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How ‘Baldur’s Gate’ Saved the Computer RPG (theringer.com)
331 points by bpierre on Dec 21, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 196 comments

OK, so in 1995 there were few computer RPGs. True. In fact I distinctly remember myself at that time, as a huge CRPG fan, thinking that they were bad times for PC RPGs, and hoping for better times.

But 1996 was the year of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, one of the best RPGs of all time (IMO, way better than Baldur's) that would later continue into a saga that is still top notch today. In 1997, Fallout came out. I'm not personally a big fan of this saga, but its enormous success and influence in CRPGs is undeniable. In 1998, apart from Baldur's Gate, we had Fallout II and Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven, a great game that renewed the legendary Might and Magic franchise with a new engine.

So no. You may like Baldur's Gate a lot (IMO it's a good game but way overrated) but it didn't save anything, and the image given by the article of being the first brave developers who dared publish a CRPG after a draught is just plain false.

I do remember feeling of being in something of RPG drought when Baldur's Gate came along. At least I believe that was the sentiment expressed by PC Games magazine, which I was reading pretty heavily at the time.

I don't think ES or Fallout were on my radar at that time but you're the first person I've heard with very positive opinions of Daggerfall; most of the ES nostalgics seem to pine for Morrowind.

Baldur's Gate had the D&D license, though, and that gave it a lot of weight and staying power for people who weren't already into CRPGs. I think it also left a much larger impact than any of the games you've mentioned save maybe Fallout II. Part of the draw for me were those D&D rules; I was pretty heavy into tabletop RPGs at the time.

Daggerfall was a buggy mess or randomly generated, yet still always the same dungeons. No reason whatsoever to walk in the always-same, never ending landscape. The plot was good, the scale huge.

Morrowind fixed all of that - much smaller scale, less generated stuff, excellent plot, few (er) bugs - it was actually possible to finish the game. Landscape with purpose, it was actually interesting to walk and explore.

Admittedly, I've only played Skyrim and a bit of ESO, but I've gotten the impression from Bethesda that their RPGs are always buggy, but, at least with Skryim, the game was so good I was more than willing to forgive them for it. Skyrim remains my favorite single player RPG to date.

To respond to the OP, I consider the baldur's gate series to be more of a trend-setter than the other games he listed.

Give Witcher 3 a shot if you haven't. I much prefer it to Skyrim, and felt much more attachment to the world and characters.

Witcher 3 and Skyrim are two totally different games. Witcher 3 is more story focused if you get the gist. Skyrim is kindof pseudo-choose-your-own-adventure, not focused on dialog but exploration. Witcher3 is on the opposite spectrum, focusing more on characters and dialog and world building.

I don't know if I agree fully. Yes they were obviously different games, but it seems like Skyrim and Witcher were very similar in scale. Had Bethesda decided not to not autogenerate many of the side quests, it feels like Skyrim could have been Witcher with a different lore and combat system despite being way earlier. I remember zero Skyrim characters and remember most of the Witcher characters, and while I understand they're different games, I refuse to accept that a company the size of Bethesda could not make an Elder Scrolls story that introduces complex lore like Witcher that could be largely ignored by masses if they so choose (Fallout 4, for example).

Witcher 3 is fantastic. Incredible story, enormous amount of high-quality content, and wonderful, hand-crafted world.

Witcher 3 is what I hoped Skyrim would be and despite playing an already existent character and it felt like I had way more freedom in my choices.

I remember reading somewhere that the developers of Skyrim will leave non game-breaking bugs in the code if they are funny ones that don't break quests. Things like mammoths floating in the air in certain cases, for example.

My kids think it’s hilarious to fast travel to a giant camp and see mammoths spawn from the air fall and die.

Oh wow it just stuck me that the Morrowind "screen always red" bug and the Skyrim "the damn battle music won't stop playing" bug are probably a very similar bug.

> few (er)

heh. fewer, yes. few, no.

My favorite were the "why am I underneath the ground" or the "why is my screen now red until I reload the game?" bugs that happened all the time.

I'll speak only for me, here, but Fallout 1 is the game that impressed me the most among these, during those times. It had to do with this idea that you could go anywhere you wanted and you weren't forced into a linear plot (somewhat a precursor of current day's openworld games).

Granted, I didn't know d&d back then, I guess if it happened now after playing d&d, Baldur's Gate would impress me more.

Daggerfall was absolutely wonderful. It was like Elite but a fantasy RPG. Morrowind felt like a _huge_ step back, and even Skyrim falls short of the scale and sense of wilderness and exploration.

