The world reveal of Baldur's Gate 3 gameplay at PAX East revealed some major changes to the classic franchise formula.

Baldur’s Gate 3 Gameplay Looks Like Divinity: Original Sin in D&D Form

The world reveal of Baldur's Gate 3 gameplay at PAX East revealed some major changes to the classic franchise formula.

Two decades after we last explored Amn and concluded the Bhaalspawn saga, a new Baldur’s Gate game is finally on the horizon. Months after its initial announcement, today we got to see the very first Baldur’s Gate 3 gameplay at a live PAX East presentation from developer Larian Studios.

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The video showed off combat with intellect devourers and human opponents, using persuasion skills in combat, and a tantalizing peak at the overall storyline.

If you were a fan of Bastards & Bloodlines back in the 3rd Edition days, you’ll like the story direction going on here, as the character shown in the gameplay reveal is both a vampire spawn and infected with a mindflayer tadpole.

It seems like the first segment of the game revolves around the party racing against time to find a healer before turning into illithids. While the mind flayer element seems set in stone, the vampire spawn may have been a character creation choice, so that element may not be required in your playthrough.

While there was plenty to get fans of Baldur’s Gate excited, things did not go completely smoothly in the live presentation.

Some of the faces at this stage of development look really wonky, but that was the least of Larian’s problems. The presentation got off to an embarrassing start with a total party wipe followed by a save game bug forcing a restart.

The Larian rep then proceeded to accidentally stab a party member when he meant to move an object (woops!), and subsequently got stuck in an infinite loop of climbing up and down a ladder during combat. 

Clearly, there’s some kinks to be worked out before Baldur’s Gate 3 is ready for release, although there’s still time ahead of launch for more polish. 

Bugs aside, the real question from fans of the Baldur’s Gate series has been just how much of Larian’s trademark style is going to remain in the gameplay. After watching the presentation, it’s obvious that BG 3 is very clearly based off Divinity: Original Sin and will play in a very similar way.

We’ve shifted strongly away from the Infinity Engine style of the previous games. Combat is turned based, rather than real time with pause, and battles make extensive use of elements. As with Divinity: Original Sin 2, you can expect to utilize fire on the ground to create fire-based attacks, as well as aim ranged attacks at explosive objects in the environment.

Various large wood objects can be moved to create obstacles or used for climbing to a better vantage point, and that’s a change with some interesting applications. We learned that the Feather Fall spell has been added in, which is something that’s been missing from nearly all D&D video games up to this point.

The sneak skill is also handled in a very similar fashion to Divinity: Original Sin, although thankfully, you don’t turn into a fake rock or bucket when sneaking (although expect that to be one of the first mods to show up).

The only major change we’ve seen is the camp system where you go to engage in dialog with party members, expand your belongings, and eventually get camp followers. It’s unknown if there will be any sort of stronghold system like with Baldur’s Gate 2, but the camp system may very well be taking its place.

We recently previewed parts of the game and though the preview was hands-off, what we saw was exciting and more polished than what was shown at PAX East.

We don’t have a firm release date yet, other than an overall 2020 launch window. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for additional news on Baldur’s Gate 3, as well as the seven total D&D video games currently in development!

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Ty Arthur
Ty splits his time between writing horror fiction and writing about video games. After 25 years of gaming, Ty can firmly say that gaming peaked with Planescape Torment, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a soft spot for games like Baldur's Gate, Fallout: New Vegas, Bioshock Infinite, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. He has previously written for GamerU and MetalUnderground. He also writes for PortalMonkey covering gaming laptops and peripherals.