July 12, 2023

Community Update #21: Forging Your Legacy

A malevolent new Origin character. A disembowelled video game producer. A night of passion with a bear.


What a way to go out!


Thank you so much for joining us last week at Panel From Hell: Release Showcase, our final big show before launch.


As you saw for yourself, Baldur’s Gate 3 is going to be a truly deep, systemic RPG with a story and world that is yours to mould. No two playthroughs will be the same, and that even goes for those of you who have clocked a few hundred hours in Early Access.


Act 1 makes up less than a quarter of the total content that will be available at launch. And compared to the start of Early Access, even Act 1 has roughly 33% more content in it. Much has changed, a lot has been added, and we’re finally at a place where we’re happy with the fidelity and performance of the game. 


Today’s update will explore those new features: fresh Character Creation options, Multiclassing, a malevolent new playable Origin character, crowds who gossip and react to your deeds, the introduction of Alchemy, and much more. If you’re here, we’re assuming you’ve played Early Access. If you’re new to the game and you’re looking for a broader overview of what Baldur’s Gate 3 will be at launch, we’re working on a separate video. Stay tuned for that later in the month. 


Your Character Creation Toolbox Is Getting Bigger

Our Character Creator has evolved in many ways since we first launched in Early Access, but our philosophy behind it has always remained the same. 


To forge a legacy, you need an identity. Character identity is at the centre of Baldur’s Gate 3, and making a character is about more than aesthetic choices. You are defining your identity, making decisions about your protagonist that will impact your experience in the game.


Whether your protagonist be hero, villain, or Ed Sharran, a simple bard travelling the roads of Faerûn with his trusty lute and a barely-concealed inner darkness that gnaws and festers, demanding release – the Character Creator provides a lot of room for expression.


Our Character Creator has been updated over the course of development to include a robust selection of hairstyles, highlights, skin tones, and faces. But at launch, you’ll have the chance to experiment with even more ways to create diverse, personalised characters.


New skin options like freckles and vitiligo will soon be available, alongside new tattoo designs, scars, lip makeup customisation, accessories like piercings, and horn colour customisation for Tieflings. In 1.0, we’re also introducing heterochromia, letting you create David Bowie – uh, characters with different-coloured eyes.

And at long last, we are very happy to announce we are introducing an age slider and – for those wanting to know if they can have a Halsin-sized buff Barbarian – strong body types, allowing for larger body sizes across all genders.

 

Craft Your Destiny: Forge A Bespoke Class With Multiclassing

Whether you are an experimenter at heart who forges class hybrids through careful consideration or you just can't decide between a warrior and a mage, we’re excited to finally announce that Multiclassing will be coming to Baldur's Gate 3.

Multiclassing really changes the game – literally – because it allows you to fully customise the theme of your character. It has both a roleplay and a practical function, leading to all sorts of chaotic combinations and experimentations. 

In order to allow all your wildest dream class combinations, we've removed Ability Score Prerequisites. So there's no more need to get your Charisma up to a pesky 13 if you decide to make a soul pact with a playful archfey or dangerous fiend. You can Multiclass into anything your roleplay and build desires demand. In short, this means warriors will be able to wield arcane spells, rogues can master divine magic, spellcasters may dabble in martial prowess, and you’ll have the freedom to build the exact class that you want. 

 

Each level, you'll have the option to choose a different class to spend points on and begin building a bespoke Multiclass character. Given the possible combinations, we recommend you have previous experience as a D&D player to fully leverage this feature. But should you decide to evenly spread all your points into every class for no strategic reason whatsoever, there’s naturally an achievement for that too.

 

Respeccing Classes

Controversial? Maybe. But a person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. We want to facilitate your experiments! With 12 classes, 46 subclasses, and now Multiclassing, when it comes to your character build, both veterans and novices of D&D are sure to make a few mistakes along the way. We want to encourage you to try new things, find fun combinations, and ultimately discover the playstyle that suits you best as you adventure across the Sword Coast and beyond.