Morrowind does have more following, but Daggerfall has an extraordinarily staunch user base. 22 years after its release, its Reddit and various forums are pretty active and there is a full remake in Unity getting close to full functionality, with all code recreated from scratch, and people are already creating various mods for it. (obligatory link: https://www.dfworkshop.net/).

Daggerfall and Morrowind had a quite different spirit, it was not a case of incremental improvement but a change of philosophy, hence they appeal to different (although overlapping) sets of people.

Daggerfall was one of the most ambitious open world games ever created. It had an enormous world, the size of Great Britain, with over 15,000 towns and dungeons to explore and tons of quests that would be randomly parameterized with towns, buildings, dungeons and NPCs. The world was procedurally generated once, and stored into the game, so everyone sees the same towns and dungeons. The game play was totally open, to the extent that many Daggerfall fans don't care much about the main quest (even though the main quest story was actually top notch, with lots of twists, treason, meaningful choice and all). Why have a main quest when you can just live your life setting your own goals: advancing in the various guilds, striving to buy a big house, a boat, to become a famous knight, etc. The dungeons were also procedurally generated, and so labyrinthine that you could literally spend hours exploring a single dungeon. This is something that some people hated about the game (I actually love it. It was deeply immersive, and the feeling of finally getting back to the surface and hearing crickets was amazing). The character creation system was more oriented to role-playing (you could do things like give your character specific advantages or disadvantages) than to game balance. You could even make your own spells!

Morrowind continued the saga in terms of lore and mechanics, but took a totally different turn. The world was hand-crafted, so it was more carefully put together, but also much smaller. And the open-world nature was very much toned down. You were now "the Chosen One" (in Daggerfall you were just a random person, except for being a friend of the emperor, living their life and trying to make fortune) and you pretty much had to follow the main quest because there weren't that many things to do on the side compared to Daggerfall. The labyrinthine dungeons were replaced by quite linear dungeons (although less so than in later installments of the saga). Roleplaying-oriented features like advantages and disadvantages on character creation, questions to determine character background, etc. were removed.

Don't get me wrong, I love Morrowind too, as well as Oblivion and Skyrim, and even Arena. I have enjoyed all of them a lot. But Daggerfall was a unique beast and scratched itches that no other game did. I understand that it's not for everyone, many people hate it. It's one of the most polarizing games I have ever seen, a case of "love it or hate it". Exploring dungeons requires a lot of patience which many people just don't have, and the procedurally-generated nature (with 1996 technology) means that it isn't as fleshed out as other games - for example towns can feel quite repetitive, etc., you have to use the imagination a bit to imagine how each place is unique. Also, the fact that it was very buggy (although it improved a lot with patches, and Daggerfall Unity will hopefully be very stable as it's remade from scratch) alienated some players. But for the kind of player who seeks primarily immersion, the kind of player who actually roleplays, it's an unparalleled wonder because it lets you be whoever you want to be much better than the later games, which take you through the story on rails. Daggerfall feels like a real world, a simulation of a life in a fantasy land, and the emergent behavior caused by quests, reputations, etc. is often amazing. While the subsequent games in the saga are masterpieces in their own right, I long for a game in the spirit of Daggerfall with current (or at least later) technology.

It's fairly simple. Any person's favorite Elder Scrolls game is usually the first one they played. The games have become less Elder with every installment.

Morrowind's art, though... that beat the tar out of the releases before it. It was the best balance of big exploration and visual world-building.

> It's fairly simple. Any person's favorite Elder Scrolls game is usually the first one they played.

A common narrative regarding World of Warcraft expansions as well.

I'm not so sure about that, I started with Morrowind and while I remember sinking away countless hours in that game I remember it feeling like a glorified database client, what with all the text to read and stats to shuffle about. The game that really stuck with me is Oblivion

>The dungeons were also procedurally generated, and so labyrinthine that you could literally spend hours exploring a single dungeon. This is something that some people hated

This right here is actually probably what I liked most about daggerfall. One of the things i've found most disappointing about both oblivion and skyrim was their dungeons. Almsot all of then are just a straight path through, i'm not sure if i've ever found an item worth finding and then, especially skyrim, they all seem to have a convenient escape back door that brings you back to the beginning of the dungeon.

I've always felt exploring large winding, mazelike dungeons full of traps, monsters, puzzles and weird things to be one of the staples of a good RPG. Tabletop or computer. Daggerfall's dungeons feel more like the scope of a tabletop RPG dungeon.

