I can remember the exact moment I defected from the JRPG camp to the tabletop-inspired WRPG camp, with its saving throws and set bonuses: it was the day I picked up Baldur's Gate for the PC in 1998. Taking place in Dungeons & Dragons' Forgotten Realms setting, it let you dive headlong into a world of high adventure and dark magic, but unlike Diablo (released two years earlier), it actually had much more in the way of story, character interaction, and actual role-playing. Its 2000 sequel only improved on an already-great formula, but we haven't seen hide nor hair of the series since then, as BioWare had moved on to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
Flash-forward to today, and BioWare veteran Trent Oster has opened up his own studio, Overhaul Games, and has plans to resurrect the classic fantasy RPG series by working in conjunction with Beamdog. Cameron Tofer, who works with both Overhaul and Beamdog, had quite a bit to say on the direction of modern RPGs and the upcoming "Enhanced" versions of Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn.
"I think the new RPGs are great, but I don't think they should be a replacement for classic strategic in-depth RPGs like Baldur's Gate. I think that's what makes Enhanced so relevant: Baldur's Gate hasn't been replaced.
"I would have to say the characters are what makes Baldur's Gate stay in people's hearts. Those characters have so much history, passion and caring behind them. I remember D&D sessions with those characters years before we were even game developers. We had so much personal ownership in them.
"I truly believe that the story and the characters behind are timeless and will have no problem reaching a new generation. Technology will be the access barrier that we're hoping to eliminate."
With a bunch of new content, this revisit to Faerun won't be the same that fans enjoyed over a decade ago--and much like a certain globetrotting martial arts RPG, these new editions may hold hope for a new installment in the fan-favorite series.
"We've been adding side stories, stories to tie things together, unfinished stories," Tofer continued. "As far as new types of abilities, we have more announcements coming."
"Baldur's Gate 3 has been our long term goal. We have a lot of things to put in place before such a project can be launched. So currently there is no such project but that's the one we want to do. Our thoughts have been that Enhanced Editions for BG 1 and 2 just make sense before there's any Baldur's Gate 3."
"We're totally thinking Kickstarter. It just makes so much sense and solves so many problems. I think what Brian [Fargo] is doing with Wasteland is very interesting."
After seeing DoubleFine's overwhelming success in funding a classic-style adventure game with Kickstarter, just the idea of getting a new Baldur's Gate game is exciting as hell. What do you think? Are you ready to hit the Sword Coast with the Enhanced Editions of the Baldur's Gate games, or are you more pumped for the possibility of a brand-new game?