“The sun shines, and I’m amazed we live to see another day!”
In September of 2017, Larian Studios released Divinity Original Sin 2. While the first title was very well received, it was the sequel that won numerous awards and elevated Larian Studios to the ranks of the elite. This in-turn led to them earning the trust of Wizards of the Coast and thus, the right to develop a game in the Baldur’s Gate universe.
Baldur’s Gate meanwhile, is the definition of a classic, Western RPG. Taking place in the Forgotten Realms setting of the Dungeons & Dragons universe, Baldur’s Gate introduced players to a truly immersive setting. It’s hard to believe it’s been over 20 years since the original released and in case you had forgotten, it (along with its sequel) were also two of the early titles that gave BioWare their legendary reputation (and was co-developed by Black Isle).
But rather than go through the entire history of the Baldur’s Gate series, we’re here to look towards the future. And thankfully for D&D, RPG, and just plain video game fans, Baldur’s Gate 3 is shaping up to be the perfect melding of a classic IP and celebrated developer. As of this writing, it is scheduled to release for PC and Stadia later this year.
Story and Setting
Baldur’s Gate 3 takes place approximately 100 years after the events of Baldur’s Gate 2. To set the stage for the upcoming game, Wizards of the Coast released a tabletop adventure titled “Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus” back in September. The events of Baldur’s Gate 3 take place immediately following the tabletop adventure.
“We are in the Forgotten Realms, a land of many races and multiple divine beings. We know that the world is in turmoil: armies of evil (gnolls, orcs, duergar, goblins, drow, …) rampage along the Sword Coast, and refugees swarm to Baldur’s Gate.
Amid all this chaos, a new cult is on the rise: the cult of the Absolute. Seeking to overthrow the old order, its shadowy network is chipping away at the Forgotten Realms foundations. Baldur’s Gate itself will be the first to fall. That is where we come in: the players. And we’re off to a very inauspicious start indeed.
Out of nowhere, we were kidnapped by mind flayers. A tadpole was put in our heads. We barely survived the crash landing of a nautiloid, and we find ourselves stranded in the middle of an inhospitable wilderness. We discover we have only a few days to get rid of the parasite inside, or we’ll become mind flayers ourselves.
As we desperately seek a cure, we discover the tadpole gives us godlike powers and we find ourselves on the centre stage of a complot hatched by none other than the Dead Three: the gods of Murder, Tyranny, and Death.
Our journey will not only take us back to the legendary city of Baldur’s Gate, but through and beyond the Forgotten Realms. It is a journey of survival: ours, and all of the Forgotten Realms.”
RPG Mechanics True to D&D
According to Larian, Baldur’s Gate 3 will be “The most authentic D&D RPG game ever created”. The studio is going to great lengths to ensure the game is true to the lore and rules of the D&D universe. To date, they have promised the following.
- Hundreds of locations true to the lore, spanning over 100 hours of gameplay.
- Choose from 15 D&D races & sub-races and 8 classes (with more to be announced).
- Build relationships with your companions in your ever-evolving campsite.
- Roll the dice to determine your fate in a story with countless permutations.
- Speak with the dead to learn new facts and uncover secrets.
- Switch to turn-based mode to solve puzzles or sneak up on characters.
- Manipulate light and darkness for non-binary style stealth action.
- The next generation of turn-based combat featuring hundreds of D&D spells and actions.
- Unlimited freedom to explore and experiment.
Creating a Next-Gen RPG Experience
Baldur’s Gate 3 looks to expand what we expect of a Western RPG. Larian is accomplishing this by using their most advanced technology and re-thinking the depth of engagement for players in the world around them. Here are just a few things you can expect from the title.
- Built using the new Divinity 4.0 engine with AAA production values.
- Cinematic dialogs, all performance captured across 1.5 million words.
- Unparalleled depth and replayability, whether in single player or multiplayer.
- Expanded Attitude System to leave your mark on the world.
- Dynamic Music that shifts in tone to the context of a battle, situation, and story.
- Layered Crime system that holds you accountable for your actions and affects your reputation.
Maybe most notably, is that Baldur’s Gate 3 can be a shared experience. The title will support 4 player online co-op as well as split-screen couch co-op for 2 players.
Development and Gameplay
About a week ago, Larian gave us our first look at some of the development work that is going on behind the scenes.
Now, with PAX East on-going, we finally received our first true look at the gameplay and cinematics. In case you haven’t kept up with the latest info, don’t worry we have you covered. First, here is the incredible opening cinematic.
Now if you follow SG, you know that we don’t republish videos from developers/publishers as our own. Sadly, Larian is yet to release an official video from the PAX Q&A and gameplay demo. With that in mind, you can find the full presentation via the Gamespot video below (which we will update if Larian releases their own).
Finally, we know everyone loves high-res screenshots and wallpapers. Here is a gallery of 31 official screenshots in native 4K. Enjoy!