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Baldur’s Gate 3’s New Epilogue Is an Finish, However Additionally a Starting

When Baldur’s Gate 3 launched this summer season, its ending was one of many uncommon moments the place reward for Larian’s tackle the world of Dungeons & Dragons wasn’t united in effusive lauding. Abrupt, a bit messy, and missing in closure to characters gamers had simply spent hundreds of hours with, it was each attention-grabbing and stuffed with friction in equal measure. Ought to we ever know every part a couple of story’s finish? What must be left to creativeness?

Whereas followers have spent three months occupied with that story themselves—what the lives of their “Tav” (the default identify for a custom player character), their lovers, their associates, and even their foes had been like after the credit rolled—this week Larian determined to supply one thing a bit extra definitive. The shock headlining information of this week’s fifth major patch for BG3 was a model new playable epilogue, with hundreds of strains of recent dialogue, new interactions, and extra all tailor-made to weave collectively hours of participant decision-making right into a kinder, hotter, extra sentimental conclusion to the sport. The brand new epilogue—which might take about an hour, at most, to work by way of—does precisely that, providing an enchanting likelihood for Larian to revisit Baldur’s Gate 3‘s instantly iconic and lovable characters by way of the lens of participant response after launch, after these all these months of fan artwork and tales and interactions with the actors behind them. It’s stuffed with pleasure and love, and the twinge of remorse that you’re really saying goodbye to its story and its characters for one ultimate time.

However additionally it is in some ways one thing that appears like a celebration of playing D&D itself, and a promise: simply as good friend teams come to the desk to journey collectively, after which drift again aside within the hope that some day sooner or later they’ll collect as one and enterprise forth, this isn’t the time to say goodbye to Baldur’s Gate 3 without end. There may at all times be one thing extra, ought to time and destiny align (and, in a splendidly jokey nod to the herculean activity of getting a gaggle of adults to type their very own schedules out to play D&D commonly, a synchronization of myriad private calendars) that brings us again to this explicit imagining of Faerûn.

Screenshot: James Whitbrook/io9, Larian Studios

Image for article titled Baldur's Gate 3's New Epilogue Is a Wonderful Goodbye, But Not the End

Though you begin enjoying it instantly after credit first roll on a playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3, the epilogue is ready six months after the conclusion of the principle story, and extra particularly after gamers select the ending path that sees them destroy the sinister Netherbrain, liberating their associates, and the Sword Coast, from the tadpole-wriggling grip of the Mindflayers and their reborn Illithid Empire. Choosing up your character and their cherished one through an invitation from Withers—the traditional mysterious undead entity that, it seems in BG3‘s authentic finish, was an agent of the gods working in opposition to the machinations of the Useless Three, Myrkul, Bane, and Bhaal—the epilogue takes place on the very first encampment your get together got here collectively in through the occasions of the sport, the sentimental stage to host a reunion feast for individuals who, for probably the most half, all went their separate methods after saving the day.

Relying on the numerous, many, many selections you revamped the course of your sport, the place these characters all come from, and even who’s alive to return within the first place, shall be totally different. I performed the epilogue on my very first “Tav,” Lhukesh the Dragornborn Paladin, so I acquired to be taught that, at the same time as the unique sport noticed them briefly half methods with their lover, the Elven Druid/Notable Bear Halsin, they’d the truth is reunited shortly thereafter, retired from the heroic life, and constructed a household life for themselves taking care of refugees and orphans displaced by the Mindflayer disaster. I acquired to see the ramifications of a whole lot of the alternatives I’d made with Baldur’s Gate 3‘s get together flourish, for probably the most half.

Image for article titled Baldur's Gate 3's New Epilogue Is a Wonderful Goodbye, But Not the End

Screenshot: James Whitbrook/io9, Larian Studios

A japing jab with Jaheira, the perpetual grandmother of the solid right here, a heartfelt thanks there from the likes of Astarion, Shadowheart, and Lae’zel, for the affect Lhukesh had on bettering their lives for the higher and widening their worldviews from their brusque, egocentric origins. A few of it was bittersweet—Gale the Wizard, for the instance, apparently perished without end after I did not persuade him of the hubris of enjoying with the traditional magics that had been utilized by the Useless Three to manage the Netherbrain for their very own ends, abandoning a magical hologram of himself to say a ultimate goodbye and apology. A few of it even felt prefer it bordered on undoing what may’ve been perceived as a tragic ending from the unique sport—like Karlach and Wyll gleefully telling me that, after months of combating within the hellish planes of Avernus, they’d discovered a solution to repair Karlach’s infernal engine, a plan in thoughts to undo the dire destiny that just about kills her by Baldur’s Gate 3‘s authentic climax.