Very early in your adventure, you’ll find that one particular NPC who was already helpful in Early Access has suddenly become even more useful. When you find him in the early stages of Act 1, he’ll have a few extra helpful abilities to help you in this arena – giving you the opportunity to restart your build from Level 1 with new starting proficiencies, attributes, spells, and cantrips. 

Mercenaries At Your Service – Recruit Lethal Assistance With Hirelings

“But what if I want to create a party that is made up entirely of giant druidic badgers?”


We hear you loud and clear, community. Should you so choose, you’ll be able to create a custom party without any Origins, opting instead to have Hirelings join you on the road – mercenaries who can be hired to join your team temporarily.


In Baldur’s Gate 3, there are 12 Hirelings available for you to recruit – one for each class. Each has their own name, visuals, and race, and can be respecced at any time. 

 

Experience Baldur’s Gate 3 Through New Eyes As A Playable Pre-Authored Origin Character

So what is an Origin character exactly? They’re playable heroes, each with their own stories, desires, and attitudes towards the world around you. If you choose to create your own customised character instead, these Origin characters become your companions, who you may (or may not) recruit throughout your journey. 

You may have already met Shadowheart, Wyll, Gale, Astarion, Lae’zel, and Karlach – heroes each with their own tale to tell and secrets to reveal, driven by your choices as the player. Today, however, we’re looking at an entirely new way to play Baldur’s Gate 3. The Dark Urge.

 

Become The Dark Urge – Your Final Playable Origin

Over the past three weeks, we’ve been leaving a breadcrumb trail of clues leading to the reveal of the final playable Origin character. The community-driven murder mystery Blood in Baldur’s Gate saw players investigate a series of vicious murders across the Lower City and attempt to track down their perpetrator. While y’all were ultimately brutally murdered at the killer’s hand, in your last waking moments, you saw your executioner: the Dark Urge, an imposing dragonborn with alabaster skin and the piercing gaze of a predator in the wild.


Unlike Baldur’s Gate 3’s other playable protagonists, the Dark Urge is a fully customisable character. Should you prefer that this darkness take the shape of a doe-eyed gnome instead, or think true evil is a half-orc armed with a bongo, the choice is yours: from your class and species, to your gender and overall appearance, and even your name. 


Who is the Dark Urge, then? That’s a good question, and it’s one that players will answer for themselves as they journey down this dark path. As the Dark Urge, you begin Baldur’s Gate 3 with your memory lost after an unfortunate encounter between a parasitic tadpole and your brain. Now all that’s left is an insatiable urge – an urge that makes itself known in your subconscious, through your deepest thoughts and in your dialogue options.

 

Guiding the Dark Urge in their time of need is Sceleritas Fel, voiced by Brian Bowles (narrator in Divinity: Original Sin 2). A vile and loyal servant, Fel lives only to see the Dark Urge return to their rightful, bloodstained path and urges them to commit some of the most lurid acts of violence that you'll encounter in the game. But whether you indulge your most depraved impulses or attempt to resist them in this role is entirely up to you.


Because despite the darkness lurking within this character, how you choose to play the Dark Urge is for you to decide. In Baldur’s Gate 3, there is no clear-cut “Evil path” and no path that is plainly Good. There are simply choices, ramifications, and a personal evolution that will ensure who you play is as complex and multifaceted as you are.


The Dark Urge can even form a romantic relationship just like any other Origin character. Of course, relationships with those who harbour dark secrets are often complicated, and this is one that will require a patient paramour capable of tempering and restraining their partner's most primal and untamed desires – and hopefully one with more than a passing interest in bondage.

Love In The Time Of Tentacles

In Baldur’s Gate 3, we wanted romantic relationships to possess the same complexity and depth as any other part of our narrative. 