I've always felt dungeons should almost be little mini adventures on their own. They should be dangerous and tough to explore, there should be things worth finding, it should feel like you need to explore, like it's a dangerous place few save monsters and brave adventurers have tried to go through and by then end you should feel like you've accomplished something, whether you're more powerful or you've found some kind of cool treasure. There should be some kind of sense of accomplishment and reward for completing them.

I never really felt that way after the later elder scrolls dungeons. They were just places to go to complete a story objective or side quest, get to the end, get a cut scene or some item worse than something I can probably craft already, take the back door back to the beginning then move on to the next one.

I have to admit the 3d fallout games had slightly better 'dungeons' than the elder scrolls games, mostly because they tended to be kind of unique and kind of winding sometimes and there was usually at least useful things to find.

But i'd still like to see a modern open world RPG that focuses more on creating a good dungeon crawling experience to go along with it.

Agree with every word of this. As ridiculous as it sounds, Daggerfall is probably the only RPG I've played where I felt so much ownership of my character that I spend significant time clothes shopping.

> You were now "the Chosen One" (in Daggerfall you were just a random person, except for being a friend of the emperor, living their life and trying to make fortune)

It should be noted that in Morrowind, that is very much ambiguous.


The only thing that is really special about your character in Morrowind is that you're born "on a certain day to an uncertain parents", which technically makes you a viable candidate for the local prophesy about a reincarnation of a long-dead hero of the past. But, of course, plenty of people would also qualify based on something so vague.

From there, the Empire takes you - a prisoner - releases you, and drops you into Morrowind to work for its spy agency, on the basis that this background would allow you to infiltrate the local Houses. You also get a mysterious vision related to said prophecy, but there's a catch that becomes obvious later. Your spy handler then actively encourages you to perform actions that would be seen as fulfillment of various other conditions of that prophecy. At some point, the very goddess that issued that prophesy in the first place intervenes and takes over, and goads you further along the same track (this is especially ironic since she is, among other things, a goddess of fate and prophesy). She was also the source of that original vision that you had.

Of course, this invites the question: if you deliberately do things that the prophecy says a certain person will do, because you're forced by others to do so specifically for the sake of fulfilling it, does that really count? What if you're guided by the one who made the prophesy in the first place? Is it really fate?

This is a question that the game asks again and again. If you study the background of the prophesy (by e.g. reading in-game books), you quickly find out that there have been several people before you who were also candidates, and who have claimed to be a reincarnation, trying to fulfill the prophesy in various ways - and all of them have ultimately failed and died. It gets better still - in the second part of the main quest, you find a cave with the spirits of those past claimants, and they tell you their stories. Every one of them sincerely believed to be the reincarnation - and moreover, they also had visions telling them that they really are, just as you did at the beginning of the game.

To the very end, it remains an open question: are you really the reincarnation, and those others weren't? Or maybe all of you were, but you only stay one so long as you succeed? Or perhaps the whole thing is a lie, and the prophecy is no prophecy at all, and is "fulfilled" simply by forcing people to try to do it until someone finally succeeds? It's never really answered - right before the final boss battle, the Bad Guy (who slayed the original hero you're supposedly the reincarnation of) straight up asks you if you really are his old enemy. You can give various answers to that - including "I don't know" - but in the end, that's still just your character's opinion; there's no incontrovertible proof either way, other than you fulfilling the prophesy in terms of performing the actions you were supposed to. To everybody else, that is enough, and you're celebrated as the reincarnation. But is it enough for you?

This is true from a narrative/plot standpoint and it's good that you mention it, Morrowind's plot was great. But I was talking more from a gameplay/immersion standpoint. It is true that it's ambiguous whether you are a Chosen One or not, but the thing is that in Morrowind you don't have much choice other than following the main quest because there is not much else to do (OK, advancing in the guilds, but the progression is a joke compared to Daggerfall, a small bunch of quests and you are the head honcho). In Daggerfall you can just live your life as one more person in a large, complex world. I know players who have been playing for years without even touching the main quest because the open-world nature of the game is enough to keep them engaged.

Probably "Chosen One" was not the best choice of words. It's more that in Morrowind, the world revolves around you, it's just a device to tell you a story. To take a particular example (among many), in (unmodded) Morrowind, any town or city is a totally unrealistically-sized town with a bunch of houses and a few mostly static NPCs, which spend 24 hours in the same place and are designed to have dialogs useful for you. On the other hand, enter Daggerfall. A town can have hundreds of houses, with hundreds of NPCs that roam the streets and act according to their daily schedules (quite rudimentarily implemented, but still). You can talk to any NPC on the street but just as in real life, they are strangers and don't give a damn about you because you're just another person on the street; so you can ask them for rumors and directions and if you are polite and they are in good mood you can get some information, but not much more. So you really feel that the world doesn't revolve around you. You are so insignificant that if you go to a city at night, the city walls are closed so you can't even enter unless you climb!

Yes, exactly. Morrowind isn't a Chosen One narrative, it's a subversion of and critique of Chosen One narratives. The self-fulfilling nature of prophecy is a major theme of the game. Skyrim is the first game in the series where the player character is unambiguously a prophesied hero by right of birth. (Oblivion is interesting in that it does have a Chosen One, but you end up playing his sidekick.)

Fallout 1 and 2 were a huge success. I remember me and my childhood friends spending so much time during lunch breaks and after high school talking about fallout and our game states and comparing things we did right or wrong. I thin the huge influence of the Fallout series is not fully understood and appreciated. They really influenced the RPG genre in a big way. Fallout is the number one RPG universe for me even though I have played all the other RPGs at that golden RPG era. Baldur’s Gate, Diablo, Icewind Dales, Arcana, Might and Magic. All huge titles but Fallout series will always have a special place in my heart and I will be excited about every new Fallout game for eternity.

The Wikipedia page for Elder Scrolls II [0] indicates that the game world was absolutely massive:

> the actual size of the map is 161,600 km² (62,394 mi²). The game world features over 15,000 towns, cities, villages, and dungeons for the player's character to explore.

Was that scale part of the magic and fun back then? How varied were the various quests? Did it get repetitive, or was it fun to explore?

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elder_Scrolls_II:_Daggerfa...

Of course, it was procedurally generated.

Later, Arcanum would try to do something similar, at least with a global map. It had premade towns and cities (and nowhere near as many of them, of course); but the landscape between them was done to proper scale, and it was all generated.

So, when you reached the outskirts of a town, you could fast travel, or you could just keep walking - and the distance (and time!) you'd have to spend to walk to the next town like that would accurately reflect the size of the game map. And even during fast travel, if you had an encounter (e.g. wild animals, robbers) that dropped you into the detailed map, you'd end up in the correct spot on the generated part of it.

Coincidentally, that made it possible to skip large parts of the game simply by heading to locations in advance that you're not supposed to find out about until some NPC tells you. And the game was actually designed to gracefully handle that, despite having a fairly convoluted main storyline.

Daggerfall, on the other hand, was not at all gracefully designed to handle that. It was way, way too easy to accidentally derail the main plot.

Your questions are answered in my answer to a sibling comment below: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18735512

Except maybe the question regarding quests. They were very varied, because there were plenty of factions giving quests, and plenty of text scripts (that were parameterized with locations, items and NPCs), from a quick search apparently 227 in total. So sometimes you would do similar quests (especially if you liked to always work for a single faction) but the variety was great actually.

Everyone forgetting 1995 saw a huge is release that influenced release dates of dozen titles that ended up postponed for testing.

The rpg genre itself was doing strong in 1995, heck just check SNES releases, Chrono trigger, dragon quest, finally fantasy...

It was just a transitional period for the platform https://www.jesperjuul.net/ludologist/2012/12/06/a-visual-hi...

I would argue that console JRPGs constituted a separate genre from PC CRPGs at the time. I remember that there was little intersection between the fan bases, and even some hostility.

There was also Diablo 1 released at the end of 1996. It was a great time for RPGs.

Diablo was monotonous, linear hack'n slash. If that's your thing it's cool, but it's not an RPG.

As a CRPG fan at the time, it still boggles my mind that such a title had any kind of success after the likes of Wasteland, Bard's Tale 1-3, the numerous SSI/D&D titles, or the Ultima series. Those days were glorious, and nearly all of those titles are still fantastic today.

Diablo did long-term damage to CRPGs IMO. It established that there was a larger market for completely linear titles than there was for titles where the player could actually decide what to do - or at the very least the order in which you do what there is to do. And as a result, it more or less vaporized any type of funding for non-linear CRPG experiences.

To be honest, I loved Diablo, but I never even viewed it as an RPG. It was just a mostly brainless, almost casual game to play after school. You could jump in and out for however long time you had and grind some XP and loot. My friends played it too, so at school we got to brag who had more Zodiacs etc.

I deliberately didn't include it because it's somewhat contentious whether it is an RPG or not and I had enough games to quote without risking triggering that discussion... but yes. Also very influential, even on Baldur's Gate itself, I'd say.

In 1995 there were few games, period. Videogame market was in its infancy compared to what it is today.

