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About eighteen years or so after marking Baldur’s Gate off my To-Save list, I’m knee-deep in the Infinity Engine once again with Siege of Dragonspear. I’m not going to talk too much about it here, not least because there’s a full review coming soon. But there’s one thing I do want to talk about – not one new to the Enhanced Editions, admittedly, and that’s its Story Mode option. Essentially, at any time you can flip a switch and even a Level 1 mage can suddenly wander into a Beholder’s lair and poke every single one of its eyes out without the slightest danger. You can’t die. At all. In every possible way, you render playing large chunks of the game pointless.
I entirely approve of Story Mode.
More than a decade after the Baldur’s Gate [official site] saga appeared to come to an end, there’s a brand new expansion available to buy right now. I know how this might look – it’s classic April Idiots’ fodder, telling you about a new chapter in a much-loved series and then revealing that all of your favourite characters have been transformed into unicorns or somesuch.
This is real though. You’ll need the Enhanced Edition of the game to play and we’ll have our own judgement on the expansion next week but, for now, here’s a trailer and some details.
Here's a sentence I never expected I'd have the opportunity to type: The new Baldur's Gate RPG Siege of Dragonspear is now live.
The release date was announced at the beginning of March so this isn't a surprise, but even so, it's great to lay eyes on a new Baldur's Gate trailer. And to hear Sarevok's voice! I guess I never realized how much I missed the big lug. There's another voice in there that's mighty familiar too, but I can't quite put my finger on it: I know who it's supposed to be, but I'm just not certain that it's really him.
And yes, Siege of Dragonspear is technically an expansion to Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition rather than an all-new game, but developer Beamdog says that it contains more than 25 hours of new gameplay, and that's close enough for me. It details the events that transpired between the original Baldur's Gate and the sequel, Shadows of Amn, during which you somehow went from Hero of the Beach to enemy of the state. That dramatic change in fortunes was never properly explained, and so I'm looking forward to seeing how Beamdog handles it—and how it will manage to insert a near-full-length adventure between the two games without adversely impacting the (admittedly loose) continuity between them.
Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspeak is available now at siegeofdragonspear.com.
Update: Beamdog boss Trent Oster says that it is actually David Warner providing the voice of Jonoleth Irenicus, the mega-villain he so effectively brought to life in Baldur's Gate 2. "We pulled him out of retirement," Oster said. A very nice touch.