One the one hand, the sentimentality feels earned. The epilogue is perhaps playable instantly after the principle sport concludes, however for lots of gamers that is going again after months away from Baldur’s Gate 3 in a single kind or one other. And whereas Larian’s post-launch assist of the sport, by way of new content material, high quality of life updates, and bug fixes has largely been exemplary, this epilogue feels just like the developer saying, for probably the most half (outdoors of rudimentary bug fixes), it’s carried out including new issues to the sport: Baldur’s Gate 3 is as Baldur’s Gate 3 is on this second. It was good, nice even, however it’s time to select ourselves up and bid it farewell. That vibe is suffused all through the epilogue, as characters, virtually hesitant to a whisper, attempt to acknowledge that this is perhaps the final time they’re all collectively. As you wander across the celebrations each character is burdened with this unstated pressure: let’s inform one another how a lot we imply to one another, let’s hug our associates, let’s kiss our family members, let’s promise to at all times be there for one another even after we’re aside, simply in case that is it.

Image for article titled Baldur's Gate 3's New Epilogue Is a Wonderful Goodbye, But Not the End

Screenshot: James Whitbrook/io9, Larian Studios

But it surely doesn’t should be. After all, metatextually, a participant can revisit Baldur’s Gate 3 at any time when they need, replay previous saves, begin new run throughs, create new characters and take a look at new lessons. It’s a online game, it’s not going to poof into the ether the second you’re carried out enjoying. However the epilogue additionally acknowledges this throughout the textual content itself. If you’re carried out catching up together with your get together, chatting with Withers to deliver the epilogue to its conclusion sees the undead collect you throughout the desk to boost a glass in celebration of one another—that you just all got here collectively to beat unimaginable odds and defy the machinations of the gods themselves. Crucially, nevertheless, Withers is far much less definitive about this being the Finish as lots of your pals had been in dialog. As a being keenly conscious of the threads of destiny, and the wheels of future ever turning, Withers plainly tells you that this night time may result in extra—not simply future reunions, however future threats to cope with, new adventures to be hand that brings the most recent batch of heroes of Baldur’s Gate collectively as soon as extra.

Many gamers have taken this as a tacit acknowledgement from Larian that, opposite to prior statements, it’s not as carried out with Baldur’s Gate 3 because it first mentioned it was after launch. This tease, it’s believed, may come within the type of expansive DLC, or even perhaps a Baldur’s Gate 4 down the road. Neither could be stunning, given the overwhelmingly constructive reception Baldur’s Gate 3 has loved. However as a lot because it does really feel like a touch at extra to return from this world for them, it additionally simply feels just like the perpetual promise of TTRPGs themselves, D&D or otherwise. TTRPGs are all concerning the tales and characters you weave on the desk, sure, however they’re additionally intrinsically concerning the gamers behind these adventures. Their connection to one another, the expertise of coming collectively to create one thing distinctive and significant, after which drifting aside. They won’t get the possibility to do it typically as actual life and commitments interrupt, they may not get to do it once more in any respect. They could get to do it commonly for years and years to return. However the potential for a return and extra is at all times there, and at all times so fascinating, regardless of if it’s finally the eventual consequence. The tales can go on without end, develop and evolve and take new kinds, or create new ones totally, however the connections made alongside the way in which can at all times be reforged regardless of how a lot distance or time comes between them.

Image for article titled Baldur's Gate 3's New Epilogue Is a Wonderful Goodbye, But Not the End

Screenshot: James Whitbrook/io9, Larian Studios

It’s a becoming sentiment to conclude Baldur’s Gate 3 on, and a 2023 that has seen Dungeons & Dragons itself climate a dizzying array of highs and lows. A farewell and a farewell-for-now in equal measure, it’s additionally a celebration of that promise of enjoying TTRPGs within the first place: bringing individuals collectively in, as you elevate a goblet to as Baldur’s Gate 3 fades to black one final time, well being, wealth, love, and above all, issues value fixing.


Need extra io9 information? Try when to anticipate the most recent Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s subsequent for the DC Universe on film and TV, and every part you should learn about the way forward for Doctor Who.

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