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We move from custodian to creator.
That was how Trent Oster described it. Beamdog s co-founder who, twenty years ago, was also there when Bioware began, is once again returning to one of roleplaying s most beloved and most influential series. This time, he won t just be adding a new lick of paint here or a subtle embellishment there, as he has with the company s Enhanced Editions of the Baldur s Gate games. No, Baldur s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear [official site] is something wholly new. While Beamdog are calling it an expansion pack, its scope and scale mean that it outsizes both Tales of the Sword Coast and Throne of Bhaal. For all intents and purposes, it s Baldur s Gate 3.
We live in interesting times. The Baldur’s Gate RPGs are amongst the most well-loved, well-regarded and influential the PC has ever seen, but surely they’re now a relic of an ever more distant past? Along with most things that we consider legendary, they have begun to fade into the past and, like weathered statuary, are slowly losing their definition. We remember them fondly, but indistinctly, imperfectly. We forget the rough edges. Beamdog’s Enhanced Editions were well-curated, well-preserved museum pieces. Classics polished for one last, albeit glorious, hurrah.
Or that’s how it was until last night, when Beamdog announced they have been both working on a new expansion for Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, as well as planning to bring the rest of the series back into sharp relief. The expansion’s called Siege of Dragonspear [official site], a name that may sound familiar to those well travelled in the Forgotten Realms. It features a new shaman character class, scores of new maps, new companions, and what Beamdog’s grand magus Trent Oster says is “at least twenty-five hours of adventuring.”
The Baldur's Gate countdown that popped up last week has now ticked its last tock, revealing a brand-new expansion called Siege of Dragonspear. It's a "massive" addition to the epic RPG franchise, taking place between the events of the first game and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn.
Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear tells the tale of a mysterious crusade in the north, led by a warrior known only as the Shining Lady. The city of Baldur's Gate once again calls upon you and your allies to save it from chaos, but there's more to this march than first meets the eye: Like you, the Shining Lady is rumored to be the child of a god, and the Lord of Murder, though dead, "still casts a long shadow upon your path."
The expansion will add an estimated 25 hours of gameplay to Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, with new areas to explore, monsters to kill, treasures to claim, and four new NPCs to recruit to your party. The expansion will also add the Shaman class to the game, more than 100 new magic items, a redesigned interface, cross-platform multiplayer (it's being released for Windows, Linux Mac, and mobile), and a soundtrack by the outstanding Sam Hulick, the man whose music made you cry in Mass Effect 3.
Also very interesting is the new Story Mode difficulty that "allows players to experience the entire story with none of the Game Over screens." Those who prefer it the other way can opt for the Legend of Bhaal difficulty, "for a challenging tactical experience."
Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear will not work with the original release of Baldur's Gate—a copy of Beamdog's Enhanced Edition is required to play. Pricing and release date have not been announced, but we do have some screens for perusal, and more information is up now at siegeofdragonspear.com.
Do you remember when Beamdog, the folks who’ve been revamping Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, announced they were making a new Baldur’s Gate game? Do you remember – one set between the first two games and using the same dear old Infinity Engine? No, me neither. But, acting as if we all totally knew all along, they’ve now announced that it’ll launch this year. Beyond that, it’s a bit of a mystery, but gosh! An actual new Baldur’s Gate!
Isometric-turn-based-point-and-click-platformer is a string of words taken for dead. Sent to the abattoir. They re all huddled for warmth, waiting for the reaper, when along comes the sausage man and snip-snip-snip> he sets them free. Go on, he says as he pats their bottoms. Go back home.
Recent years have seen remastered versions of Baldur s Gate, Monkey Island and MDK, Steam and GOG have provided new platforms for old titles, and the most successful Kickstarter projects have been new games in old styles. Classic games are seeing a surge in popularity and it s a trend that s so far been largely attributed to nostalgia – to people wanting to play the games they remember from their childhood. Is that all this is?