During PC Gamer's PC Gaming Show 2019 event at E3 2019, game developer Larian Studios took the stage to share more details about Baldur's Gate 3, the long-awaited sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed PC game series of all time.
Studio founder and creative director Swen Vincke, and Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) creative Director Mike Mearls, discussed what the two companies have been doing together for the past two years of the game's development. Namely, they've been playing lots of D&D together – the 45-year-old tabletop role-playing game (RPG) on which the Baldur's Gate franchise is based.
In particular, we know now that Baldur's Gate 3 will be based on the latest rule set for D&D, known popularly as “5th Edition,” which launched via new books back in late 2014. This is especially interesting considering the open-ended and lightweight nature of that rule set in comparison to 2nd Edition D&D, which is what the first two Baldur's Gate games were based on.
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“To me, it's the crown jewel of D&D computer games,” Mearls said on stage. “It's so exciting to see it come to a new generation of gamers. It's so important to the D&D franchise as a whole.”
Tied in tightly with 5th Edition D&D
“So, we started with the Player's Handbook, and we ported as much as we could to the video game,” Vincke said.
When pressed, Vincke elaborated that Larian Studios used the 5th Edition D&D Players Handbook as the source material for the Baldur's Gate 3 gameplay systems. However, Vincke did note that not every aspect of 5th Edition D&D will make it into the game, as many mechanics get lost in the translation.
Despite all that, Vincke presented an in-game scenario that sounds as if it would be impossible in most video game RPGs of today.
“Let's say we get into a fight because you asked me a question and I don't like it, and I want to grab a chair, set it on fire and throw it at your head, we need to add a system to the game to make that possible,” Vincke said.
However, it appears that Baldur's Gate 3 will be tied in even more tightly with the tabletop RPG. Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus, a new module for the tabletop RPG coming this September, will serve as a prequel story to Baldur's Gate 3 on the PC.
This is a levels 1st through 13th campaign involving an adventure into the first layer of the Nine Hells in the D&D setting's Forgotten Realms, a story that will prime players for the Baldur's Gate 3 game. It may well be the first time a tabletop RPG module has served as a prequel for an attached video game.
As for when we can expect to play Baldur's Gate 3, Vincke simply stated, “When it's ready.”
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