I absolutely adore Baldur's Gate. It is the ultimate expression of gaming for basement dwelling nerds. Black Isle/Bioware always had penchant for lore and world building.

Pretty sure Daggerfall sold quicker than Baldur's Gate at launch, but hit production bottlenecks as they didn't anticipate the success. That just seems like more evidence that the market was underserved at the time.

Oh to be a kid again. I've tried a dozen or so RPGs since my childhood and I can't get into any. It's hard to sink deep enough into a world when I have responsibilities. As a kid, the Christmas break or summer break was this magical time where I could do this.

My hope is that when I retire I can become re acquainted with crpgs

Cannot recommend this blog enough , where the author is playing methodically computer RPGs in chronological order (he has started in 2010 and I think its going thorugh 1992 still...) , with detailed descriptions and reviews:


It has been scratching my nostalgic itch fairly well.

It's still possible. I have 3 kids a full time job and a 1 hour driving commute each way. Despite this in the past 6 years I've still managed to play through Ultima VI, Baldur's Gate 1&2 Planescape Torment, 1/2 of Icewind Dale (finally burnt out on infinity engine), Tides of Numenera, Pillars of Eternity, Torment, Fallout 3, Fallout 4, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Zelda a Link to the Past, Zelda Wind Waker, Hyper Light Drifter and am 95% of my way through Divinity Original Sin and I've probably forgotten some!

I squeeze in an hour or two here and there (usually at night after everybody else has gone to sleep). It can take a couple months to finish a game at this pace, but you get through them.

I like the big open-ended RPGs. I feel like I can get in and complete a couple short quests or a tricky combat situation in the short time I have allotted. It makes me feel like I'm always making progress, even if it's slow going. Compared to action games where I feel like the hour I have to play is barely enough time to warm up and play effectively.

I highly recommend you give the Exile series from Spiderweb Software a chance if you haven't. It's a bit dated graphically, but it's engine has been kept up and there's some new Avadon series as well. It's hands down some of the best storytelling and I've easily played hundreds of hours. I've definitely played from night to morning without realizing it more than a few times.

Jeff Vogel from Spiderweb Software have an awesome retrospective on his games and company at GDC 2018:

"Failing to Fill: The Spiderweb Software Way" https://youtu.be/stxVBJem3Rs

I remember ordering from a catalog and getting the fat envelope of 3.5 inch disks. Those games were amazing.

Many of them are on Steam now. And the creator Jeff Vogel is an interesting Twitter follow.

I really liked the older games as well (a long, long time ago). I still remember the "shareware canyon" that was impassible without buying the game in full. Fond memories!

The most recent game I managed that with was Skyrim (years after launch, I think this was maybe 1-2 years ago) but with most other such games (and also Skyrim after a few cumulative hours) I just felt like I was wasting my time.

Oh man I played that one as well, forgot to add it to my list. I probably got about 50% through the main quest and got bored. I really enjoyed Fallout 3 and 4 (despite the complaints) but Skyrim never felt as good to me.

I felt the reverse, that Skyrim was amazing, but Fallout 3 and 4 didn't hold my attention despite being similar. Fallout 3's soundtrack was excellent, though. I was disappointed that 4 didn't have quite the same appeal.

Baldur's gate also comes as smartphone apps, it's not super convenient but works, finish an RPG on the loo! :)

Tangent: 'Relentless, Twinsen's Adventure' aka 'Little Big Adventure' is officially available on Android. It's actually kind of fun and playable on the small screen.

Totally. I played them on a big iPad. Perfect device for BG 1&2!

No Ultima VII? The pinnacle of that series, and still impressive in its scope, IMO.

I agree, Ultima 7 is in my top 3 all time games! I had one or two aborted attempts at replaying it in the past decade, but life intervened. The last time I played through the whole game was well before this era (maybe 15 years ago?).

I hate to have to correct fellow HNers in a public forum but you two have left me with no other choice: Ultima V is clearly the best of the Ultima games.

Looks like the Exult, the Ultima 7 modernization/remake, is still being developed:


Last time I played U7 through so many years ago it was via Exult. I wonder how far its progressed over the last decade? hmm.

Ultimate Online was what got me into programming. I used to play on Novus Opiate share and when it died I found out about the emulators so I ended up teaching myself how to program to make things for UO and ended up helping build a shard with like ~300 players. It only lasted like 2 years and then the guy didn’t wanna host it anymore and it died. I miss those days :( when games were fun...

