I watched the Baldur’s Gate 3 cinematic trailer yesterday for the first time and I was very positively surprised! After the initial teaser trailer with its illithid-related body horror focus, I was feeling not so positive about the game. I’m not a fan of the horror genre in general, even if it is a beloved tabletop-inspired series: too much horror and I’ll be turned off of the game as a whole. Indeed, the tone of the Divinity Original Sin pair of games rather diminished my enjoyment of them, as both dipped very heavily in this story direction. If you haven’t watched the cinematic trailer yet, here’s the embedded version, it’s well worth a watch. The first 2:20 is more of the same body horror Illithid stuff, but a big reveal comes just after that. Spoilers after the video and the cut.
After the icky bit, the cinematic takes a sudden swerve into Spelljammer territory, which had me grinning the first time I saw it as I’d not read or seen any clues of this beforehand. Naturally, the Mind Flayers eerie Nautiloid ship may mean nothing at all about the plot or gameplay. It’s just a coincidence that Spelljammer is a very oft mentioned setting that fans of D&D want to see revived. Although the most recent D&D release was Matt Mercer’s Wildemount and not a new Spelljammer for 5E, perhaps some ‘transmedia’ synergy could bring the setting back on the back of this computer game’s almost guaranteed success?
There’s also some Planescape hints as well, as we see some high-power portal rapid travel from the Nautiloid ship and the dragon-riding Githyanki. Planescape is another beloved D&D setting and one that players have long called for a return to 5E. Here’s hoping that one or the other setting gets some love of the back of this project.
In any case, the gameplay of the game seems to be a blending of Divinity Original Sin’s attention to detail and environmental interactions with the current Dungeons & Dragons ruleset. Not quite a simulationist implementation of the rules, it seems it will be adapted for multiplayer computer gameplay. But, the available gameplay footage shows a lot of D&D flavour has been injected into this game. Furthermore, the Divinity Original Sin 2 gameplay engine has been taken to a new level to include new vertical movement options and tactics. Jumping is now in, something that is missing from the DOS games; and featherfall style safe ways to get down quickly also had a mention. I love me some movement abilities in games. The option to push enemies off ledges, to pin them down or knock them prone, all makes for some potentially engaging tactical play.
A short but concise Rock Paper Shotgun summary of the rather long original gameplay demo is linked below. All in all, I’m looking forward to hearing more about the game. With four player multiplayer confirmed and the great iconic character system from DOS confirmed also, it looks exciting!