It’s a historic day for the founding fathers of the #BelgianGamesIndustry Larian Studios. Later today, they will kick off the early access campaign of what’s arguably one of the most anticipated role-playing games of all time. Oh yes, Baldur’s Gate 3 is about to launch and it could be the biggest thing to ever happen in #BelgianGamesIndustry history.
If all buttons are pushed correctly and the power grid doesn’t crumble (these things tend to happen, they must have angered Talos at some point), you will be able to dive into the game on pc (through both Steam and GOG) and Google Stadia at 7 PM tonight. Fans have been waiting 20 years for this sequel, but the final five hours seem to be particularly harsh.
While an early access launch, it’s amazing (and a little intimidating) to see how much content players can already feast on. This version contains the first of three acts that sees your band of Sword Coast adventurers race against the clock to avoid transforming into a mind flayer. Fighting the process of Ceremorphosis sets the stage for an epic adventure that will bring you to all kinds of mythic Dungeons & Dragons settings, not least of all the Underdark. Along the way, you’ll learn the tadpole, that’s clawed its way into your eyes at the start of the game and is now swimming in your brain, comes with some useful side effects. But are those powers worth dying for?
According to the developers, the first act will last you about 25 hours. That’s for a single playthrough, of course. Choice and consequence are at the very heart of this game, and handing over Baldur’s Gate 3 to the experienced craftsmanship of Larian means that the game can be played in thousands of different ways. So expect to heavily rack up that number if you want to see every single line of dialogue that’s been recorded yet.
Some more dazzling numbers, perhaps? The first act features more than 600 NPC’s that react differently to the player’s character. For instance, githyanki or drow are a rare sight on the Sword Coast, so expect people to raise their eyebrows when you greet them. Character creation is of massive importance and in early access there’s already 150 unique 3D scanned heads to bring your characters to life. Combine that with as many as 16 different races (human, githyanki, elves, drow, half-elves, dwarfs, halflings, and tieflings) and subraces and six different classes (each with at least two subclasses) and maybe you’ll be out of character creation by midnight.
Even though the World Tester has approved the game for release, ambition of this scale will result in a bug or thousand, so expect to encounter those as well. This remains early access after all, and the game’s primarily aimed at fans that want to help Larian refine the experience. According to chief knight Swen Vincke the game will stay in early access for at least a year, getting regular updates, and will be done when it’s done. How cool is it that a Belgian game studio can now throw around language that was previously reserved for the likes of Valve and id Software?
This is how big Larian has become. And while we’re positive they don’t really need it, we’d like to wish everyone on the team the best of luck with the release. We can’t wait to revisit one of our favourite RPG settings, and we’re plenty sure we aren’t the only ones to gather our party tonight.