‘Baldur’s Gate III’: all you need to know about the release date, plot, news and more

After 20 long years, it's time to head back to the Forgotten Realms

Baldur’s Gate III is real and it is on the way. It’s been 20 years since players last explored the Forgotten Realms, but the beloved series is finally returning – an early beta may be on the cards this year. The upcoming instalment of Baldur’s Gate will be the first in the series to be fully 3D, feature brand-new game mechanics and introduce a fresh saga to the franchise.

Eager to know more? Scroll on for everything we know so far about Baldur’s Gate III.

What’s the latest news?

  • Larian Studios rolls back Baldur’s Gate III patch due to issues with saves
  • Baldur’s Gate III is available in Early Access now
  • Larian Studios reveals races and classes for ‘Baldur’s Gate III’ early access

Baldur's Gate III all you need to know
Credit: Larian Studios

What is Baldur’s Gate III?

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Baldur’s Gate III is the third instalment of the RPG series Baldur’s Gate, which is based on the Forgotten Realms campaign setting from the pen-and-paper game Dungeons & Dragons. The series, which launched in 1998 for the PC, was followed in 2000 by Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows Of Amn.

The series was revived in 2012 with the launch of an enhanced edition of the original Baldur’s Gate, developed by Overhaul Games. It was then followed by a remaster of Baldur’s Gate II the following year. The latest Baldur’s Gate release is Siege Of Dragonspear, an expansion of Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition.

In 2014, Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition was notably ported over to the iPad and Mac. PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions followed, in 2019.

Who is developing Baldur’s Gate III?

Baldur’s Gate III is being developed and will be published by Larian Studios, which is best known for its work on the RPG franchise Divinity. The company takes over the reins from original developer BioWare and now-defunct publisher Black Isle Studios.

When will Baldur’s Gate III be released?

The early access version of Baldur’s Gate III was officially released on October 6. In a raving four-and-a-half star review of the game, NME’s Jordan Oloman called the game “an ambitiously built, well-written tale of adventure framed by lovable companions and stunning fidelity”.

In late September, Larian Studios further delayed the early access release of Baldur’s Gate III to October 6. The studio noted that it required more time to fine-tune stability issues and localisation problems.

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“We’re nearly there but we have a few unexpected delays, and we still have some stability issues we’re sifting through,” Larian Studios noted in a statement. “Because of the delays, our translations are also later than expected and we want to ensure localisation for the announced early access languages is strong enough for our international fans to have a good time.”

On September 3, Larian Studio director of publishing Michael Douse revealed that Baldur’s Gate III would cost US$59.99 when it launches into early access. However, he emphasised that fans shouldn’t “feel pressured to buy it during [early access]. It’s not going to disappear, and neither are we”.

During a Panel From Hell livestream on August 19, Larian Studios announced that Baldur’s Gate III would finally enter early access on September 30. The developer also outlined what players can expect to find in the early access version when it launches.

In early August, Larian Studios revealed that Baldur’s Gate III will miss its planned early access launch window. It noted that the game “won’t hit August”, but did not that its early access release is “just around the corner”.

The company then stated that it will be announcing a new release date and other “big news” during a Panel From Hell showcase on August 18. The show will also feature video game journalist Geoff Keighley, Dungeons & Dragons senior story designer Chris Perkins, Larian Studios head Swen Vincke and more.

An official release date for the full version of Baldur’s Gate III has not yet been announced, but the game is scheduled to enter early access in August 2020. However Larian Studios founder Larian Studios has cautioned that the date is just a possibility as the studio’s working-from-home environment – due to the COVID-19 pandemic – has affected development.

Back in April, Vincke recently told The New York Times that an “early access” beta release of the game is on track for release later this year, despite challenges from new work-from-home arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the latest update for Baldur’s Gate III?

Larian Studios released the first-ever Baldur’s Gate III on October 13. It featured a slew of major bug fixes and improvements to help with overall stability, ranging from leveling issues, progression fixes and more. “Fewer glitches, better stability and more polish,” the developer had stated in the patch notes.

However, the developer rolled back the changes just hours later, after players reported issues with older save files. “Save progression is meant to be retained after applying the patch we launched today,” Larian Studios said.

“We’ve reverted to the previous build while we solve the save issue experienced by some players. Please bear with us, but once reverted you should be able to continue playing. We’ll redeploy the patch when fixed,” it added.

Is there a trailer for Baldur’s Gate III?

Larian Studios first announced Baldur’s Gate III in June 2019 with a trailer that features a Flaming Fist Mercenary stumbling through city streets strewn with bodies, before transforming into a mind flayer. Check it out below.

Earlier this year, the company released a trailer of the game’s opening cinematics. It starts with what appears to be a rogue mind flayer infecting prisoners, which transforms them into mind flayers. The tentacled humanoid then attacks the city of Baldur’s Gate with its nautiloid ship, but is soon chased away by a small crew of dragon-riding githyanki, a race of humanoids which was once enslaved by the mind flayers. The githyanki manage to take down the nautiloid in a snow-covered mountain range.

Check out the cinematic reveal trailer below.

On May 30, Larian Studios released a short 40-second teaser featuring never-before-seen Baldur’s Gate III footage. Along with the trailer, Larian also announced that it would be revealing more about Baldur’s Gate III throughout June, starting with the Guerilla Collective showcase on June 6. Watch the teaser below.

Is the upcoming game the same as Baldur’s Gate III: The Black Hound?

No, the upcoming Baldur’s Gate III has no relation to the cancelled 2003 title Baldur’s Gate III: The Black Hound. The latter was originally being developed by Black Isle Studios as a sequel to Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows Of Amn, but is presumed cancelled after the studio closed down in late 2003.

