Baldur’s Gate III Larian Studios interview – ‘We want to create the state of the art in RPGs’


Baldur’s Gate III – the future and past of CRPGs

GameCentral speaks to the creators of Divinity: Original Sin about the future of Western RPGs and headlining Google Stadia’s games line-up.

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Sony weren’t the only company that was notable by their absence at E3 2019. Google weren’t there either, despite their new Stadia streaming service going live later this year and details still being extremely thin on the ground. They did have a small hands-on demonstration at an event a few blocks away but nothing on Baldur’s Gate III, the annoucement of which led their pre-E3 livestream.

A new sequel to the most famous computer role-player of all time might seem an odd choice of game to showcase what is aiming to be the Netflix of gaming, but the news was certainly welcomed by fans – especially when it became clear that Larian Studios are making it.

Larian is the team behind Divinity: Original Sin I and II, the latter of which we awarded a rare 10/10 score. That means they’re already responsible for the best Western role-playing game of recent years and now they’re making a sequel to the best old school one as well.

The only problem is they haven’t revealed anything substantial about the game at all yet, just the short (and unexpectedly grotesque) teaser below. We met them at E3 hoping for some sort of secret behind the scenes glimpse but instead we got nothing… except for a fascinating chat with Larian founder Swen Vincke and Dungeons & Dragons franchise creative director Mike Mearls from Wizards of the Coast.

We were able to tease out a few hints about Baldur’s Gate III, but we also talked about the current state of role-playing games in general – both the tabletop and computer varieties – and why streaming has the potential to open up more niche video games to a much wider audience than ever before…

Formats: PC and Stadia
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Developer: Larian Studios
Release Date: TBA

Before we start recording, Vincke describes how, when he heard Google were working on a streaming service, he actively sought one of their representatives at a previous E3, to see if they could work together.

GC: So, you just went and found someone at E3 to speak to?

SV: I heard that they were launching a new platform and I picked up that it was streaming, so I started chasing them through my contacts and I said, ‘I need to talk to somebody that’s in charge of it.’ And then they came over, because once I told them they wanted to know what we were up to. And from that the entire thing followed through.

GC: Why was streaming so interesting to you? Why did that pique your interest in particular?

SV: It’s the instant accessibility and the ability to… my games are very long, right? I want to be able to invite a friend and I want them to try it out, because people think an RPG is very inaccessible. But when you start playing it’s actually very easy. So if I send a link to your friend and your friend clicks on it they can instantly play it. That’s a very powerful thing.

GC: I was just at Microsoft and… I bet you know who Julian Gollop [creator of XCOM] is.

SV: Yes, of course.

GC: He was there with his new game and we were talking about similar things. Everyone thinks they won’t like strategy games, but as soon as a good one is put in front of them most of the time they do learn to enjoy them. But you have to almost literally force them to play it.

SV: Yes, exactly. We had a tremendous amount of uptake on the console version of DOS2 [Divinity: Original Sin II] when people played it with their partner, because you can have split-screen co-op.

GC: So you’re the guy that wanted to create the game so that your girlfriend could play with you?

SV: Yes, that’s me. [laughs] But it works, you know, because it’s turn-based, it’s slower, so people just pick it up and it’s easy to explain as well. But you just have to get them in front of the machine and try it out.

GC: Definitely. The thing I was saying to him [Julian Gollop] was… there’ll always be RPGs to some degree but I always worry major publishers will just stop making strategy games, like they did with Advance Wars…

SV: I hear you there! [laughs]

GC: And he said, and actually the Total War guys said something similar, that it is a niche but the fans are super loyal. Creative Assembly have been going for 20 years and as long as they give their audience what they want, and keep to a sensible budget, they can do very well.

SV: Obviously it’s not for everyone, but I think there’s a lot more players that would like to play these games if only they got a chance to try them out more easily. We see it at shows and every time there’s somebody coming in and dragging somebody else and putting them in front of it and then typically they pick up the game afterwards. So we convert them almost instantly into buyers.

GC: One of the big assumptions about streaming is this idea that there’s a great untapped sea of people that would be interested in games if only they weren’t somehow put off by consoles or gaming PCs. I’m dubious about that in general but I can see that being true for RPGs, especially bearing in mind what we just discussed.

SV: So, I was quoted in the Stadia video saying something that I really believe, which is that it democratises gaming. Obviously you have to have the broadband, but once you have it you don’t need an expensive console or PC anymore, to be able to play. And the business models that they are proposing are very flexible. Have they talked about [whispers to Mearls]?