I wish I could do that. I probably could if I didn’t had an MMO sucking a portion of my soul. But I confess I can do these things because my work is basically sprint and rest kind of job.

What did you think about Tides of Numenara? I know there are many reviews out there, but your taste in games seems amazingly close to mine, including finding Skyrim boring, so I'd love to hear your opinion. I've had the game sitting on my computer for a while but haven't started it yet.

I was disappointed in that one. The concept was great and the world was interesting, but I found the characters to be bland and poorly developed.

The Bloom was a monotonous slog. I wish you spent less time in the Bloom and more time in other parts of the game (or new areas).

The combat was mediocre at best (nothing like Wasteland 2 or Divinity which are great).

Finally, the bugs were terrible. I only finished the game a couple months ago, so it's had plenty of time for them to get fixed. I still ran into one game breaking bug where I had troll the forums to find out how to hand edit a game script to cause an event to trigger so that I could continue the main quest. That sucked, especially since I didn't do anything unusual. The flag just didn't get set and I was too far along in the game to go back to a previous save.

It's the only game I've kickstarted. I did that because I knew there was no other way a game like this was going to be made at the time. I wanted it to exist. I'm still glad I did and glad I played through it, but it could have been much better. I'd put it at the lower end of my list: worth playing if you really like these kinds of games, otherwise pass.

Thanks a lot. I guess I won't play it anytime soon—too many other great games to play in too little time. I may very well play through the "enhanced" original though... It's my favorite game of all time but I somehow only played it once more than 10 years ago.

The original is definitely the better game.

Check out Witcher 3!

I highly recommend Divinity, I've discovered it only recently and it is absolutely amazing, I think this is the best game I've ever played in my life. I've been looking for something like this ever since I played fallout 2 and thought "there should be a modern version of this". This is everything I wish Fallout3/Skyrim was, such a perfect, beautiful, fun, engaging game.

And I'm talking about Divinity 1, people say Divinity 2 is even better, though I haven't tried it because there's no linux version yet.

It blows my mind how much love and thought they've put into it, I can't recommend it enough, I haven't loved a game so much since I was a kid, do yourself a favor and check it out!

You're in luck, Divinity 2 runs perfectly for me on linux with Proton (with a little bit of work). Check protondb.com.

Divinity: Original Sin 1 and 2 come very close to recapturing that Baldur's Gate magic. I highly recommend them.

I have played OS 1 and it has the best combat of any CRPG I have ever played (think X-Com with magic).

Plot, setting and characters I found quite unremarkable, though.

But still the best "traditional" RPG I have played in many years.

D:OS 2 improves on 1 in many ways, especially in story.

They created characters with plot lines instead of relying on player-generated characters. It's not Shakespeare, but with Larian Studio's humor it is definitely worth playing.

The camera angles on the D:OS 1 really irked me somehow.

The only one I've played in the last like decade+ that gave me that old school RPG vibe, that felt wondrous like when I was a teen in the '90s discovering PC gaming, has been Wasteland II. Though the camera angles on that annoyed me even worse than D:OS!

I keep buying games thinking I'll have the time and desire to go in deep for some escapism, like the new game rpg game Kingmaker, a game based on the Pathfinder tabletop ruleset. But I just can't bring myself to care much when I have so many responsibilities and cares in RL. So games where I don't need to invest myself get played e.g. Battlefield 1 although just for a few minutes each evening in lieu of tv.

For me it wasn't even the big breaks. Aside from the crunches to prepare for the finals at the end of high-school I would come home from school in the early afternoon (schools in Israel operate on a 6-days per week but fewer hours per day schedule), food/housework would already be done by my mother & I basically had 2pm-10pm completely free almost every day (more on weekends & holiday).

Completing a game like Fallout 2 multiple times (it must have taken 50+ hours of play at least the first time) was nothing exceptional & I didn't need to wait for summer break to do it.

>> My hope is that when I retire I can become re acquainted with crpgs

Eh, I don't know. I see where you're coming from and I don't mean to offend you, but whenever I find the time to indulge into my gaming obsessions (for me it's CCGs) I feel terribly guilty afterwards, for not spending that time on something productive, like reading up on my PhD bibliography, or just coding up my research. I don't even have a family. I'm just kind of fed up playing games all day long.

Sign I'm growing old I guess. I'll go get my hot water bottle and a cat.

If you want to give it a try, my recommendation is to start with the Pillars of Eternity series. It's a modern game, but it's made by some of the people who made some of the best classic CRPGs, and it's done very much in their spirit. And I don't mean just the gameplay, but also e.g. graphics and style - the game uses hand-drawn backgrounds, just as Baldur's Gate did, but at much higher resolution, and with a 3D mesh underneath to apply lighting effects.

