Could This Be the Best Baldur's Gate Ever?
Baldur's Gate III

There is going to be another entry in the longstanding Baldur’s Gate series. Entitled Baldur’s Gate III, this game represents the first new entry the series has seen in 15 years, remasters notwithstanding. Already, the game has garnered some much deserved hype but, were I a betting man, I’d wager that this game is going to be even bigger than its predecessors.

Part of the reason for this is, simply, due to the success of the original games, with a special emphasis on the extraordinary Baldur’s Gate II. This game was big for a slew of reasons, one of which is that the game was so tightly and expertly designed. dungeons rewarded curiosity and the game was rife with both implicit and explicit narrative. The combat encounters were also structured in such a way that players were always prepared for the challenge so that even when the game presented significant obstacles to the player, they always felt fair.

Beyond that, the world of the game, which is pulled from the popular Dungeons and Dragons tabletop game, is rich and sinister. Even today, many people who haven’t played the tabletop game know a thing or two about the Forgotten Realms setting thanks to games like Baldur’s Gate. It’s also looking like this next game will continue the tone of the series if its trailer, which graphically depicts the gruesome transformation of a soldier into a psychic, tentacle-faced horror called a mindflayer. It’s fertile ground for storytelling and early glimpses into the game seem to indicate that this terrifying threat will play a significant part in the game.

The game’s developer, Larian Studios, also has a bit of a pedigree for this sort of thing. Which is probably how it earned the coveted privilege of making a game in the famed series. The game Divinity: Original Sin has become a well-loved title in its own right and is a shining example of how refined a fantasy action RPG can be. It isn’t without its similarities to Baldur’s Gate II, either.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that Dungeons and Dragons is experiencing a huge resurgence, thanks to streaming shows like Critical Role and Dice, Camera, Action. The game has proved welcoming to gamers of all stripes, and people’s interest in the stories present within the Forgotten Realms setting is at an all time high. There’s also the possibility that this game can be an opportunity for less social gamers to immerse themselves in this current cultural phenomenon.

Baldur's Gate III

Fittingly, Wizards of the Coast, the publishers of the Fifth Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, has a new book out in 2019. Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus will begin its story by placing characters in the city of Baldur’s Gate, which the company has sometimes referred to as the Gotham City of the Forgotten Realms. Whether the tabletop game brings gamers to Baldur’s Gate III or it is the other way around, these releases undeniably have synergy. Reports even indicated that Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus will serve as a prequel to the game.

I’m already eagerly anticipating the game, and I don’t think I’m alone in my eagerness. I suspect hype will build as more information comes out, and I also suspect that I’ll be hearing a lot about the game from both inside and outside of the Dungeons and Dragons communities I frequent online. The original series, afterall, was a success independent of the tabletop game, so I can’t wait to see what the future holds now that the general public has become so aware of the setting. If we’re lucky, we might even see some expansions and more Dungeons and Dragons video games. There certainly used to be a lot of video game adaptations. What if the future holds a handful of titles that are actually of a decent quality?

Benjamin Maltbie
Benjamin Maltbie

Writing Team Lead
Date: 06/18/2019

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