Larian Studios revealed today that Baldur’s Gate III will launch in Early Access for both PC via Steam and Stadia on September 30.
According to Swen Vincke, Creative Director of Larian Studios, Baldur’s Gate III’s early access will be far more massive than its previous release of Divinity: Original Sin II when it launched a couple of years ago.
Here are more details of the upcoming Baldur’s Gate III Early Access:
The final part of the game’s now roughly six-minute CGI introduction revealed that players begin their journey in Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells. Avernus featured heavily in the recently released Dunegons & Dragons adventure module Descent Into Avernus, which saw the entire city of Elturel dragged into hell. The city was saved, but the aftermath of that cataclysmic event casts a shadow over the events of Baldur’s Gate III. Players won’t just see the aftermath, however; captive aboard a nautiloid, they’ll take part in a daring escape as the ship jumps between planes of existence and is caught in the fury of the eternal, apocalyptic Blood War that rages across the hellscape. Avernus will be featured throughout the game, alongside many other locations to be announced later.
A highlight of the Panel From Hell was the “lobotomy scene,” a new gameplay snippet shown during the stream. As players attempt to seize control of the nautiloid, they find a corpse with its brain exposed. The brain itself seems to address the player, asking them to free it. At this point, players can decide to get their hands dirty, extracting the brain from the skull, which leads to the discovery that it’s not a brain at all, but rather a trapped Intellect Devourer. These creatures feed on the intelligence of sentient beings, taking over their victims’ bodies on behalf of their Mind Flayer masters.
Scope of Early Access
Swen Vincke, Creative Director of Larian Studios, also showcased the scope of early access, giving details on how the size of Baldur’s Gate III‘s first act compares to Larian’s previous release, Divinity: Original Sin II, when it launched in early access. Here are a few numbers that will emphasize the depth of Baldur’s Gate III in comparison to Divinity: Original Sin II:
– Number of Combat Encounters: 22 in Divinity: Original Sin II Early Access vs. 80 in Baldur’s Gate III Early Access
– Number of English Dialogue Lines: 17,600 in Divinity: Original Sin II Early Access vs. 45,980 in Baldur’s Gate III Early Access
– Number of Characters: 142 in Divinity: Original Sin II Early Access vs. 596 in Baldur’s Gate III Early Access
– Number of Spells / Actions: 69 in Divinity: Original Sin II Early Access vs. 146 in Baldur’s Gate III Early Access
Classes and races will be announced closer to September 30, but Larian today confirmed that Baldur’s Gate III‘s Early Access will include five Origin characters (as well as player-customized characters), with more to be announced throughout Early Access. The five launch characters are: Astarion (Elf / Vampire Rogue), Gale (Human Wizard), Lae’zel (Githyanki Warrior), Shadowheart (Half-Elf Cleric), Wyll (Human Warlock).
Through gameplay footage, and audience interaction, Vincke demonstrated how the game allows players to discover different permutations in encounters and dialogue depending on the characters they play and the choices they make. This depth of reactivity means that even in early access, multiple playthroughs will lead to different outcomes and developments not only for players and their companions, but for the many NPCs they meet and the world around them, too. In simple terms, playing “good” and “evil” will offer wholly different experiences with many twists and turns (all performance-captured) that other players may never see, depending on their choices.
Check out below the announcement trailer: