The upcoming Baldur’s Gate sequel/prequel (Or better yet, just call it Baldur’s Gate 1.5) being made by Beamdog, titled Siege of Dragonspear is something many fans of classics CRPGs are interested in hearing more of. Though there hasn’t been much to go on other than some screen caps and a short blurb here or there, a recent interview with famed D&D chronicler Dragon Magazine has opened up the proverbial floodgates.
According to Beamdog, Siege of Dragonspear started as something small, but as the team began to get comfortable, it became something much bigger than any of them expected. So big, in fact, that they began to look at some of BioWare’s unanswered suggestions sent to them by fans and attempted to add in features that the Infinity Engine never contained, such as large-scale melee battles that have you as their commander:
- “Way back in the day BioWare asked the fans, ‘What would you love to see?’ Some of those features inspired the Throne of Bhaal expansion and others were used to inspire Siege of Dragonspear. One of those was the idea of having a massive battle or a war where you’re able to influence the direction of a giant melee and that was something we wanted to do in Dragonspear,” says Scott. “It’s called Siege of Dragonspear, so I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to imply there’s going to be a large force of enemies at a castle. During the combat sequence you actually get to be on a battlefield and try to make use of the allies you have. You don’t get to control other characters but you and your party participate in giant battles.”
Another interesting bit of information involves choice & consequence, which admittedly, Baldur’s Gate could use a good dose of:
- Player choice and the decisions you’ve made in the game also influence that conflict. If you find a group of bad guys, do you decide to let them go, knowing they may show up as your enemies later on? Is it worth being a good person and letting those bad people live if there’s a chance they’ll come back and haunt you?
Also, there will be a new and improved interface developed for the semi-prequel, which apparently will be inserted into the other two games as well:
- Scott says she’s played through Baldur’s Gate around 100 times since joining Beamdog in 2014 and is looking forward to playing through the whole ‘trilogy’ back to back when Siege of Dragonspear is released. Especially as the user interface has been given a spring clean. That includes health bars over the heads of the party’s sprites to make it easier to see who has been damaged, as well as Scott’s favorite new element in the inventory screen: “When you select a new item, the portraits of the people in your party will change color if they can use that item and if it’s an improvement over what they’re currently using. So if I pick up a magic sword and Minsc’s portrait turns yellow, I know that’s a better sword for him. That makes it much easier to make decisions about your game, instead of giving the weapon to every single person in your party and then thinking, ‘Can mages use maces?’”
- Those new UI elements will also be rolled out to Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 using patch updates. So players starting at the beginning and playing all the way through to the end of Baldur’s Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal will have the same interface and all the same difficulty and color options.
No word yet if they’ll finally add the holy grail of Baldur’s Gate UI improvements: The much asked-for ability to hotbar a bow while also having a shield equipped. Regardless, Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear should hit digital store shelves early next year for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android systems.