Every relationship you forge is different, reflecting the personality and personal arc of that character over the course of the game. Some may begin with a steamy Wild Shape transformation, others start cautiously and require more attention to foster a deeper connection. Relationships change over time, and neither you nor your partner will be the same person in Act 1 as you are by the game’s end.


This includes in your relationship to your Guardian – the character you create at the start of the game who represents all that you desire. The Guardian has changed significantly since you first encountered them in your dreams throughout Early Access. We’ve worked to thematically deepen this narrative thread, going beyond the realm of physical desire to encompass the full spectrum of complex emotions that must be navigated in order for you to truly trust another. (We hope you enjoyed the previous maddeningly vague sentence, because you’ll have to play for yourself to find out what any of it means.)


The path to intimacy also varies greatly for each relationship along the course of the game. A companion like Lae’zel who exudes sexual energy at the beginning of a relationship can take time to let her guard down, making the act of holding her hand all the more intimate.


On the other hand, a relationship that begins with a night of post-goblin-slaughtering passion could also blossom into something vulnerable and sweet, given proper care. No two relationships follow the same formula. 


It was important to us to portray sex as more than a trophy for complying with a companion's quest line. In Baldur’s Gate 3, you are encouraged to navigate your relationship – to argue with your partner and challenge their way of thinking. After all, if you just go along with whatever they want to do, you may find yourself sacrificed in an evil god's sex rite, turned into a vampire, or – worst of all, warns Senior Origin Narrative Designer Baudelaire Welch – you might even end up getting married

From Cauldron To Vial: Mastering The Art Of Alchemy 

A new crafting feature comes to Baldur’s Gate. The domain of magic-wielders, conjurers, and anyone with a passing interest in mysterious fumes, Alchemy allows you to turn your collection of herbs, wild mushrooms, crystals, and monster limbs into useful items you can prepare ahead of a fight.


In Baldur’s Gate 3, you can use ingredients found in the wilderness to create a variety of extracts, then combine extracts to create potions, poisons, and oils to imbibe or coat your weapons with.

Meet The Third Major Villain Of Baldur’s Gate 3 – Orin The Red

 

Completing the trinity of villains in Baldur’s Gate 3 is Orin, a practitioner in the art of inflicting pain and a grandmaster of murder. Orin has killed for many years, but has yet to be caught, thanks in part to her shapeshifting abilities, which enable her to take the form of anyone – perhaps even someone in your camp. 


She hides her cravings to commit murder beneath these numerous masks, disguising her intentions and herself to lure unsuspecting victims. It’s during the act of murder that she is her truest self. At that moment she is murder.


Orin is voiced by the incredible Maggie Robertson, known to many as the voice of Lady Dimitrescu (Resident Evil Village) and Skjóthendi the Unerring (God of War Ragnarök).

Split-Screen Co-Op Multiplayer

In addition to having online multiplayer for four players, in Baldur’s Gate 3, two of you can grab controllers and jump straight into two-player split-screen couch co-op. 


Baldur's Gate 3 comes to life in multiplayer, empowered by all those extra fingers poised to tip the dominoes and unleash a cascading chain of events upon the Forgotten Realms. Players can join a party before the start of a playthrough, during Character Creation, or during an ongoing game. Each of the playable Origin characters can be chosen only once, or, should you prefer, you can mould a creation of your own.


Players will share most of the information that the game provides them, like Journal notes about ongoing adventures, minimap discoveries, and alchemical recipes. Player inventories are also shared by default in multiplayer, but there is an option to lock your inventory from your thieving pals. 


Players also share Inspiration points that they gain when fulfilling goals defined by their chosen Background. These points can be used to reroll checks in dialogue. In multiplayer, you can listen in on conversations started by another player and vote on which dialogue option you want them to take. Some select scenes are private by default in your options, however, including romance scenes. But players can make all secret scenes public to their party should they wish.

 

 

A Cinematic Kaleidoscope – Showcasing The Breadth And Depth Of Your Choices

Baldur’s Gate 3’s 174 hours of cinematic content is a reflection of all the possible choices players can make in the game, and the narrative permutations that will come out of each of those decisions. 


