OK, so a lot more happened but here's our thoughts on Baldur's Gate 3 and why I'm still very salty about my sassy cleric wifey. During PAX East I got a chance to get up close and personal with Baldur's Gate 3. As a huge fan of pretty much every iteration of the Baldur's Gate franchise, I was excited. So excited that I may or may not have cried during the gameplay demo. My biggest takeaway? Larian Studios offers pure magic, even if one of the devs did kill my wifey.
For those that are big Divinity Original Sin fans, two games that were from the same studio, then you're in for a treat. Similar gameplay can be seen with the turn-based combat, though the graphics are a massive upgrade including active in-game interactions and cut scenes. Simply put: it's stunning. The updated graphics and smoother integration of active scenes and cinematics also makes it a lot easier for those that may not feel totally comfy with turn-based choice, while the team also offers up additional ways to control the battle with the ability to stop and strategize while also playing up to each character's strengths.
Another new touch added is the crit. When running perception checks or rolling for initiative, an actual die shows up with a nifty animation, which is an awesome addition that bridges the gap between tabletop and video game experiences. It also makes the feel of consequences all the more guttural because nothing feels worse than seeing the die land on a 1 when you needed to roll a 9 or higher for a check.
OK, but what about my wife? My in-game wife? The developer that took the reigns during my up close and personal time played as the elven vampire spawn Astarion (which I also fell in love with. Help me, I'm a BioWare horndog, they've conditioned me to be like this). He then introduced us to the various companions, including the cleric Shadowheart that was giving me some major Morrigan vibes from Dragon Age Origins. She was sassy, took no shenanigans, but could be swayed with the power of friendship and the drive to ... well, stay alive.
There was a moment in the game in camp where Astarion felt the need to push back against his vampire master to prove that he could. One of his master's rules was to never drink from the unwilling and given that Shadowheart was unconscious at this time, that very very much applied here. He began to drink, to his surprise, which proved that his affliction at the start of the game overrode his master's influence. That being said, there was a moment where a dialogue option gave him the choice to either keep drinking and kill her, or to stop. We begged him to stop but lo and behold: perception check.
The dev rolled and needed a 10 or higher to pull away. Remember when I said how rolling a 1 was like a gut punch? Yeah, he totally rolled a 1, effectively killing Shadowheart and taking her away forever (at least it seemed that way, it was very final and the dev didn't say anything to the contrary when asked). So ... Larian: I love you, I have always loved you, but I will never forgive you for killing my wifey.
So ... uh, take that, I guess ...
That being said, it looked incredible. As a huge fan of the Divinity franchise and Baldur's Gate, this hands-on time made me feel so good about this IP being in Larian's hands. The tender care given to this project was more than apparent and I personally believe that it will sit well with both veterans of the franchise and newcomers looking for a new adventure.
You can learn more about Baldur's Gate 3, including who is bangable, with our Game Hub right here! As for a release date, we don't have a specific one at this time other than an Early Access launch is planned for later this year.