After decades of waiting, a brand new Baldur’s Gate game is finally on the horizon, 20 years following the last main entry. Today fans got some interesting new tidbits about the continuation of the Bhaalspawn saga.
Last week, we saw about an hour’s worth of gameplay during a Larian Studios livestream that basically looked like Divinity Original: Sin in a D&D form. While that presentation, and our pre-PAX East preview, showed some very promising footage, it also left some major questions and revealed a number of bugs that need to be worked out.
To clear up some of the lingering questions surrounding the game, BG3‘s creative director, producer, lead systems designer, senior writer, and writing director took to Reddit for a candid AMA.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Main Character and Companions
The previous live presentation left it unclear as whether we’ll be able to re-spec companions, and unfortunately, that hasn’t been answered with the latest Ask Me Anything session.
If you liked the origin system from Divinity: Original Sin 2, it will return with Baldur’s Gate 3, and any Origin character you don’t pick can be recruited as a companion to explore their backstory.
The main character can recruit mercenaries outside of the normal companion cast, which it seems like will have a connection to the new campfire system that was briefly shown in the livestream.
In terms of character creation, there will be no sliders, but players can freely change the face type, hair, facial hair, and skin color for the main character. That character is expected to go from Level 1 to Level 10 across the full launch, although that may change.
Unique dialog options are set to be included based on race and class, with some interesting options that may bring to mind hiding your undead nature as Fane in Divinity: Original Sin 2.
Here’s a pertinent quote straight from Writing Director, Jan Van Dosselaer:
As you would expect, a drow will get different options compared to a Paladin of Tyr, for instance. For sure, the world will react to your actions, and the choices you make, since these will in some way define you.
For example, Astarion is a vampire spawn and when you play him, you can try and hide this from the party. But if they find out — because, well, you might try to bite them as they sleep — they will obviously be shocked, and unless you manage to handle the situation with the necessary tact and diplomacy, you may just find you’re left behind companionless.
We have more diversity in creation than in any other game we’ve done before. You’ll be able to mix and match a wide variety of defaults, to create something unique.
While interacting with those various companions, the main character will travel along the banks of the Chionthar to the city of Baldur’s Gate. Other areas are likely to be included, but they haven’t been revealed yet.
The iconic Forgotten Realms mainstay Marco Volo will also appear at some point, and yes, he will have his beard, which apparently bugged out in a previous preview look.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is primarily as a turn-based experience. That’s not just to stick closely to the D&D rules, but also to be utilized for a potential multiplayer mode down the line.
5th edition character feats will be included in the full launch, but they will not be immediately available at the Early Access launch. It’s unclear, at this point, how long players will have to wait for those additions.
All classes from 5e Player’s Handbook will be included at full launch, including the various paths and subclasses. In Early Access, only these classes will initially be available, however:
Multiclassing is set to be included after Early Access ends, and it will closely follow the 5e DnD base rules. Most D&D fans probably already know what to expect from any given class, but there will be some changes to the Ranger class, according to the Lead Systems Designer, Nick Pechenin:
As for the ranger, we will be implementing alternative variants of favourite enemy and natural explorer features that are not limited to specific monster and location types.
When we were working on these changes, we went to WotC for their approval and it turned out that we were completely on the same page.
Van Dosselaer added:
Alignment may carry less weight in 5th edition, but all companions definitely have their own moral compass.
Some are fine with evil and underhanded deeds, others are not — and they’ll be vocal about their approval or opposition to the decisions that you make. It’s absolutely possible to take actions that cross the line for someone and he or she will leave the party, or even decide to attack you.
In most cases, a character can take one action, reach their movement speed, and potentially employ a free bonus action in a turn. Reaction rules are due to appear in the game as well, although not in the Early Access release. Players can eventually tailor which reactions they want to enable, like disabling an attack of opportunity to enable a reaction to cast the Shield spell.
Grappling, which is usually a point of contention in any iteration of D&D or Pathfinder, will not be included at all.
Standard magic items are due for varying levels of overhaul from minor to major to make more sense in the context of the Baldur’s Gate 3 story and for game balance purposes. We don’t have any specific examples of how those items will change yet, however.
Finally, Larian made a point of again referencing the vertical aspect of Baldur’s Gate 3 gameplay. It appears using the environment and taking the high ground will be critical to overcoming some of the more difficult combat encounters. On the flip side, enemy opponents will also utilize vertical movement and larger areas to avoid getting wiped out quickly with area effect spells like fireball.
You won’t need to worry about losing voice acting if you don’t pick a pre-generated character. Custom starting characters will have voice acting and players will choose a voice as part of character creation.
Spells will also come with corresponding voice acting like in previous D&D games. Latin spell words are currently being recorded but weren’t ready for the livestream presentation.
Unfortunately, there will be no GM (or more accurately, DM) mode from the get-go, but it seems like it may be added down the line. Here’s what Executive Producer, David Walgrave, had to say to get you salivating at the prospect of putting together your own 5th edition adventures:
When we built GM mode for Original Sin, we were of course thinking of D&D and how long it had been since anyone had made such a mode. So yeah it’d make a lot of sense, but we’re focusing on developing the game first at the moment…
More to Come
We didn’t get answers about voice dubbing in other languages, or the big question about console releases before the AMA ended. You can bet there will be more info leaked out in the coming weeks, though.
For now, we know that Baldur’s Gate 3 is coming to Early Access later in 2020 on PC and Google Stadia. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for additional Baldur’s Gate 3 details coming soon!