With more than 2000 characters for you to interact with, different reactivities based on your chosen species and class, and a golden path that takes over 80 hours to complete, you can expect to discover a staggering amount of previously unseen content in your second or even third playthrough. 

If you caught Panel From Hell last week, you'll have seen just how those decisions affect your experience once you set foot into Act 2. Trek through the mountain pass as Shadowheart then explore the Sharran territory of the Shadow-Cursed Lands safely as a cleric of Shar. Or you might instead choose to traverse the Underdark, then find safety within a hamlet of Harpers – led by the long-standing series icon herself: Jaheira, #mommy.

 

Whispers And Headlines - The Echoes Of Your Deeds On The City’s Gossip Mill

Upon reaching Baldur’s Gate, your choices will begin to express themselves throughout the world in other ways. Crowds in the city will systematically gossip and talk about your escapades and failures, and can even be influenced through you directly modifying the paper and printing the most favourable headlines.

Don’t Worry, You Can Stream BG3

As we near release, we thought it prudent to remind anyone looking to stream Baldur's Gate 3 of some useful tools designed to create a better experience for you and your audience. 


Some of you have shown concern about mature content that could potentially become flagged by your chosen streaming platform. For those of you who want complete peace of mind, you will find two new user options within the Options menu: “Show Cinematic Nudity” and “Show Genitals”. From here, you can enable or disable this content at your convenience.


We’d also like to remind you that there is a really cool Twitch Integration that, once enabled and connected to, lets your viewers see your Party View, track your quests, and vote on dialogue options. 

The Road Ahead

We’ve updated our Steam page to better reflect the content of the game and bring the Early Access section up to date, as well as the specifications. On that page, we’re recommending that players don’t buy the Early Access version of Baldur's Gate 3 with a view to play through that content, partly because it’s out of date but mostly because we’re so close to launch and want to make it very clear that saves in the Early Access version will not transfer into the final game. This is due to technical reasons.


Essentially, the game is so vastly different that it’s not possible to make those save files compatible. Early Access will, of course, remain playable up to launch. 


A purchase of Early Access is essentially a pre-order, and will still grant you access to the Digital Deluxe content for Baldur's Gate 3 on PC, granting you access to: an exclusive in-game dice skin, the Divinity Bard Song Pack, Treasures of Rivellon Pack, Adventurer’s Pouch, Digital OST, Digital Artbook, and Digital Character Sheets for D&D IRL.


The PC Digital Deluxe Edition does not include a 72 hour head start, which would have essentially made the game’s release date July 31st. Shifting the release date – and thus communication around the Digital Deluxe Editions across PS5 and PC – came with a few complexities that we didn’t manage to communicate very well, so we thought it best to clarify it here, given that a 72 hour head start on PC wouldn't have been plausible.


But isn’t it wild? Our PC launch is just a few weeks away! Baldur's Gate 3 is set to release to PC on August 3rd, followed by its PlayStation 5 release just a few weeks later on September 6th – or September 3rd if you pre-ordered the Digital Deluxe Edition for PS5.


For those of you who have been with us throughout Early Access, we want to thank you for all your support over the years. One of the reasons we chose to release Baldur's Gate 3 in Early Access is because it would give us an opportunity to listen to your feedback and make meaningful changes in return. As a result, your participation has been instrumental in helping us bring the Forgotten Realms to life. Everything you play – be it Act 2 & 3, or a return to Act 1 – will reflect how we’ve gotten better at making the game, thanks in no small part to all of your feedback, comments, and love over the years. 
 

We also want to send out a very special thank you to everyone who’s been sending us hyperrealistic Halsin fan art. It inspires us, it sustains us, it frightens us to our core. The meme game has been real.


We still have some work to do, but we’re thrilled to learn that those who played the game at our recent press event really enjoyed what they experienced, and we can’t wait for you to experience it yourselves. 

 

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