Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition was a way for Overhaul Games to the waters to see if an old-school dice-forged role playing game still had a place in modern video games. If it was successful, it would pave the path to Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition and, eventually, the long awaited Baldur’s Gate III. Even though the first part of this plan has been much loved by fans, legal matters are stalling production. Unfortunately, things don’t look so good, but the developers say there is still hope.
Is Baldur’s Gate III still possible?
Short answer: Yes. But not for a while.
In an interview with insidemacgames last year, Trent Oster revealed Baldur’s Gate 3 would only be possible if the Enhanced Editions do well financially and if the team demonstrates the ability to successfully make their own original content. The big issue: the new editions cannot do well financially if they aren’t for sale. Right now, BG: EE is no longer for sale on many distribution platforms (although still available on Steam). Legal issues with publishing “partners” have halted any sort of progress on the matter.
— Trent Oster (@TrentOster) June 21, 2013
Originally, the franchise was published by Atari, and now Atari’s US bankruptcy has been throwing publishing rights out of whack. Beamdog had negotiated to get a contract for the first two Baldur’s Gate games from Atari and Wizards of the Coast for approximately fourteen months before they were allowed to start working on the Enhanced Editions. Now, there are even more troubles.
In a new interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Trent Oster had this to say:
“Best case, we can sort this out soon. Worst case, this could be in legal hell for a while. I like making games, but this contractual dispute bullshit keeps me up at night.[…] Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition is on indefinite hold, as is the current patch. Baldur’s Gate III, we are still interested in the concept, but currently I’d say were very demoralized.”
Demoralized is right. The game is great, but everything surrounding publishing and distribution has been a mess. The future looks grim for Baldur’s Gate III, but at least hope is still there. With luck, the boot of justice will be firmly planted on the butt of evil and we’ll get our game. Go for the eyes, Boo! Go for the eyes!
A rocky start
Unfortunately, Baldur’s Gate: EE has been plagued with problems from the start. The original release date was slated for November 2012. On the day of release, it was delayed. Not good. The reasoning, according to Trent Oster, the Creative Director of the game from Overhaul Games, was that the team wanted it to be perfect and as un-buggy as possible. The game was pushed back to a January release.
The game originally required a purchase from Beamdog, a digital distribution system similar to Steam. Later, the game finally released on Steam as well. Unfortunately, if you bought the game on Beamdog, you’d have to buy it again on Steam. Also, Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition was intended to launch on iPad and Android devices, but struggled with the app store. 6 months later, the OSX version has yet to be released because of app store approval issues.
The sooner this legal ordeal is over, the better. Not just for a possible third game, which I would be all over like a gnome on turnips, but also for other Enhanced Editions. Plans have been stated for remakes of the Icewind Dale games and for the RPG megalith Planescape: Torment. If the reaction to the Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter is any indication, an enhanced edition would be exceptionally well received.