GC: Oh they were definitely talking about that. What did they talk about?

SV: [laughs] I don’t think I can talk about that, I need to check what they said. But anyway, there’s a wide variety of ways that people are going to be able to interact and play. And uh, my personal real interest is the fact that I can send a link to a friend so that they can click on that and just play straight away.

GC: I can totally see that. Most people have probably never head of Baldur’s Gate or Divinity, they never had a chance to play it and maybe don’t own a PC or console anyway.

SV: Exactly, because now you can play on your laptop when you’re at work, you can play it on your tablet…

GC: I love using the Switch for complex games, it actually works very well with strategy games. You announced cross-play, didn’t you?

SV: Yeah, yes. So, for instance, you can start playing them on PC, then you go to tablet, and then go from tablet to console… wherever, any screen essentially.

GC: Which is perfect for something that’s really long and not a superfast action game, where you’re going to lose what you were doing.

SV: Exactly. One of the things that we see with Divinity: Original Sin, for instance, is that people play for more than a year in their campaign together with their friends. It’s just because they have to figure out the time when they are behind their devices and when they’re playing together. And with something like Stadia you will be able to do it here in the hotel room and the only thing you have to take with you is your controller. And that is very, very simple.

Baldur’s Gate III – the city seems to attract trouble

GC: So you’re not showing the game here, but when we see it is it going to be something that looks and plays similarly to Divinity: Original Sin? … I never get over how terrible a name that is.

SV: We are aware of that. [laughs] I know. That’s why we licensed the Baldur’s Gate name.

All: [laughs]

GC: I think you were talking in the video about how much you loved Baldur’s Gate and how you’d always imagined what a new sequel would be like?

SV: Yup. So Baldur’s Gate, first of all, for a lot of people in my team it was like their first RPG that they ever played. I was actually making an RPG back then when Baldur’s Gate was being made, one which was cancelled. But Baldur’s Gate is also Dungeons & Dragons. So Dungeons & Dragons is very big for us. It’s always been something we’ve used as a go-to, to look at when you’re building your own worlds.

And I’ve been reading Dungeons & Dragons since I was a kid. Lord of the Rings was my first fantasy series, the second one was Dragonlance from Weis and Hickman. So that’s how I got into it. And when we were thinking about our next game, which we decided wasn’t going to be Divinity, Baldur’s Gate came very high on the list. It was very easy to motivate the team for it. And here we are!

GC: Okay, so you got the licence from Wizards of the Coast but didn’t you have to sub-licence it from BioWare or Interplay or anyone?

SV: No. Interplay were the original publisher, that’s right, and BioWare were the developer. But then the rights to Baldur’s Gate I and II were licensed by Beamdog, from Atari. ‘Cause there was the entire Atari mess in there. But, yes, our game is based on Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition.

GC: So, does that… hang on. [To Mearls] Didn’t you end up buying West End Games?

MM: No, I… are you like an old school role-player?

GC: Well, I was just going to say I never played Dungeons & Dragons but I did play West End’s Star Wars RPG.

MM: Star Wars D6? Classic game! They just reprinted it, they went back and did a reissue of it.

GC: Oh really?

MM: Yeah, that was a fantastic game system. But no, West End are still around. A lot of these old, 80s tabletop games companies, there’s a tendency for people who were fans back in the day, who now have money, to end up buying the rights from whoever still has them and they get to own the company they loved as a kid. But a lot of the West End designers ended up at TSR to work on D&D, but our company’s never had any direct business relationship.

GC: Oh okay. Well, I was just going to say I never understood exactly how you adapt the rules of a tabletop game to a video game. I’d imagine that puts an awful lot of emphasis on virtual dice rolls.

SV: So we take the player handbook and we convert it into video game rules. We look at what worked, what didn’t work… and the stuff that didn’t work, we adapt it. One big thing that we had to fill in is the role of the game master of course, cause the computer game itself has to be the game master.

So we’ve had to compliment a whole bunch of things. But as a whole, if you’ve played Dungeons & Dragons and you start up the game, you will instantly feel at home. Once you’ve created your character, your abilities, then off you go and you will be in the world of Dungeon & Dragons. You’ll recognise it.

