The creators of Divinity: Original Sin 2 have offered a detailed look at Baldur’s Gate 3 and it already looks absolutely stunning.
Larian Studios has given the first proper preview of Baldur’s Gate 3 and it looks like it could beat their own Divinity: Original Sin 2 to become the best computer role-playing game ever.
Baldur’s Gate 3 was announced last year, as part of the Google Stadia reveal, but until now nothing has been seen of it in the flesh except for a short pre-rendered teaser.
It later became clear that the game would also be released on PC and now it’s confirmed it will enter early access later this year, with a more limited selection of just five pre-made characters (although you can make an infinite number of your own custom ones).
Early access for a story-based role-player is an odd decision but like the Original Sin games, Baldur’s Gate 3 will offer splitscreen co-op for two-players and four-player competitive multiplayer – which probably needs a lot of testing.
As you can see, the graphics are a considerable improvement on anything Larian has done before, with the pre-rendered intro already available to watch in full above. But the in-game graphics are equally impressive, with the ability to zoom in from a traditional top-down view to a face-to-face chat with characters.
Larian are promising a story that will last at least 100 hours, and which will use the official Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. That means 15 races and subraces in total and eight different classes.
The original two Baldur’s Gate games were first released in the late 90s and early 2000s, and for years were considered the definitive example of a Western role-player.
They were amongst BioWare’s first games, but while Dragon Age was nominally intended as a spiritual sequel it’s Larian’s work on the Original Sin series that skews closer in terms of complexity and freedom of choice.
The games are set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, so while there are still orcs and elves the mind flayers – the Lovecraftian-looking things in the intro – are one of the main antagonists of the story.
The most significant change from the original games, beyond the visuals, is that combat is now purely turn-based, rather than being real-time with the ability to pause it (ironically, turn-based gameplay was seen as old-fashioned at the time of the originals).
The combat is similar to the XCOM-esque action of Original Sin but Baldur’s Gate 3 goes further by allowing you to make the entire game turn-based if you want.
The idea is that stealth sequences in particular can be handled more precisely, which is almost a necessity given Baldur’s Gate 3 uses virtual dice rolls for everything, including using conversation skills, so you can never guarantee any action will work and have to constantly think on your feet.
With everything from inter-party romances to a full physics engine promised for the game, Baldur’s Gate 3 looks set to be one of the most important role-playing game releases of modern times.
However, Larian has said it’s unlikely to be released on current generation consoles, with the implication being that it would only come to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
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