And those games have a pause button so you don't have to have insane controller skillz to play 'em.

Why not take off 1 day a week to play?

It's hard to take a week off being a parent. Work is actually the easier part. I'm retiring when my kids are moved out.

Baldur's Gate was really difficult as a kid. Without fully understanding how the stat system worked or the pause/play combat, my siblings and I really struggled with it.

What we would do to overcome the difficulty was ramp our characters level when starting the game. In Candlekeep Inn, we would buy as many darts as we could afford, and throw them at the sorcerer in the lobby. Before he could retaliate, we would run up the stairs to safety.

Repeat this a few dozen times, and he eventually dies, and you get a huge XP boost. Then you export the character, start a new game, and do the same thing.

One time we did this enough to be able to kill the character's father before leaving Candlekeep. Good times.

You mean your foster father Gorian? For shame!

He was going to die as soon as you leave the village anyway, might as well steal Sarevok's kill and get the XP ;)

That's... hilarious

Would not forget this game ever, first time had to install using 5CDs, endless hours spent discovering this amazing world and story these guys have built. Hands down to Black Isle Studios for BG series, Icewind Dale and Planescape Torment.

Ahhh, the child of Bhaal has awoken. It is time for more... experiments.

I think I spent hundreds of hours just min-maxing in Irenicus' dungeon.

You could do this, or try to kill dual sword wield Drizzt Do'Urden.. the legend.

Yep, surround with a swarm of skeletons so he can't move and kill him with crossbows.

No, you have to have enough members in your party to surround him before speaking to him and then remove them from your party. So neutral NPCs are surrounding him. He will just kill skeletons. But you deserve whatever is coming to you if you kill Drizzt just for some swords.

I always felt obligated to kill Drizzt as a matter of literary criticism.

They were all great but Planescape Torment was my favourite of the lot.

Such a well-written game.

My favorite too. Such a good game, characterful and intriguing, and with awesome music too. Planescape is the best D&D setting.

About the only thing that hasn't aged well are the character portraits; I wish they had been hand-drawn instead of these weird late 90s low-res 3D renders. Everything else is superb.

I wonder if Nordom is still patiently waiting for the Nameless One to return...

After almost 20 years, the original Torment is still unparalleled in many ways. It redefined what it means to tell a truly great story in a video game.

Speaking of which, there's an "enhanced edition" of P:T now, that's also available on mobile devices.

Its novelization is gathering dust on my e-reader.

BG2 definitely has a place in the canon of computer games.

BG 1 and 2 were developed by Bioware. Black Isle developed the Icewind Dale series, also great RPGs.

I can still remember Black Isle logo when game was starting in BG1, so no, they were working on first game as well :)

Are you sure they weren't just a distributor?

On the 10th anniversary of Baldur's Gate, Bioware put up a website that had quotes from a bunch of devs who worked on it. One of the people quoted said that the publisher, Interplay, kept rejecting Bioware's story drafts and ended up having their own team (Black Isle) write it. So if that is to be believed, Interplay/Black Isle did do more than just publish the game, but I haven't been able to find out exactly how involved they were in the development.

OK, you may be right, wiki saying they were publishers.

If you want to play a modern game that takes you back to Balder’s Gate, definitely check out Divinity Original Sin 2. I never played the first, and I was skeptical about it living up to BG 1 and 2, but after the first couple hours I was hooked. It is very much worthy of the comparison.

It's not really the same type of game though - with its AP based turn combat and significantly less serious setting and quest design. Don't get me wrong, it's great, but if you want a Baldur's Gate modernization, it's Pillars of Eternity / Pillars of Eternity 2 / Tyranny what you should be looking at :)

The gameplay is different, but as someone who was both a fan of Baldur's Gate AND Fallout 1/2, I find it noticeably superior, especially when it comes to combat.

As far as "less serious", I'm not sure what you mean. The game has humor in some places, but it's plenty serious as far as the main quests go.

The magic of Baldur's Gate 2 comes from way more than the DnD combat though. The character conflicts, plot, side stories, dark humor, etc. come together in a similar way in DOS2, but in a new world different from the Forgotten Realms.

I'm in the process of playing the first one. I know the second is much better, but I heard the first was good too and I didn't want the disappointment of playing the better one first. So far I really enjoy it, but I wish they had skipped on the voice acting. It's bad and takes away from the game. I read dialog faster than they talk, and now I have them talking slowly while I am trying to read!