GC: The one thing that always surprises me about previous adaptations is how much emphasis they put on the combat. Because to me that was always the least interesting thing about tabletop games. I would usually be the dungeon master and I would just fudge the numbers if it stopped someone suddenly dropping dead halfway through a campaign. The fun stuff was the decisions you made and the conversations, not how lucky you were with the dice. But how do you compensate for that in a video game?

SV: Well, it depends because the random roll of a dice can lead to different outcomes in a story and that can be one of the most interesting things. But it depends how far you develop it. I mean, if you’re just going to die on the spot because of a random roll I agree that’s not so interesting.

GC: The job of a dungeon master, as I saw it, was to keep the game flowing not be a stickler for the rules.

SV: That’s the thing that you… [laughs when he realises he was almost going to describe gameplay mechanics from Baldur’s Gate III] I’m going to go too far into the detail there…

All: [laughs]

SV: So, let me put it this way, player agency with a touch of luck, together, defines how your adventures are going to play out. And the idea is that if you play and I play and he plays and we talk to each other about our adventure, we will have had a different adventure because we will have made different decisions, but the die may have rolled differently also.

GC: The thing I loved about Divinity is how willing it was to let you go off track and there were all these areas and characters and even gameplay mechanics that you might never have even known about if you hadn’t looked into it. It seemed much close to a real tabletop experience without being a strict adaptation.

SV: So that’s what you want to happen, especially when you have multiplayer because you have all these people that are sitting at the table, each playing their own role. These things interact with each other. It’s always chaos. Right? But it is actually organised chaos.

MM: Exactly, like when you’re thinking about the role of luck and how that factors into the enjoyment, speaking purely from the tabletop end of things, what we’ve tried to do in fifth edition is cast luck… rather than being something that just brings the adventure to an end I see the dice as an oracle. So let’s say you’re playing D&D and you say, ‘I want to open the door’. As the dungeon master I would just say you open the door. I don’t rule it out because there’s no real question. There’s no tension.

But if there was an assassin sneaking up on you, I might roll the die to determine do you hear them or not? Because if I was just to tell you, ‘You don’t hear the assassin, you get stabbed in the back, you’re dead’ that’s no fun. But if I just decide, ‘You hear the assassin’, that might feel a little artificial.

You know I’m manipulating events, but if we both watch the die roll and you see a good roll you know you heard him coming because of your character’s skill. But the idea is hopefully, in the tabletop space, the die is… rather than bringing the story to an end, it’s just a way of changing it. So you thought the story was about you trying to open the door and finding out what’s beyond, but it’s really about this assassin that’s sneaking up on you.

So it’s keeping us on our toes and helping to really keep the narrative fresh. And that unexpected element, the chaos, is what then keeps us all engaged because that’s what keeps it from being a formality. Clearly the hero’s going to win, right? That’s too predictable.

GC: Totally. Well, you’re not going to answer this, but here goes…

SV: I’m very jetlagged so I might.

GC: [laughs] I really enjoyed the combat in Divinity: Original Sin because of the obvious XCOM influence, but because it’s an adaptation of existing rules does that mean it’ll be very different in Baldur’s Gate III?

SV: Yeah, that’s the one that I’m not answering. [laughs] I will tell you what the idea is though. So, the reason why I’m not saying anything is because combat is something that is so sacred in this, when it comes to Baldur’s Gate, so we want to show it to people rather than just talk about it. However, I can tell you what the idea is.

When you play D&D you get thrown challenges that you need to overcome. Some of these challenges require you to go into combat. And to ensure player agency you have to give the player a whole bunch of systems so that they can use them in any way they want to overcome the challenges that are thrown at them. That’s what we did in DOS2 because in DOS2 people come up with craziest ways of winning, unwinnable combat.

That’s also what we’ll do in Baldur’s Gate III. You’re going to see combat that is very easy and you’re going to see combat that is hard. You have an entire toolbox at your disposal, which goes beyond just a rule set. It also depends on your imagination, so that you will overcome situations in a variety of ways.

GC: There’s always a sort of rule of thumb for me, for a good RPG, and it’s whether you can resolve a conflict – a major story set piece, not necessarily fighting with grunts – outside of combat.

SV: Yes!

GC: Again, it’s resolving things in a much more interesting way than just throwing a dice. You can fight someone or you can talk to them, bribe them, use magic or whatever.

SV: So you have… there’s a lot of that. I mean, there’s really much more than in DOS2.

GC: These are basically my preferences I’m talking about, but judging you by your game I’m assuming these are things that interest you too.

