The Baidurs Gate 3 series is one of the most acclaimed and influential role-playing game franchises in video game history. Developed by BioWare and published by Interplay Entertainment, the original Baldur’s Gate was released in 1998 for PC. The setting was a dungeon in the Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting and used an isometric perspective with pausable real-time combat, allowing players to control a customized protagonist and up to five companions on an epic journey.
Baldur’s Gate received critical acclaim upon release and is considered a definitive RPG experience. Its success led to the development of Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn in 2000, which improved upon the original in almost every way. Shadows of Amn is considered by many RPG fans and critics to be one of the greatest games ever made.
After the release of Baldur’s Gate II’s expansion Throne of Bhaal in 2001, the series went dormant for over 15 years. Fans clamored for a new entry in the series, leading to the eventual announcement of Baldur’s Gate III in 2019. Developed by Larian Studios instead of BioWare, Baldur’s Gate III aims to recapture the magic of the originals while advancing the genre.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is developed and published by Larian Studios, the Belgian video game developer behind the Divinity series of role-playing games.
Larian Studios was founded in 1996 and first found success with the Divinity franchise, starting with Divine Divinity in 2002. After the release of Divinity II in 2009, the studio began working on their critically acclaimed Divinity.
Original Sin games. The first Original Sin launched in 2014 and became a hit, selling over 1 million copies. Its sequel, Divinity: Original Sin 2, arrived in 2017 and cemented Larian as a premier RPG developer.
Following their success with Divinity, Larian signed a deal with Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast in 2016 to create a new game set in the iconic Baldur’s Gate universe. This marked Larian’s first time working with a licensed property.
Larian brought their expertise in tactical combat and reactive storytelling honed from the Divinity games to Baldur’s Gate 3. They built the game using their own engine and tools to deliver large-scale environments and detailed graphics. The early access launch in October 2020 marked the return of the Baldur’s Gate series after nearly 20 years.
Setting and Story
Baldur’s Gate 3 is set in the Forgotten Realms, the beloved Dungeons & Dragons fantasy world. The game takes place around 100 years after the events of Baldur’s Gate 2 and continues the legendary saga.
The story follows a new cast of characters who have been infected with mind flayers’ parasitic tadpoles that threaten to transform them into mind flayers. The game opens with the characters held prisoner on an illithid nautiloid ship that crash lands into the city of Baldur’s Gate.
As the characters fight to understand their condition and search for a cure, they become embroiled in mysteries and intrigue surrounding the city. A major plotline involves a sinister scheme by the Absolute, a cult worshipping the dead god of murder, that aims to transform Baldur’s Gate into a citadel of the undead.
Fans of previous Baldur’s Gate games will recognize some returning locations like the city itself, the mysterious island of Gryphon’s Roost, and parts of the Sword Coast. The game builds on lore established in earlier titles but features a mostly new cast and storyline accessible even to those new to the series.
Gameplay and Mechanics
Baldur’s Gate 3 is based on the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition ruleset, bringing the beloved tabletop roleplaying game to life in a single-player and multiplayer video game. Combat and gameplay mechanics adhere closely to the D&D source material, with dice rolls and ability checks driving many interactions.
As an RPG, players choose a character class, customize their abilities, and level up as they adventure. Classes like Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, and Wizard offer unique playstyles, while races provide special traits. During combat, positioning, actions, and dice rolls determine the outcome, requiring strategic thinking. The gameplay captures the tense, tactical combat of D&D, where every move matters.
Party members serve specific roles in and out of combat. Fighters excel at frontline melee attacks. Rogues deal massive damage through sneak attacks. Spellcasters like Wizards devastate groups of enemies with area-of-effect spells. Meanwhile, Clerics heal, buff allies, and wield divine magic. Coordinating your party’s strengths is crucial to overcoming difficult encounters.
