Baldur's Gate III Delivers The First Actually Good Not-E3 Developer Livestream

Creative director Swen Vincke looks just as ready as I am for the summer of not-E3 to finally end.
Creative director Swen Vincke looks just as ready as I am for the summer of not-E3 to finally end.
Screenshot: Larian Studios

Now this is how you do a Summer of Not-E3 video game livestream.

I haven’t seen friends or family in any sort of natural or sustained way for months, the unemployment rate is only slightly below where it was during the worst months of the Great Recession, and hundreds are still dying every day of covid-19 while tens of thousands more get infected. Plus the Senate bailed for a late summer recess without doing jack shit about any of this, and meanwhile the 2020 Democratic National Convention began its first night by all but completely ignoring the historic protests against police violence that kicked this summer off (and are still going on).

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Senior writer Adam Smith seems to be adjusting well to working from home.
Senior writer Adam Smith seems to be adjusting well to working from home.
Screenshot: Larian Studios

So yes a video game livestream “panel from hell” feels about right, and Larian Studios—which is working on turn-based RPG sequel Baldur’s Gate III—delivered. Sinister skull paperweights? Check. Creepy glass vials lit by molten orange fluorescent lights? Also check. Creative director Swen Vincke sitting at the head of a long gothic table wearing gauntlets and a metal chestplate? Sure, why not.

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And then there was this blood-soaked brain with tentacles standing on two chicken feet unfurling a long dialogue tree.

Yes please take me to the helm little brain friend.
Yes please take me to the helm little brain friend.
Screenshot: Larian Studios

I haven’t been following the drip-feed of news around Larian Studios’ take on Baldur’s Gate a ton because I’m just ready for it to finally be out so I can play the damn thing for myself, which, as Larian helpfully revealed during the stream, I’ll be able to do when it hits Early Access on September 30. But it’s enough to know that the game focuses on mind flayers who have escaped from the Underdark and are trying to use their parasitic tadpoles to take over people’s minds. Sign me up.

Mostly though I just enjoyed Larian’s Summer Game Fest panel—yes, Mister Game Awards himself, Geoff Keighley, was hosting—because 2020 has been hell and so far, and this Baldur’s Gate III panel feels like the only games event that’s truly embraced the grim whimsy of it. I mean, sure, sometimes I like my video games to be an escape, sometimes I don’t, and other times I need something that effortlessly syncs up with my current mental state. It just so happens engorged brain-buddy NPCs are doing that for me right now.

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You can watch it for yourself here:

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com

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DISCUSSION

SwarmofKoalas
Legless Legolas' LEGO Lass

Oh dear. That’s an intellect devourerer. I really don’t want to talk to one of those lol.