmost sanity and powerful self-respect from testers who do not wish to spend the rest of their mortal lives hotfixing a pocket-sized infinity. “When you see all the things that [our QA director] had to go through just to be able to test this game – really, adding anything else to that would have been a crime against humanity,” Vincke noted.

Still, we players do not have to worry about patching out bugs and exploits, and are free to mourn the hole-based playthroughs that might have been. Seriously, I can think of any number of uses for a portable bottomless pit and barely any of them are sexual. The obvious one is trying to dump the entirety of Baldur’s Gate 3 inside it – mindflayers, tieflings, cheese, Medallions of +5 Whatever, rehaired cats, cities, the Underdark, etcetera.

I can imagine an endgame version of the Sword Coast that consists of Tav balancing on the last remaining barrel, hole in hand, surrounded by coruscating silver strands of pure absence. Tav catches your gaze and winks. Then they stuff themselves into the hole, from ankle to head, reaching out as they vanish to grab the barrel and yank it into the hole as though corking a bottle. Years later, while playing Larian’s next game (not Baldur’s Gate 4), you notice a strange little dark spot. You right-click the spot and the entirety of Baldur’s Gate 3 appears in your inventory. Hopefully, we’ll have bigger SSDs by then.

Disclosure: Former RPS deputy editor Adam Smith (RPS in peace) now works at Larian and is the lead writer for Baldur’s Gate 3. Former contributor Emily Gera also works on it.

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