Beyond combat, dialogue and ability checks also rely on dice rolls, randomizing successes and failures. Persuasion, investigation, perception – your stats and dice rolls determine the results. This creates an authentic tabletop RPG experience driven by chance. Overall, Baldur’s Gate 3 transforms D&D 5th edition rules into an immersive, strategic video game prized by fans.
Baldur’s Gate 3 features a cast of unique and memorable characters that players can interact with.
Playable Classes and Races
Players can choose from several classic Dungeons & Dragons classes and races when creating their customized protagonist. Class options include Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Warlock and Wizard. Available races include Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling and Tiefling. Each class and race provides different bonuses and abilities, allowing for a wide range of playstyles and roleplaying opportunities.
In addition to the protagonist, players recruit up to two companions to join their party. Companion options feature pre-made characters with their own personalities, backstories and combat capabilities to complement the main character’s build. Companions include shadowy rogue Astarion, battle cleric Shadowheart and Wyll the bladesinger mage, among others.
Baldur’s Gate 3 has a roster of memorable non-player characters that drive the narrative and interact with players. These include:
- Gale – An affable wizard researching magical artifacts who can become a companion. Gale has a mysterious past and unique magical abilities.
- Lae’zel – A proud warrior of the githyanki race who serves as a ruthless but loyal companion. She plays a key role in the story’s mind flayer invasion plotline.
- Volo – An eccentric explorer and author who acts as a quest giver. Volo provides insights into the world and its lore.
- Zevlor – The gruff chieftain of the tiefling Druid Grove settlement that comes under attack. He reluctantely allies with the players against invading forces.
- Minthara – A manipulative priestess of the Absolute who tries to bring the players over to the evil cult’s side.
With plenty of classes, races and NPCs to interact with, Baldur’s Gate 3 offers deep roleplaying potential and storytelling. The vivid characters make the adventure come alive.
Baldur’s Gate 3 features a variety of stunning and immersive environments for players to explore. As an open world RPG, the game allows players to travel across several key regions of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons.
The world design focuses on creating a sense of place, with environments that feel grounded and realistic. Each area has its own unique architecture, culture, and landscapes. Major locations include the city of Baldur’s Gate itself, the mysterious village of the Githyanki, ancient ruins, and dangerous wilderness areas.
Baldur’s Gate showcases the massive scale achievable in modern games. The city sprawls across multiple districts, with elaborate buildings, tangled back alleys, and a lived-in quality. Wilderness zones like the swamps and forests feel lush and naturalistic. Interiors like temples and mansions are intricately detailed.
Visually, the environments take advantage of modern graphics to create stunning vistas and set pieces.
Volumetric lighting, detailed textures, and advanced water simulation all help the environments feel more immersive. Special attention was paid to creating dynamic weather and day-night cycles that bring the environments to life.
The vast scale of the world, attention to detail, and advanced graphics allow Baldur’s Gate 3 to truly transport players to the Realm of Dungeons & Dragons like never before. Exploring exhilarating environments is one of the highlights of the game.
Baldur’s Gate 3 has received generally positive reviews since its early access release in October 2020, though there are some critiques of its current unfinished state.
Many reviewers praised the game’s deep roleplaying systems, tactical combat, expansive world, and faithful adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition rules. The visuals and animations also garnered acclaim for their high level of detail and cinematic flair. Baldur’s Gate 3 successfully modernizes the classic RPG franchise according to most.
The writing and voice acting earned positive marks for bringing characters to life. Reviewers found themselves connecting emotionally with party members through gaining their trust and loyalty. The origin stories make companions feel three-dimensional.
However, some common complaints involved technical issues and missing content. As an unfinished early access game, glitches and performance problems affected enjoyment for some. The available content only covers Act 1 with more acts to come later.
Many players expressed disappointment in the lack of classes, races, spells, and locations so far. The full game promises much more content and scope. There is also critique on the difficulty with some finding combat too punishing on standard mode.
Overall, critics and fans responded well to Baldur’s Gate 3 but wish to see more content, polish, and balancing as it nears completion. The strong foundation has players excited for the final game. If it fulfills its potential, it could become a worthy successor to the legendary Baldur’s Gate 2.
