We're still waiting to play Baldur's Gate 3. The original early access release was planned for August, but it was delayed after the pandemic slowed down development. Today during the Baldur's Gate 3 Panel From Hell, Larian Studios creative director Swen Vincke finally revealed the new date.
Baldur's Gate 3 will be coming to early access on September 30. Vincke said that the team is "targeting" that date and it could change between now and then; Act 1 of Baldur's Gate 3 is done, with only some balancing and optimization required. Early access will be launching on PC and Google Stadia.
Not all of the features will be available in early access. Baldur's Gate 3 will eventually have 15 D&D races and eight classes, but not all the races, classes, and character backgrounds will be available. Larian is still determining which ones will be available. Cooperative multiplayer won't be in the build from the beginning, but instead coming later in the process.
Players will get a good chunk of Baldur's Gate 3, with the early access build covering most of the first act and totaling around 20 hours of content. Vincke compared Baldur's Gate 3's early access period to Divinity Original Sin 2's early access launch, pointing towards the former game having 45,900 lines of dialog, while the latter had 17,600 lines of dialog. Likewise, there were 142 characters in Divinity Original Sin 2's first act, while Baldur's Gate 3 will have 596 in the early access build. Vincke said that it's not about the amount of play time, it's about the depth of choices available to players.
"We don't want to deliver 45,000 lines of dialog to you as a speech. You're going to get the ones that feel right for your playthrough," said senior writer Adam Smith. "We know that most people tend to be good people when they play CRPGs. I want you to be the worst versions of yourselves. We don't want this to be you clicking the hero button or you clicking the villain button. We want the world to always be aware of you."
Vincke said that it's not going to be a quick turnaround from early access to a full launch. "We're going to go into early access and we intend to stay there for a while." said Vincke. "On one hand we're going to do a whole bunch of analytics, and on the other hand we're going to listen to what the community is telling us." He pointed to players of Divinity Original Sin 2 disliking the idea of durability, which eventually led to it being changed in the final release.
Larian Studios trying to find the fine line between making a deep, fun CRPG and doing justice to the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset. Vincke previously noted that the team was given "the keys to the toy box". The studio also previously talked about the choice to go with turn-based combat, rather than the real-time combat with pausing that was available in Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2. Baldur's Gate 3 will eventually launch for PC and Google Stadia, but it'll likely come to consoles after those releases. In the meantime, players can enjoy the original Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2 on Switch, PC, iOS, Android, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.