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What We Know About Baldur’s Gate 3: Gameplay, Early Access & More

Disclaimer: this feature will be updated periodically as new info gets revealed…

It’s been two decades since the release of Bioware’s Baldur’s Gate 2. Here we are, 20 years later on the cusp of Larian Studio‘s follow-up, Baldur’s Gate 3. Does it look like it retains the mature old-school isometric spirit of the original CRPGs back in the early 2000s?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNY7AEQ59-8&w=560&h=315]

Cool intro aside, we answer some of these questions regarding part 3.

How is Baldur’s Gate 3’s gameplay & combat?

Baldur's Gate 3 2

The original two Baldur’s Gate titles by Bioware were iconic for featuring real-time combat with the ability to pause to give commands. However, the combat in Baldur’s Gate 3 will be entirely turn-based, which is more in the vein of Larian Studios’ previous major title, Divinity Original Sin 2.

The combat is more strategic now, emphasizing positioning and other variables. The turns alternate between groups instead of individuals, which means that players will have to wait for an entire party of enemies to make their move before they can react (or vice versa).

At the beginning of each battle, the player’s party and the enemy’s party will both roll an initiative (sort of like a dice, which is where the Dungeons & Dragons influence can be seen). The party with the higher number will get to move first.

There are also several bonus actions available, which are located on the bottom of the screen. These include Shove, which lets players push enemies off ledges or into pits, and Jump, which lets players leap into the air to reach places with higher altitude.

In addition, players can also Dip their weapon into nearby materials, like a candle to set arrows on fire or a pool of supernatural energy to enhance them. Players can Help allies who have been knocked unconscious by reviving them.

Baldur's Gate 3 3

Outside of combat, players can also use a special turn-based mode to sneak around, position their party members, and manipulate the environment in creative ways that will feel familiar to those who have previously played Divinity Original Sin 2.

Oh, and players can split the party so that several members can be in combat somewhere in the wilderness while the others can be in a nearby town buying supplies. In fact, Larian Studios claims that the entire game can purportedly be played turn-based from the very beginning to end. This would probably lead to some interesting livestreams.

In Baldur’s Gate 3, players will also have to roll a 20-sided dice whenever they attempt to perform a skill check (or luck-based actions/decisions), which comes with an awesome animated sequence to show the dice spinning.

How’s the conversation system like?

Baldur's Gate 5

We won’t mince words: faces are impressively detailed during dialogues and conversations.

While conversations in Divinity Original Sin 2 unfolded mostly through traditional text with an invisible narrator, Baldur’s Gate 3 is clearly taking advantage of its bigger budget and resources.

Taking a cue from games like modern Bioware games or The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the camera will now zoom in onto the talking character for a more cinematic and realistic perspective.

However, they’re still slightly limited, in that players won’t actually see or hear their character when interacting with NPCs. The player’s protagonist will remain silent and reaction-free during these conversations.

It doesn’t matter if players have created their own hero from scratch or chosen one of the Origin characters. The latter will have pre-set personalities and stats with their own branching stories, such as Astarion a High Elf vampire spawn whom Larian Studios CEO Swen Vincke chooses in the gameplay demo during the PAX East reveal.

Conversations in Baldur’s Gate 3 works like this; the other person will talk. When they finish speaking, the camera will then cut to the player for a dialogue option before cutting back to the other person without showing the player’s character speaking.

This is a smart move on Larian’s part. Not having to animate the player’s character and hire even more voice actors for conversations and dialogue means that the extra time and money could be spent and funnelled into other more meaningful content.

Who are the main bad guys in Baldur’s Gate 3?

Baldur's Gate 9

In Baldur’s Gate 3, the focus will be on Mind Flayers, squid-like creatures who control people’s brains using their psionic abilities. They’re the ones featured in the cinematic trailers for the game, who look like Cthulhu spawns.

At the beginning of the game, a Mind Flayer sticks a tiny creature (called a ‘tadpole’ in-game) inside of the eye of the player’s character. The player then learns that they only have seven days to find a healer before the ‘tadpole’ parasite turns them into a Mind Flayer. This is where the story begins.

Where does Baldur’s Gate 3 take place in the timeline?

Baldur's Gate 8

Baldur’s Gate 3 takes place 100 years after the era of the first two games, according to writer Adam Smith (via Kotaku).

In a three-hour preview demo at PAX East, it’s worth noting that there were no references to the first two games, although it has been confirmed that a large part of the game will take place in the city of Baldur’s Gate.

Smith also clarified that a hundred years may be a long time for humans, but that’s not the case for other species. He revealed that there are “factions and places that were deeply affected” from the events of the first two games in Baldur’s Gate 3.

Is Baldur’s Gate 3 going Early Access?

Baldur's Gate 3 1

Yes, just like most Larian Studios games.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is slated to release in Early Access on PC sometime later this year. At launch, players will have access to six classes and five companions, with more companions to be added at a later date.

The classes and archetypes include:

  • Fighter – Battle Master, Eldritch Knight
  • Wizard – Evocation, Abjuration
  • Rogue – Arcane Trickster, Thief
  • Ranger – Hunter, Beast Master
  • Cleric – Life, Light, Trickery
  • Warlock – Fiend, Great One

The companions include:

  • Wyll – Human Warlock
  • Shadowheart – Half-Elf Cleric
  • Lae’zel – Githyanki Fighter
  • Gale – Human Wizard
  • Astarion – High Elf vampire spawn, Rogue

According to writer Adam Smith (via VG247), all of the companions in Baldur’s Gate 3 will be open to romance with both each other and the player. Relationships will be more complex in nature rather than simply giving them gifts or engaging in several conversations and expecting sex in return.

Powered by the Divinity 4.0 Engine, Baldur’s Gate 3 features full performance motion-capture and cinematics, four-player online multiplayer and local co-op split-screen multiplayer for two players.

Players can expect over 100 hours of gameplay in the upcoming full version of the game, with over 15 races (and subraces) and eight classes in total.

Can we see the game in motion?

Yes, you can! Do check out our supercut of Baldur’s Gate 3 gameplay footage to catch all the good bits. You can watch the unabridged presentation below as well.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PctqZ12kz4&w=560&h=315]


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