In the weeks since Baldur’s Gate 3 launched, some fans of Karlach, your party’s feisty, hopeful, and powerful Tiefling Barbarian, have been unhappy with the conclusion to her storyline. There are even extensive threads about it on developer Larian Studios’ own forums, with some decrying the particulars of Karlach’s potential, player-dictated fates. It seems the studio has heard all the feedback, and is planning to address it with a new “optional” ending for Tiefling warrior.
A lengthy blog post on Baldur’s Gate 3’s Steam page addresses numerous planned updates, and specifically talks about Karlach’s ending and the team’s plans to, not necessarily change it, but to at least add something that might bolster it. While there aren’t any real details yet, the post describes the new ending as being “fiery, poignant, and [giving] her the ending she deserves.”
Karlach is one of the only characters in Baldur’s Gate 3 who, depending on your choices, doesn’t really get a happy ending. She has an infernal engine in her chest that is slowly killing her, and the only options she has in the endgame are to either return to the Avernus, one of the Nine Hells, where she won’t burn up, turn into a Mind Flayer in order to shed the engine entirely, or die.
Karlach’s mortality and her reckoning with it are a huge part of her arc. Everyone else in the party is dealing with the threat of becoming a Mind Flayer, but they have hope that once they find a way to purge themselves, they can go back to their old lives. Karlach doesn’t have that hope, and that’s been a point of contention for fans of hers. What remains to be seen is if Larian plans to add a new option to save her, or if it will be expanding upon the established story in ways that might, at the very least, be more satisfying. Whatever it is, it will be part of the game’s next big patch.
As a Karlach fan, I’m conflicted. I like the notion that she might get an enhanced epilogue (especially for players who romanced her, as the game pretty abruptly ends if you pursue that relationship and choose to go to Avernus together), but I do think her grieving her own life and coming to terms with her death in her final moments was what made her story arc so compelling to me. I would be disappointed to see the end of her journey be changed entirely to just make it “happier.” Not everything needs to have a resounding hurrah at the end. Plus, if she goes back to Avernus, she can perhaps find another way to survive one day. For me, the hope that she might find a new solution feels good enough for me, but it doesn’t sound like everyone shares that sentiment.
It sounds like Larian is looking to expand upon Baldur’s Gate 3’s ending beyond Karlach, with the Steam post saying other new content will be coming to the epilogue. The ending that exists in the game now is pretty brief, some might even say abrupt depending on choices you’ve made, but the studio said it trimmed things down before launch because it feared the cinematics were becoming “too long” and “detract[ed] from the epicness.” But after some pushback, it looks like Larian will be adding new scenes to the ending, and that might extend to currently unused scenes dataminers have found in Baldur’s Gate 3’s files.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is available now on PC, and the PlayStation 5 version is coming out next week on September 6. An Xbox Series X/S version is also in development and planned to launch this year, but the Series S won’t be able to play the game’s split-screen co-op.