In the shadow of Starfield, it seems like the Baldur’s Gate 3 hype train might finally be beginning to slow, but its own legacy is just beginning. Larian Studios’ success seems to have surprised even the developers themselves, with the studio’s lead writer paying tribute to the giants upon whose shoulders they stood to get here.
Larian lead writer Adam Smith spoke to PC Gamer and reflected on the task of following up on BioWare’s Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn. Released in 2000, its widely regarded as one of the best games ever made, and Smith describes the pressure of continuing the story of its timeless characters.
Set 100 later, Baldur’s Gate 3 tells an all-new story and doesn’t require playing the previous entries, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some familiar faces. BioWare lost the rights to the series (to Atari, of all companies), with the official Dungeons & Dragons setting making the property something of a hot commodity. It would be many years before Swen Vincke and Larian Studios would get their hands on the keys to the role-playing kingdom.
“It’s easy to forget because the game’s out there now, but when we first started working on [Baldur’s Gate 3], it was ‘shoulders of giants’ stuff. [Baldur’s Gate] was such a big shadow. We were like, ‘Do we ever look okay in this shadow?’ There was anxiety about it.”
Both earlier entries in the series were dense, incredibly well-written games in their own right, and players could import their character from the first and continue their journey in the second. This idea, in particular, along with a focus on companion characters, was something that BioWare would explore in different ways in both the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises that would follow and keep players enthralled for years to come.
Recalling the heroic Harper, Jaheira, a recruitable companion in BioWare’s Baldur’s Gate games, Smith says the druid is the most important character in the series for him personally. Jaheira returns as a companion character in BG3, and Smith hopes that future creators hold his own creations in such reverence, stating:
“It means a lot whenever I see anybody who was even vaguely associated with the original games being pleased because we owe them a huge debt, and we hope we did them proud. If, in 20 years time, somebody picks up our characters and does something with them, it will be amazing. It does feel like a wonderful thing to have them live that long.”