What is the plot of Baldur’s Gate III going to be?

Baldur’s Gate III takes place about a century after the events of Baldur’s Gate II, and opens with the player-made protagonist searching for a powerful cleric to heal them after being infected by a mind flayer.

Meanwhile, the mind flayers seem to be the game’s main antagonist. Also known as the Illithids, they have “rediscovered the secret of nautiloids”, according to Vincke, and are using it to leave the Underdark and “restore their empire”.

Baldur's Gate III all you need to know
Credit: Larian Studios

Baldur’s Gate III will also be mostly separate from the original games’ Bhaalspawn Saga, where children of Bhaal, the Lord Of Murder, roamed the land. “It’s in living memory for some people [in the game], but most of the people who lived through it, who were very specifically attached to Baldur’s Gate and the Bhaalspawn Saga, most of them are dead,” Adam Smith, a writer on Baldur’s Gate III, told PC World.

However, the upcoming title will still include threads from the original games. “Everything in Baldur’s Gate I and II becomes more and more present as the story goes on,” Smith added. “It’s not gone away. It’s not forgotten and we’re not doing a story which doesn’t account for that.”

Which Dungeons & Dragons edition will Baldur’s Gate III use?

Baldur’s Gate III will be based on the fifth edition of the Dungeons & Dragons rulebook, although modifications have been made while adapting it for a video game. “You miss a lot in D&D – if the dice are bad, you miss. That doesn’t work well in a video game,” Vincke previously told PC Gamer.

“If I do that, you’re going to review it and say it’s shit. Our approach has been implementing it as pure as we can, and then just seeing what works and what doesn’t. Stuff that doesn’t work, we start adapting until it does.”

Baldur's Gate III all you need to know
Credit: Larian Studios

What will the gameplay for Baldur’s Gate III be like?

Baldur’s Gate III stays true to the series’ roots as an RPG which allows players to recruit a small party of adventurers with their own personalities and motivations. Players can also choose between creating their protagonist from scratch or controlling a pre-made character, much like in Divinity: Original Sin II.

Larian Studios has also revealed through a gameplay demo video that exploration in the game will be in real-time while battles will be turn-based. Players would have been able to move party members simultaneously rather than moving them one by one, however this was later changed. Moreover, rolls during a battle will be calculated “behind the scenes” and be shown as a hit chance percentage instead; players can access the numbers through a sidebar.

Players will also be able to reorient the camera in Baldur’s Gate III through the mouse wheel. The game will start off in isometric view, much like its predecessors, but can go into third-person, like in BioWare’s Dragon Age series.

Check out the full gameplay demo video below.

A revamped version of Baldur’s Gate III gameplay was showcased during D&D Live 2020 on June 18. The game will now use an updated system that combines both Dungeons and Dragons’ traditional and side initiative system.

It will follows an order-based approach for battles, like the traditional initiative system. Elements of the side initiative have been brought over to the hybrid system, and allows players to switch between party members who are stacked together in the queue or even combine abilities.

The gameplay demonstration also showed off Inspiration points, which allows players to re-roll a skill check, re-written narrator lines, the stealth mechanic, UI changes and a number of monsters from the Dungeons and Dragons’ bestiary.

In July 2020, Larian Studios released a community update that detailed the aforementioned reworked combat system, as well as the game’s stealth mechanic. The latter is set to play a big part in Baldur’s Gate III, but only if players “want it to be”, Larian noted.

It added that players will be able to switch from exploration to turned-based battle mode in order to make use of stealth to prepare for combat. Moreover, the system also takes lighting into account, “so that even when you are caught in the visibility cones of the enemy, you still have a chance to slip through unseen”.

What classes and races will be available for Baldur’s Gate III?

The early access version of Baldur’s Gate III will launch with six classes: Wizard, Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue and Warlock. However, Larian Studios intends to make all classes from the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition ruleset available when the game is fully released. The remaining include the Barbarian, Bard, Druid, Monk, Paladin and Sorcerer. The studio later detailed all the available class in a community update.

Characters can also be multiclassed in Baldur’s Gate III, according to Vincke during a Reddit AMA session. “Multiclassing rule will follow closely the [fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons],” Vincke said. “On level[ling] up, characters will be able to continue with their current class or choose a new class, provided they meet the requirements.” However, the feature was not seen during the gameplay demo and it is currently unknown if it’ll be available during the early access or at launch.

Baldur's Gate III all you need to know
Credit: Larian Studios

Players can also choose between nine races, and several sub-races, during early access. The usuals such as humans, elves, dwarfs and tieflings are included, of course. Others are the drow and the githyanki, as well as half-elves, half-drows and the halfling. More races are expected to be included, but have yet to be announced.

Will any previous characters appear in Baldur’s Gate III?

Some characters from Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II will appear in the upcoming instalment, Vincke revealed during a Reddit AMA session, although no specific ones have been named.

“There are returning characters, and what happened in [Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II] leads to what happens into [Baldur’s Gate III],” he said. “You won’t necessarily see that at the start of the adventure but you will quickly understand once you get further into the game.”

What platforms will Baldur’s Gate III be available on?

Baldur’s Gate III will be available on PC and Google Stadia at launch. Although no official word has been given for console releases, design producer David Walgrave previously revealed to Eurogamer that he was sceptical that the game could be played on current-gen systems.

“I don’t think that current-gen consoles would be able to run it,” he said. “There’s a lot of technical upgrades and updates that we did to our engine, and I don’t know if it would be capable of being able to actually run on those things.”

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