SV: Baldur’s Gate III is based on our tabletop experiences and this is also the reason why we’re doing it. So when we had the conversation to get the licence I got peppered with questions about what is our vision, what do we want to do? And what we want to do is make you a video game that gives you that tabletop experience where you have the same opportunity for creativity. That is your limitation, which is the thing that we tried to do in DOS2 already. And to a lesser extent in DOS1.

Baldur’s Gate III – did you catch all the Easter eggs?

GC: I think you’re less likely to agree with this but one thing that puts me off a lot of fantasy role-players is the obsession with lore. The obsession with background detail that in turn creates this kind of po-faced seriousness that makes the characters seem very stiff and unnatural.

SV: I’ve got a really good example for you on this one, that I can talk about. [laughs] Because we released the teaser trailer so I can tell you. In fact, I can write you a book about ceremorphosis and the process involved in humans becoming mind flayers and exactly how that works step by step. But really you don’t need to know any of that because you just see the end result in the game, right? There are many layers within the teaser trailer. If you know Dungeons & Dragons, if you know your lore, you will have seen multiple things in there. But if you’re don’t well okay, there’s a guy turning into an alien and then there’s aliens coming from a flying octopus, great!

GC: Did you pick the mind flyer because of Stranger Things? I love that name, it’s so unashamedly geeky.

MM: No, no! It was just a lucky coincidence.

SV: Well, actually its geeky name is an Illithid. But you don’t have to know anything about it to appreciate what it is, right? It’s got tentacles, it’s got psychonic powers. And it also has a tragic story. It used to have an empire that spanned the astral plane and it lost everything. And now it’s hiding in the Underdark and being hunted by this race called the Githyanki, who actually make it their life’s initiation rite to go kill one of these mind slayers, take the head and bring it to their queen.

GC: So what are some of the secrets that most people wouldn’t have noticed from watching the teaser?

SV: Well, I mean if you played the original Baldur’s Gate, you’ll have recognised that the crest of the guard is the Flaming Fist. They’re a mercenary band that are supposed to maintain law and order in the lower city. You would have seen The Blushing Mermaid in the background, that’s the name of the tavern which came from the original Baldur’s Gate. Um, we’re in the lower city, which is as it’s described.

There’s a symbol you see in the beginning that actually indicates things, so you would recognise it from the lore. And the Nautiloid is out of proportion, which make fans wonder how that’s possible. The ceremorphosis goes much faster than it’s supposed to, it’s supposed to take seven days. So how’s it possible that it goes that fast? So the lore guys, they’ll find all of those extra layers.

GC: I did know all that. I was just testing you.

All: [laughs]

GC: Another thing I liked about DOS 2 was that it had a sense of humour, which is not common in RPGs. Is that something you can carry through to Baldur’s Gate? Because the originals did have funny characters… I’ve just forgotten his name, but the guy with the hamster.

SV: Minsc and Boo, yeah. So there’s a different tonality to DOS in Baldur’s Gate III, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for humour. I guarantee you that you’re going to smile. I’m just thinking of a scene I guarantee that you’re going to smile at for sure. It’s almost impossible not to in that scene.

GC: All right, so just to clarify, you haven’t said anything whatsoever about the game? Is that right?

SV: It’s single-player and co-operative multiplayer…

GC: Oh, you have said that? Have you said how many co-operative?

SV: No, I haven’t said how many.

GC: And split-screen? You can confirm that, surely?

SV: This game is still in development, right? So there’s still certain corners that may be cut. It’s using first party technology that hasn’t been released yet, so there’s still corners that we may have to cut. We will see where we end up with it. But our idea is not to go backwards from what we did in DOS2.

So you can expect all the things that we introduced to RPGs in DOS2 to be present there, but we want to evolve also. We want to add a lot of stuff. Our studio is growing in all directions and we want to create the state of the art in RPGs, because we have lots of ideas of things that we want to do.

GC: I know there’s no release date but is there a release year?

SV: We didn’t announce anything. What we did say is that we are going to take our time. So it would be very unlikely that it’s this year.

GC: And can you say anything about console versions? Is it fair to assume they’ll be out about a year behind, like Divinity: Original Sin?

SV: That I can’t talk about.

GC: Okay, well let’s finish up on some general Larian stuff. The company’s been around a long time, 20 years or something. It must seem very odd to you, having been toiling away all these years, and then suddenly to become famous and headline Google’s big move into gaming.

