Baldur’s Gate 3 brings magic back to roleplaying games

Larian Studios is winning every award under the sun, proving roleplaying games are alive and well. 

Last week at the British Academy Film Awards, Belgian game developer Larian Studios brought home the 2024 award for best game, shocking absolutely nobody. The game in question is Baldur’s Gate 3 (BG3), a sequel to a game released more than twenty years ago.  

Baldur’s Gate 3 has won many awards since its release in 2023 for its writing, visual design, game direction, acting performance and original score. It has struck a chord with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. It took an aging video game genre, modernized it, and highlighted the magic that makes role playing games special.  

Baldur’s Gate, the video game series, is based off the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Dungeons & Dragons, for the uninitiated, is a game where a group of players guide characters through dangerous quests or adventures with a focus on narrative storytelling and creativity, where decisions and damage are all decided on a roll of the dice (typically a 20-sided D20). 

Baldur’s Gate 3 took the core of D&D and created a digital sandbox for players, showing a dice roll for every major choice, whether that be a battle option or choosing what to say to your new barbarian girlfriend. The freedom of choice and endless possibilities of your imagination translates through every interaction.  

Just a fraction of the character customization options available in Baldur’s Gate 3. Photo by Larian Studios.

There is a density to BG3 that feels unmatched by any game to date. From creating your own character to the combat during battles to the countless hidden caves and secrets you will stumble upon, the game delights in surprising the player with choice and resolution.  

There are 12 classes and 46 unique subclasses in BG3 to choose from, each having frequent unique dialogue options throughout your playthrough. There are also 10 main companions in the game. These are nonplayer characters that can join you in your quest, each with evolving narrative storylines that develop individually throughout your playthrough. The companions go a long way in providing that feeling you get when roleplaying with your friends. They react to the choices and decisions you make on your adventure, oftentimes altering how they feel about you.  

Baldur’s Gate 3 represents a new direction in gaming that keeps the core principles of what has always made gaming great: using imagination and creativity, often with friends, to explore and create unique stories. It is the most fun I have had playing video games in a long time. I cannot recommend trying it for yourself enough, not that the game needs any help with the accolades it has received.  

If this description piques your interest, but video games aren’t your speed, try out the original tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons at one of the many game stores in Tacoma such as Tacoma Games or Elegant Octopus Games.  

Baldur’s Gate 3 takes the core of D&D gameplay and creates a digital sandbox for players. Photo by Larian Studios.

?For many, Baldur’s Gate 3 was the biggest game of 2023. Photo by Larian Studios.