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Here’s what Larian CEO Swen Vincke wanted to say at TGA 2023 after BG3’s win

If he hadn’t been cut off
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While this year’s The Game Awards didn’t feature any weird security incidents to make the headlines, another type of drama did play out: Many people in the industry felt that the show focused too much on Geoff Keighley’s Hollywood friends and too little on what the show was actually supposed to be about – the celebration of video games and the people making them.

This was especially apparent in the allocated speech times: Award winners had about half a minute to give their emotional acceptance speeches, while Hollywood bigwigs got all the time in the spotlight to talk about whatever they wanted, even if it was some unrelated and self-centered nonsense – seriously, what was Anthony Mackie even on about? Did we really need to know the story of Simu Liu’s broken foot?

Baldur's Gate 3 crew accepting the GOTY trophy.

Larian Studios' representatives accepting the GOTY Award for Baldur's Gate 3.

Other appearances were completely fine. Timothée Chalamet handing out the GOTY Award was random, but he kept it brief and did his job, so there’s not much to complain about there. Matthew McConaughey revealed a new game and mostly stayed on topic, so totally fair play as well.

Altogether, though, it left a pretty bad impression and led to award winners not actually getting to properly express themselves on stage in what might have been the greatest moment of their entire career in the industry – and that’s a big shame.

Larian Studios CEO Swen Wincke – the man attending the show in a suit of armor, because why not – was one of these. Baldur’s Gate 3 won Game of the Year among other awards, and not even Wincke was allowed proper time for a speech. Heck, the man felt so rushed that he totally forgot about announcing that the game had just been shadow dropped for Xbox Series X|S.

A week after the event, Wincke took to social media to post what he initially wanted to say on the stage that night:

Winning Game of the year is a great honor and I want to first thank everyone that voted for us and I want to congratulate all the other nominees. This has been an incredibly competitive year and you each would have deserved to win this award.

I want to thank @geoffkeighley and the people that organized the #gameawards for creating an award show so big that it gets mainstream attention. While 30 secs is a bit short , there’s nothing like the game awards and it’s an incredible achievement.

I wore armor at the #gameawards because BG3 is a game that couldn’t exist without its our player community and I wanted to pay tribute to how important they’ve been for the development. You rock community BG3 Making a game like this only works if you have an incredible passionate and talented team and in that regard I am incredibly lucky with the @larianstudios – they are some of the finest and they did a truly amazing job.

Over 2000 people are listed in the credits and since I can’t call out everyone, I want to focus on a group of people that don’t always get the credit they deserve.

Team QA, team localisation, team customer support, team operations, team publishing, team play testers, and every other developer at Larian, BG3 wouldn’t exist without you and you all deserve to be very proud of this.

I want to dedicate this award to the friends and family members we lost during development including Jim, our lead cinematic animator who passed away last month and personally to my father who passed away the week before we launched our early access campaign.

You don’t get to make something like BG3 if you don’t have the support from the people around you. Personally, I really want to thank 5 special people, a crazy dog and a one-eyed cat for sticking with me.

Big shout out also to our localization partners and @PitStopTweets who had to use every corner of their building to record and performance capture what was an insane number of lines.

To our actors – you did great. I hope our paths will cross again in the future and your agents will remain their usual reasonable selves. :)

I also want to thank @Wizards_DnD and specifically the DnD team for giving us carte blanche. I’m really sorry to hear so many of you were let go. It’s a sad thing to realize that of the people who were in the original meeting room, there’s almost nobody left. I hope you all end up well.

There are many more partners I want to thank. We asked much of you all, but you delivered and without your efforts, BG3 would not be what it is.

I want to end with a story of a conversation I had a long time ago with a publisher. He told me, luckily for them, games are driven by idealism. He meant it in an exploitative way but he was right.

Games are a unique art form, as important as books, music or movies. Many developers, myself included, make games because they love seeing others engage with their creations in a way only games can offer.

They don’t care that much about the money made beyond it being the fuel they need to create new and better games. It’s worth reminding everyone that fuel is but a means, not a goal. Whereto and how we journey are what matter and what we remember.

And aren’t there some incredibly important points in that speech that would have been great to hear on the biggest and most important stage for the industry?

It seems like Geoff Keighley thinks that the mere shadow of Hollywood fame is something to be craved and gives value to his show and that may not be wrong when it comes to garnering the attention of the mainstream, but is it worth sacrificing words like Wincke’s for? Clearly not.