Baldur’s Gate 3 is shaping up to be such a massive RPG experience that it’s starting to make other developers nervous, much digital ink being spilled in worry. Fans will come to expect the “inconsistency” it represents. As an officially licensed Dungeons & Dragons IP (in case you didn’t know, Baldur’s Gate is the name of a specific city. D&D’s Faerun) and carrying the weight of a great RPG series on their shoulders, so expectations are through the roof. And yet, developer Larian Studios continues to find ways to overcome them, revealing that the game has around 17,000 possible ending sequences.
In a detailed interview with GamesRadar+Author Adam Smith explains how the game was created to better reflect the free-form structure of traditional roleplay experiences, describing the narrative of Baldur’s Gate 3: “Like this great spider’s web – the game has an end. [the centre]And the game begins [the outer edge]. So you’re always going to the same point, and what happens when you get there is very different. But it intersects, so you’re dancing between plots.”
Smith points to the return of fan-favorite character Jaheera, a companion from previous games in the series, as an example of this, explaining: “She’s very fair. Her morals are quite flexible. She’s a good person, but she’s willing to do bad things for the right results… And when we first started building her, she doesn’t always know that she’s judgmental, but she doesn’t know that she’s always judgmental. [what you’ve done in the past]. And that’s the big secret, right? People only know what you tell them.”
This will be reflected by in-game newspapers in the city of Baldur’s Gate, promoting you with word of your heroic deeds. It can even be manipulated, with the player able to lie or exaggerate for promotional purposes, and Smith says “that’s where it gets really complicated. Because suddenly all these different choices that I’ve made, they’re all building up.” He describes his favorite way to play, which he calls “practical evil”, where “you find that you’ve managed to manipulate a lot of people, and no one really knows how evil you are.”
While the actual number of official ‘ends’ will likely be a number reachable on fingers and toes, Smith sets expectations accordingly. Then he goes and does it again, leaving us with something potentially even more ambitious than the last, and what we’d prefer to any final cinematics:
“We’re not going to say it’s a world that changes with every choice you make. What we’re going to say — and it’s true — is that the characters react to every choice you make. Everything you click causes something to happen. Sometimes it’s small, sometimes it’s subtle, but it all means something from the first clicks.”
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