Baldur's Gate 3: A Comprehensive Overview
Baldur’s Gate 3, the RPG set in the Forgotten Realms, is set to fully release this August. The game has been available as an early access release since October 2020 and has been wildly popular among fans, with 70,000 concurrent players on Steam on its first day. The early access only contains the first chapter of the game, making up approximately 25 hours of gameplay, depending on your character and play style. Whether you played the game when it first entered early access or have been eagerly awaiting the full launch, there is a lot to learn. In this article, we cover all the details on the expected release window, the latest trailer, available classes and races, and more.
The developer behind Baldur’s Gate 3 is Larian Studios, a Belgian video game developer and publisher founded in 1996. Larian Studios has developed dozens of games over the years, with a focus on role-playing video games. The company is best known for developing the Divinity series, another turn-based role-playing game series.
Baldur’s Gate 3 series
Baldur's Gate is a role-playing franchise released under the Dungeons & Dragons video game license. The games take place in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting of the game.
The series launched in 1998 with Baldur’s Gate. Its sequel, Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, came out in 2000, and an expansion pack, Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, was released in 2001 that continued the overarching storyline.
The first Baldur’s Gate is commonly regarded as one of the significant contributors to the RPG revival of the late 1990s, alongside Diablo in 1996 and Fallout in 1997. Baldur’s Gate introduced the Infinity Engine, which served as a basis for several other isometric role-playing games, and popularized the “real-time-with-pause” combat system, which enables tactical real-time combat with the option to pause the game to give detailed instructions to characters. This combat system has since been implemented in several party-based Western RPGs.
Baldur's Gate storyline
Baldur’s Gate 3 takes place 125 years after the events of Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, so it is set long after the initial games in the series. Picking up on the road between the cities of Baldur’s Gate and Elturel, characters are placed in the quintessential Forgotten Realms D&D setting along the Sword Coast. We can assume that we will eventually reach the titular city of Baldur’s Gate, although it does not yet feature in the early access version of the game.
Baldur’s Gate 3 can be seen as more of a spiritual successor to the previous installments, as it so far only contains a few references to the original games and does not directly follow on from the events of the previous storyline; however, Larian Studios have confirmed that there will be connections to both other games, especially as you move forward to later chapters.
Your main character, regardless of what species and class you choose, will initially find that they have been infected by a parasitic creature known as a Mind Flayer that is threatening to make you its slave and that has already done so to most of the population. Your first priority will be to find a way to rid yourself of this wormy nuisance, but you will quickly find that you are drawn into the stories and tribulations of a wide cast of other characters, too.
Baldur’s Gate 3 classes and races
Baldur’s Gate 3 features a detailed character creator that you can use to customize the appearance of your protagonist. Players can select the race, sub-race, class, background, and more for their character. Larian Studios claims to have scanned “over 40 people of different ages and ethnicity” for Baldur’s Gate 3. This means that players will only be able to pick from a handful of faces for each race, but each face will be lifelike in a way that can be hard to capture in a more robust character creator. The playable classes in Baldur’s Gate 3 are based on the D&D core rulebook and are as follows:
Players can also select from any one of the following eleven races to play as:
DragonbornTHowever, players can also forgo the customization route entirely, opting instead to use one of five premade origin characters. These characters each have their own backstory that influences how the game plays out.
Baldur's Gate gameplay mechanics
Although Baldur’s Gate 3 adapts the D&D 5th edition rulebook, which has more than 200 pages of numbers, stats, and rules, the game streamlines many of the processes, doing a lot of the math for you and sorting out how the world will react while you focus on managing your party and planning your next moves.
Outside of combat, you are not restricted to turn-based actions; you can roam freely, controlling a character from either overhead or third-person perspective by pointing-and-clicking with the mouse. As you might in pen-and-paper D&D, you can speak to a staggering amount of NPCs, take quests, slay beasts, pick pockets, and just about anything else you might want to do in this responsive world.
There are a bunch of companions to potentially join your party, filling key roles like support mage or tanky warrior, all with their own personalities and backstories to discover.
Baldur’s Gate 3 splits skill tests into active and passive checks. Active checks make you roll dice on screen for important actions in dialogue or combat. For example, a die is rolled to check if you can successfully lie to someone during a conversation. Passive checks occur when the game checks something without a visible dice roll. For example, if there is a secret door nearby, a passive perception check will occur to see if you notice. If you do, the secret door will appear! If you do not, you go on as if nothing happened. The outcome of passive checks depends on your overall stats rather than the luck of the dice.
Baldur’s Gate 3 has a multiplayer mode, in which up to four players can play in the same party. Players can each follow their own quests or work together to overwhelm enemies as a group. Of course, players can also split up while working towards the same objective.
Baldur's Gate graphics
Larian Studios knew that bringing back the retro, 2D art style from the previous games would not be a good idea for a game coming out in the 2020s. As such, the game uses a new version of the engine running the Divinity titles. While the Divinity games sport a decidedly stylized look, Baldur’s Gate 3 leans more toward realism. All of the environments, from lush forests to ancient dungeons, come to life thanks to the rich, detailed textures the engine generates. The 3D camera also makes it possible to zoom in on each character’s face. The PC system requirements for the game are decidedly light. You will need as a minimum:
- RAM: 8GB
- CPU: Intel Core i5 4690 or AMD FX 8350
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon RX 480
- Storage: 150GB
Baldur’s Gate 3 release date
In an effort to distance the game's release with some of the major titles coming in Fall 2023, Baldur’s Gate 3 will now launch 4 weeks earlier than its initial release date (August 31) and be fully released on August 3, 2023, for PC. Unfortunately, for PlayStation 5 players, the game will be delayed for an unspecified time. An Xbox Series X|S port was also confirmed by Larian to be in development, but it will not be available at launch and will not initially be included in Xbox Game Pass. Nevertheless, make sure to check out the Xbox Game Pass to see why Acer is an official sponsor.
The latest incarnation of Baldur’s Gate offers fans of the Dungeons and Dragon’s game the intricate turn-based roleplaying experience they love. Baldur’s Gate 3 is an expertly-curated virtual D&D campaign that you can spend hundreds of hours playing through.
Ashley is a technology writer who is interested in computers and software development. He is also a fintech researcher and is fascinated with emerging trends in DeFi, blockchain, and bitcoin. He has been writing, editing, and creating content for the ESL industry in Asia for eight years, with a special focus on interactive, digital learning.