‘Baldur’s Gate III’: early access, classes and everything you need to know

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

Baldur’s Gate III is probably one of the most highly anticipated role-playing games in recent years and after 20 years since its last game, Larian Studios is bringing back a brand new experience for long-time and new players alike.

The game was announced back in 2019 along with a cinematic trailer that gave fans the first look at the modernised RPG and now that Early Access launched last year, we have a better understanding of what the player can expect when the full game eventually releases.

Here’s everything you need to know about Baldur’s Gate III:

What is Baldur’s Gate III?

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Baldur’s Gate III
Baldur’s Gate III. Credit: Larian Studios

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.

Baldur’s Gate III is based on the fifth edition of the Dungeons & Dragons rulebook, although modifications have been made while adapting it for a video game.

Release date, platforms and price

Baldur's Gates III
Baldur’s Gate III. Credit: Larian Studios

Right now, Baldur’s Gate III doesn’t have an official release date for the full game, however you are currently able to purchase the Early Access version of the game which first launched in October 2020.

You can play the Early Access version on PC via Steam, Google Stadia and Macbook at the cost of £49.99.

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In terms of when Baldur’s Gate will officially release, in an interview with GameSpot, studio founder Swen Vincke has confirmed that Baldur’s Gate III won’t be leaving Early Access in 2021. He said: “We are really trying to get the game done by next year. It’s not gonna release this year for sure.”

Baldur’s Gate III trailers

In 2019, Larian released the first cinematic trailer for Baldur’s Gate III which gave players the first look at the characters, villains, and locations.

The following year, an official early access trailer was released which showcased the first in-game footage, revealing its cast of main characters, a bunch of monsters as well as being voiced by the game’s own narrator.

Plenty more gameplay videos were shared by Larian when the game was in alpha as well just before Early Access launched. The footage showcased one of the first environments the player gets to experience and it was clear that many changes were made since the last time gameplay was shown off.

What is the plot of Baldur’s Gate III?

Baldur’s Gate III
Baldur’s Gate III. Credit: Larian Studios

Baldur’s Gate III takes place almost 100 years 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 is 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 RPG still includes 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.”

“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 gameplay and cooperative mode

Baldur's Gates III
Baldur’s Gate III. Credit: Larian Studios

Baldur’s Gate III‘s gameplay is generally a turn-based role-playing game, meaning you and a group of characters you can have join your party will take turns dealing damage to enemies. However, outside of battle you and your party are able to walk and around the environments freely if you turn off turn-based mode so you can carry on exploring.

You may find yourself spending a lot of time in certain areas, including the game’s first location so it’s especially important to explore as much as you can before moving on.

Players can choose to play the game solo and create one or more characters or play with friends in a formed party to experience the game’s story together. This is Larian’s first turn-based game in the Baldur’s Gate series, similar to games like Divinity: Original Sin 2.

Baldur’s Gate III classes and races

Baldur's Gate III
Baldur’s Gate III. Credit: Larian Studios

In Baldur’s Gate III, you’re able to customize your character in some of the most unique ways, including allowing you to choose what race and class you would like to play for the rest of the game.

For starters, the Early Access version of Baldur’s Gate III originally launched with six classes including Wizard, Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue and Warlock.

As of February 2021, you’re now able to pick the Druid class: character type that can speak with their animal kin while in their Wild Shape forms.

Larian also 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, Monk, Paladin and Sorcerer.

Additionally, characters can also be multi-classed 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.

As for races, players can also choose between nine as well as several sub-races in Early Access. Those main races include humans, elves, dwarfs and tieflings. Others in the sub-race section include drow, githyanki, as well as half-elves, half-drows and the halfling. More races are expected to be included but have yet to be announced.

How is Baldur’s Gate III Early Access?

In NME’s review for Baldur’s Gate III Early Access, Jordan Oloman expressed that the RPG understands “the dichotomy of Dungeons of Dragons deeply” saying that it’s dynamic and tons of fun.

“Even though it’s in early access,” he said. “There’s so much content to dig into with Baldur’s Gate III’s debut that I’d be shocked if anyone experiences everything before the next expansion of meaningful content drops.

“It’s an ambitiously built, well-written tale of adventure framed by lovable companions and stunning fidelity.”

As it’s in Early Access, frequent bugs were found when it released but Larian has since released new content updates that introduced patches to fix gameplay, environment and characters bugs.

When is Baldur’s Gate leaving Early Access? 

Larian haven’t yet announced a date for leaving early access, but have said it will be at least 2022.

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