Thursday, 15 March 2012

Baldur's Gate: Reduxed?


I do love a good old fashioned map.
So, I imagine there's a lot of people disappointed with the Baldur's Gate announcement, or rather the lack of the announcement they were hoping for. Even though the BG:EE (for that is its name, so sayeth the prophet) website is no working, there are still few details at this time beyond a confirmation that it is the original game 're-forged' in an updated Infinity engine. For those of us with leaky memories, the Infinity engine was, or is?, the old 2D engine that the original games ran under.

Okay, so it's not Baldur's Gate III. It could always have been worse, as Susan Arendt of The Escapist trolled her twitter followers with this well placed 'reaction'.

Yes, yes she was actually kidding. Thank Bhall.
From what we do know, I would speculate we will see a retextured 2D roleplaying game in the Fourth Edition of Dungeon & Dragons following the same plot-line (plot-net, really) with restructured locations and monsters. Essentially, the same as before but a little shinier and using the new edition's Power-based combat mechanics.

I am really not sure how I feel about that vision of the future. The original games were based on 2nd Edition rules which are, from my personal perspective, extremely convoluted and backwards. However 4th Edition rules are limited in scope and flavourless. It is though easier to teach and play, more mechanically logical and coherent.

There is no great reason why games like this cannot tell the same story any better or worse than the originals or be necessarily more or less enjoyable but whatever Overhaul Games do there will be huge arguments over any changes they make. When beginning this piece, I had considered writing about how I would envision my perfect Baldur's Gate remake, and invite any reading to offer their own dreams, but if we allow ourselves to dwell on dreams we will never be happy with whatever we get in the end.

It is a ballsy move by any producer or developer to resurrect a beloved IP even under the best of circumstances. Whatever the result, BG:EE is likely to both sell in huge numbers and, unless it is exceptional in ever way and probably even then, be eviscerated by fans of the original. At stake is a further re-release, potentially a series of character roleplay game remakes and a thousand happy memories.

Good luck, Overhaul.

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