Baldur’s Gate 3 has had a significant impact on the RPG genre and the gaming industry as a whole. As the long-awaited sequel to the beloved Baldur’s Gate series, it was one of the most highly anticipated games in recent years.
Upon its early access release in October 2020, Baldur’s Gate 3 sold over 1 million copies in its first week, setting records for an early access game. It quickly became one of the top selling and most played games on Steam and other platforms. This demonstrates the enduring popularity of the Baldur’s Gate franchise and the demand for high quality narrative RPGs.
With its success, Baldur’s Gate 3 has helped spark a resurgence of classic RPG mechanics and gameplay styles. Its turn-based combat and emphasis on storytelling and character development harken back to the genre’s roots. This has influenced other developers to create similar RPGs grounded in rich stories, choice-driven narratives, and strategic combat.
In addition, Larian Studios’ ambitious efforts to translate Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition rules into a video game have pushed the boundaries of digital roleplaying. Baldur’s Gate 3 shows the potential for deep tabletop-style RPG mechanics in a modern video game. This could shape the development of future RPGs and game adaptations of pen-and-paper systems.
Overall, Baldur’s Gate 3 has played a key role in revitalizing the classic computer RPG genre. Its critical and commercial success demonstrates that narrative-focused RPGs with intricate systems have a place in today’s gaming landscape. The game has left a definitive mark on the industry and will likely continue inspiring future generations of RPGs.
Expansions and Updates
Baldur’s Gate 3 has seen continual support and improvements since its early access release in 2020. Larian Studios has implemented several major updates and patches, integrating player feedback and fixing bugs and issues. Some of the most substantial updates have added new classes, races, companions, quests and quality of life improvements.
Larian plans to continue enhancing Baldur’s Gate 3 significantly before its full launch. The developers have outlined plans for adding more companions, classes, spells, environments and quests. Cutscenes, cinematics, voice acting and polish are planned areas of focus as well.
Larian has also discussed their post-launch support plans, with intentions for paid DLC expansions after version 1.0. Potential expansions may include new adventures, companions, romances, classes and subclasses. The developers plan to support Baldur’s Gate 3 with new content for years after launch, similar to their approach with Divinity: Original Sin 2.
While an official timeline has not been announced, Larian aims to release Baldur’s Gate 3 version 1.0 within 2023. The team remains committed to meeting fan expectations and not rushing the game out prematurely. After full release, Larian can focus their efforts on expansions to enhance replayability and build on the launch content.
The future of the Baidurs Gate franchise remains uncertain after the release of Baidurs Gate 3. With the success of Baidurs Gate 3, speculation is rampant about potential sequels or future games in the series.
Larian Studios has not officially confirmed plans for a Baidurs Gate 4 or beyond. However, the game leaves room for the story to continue, leading fans to theorize on what could come next. Many hope to see the adventure pick up where it left off, exploring the next chapter with the same characters and relationships. There is also interest in seeing the narrative branch off in new directions with fresh stories set in the same world.
If Larian does opt to develop a sequel, it likely wouldn’t release for several years given the long development cycles of these large roleplaying games. Some fans impatiently await news of Baidurs Gate 4 entering production, while others are content knowing Larian will take their time to deliver a quality product.
Beyond direct sequels, there is also anticipation around the possibility of spin-off games. The rich lore of Baidurs Gate provides ample material to explore different characters, locations, and time periods outside the main sequential games. Potential spin-off ideas suggested by fans include a prequel centered on key backstory events, a mobile or side game following secondary characters, or standalone adventures set in the same fantasy universe.
For now, the future of Baidurs Gate remains purely in the realm of speculation and wishful thinking. But with an engaged fanbase and seemingly limitless story potential, there’s hope the series has many more chapters still to come. Larian Studios has proven themselves as worthy stewards of the Baidurs Gate name, making devotees eager to keep exploring this immersive world.