‘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?

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?

An official release date for the full version of Baldur’s Gate III has not yet been announced. However, Larian Studios founder Swen 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.

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.

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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.

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 can also move party members simultaneously rather than moving them one by one. 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.

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.

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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