Although it was “announced” quite a while ago (and even a little bit earlier to the Larian faithful like myself), we only recently got a good look at the game. And damn, what a look it was:
Now, that there is just the opening cinematic, but the world reveal also included a peek at gameplay. From turn-based combat to freedom of character development and deep options in and out of battle, Baldur’s Gate 3 is shaping up to be a treat for fantasy gamers unlike any other.
Enough so, honestly, that I feel like anyone even remotely interesting in narrative fantasy gaming should be excited. In my case, video games have always been one of the best mediums to get my fix. There just simply wasn’t a better way for me to journey across mystical worlds other than the novels I devoured; even anime, manga, and visual novels paled in comparison.
Of course, anime and friends are still close seconds, and that’s probably why any veteran RPG fan knows the lion’s share are in fact Japanese RPGs (JRPGs) like Final Fantasy despite there being some very famous western RPGs out there (like Dragon’s Age, Skyrim, Planescape Torment, and Fallout).
With fantasy becoming a mainstream interest, in part thanks to the crazy success of Games of Thrones and the continued success of followups like The Witcher, fantasy as a genre stands to gain a much larger following and this game is poised to take advantage of that.
Larian Studios are also a perfect fit for the job. They’ve created two fantastic titles previously, Divinity Original Sin and its sequel. Through these, they modernized RPGs in a way few others have managed outside of just turning them into shallow actiony movie-games (coughfinalfantasy15cough).
Using Dungeons and Dragons, which has for so long been a kind of poster child for traditional video game fantasy (and has a lot of alignment with Tolkien fantasy), is also a perfect choice; the setting allows for the very heart of fantasy tropes like dwarves, elves, dragons, wizards.
The result appears to be a hell of a game. An incredibly layered and established fantasy setting with a deep, rich story that lets you play the kind of character you want. Basically, The Witcher and its games all over again, but using the very roots of the fantasy genre.
And I’m excited beyond belief.
Not since Neverwinter Nights have we seen a game poised to be the go-to title for a wild yet familiar fantasy romp with friends. Even better, it seems we won’t have to wait too long for it.
Overall, this year looks like it’s going to be amazing for fantasy and science fiction fans and might well rocket the two genres into the very top of mainstream attention. This is great, because whether you know it or not, traditionally fantasy and science fiction have been ridiculed and mocked in pretty much every context; literary, academic, entertainment, and even socially.
With more mainstream support, however, we could see a fresh wave of fantasy media and hopefully an equally fresh wave of thinking to go along with it. I’m eager to decide how my own story will unfold in Baldur’s Gate 3 when it releases, and the examples shown of how the game’s core themes (power, trust, survival) are weaved together is already inspiring a host of new ideas in my head for my own future work.
Anyway, I just wanted to gush about the game; Larian x Dungeons & Dragons is a dream come true, and like many other modern authors (especially of the progression and litRPG genres) I too draw a lot of inspiration and influence from my gaming hobby.