SV: I know, I know! [laughs] Our big turning point was in 2010 when we said, okay, forget about publishers. Now we’ll do it ourselves…

GC: Because they were interfering beforehand?

SV: Continuously. Releasing games before they were ready. Eh, obviously we were late, but they never really understood what we were trying to do. But my wife told me, ‘You’ve got to stop making cult hits!’ [laughs] But they were all in their own way, quite popular. Most of the games that we made sold over a million units. But we never saw that revenue.

GC: Are you going to continue with the Divinity franchise as well?

SB: Well, we have Divinity: Fallen Heroes coming out. We have an external team working on it right now, which is Logic Artists – a Danish team. So they took all of the tech and they are making this Dragon Commander meets Divinity: Original Sin game where you have tactical battles, strategic decisions, and characters that are interactive and will grow in function based on the decisions you make. So that should be cool. So we’re not going to drop Divinity, that’s for sure.

GC: Are you going to expand the sort of genres that you do, both in a video game sense and in terms of themes and settings?

SV: We’ve never made a secret of our ambition to make a very big RPG that would dwarf them all. And so these are all steps towards that.

GC: You’ve already done that though, surely?

SV: Not really, not really. Not the thing that I would like to make, these are all steps in the direction towards the Platonic ideal of an RPG.

GC: [laughs] What does that game look like? Is that something that relies on tech years from now or something that could be made in the near future?

SV: We’ll see. I’ll keep that for myself.

GC: I’m not going to beat you to it, if that’s what you’re worried about!

SV: [laughs] No, no, it’s just that… I mean, I don’t want to over promise. But soon you’ll see what we’re doing with BG3, when the gameplay is unveiled, and you’ll say, ‘Oh, okay, they’re doing that now’.

GC: But you’re not going to branch out and start making shooters or something?

SV: Like Cyberpunk?

GC: Oh, get you!

SV: [laughs] I like RPGs. I like strategy games. Those are the two things that I started making games for and from your questions you must like the same type of games. So I like XCOM. I like anything that makes me feel like I’m in the world and where I can make decisions that can affect it and where I have a lot freedom. So that is the type of game you can see us making in the future. Also, I think all games will converge eventually in that direction.

GC: There’s that quote from a Call Of Duty developer, or was it CliffyB, where he said all games would eventually become RPGs.

SV: Yeah, totally.

GC: Can you see yourself going outside of the high fantasy genre in terms of setting? Like a sci-fi game or something?

SV: Maybe.

GC: Now, I’m thinking I want you to get the Star Wars license from West End Games.

Both: [laughs]

SV: We’re not going to stick to fantasy forever. With BG3 it was too good of an opportunity not to take, so we really wanted to do this one. I think that if we wouldn’t have done BG3 I think we would have made something other than fantasy. Especially as when we first approached Wizards they said, ehhh… but then suddenly we got that call and that changed everything.

Swen Vincke – he likes RPGs and strategy games

GC: That’s interesting. [To Mearls] Why did you not initially say yes?

MM: So I can’t speak for Nathan Stewart, who’s the brand director who was in charge of it. But I know, from my point of view, we have an acute awareness, at least from the creative side, of just how important Baldur’s Gate is. I remember a few years ago we had this mobile game, a very simple casual mobile game that got released, and I felt bad for the developer because you went into the app store and you saw all these one star reviews showing up and they’re all, ‘Where’s Baldur’s Gate III? We want Baldur’s Gate III! Why isn’t this Baldur’s Gate III?’ It was like, this is just a very simple little mobile game…

So for us, when you take something and it becomes iconic and people are waiting for it… on one hand it casts a very long shadow because everything you do is now against that backdrop. Gamers, they always ask: why couldn’t it be this? You gave us this, this is nice, but why couldn’t it have been this other thing?

So we always had a very acute awareness of when we did do Baldur’s Gate III – and it was always a when, not an if – we had an incredibly high standard we had to meet. For D&D players this was the most important game we could make.

GC: So this is your crown jewels.

MM: Yeah, really. And I think I know myself, that was my personal experience. I was out of D&D for a while and I remember very vividly firing up the game, Baldur’s Gate I. I had a Mac, I had to wait for the port, but it was a chance for me to finally play D&D as a player. I’d always been the dungeon master and going through places like Candle Keep and going out and realising these established figures from the lore are real characters was a really big moment.

Like, this was the first time I had felt really in a game that I was meeting characters that felt like the characters I would make for a tabletop campaign. They had personality, they have their conflicts, they seemed real. And so that always loomed very large.

