In context: Old school PC gamers will undoubtedly be familiar with the Baldur's Gate franchise. These games are often considered the grandfathers of the modern party-based CRPG genre, and for good reason. Well-known titles like Divinity: Original Sin 2, Pillars of Eternity, and even Pathfinder: Kingmaker wouldn't exist in their current state if it weren't for the success of Baldur's Gate 1 & 2.
Now, years after the Baldur's Gate franchise seemed to be all but dead (aside from a couple remasters), there's a true sequel in the works. Larian, the team behind the fantastic Divinity: Original Sin 2 (and other Divinity titles), is developing Baldur's Gate 3. The game was first announced with a simple (but gruesome) cinematic trailer back in June, but we didn't know much about it at the time.
Everything from its combat system -- the original Baldur's Gate games implemented real-time-with-pause combat -- to its visual style and gameplay mechanics were, and still are, up in the air. However, last month, Larian released a teaser stating that "something is brewing," and advised fans to stay tuned for a mysterious February 27 announcement.
Today, the nature of that announcement was unveiled: on February 27 at PAX East, Larian will drop the first official gameplay video for Baldur's Gate 3. We're not sure how much ground the video will cover, but it will be our first look at what the studio has in mind for the direction of this franchise.
The gameplay demo will be streamed live on YouTube at 3:30 PM ET for those watching at home, but PAX East attendees can also visit the Baldur's Gate 3 booth to see it first-hand. Larian promises that the game will be a "truly next-generation" RPG with over 100 hours of content and all of the mechanical depth that comes with that. Of course, that's not to say the game will be standard, predictable RPG fare; the developers say fans should expect "many surprises."
As part of its latest announcement, Larian gave us a brief idea of what to expect from the story of Baldur's Gate 3 via the following description:
You are burdened with a great power devouring you from within. How far down the path of darkness will you let it take you? The fate of Faerûn is on your party's shoulders. Will you carry it to salvation, or descend with it to hell?
There are many ways to interpret that relatively vague story blurb, but the core takeaway seems to be that the player will be tasked with battling against some internal force. Whether that force is spiritual (demonic possession?), psychological, or physical (some sort of mind-bending parasite -- a Mind flayer, perhaps?) remains to be seen.
If Baldur's Gate 3 is anything like its predecessors (and other Larian games), gamers will undoubtedly be forced to make some pretty tough moral decisions, and this "great power" may well try to influence them. Hopefully, we'll have some of these details clarified in just a couple of short weeks when PAX East rolls around.