Baldur's Gate is a popular series of computer role-playing games that take place on Faerûn, the main continent from Dungeons & Dragons's Forgotten Realms campaign setting, set in the years following the cataclysmic Time of Troubles (1358 DR).
The original series, developed for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS by BioWare, includes Baldur's Gate (1998), Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast (expansion pack, 1999), Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000) and Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal (expansion pack, 2001).
The Baldur's Gate series brought many technical advancements over computer-based role-playing games of the past. BioWare's Infinity Engine offers a pre-rendered isometric worldview, with sprite-based characters. Baldur's Gate was also the third computer game ever to make use of the Lua scripting language. The engine was also used for Planescape: Torment and the Icewind Dale series.
The games are based on a real-time modification of the second edition AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) ruleset. The player's party can have up to six members, either created by the player according to the AD&D rules or NPCs recruited by the protagonist from the game world. Numerous side quests and plot twists are associated with particular NPCs and can be activated if they are found in the player's party. Through extensive, context-dependent dialogue, many characters inside and outside the player's party are fleshed out and given an added level of complexity.
In 1999, Baldur's Gate won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Computer Game of 1998, and in 2000, Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast won Best Roleplaying Computer Game of 1999. Baldur's Gate has also been often compared to Diablo (an action RPG), perhaps for similarities in dungeon-crawling and the isometric view, but is much more story driven with less hack and slash.
The first game in the series introduces the player character as a powerless orphan raised in the monastery of Candlekeep, south of Baldur's Gate and north of the kingdom of Amn. The main character searches for the killer of his or her foster father, Gorion, and becomes involved with the region's iron crisis which causes metal to crumble, all while battling to stay alive.
Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast
An expansion pack for Baldur's Gate, Tales of the Sword Coast did not add anything to the primary storyline, but presented the protagonist with more areas to explore along the Sword Coast, more powerful enemies, more spells, better equipment, and allows the player character to reach higher levels of experience. It also made some general changes to gameplay and altered the original game's final battle.
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
The main character is captured by Jon Irenicus and must escape into the city of Athkatla, the capital of Amn. Here the protagonist faces several different ways to figure out the reason behind the capture as he or she journeys through the region of Amn and the Underdark. The game presents a number of innovations over the first Baldur's Gate game, including further specialization of character classes, better graphics and higher power levels. It also allowed for more interaction with the game's joinable NPCs, including friendships, romances, and your own party members' interactions with one another.
Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal
Throne of Bhaal is an expansion pack for Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, and includes both an expansion of the original game -such as new areas to explore- as well as a conclusion to the Bhaalspawn story arc started in the first Baldur's Gate game.
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance & Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II
The Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance series was produced by BioWare's publisher Black Isle Studios, a division of Interplay Entertainment. Although they take place in the Baldur's Gate rendition of the Forgotten Realms setting, they are not often regarded as a part of the Baldur's Gate series, as the plot is unrelated to previous games, and they were console-exclusive titles. These were not released for Windows and Macintosh platforms and were not created using BioWare's Infinity Engine. Interplay has announced intentions of releasing a third Dark Alliance game as well.
Baldur's Gate Compilation
Baldur's Gate III
Baldur's Gate III: The Black Hound (code named Jefferson and FR6) was mentioned in early 2001 as a new game in the Baldur's Gate series to be made by Black Isle Studios using a completely new 3D engine.
The Black Hound was originally going to be a departure from the high-powered epic of the Bhaalspawn saga to a low-key, roleplaying plot. With protagonists progressing to around level four at the end of BIS' typically enormous campaign and a hard cap at level eight, gameplay was refocussed to a flat and wide adventure emphasizing quests over combat. In fact, the game was only titled "Baldur's Gate" due to Interplay having lost the general D&D license to Atari, but still retaining the right to make "Baldur's Gate" and "Icewind Dale" branded D&D games (the same reason as for BGDA's title.)
The game appeared to be canceled in 2003, just before its engine was re-purposed for Black Isle's ill-fated Van Buren Fallout 3 project. Subsequently, Josh Sawyer, one of the designers of the canceled game, resumed development of The Black Hound as a module for Neverwinter Nights 2. As of 2009, this remains a side project for Sawyer, who works at Obsidian Entertainment.
However, in April of 2004 IGN released information that a Baldur's Gate III is in the works. Any other information has, for now, not been released. There is no solid evidence as to whether or not the game is actually in development, although it will likely go ahead due to its commercial potential.
In the January 2008 issue of PC Gamer UK, the editor claims that he knows that Baldur's Gate III is indeed being worked on - this has further been reiterated in the January 2009 edition, though, again, any more information is unlikely to surface until later this year, possibly even 2010. [ ]
On December 2, 2008, Atari stated in a press conference that the Baldur's Gate series (among others) would be revisited after 2009.
On February 7, 2010, in an interview about Mass Effect 2, IGN asked Ray Muzyka of BioWare about the future of Baldur's Gate, noting the sighting of Boo in the Citadel souvenir shop. He replied, 'Hey, that's just a space hamster. Boo's brother. And again, you'll have to talk to Atari about that, they've got the license.'
Philip Athans, editor of the Forgotten Realms novel line, wrote the first two novels in the Baldur's Gate trilogy of novels: Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, both based on the storylines of the computer game series. The novels follow the bare basics of the original stories, but eschew several of the games' numerous subplots and include only a few of the NPCs. The Bhaalspawn main character is named Abdel Adrian in the novels. The third, and final, novel - Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal - was authored by Drew Karpyshyn.
- Athans, Philip (June 1999). Baldur's Gate : A Novelization. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0786915255.
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
- Athans, Philip (September 2000). Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0786915699.
Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal
- Karpyshyn, Drew (September 2001). Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0786919857.
- ↑ Interplay Sequelizing Earthworm Jim, Dark Alliance, Descent, MDK. Retrieved on April 9, 2008
- ↑ Baldur's Gate Compilation (PC DVD). amazon.com. Amazon. Retrieved on 2007-04-02
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Jon "Buck" Birnbaum (2007-02-13). The Black Hound Interview. Gamebanshee.com. Retrieved on 2009-09-15
- ↑ Josh Sawyer (2009-01-25). regular work interferes. The Herald of Archenbridge: The Black Hound Blog. Retrieved on 2009-09-15
- ↑ Baldur's Gate III, Neverwinter Nights II in Development?. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-04-02
- ↑ Tom Bramwell (2008-12-02). Atari to revisit Baldur's, Test Drive. EuroGamer. Retrieved on 2009-01-05
- ↑ Smee, Andrew (2010-02-07). Mass Effect 3 & Beyond. IGN UK. Retrieved on 2010-03-09