On the other side, you know, as a creator, it’s a really exciting challenge if it succeeds. D&D players are storytellers. They have a very acute sense of the history of their hobby and their game. And if you can deliver something fun, if you can beat their expectations, especially for something that has such high expectations, you kind of go down in history.

SV: No pressure.

MM: [laughs] I don’t know what your perspective on it is but for me it’s… working on D&D is a fun pressure. Because if you want to try to do great things, you also have to take great risks.

SV: That’ s true.

MM: And that’s what I think is exciting about it. If you get it right, you know that there is at least a group of fans who are going to put you in their pantheon of people who help make the hobby more than it was. And that’s inspiring. It is intimidating, but it’s also really inspiring. I think I take more inspiration from it than I take intimidation. [laughs]

GC: It’s great to see you both so enthusiastic.

MM: It’s so exciting!

GC: Have you seen the game? Do you know all the things he’s not telling me?

MM: Oh yeah. Well I know. I know a fair amount. I tried to forget it so I don’t accidentally say anything. [laughs] In my role there’s sort of two pieces and on the tabletop side we are doing a prequel. We’re doing an adventure, a hardcover book. It’s coming up on September 17th.

GC: A campaign or a novel?

MM: A campaign for the tabletop game. We see Baldur’s Gate as a city with a story. The history, so you have Baldur’s Gate I, Baldur’s Gate II, and there was a tabletop product called Murder in Baldur’s Gate. We see that all as part of one story. And so Descent into Avernus is the next chapter. And then the chapter after that will be Baldur’s Gate III.

So there was that kind of interaction, of us saying creatively, where do we want to go with Baldur’s Gate? How do we make it distinct? To your earlier point, how do we make it interesting as a place, but not make the lore overwhelming? A lot of fantasy can get very overwhelming, right? It’s like, well, here’s what this is called and this is what this is called?

GC: Having that information is fine but you can always tell the person writing it was more interested in that than anything else.

MM: Exactly. That’s one of the things I think we’ve tried to do, and I hope we’ve done a good job with it, is to be very acutely aware of our audience. I mean, I think one of the advantages that we have working in tabletop is we know we’re writing material to inspire a player or a dungeon master and it was actually kind of a transferable skill to say, ‘Now let’s move that over to writing it for a partner who’s making a game set in the universe’.

So when we write material, it isn’t just, ‘Here’s this long boring history’. If anything, I think we were short on details for you.

SV: Yeah. So they give you, they give you some great leads to start an adventure. But, for instance, ceremorphosis is a really good example where one of the books says more or less how it happens, but it doesn’t give any detail of how the process takes place. It says seven days and you become a mind flayer. But what happens in those seven days? And so we have to develop all of that. And then that’s our contribution to the lore.

GC: In terms of other cross media, Game Of Thrones is a good example where a lot of people saw the show and then, even if they didn’t read the novels, they started looking up the background lore on wikis and whatever and that did add to their experience.

SV: Exactly, yeah. It helps with much better world building also, because when you see a very detailed world you appreciate that it all seems to make sense and so the actions of the protagonist and the antagonist are much more believable. And because that world has been realised like… what I told you about the mind flayers, they have a very good reasons for doing what they do, right? It’s not just doing it to be evil. And that makes for better storytelling.

MM: Yeah, understanding the motivations makes a big difference. They might be alien monstrosities but you can understand them as characters. Why do they inflict these awful things on humans? Well, to them humans are just these barely sentient apes. They don’t think of them as anything else.

SV: And then to realise that they’re slaves themselves…

MM: And that’s the sort of thing that’s buried in the lore, that they’re actually a puppet of something else.

GC: Are the mind flayers the main bad guys in the game?

SV: They’re not the main bad guys, they’re… part of the overall plot. But they’re not the main plot. We showed the trailer to show the tonality of the game, to show the production values, and also for showing that we were going to go further than what you would expect. Because we did put the Nautolids in on purpose because that’s actually a component from a campaign called Spelljammer, which hasn’t got an equivalent in fifth edition yet.

MM: Not yet.

SV: It’s something from the old campaigns that pretty much everybody’s pushing Mike and his team for that they have to bring back.

GC: [laughs] Okay, well let’s leave it there but it’s been fascinating to talk to you.

SV: Thank you, thank you for coming.

MM: Thanks!

Baldur’s Gate III – it’s been announced, but not really revealed

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