All I can say is that the voice talent in the second installment is exceptional.

I'd like to throw in a mention of Pathfinder: Kingmaker which is based on the Pathfinder tabletop ruleset (a D&D ruleset). Early reviews were plagued by bugs but a number of patches have since fixed most issues.

The game is incredible.

Although you may be sorely disappointed if playing for the story. The Divinity Original Sin 1 was basically garbage in this respect, a poor attempt at doing Discworld, with neither the vision nor talent that Pratchett had.

Original Sin 2 is much better story-wise, though it's still a game where the best story content is in side quests and environmental storytelling. The animal quests are exceptional.

I couldn't believe how many animals have such full dialogue and background. Basically all of them!

Pillars of Eternity has also done a fantastic job in this regard.

Pillars of Eternity brought me back to the BG times. I felt like a 14 years old playing a semi elf enchanter again.

Wonderful game. Can't speed run them anymore, so I'm still not done with the one, but already can't wait to play the second.

It was smart of them to include some nostalgia. Previewing the game at a conference, when the voice-over said, "You must gather your party before forth," The crowd cheered.

Modern CRPG's are pretty great, I enjoyed all of the following:

- Divinity OS 1/2

- Underrail

- Age of Decadence

- Bastard Bonds

- Serpent in the Staglands

- Tyranny

- Torment: Tides of Numenera

However, I did not care for Pillars of Eternity at all.

I feel like Tyranny is greatly under rated. There are rough edges for sure, but the story line and atmosphere sucked me in in a way that I haven't experienced in a long time. Really fun combat system too.

Yeah, I was looking for this comment before I created another. Surprised by how little Tyranny has been mentioned.

Having played BG, Neverwinter, and after a long hiatus Pillars (but none of the above) can you elaborate a little? I liked the health/encounter system in Pillars. Spamming rests was no longer an option but having per encounter powers and health kept the game fun and balenced.

I concur, and they nailed the multiplayer aspect. If you haven't tried it with a friend, it's really worth it.

It's so good in couch co-op it seems incredible that, AFAIK, there are no other games in that particular niche.

Yea, this is the multiplayer I've been dreaming of. I really like how it lets you wander around separately and not get automatically stuck in all of their dialogues and decisions. Neverwinter Nights kinda tried to have some of this, but it wasn't quite this smooth.

For anyone interested - Neverwinter Nights Enhanced Edition is on sale for $6 on Steam, GOG, and Beamdog. $2 on Android. The multiplayer scene is having a bit of renaissance thanks to it, here's the live player world (mini-MMO) list: https://nwn.beamdog.net/

Why nobody mentions Tides of Numenera from a team comprised mostly of the original Planescape Torment team?

I long for a proliferation of 'adventure' or slower RPGs, instead of the FPS-type we see so much of. One advantage of the former is there's often a party component, like the old-school Wasteland (or the new Wasteland II), old Bard's Tale, etc. Or perhaps the party component fell out of favor for a different reason?

I've quite enjoyed Witcher 3's atmosphere and story, but there's something hack-and-slash about the combat and the skill system that makes one not really want to explore the different skill paths. For example, almost everyone will deploy a large fraction of their points in strong and fast sword attacks -- because it's a hack and slash.

Is it there's not a lot of demand for RPGs, or they're too expensive to make, or the old-school creators are replaced with a younger generation?

Don't get me wrong, Witcher 3 and the late GTA series are great games, but they're not old school RPG's in their style of play: some of the missions are gauntlet runs (somewhat linear), and the energy is fast-paced and requires more reflexes than they require planning.

You're alluding primarily to AAA games that target consoles. Nothing wrong with these games, but they are generally built to target the widest possible demographic and so you're going to get some typical patterns: action + simplicity + low difficulty + crazy good production values. Probably not what you're looking for.

To find what you're interested in just step off the beaten path a bit -- right now is probably the single best time in history for things like RPGs. For instance there is literally a brand new Bard's Tale out, in the same spirit as the originals, including having Michael Cranford on board. [1] You could start your search there - the "More like this" suggestions (on Steam) tend to be really quite good. Another place to start the search might be with the remastered Bard's Tale Trilogy [2]. Definitely don't avoid games just because you've never heard of them. For instance I'd never heard of Spiderweb software but have gotten an immense amount of enjoyment out of their games. [3] If you're okay with just dropping the story and playing a turn based RPG type game purely for an incredibly phenomenal monster training/creation type system in an incredibly expansive world then the Siralim [4] series is another great thing to check out.

No affiliation with any of the companies/products mentioned here. But I was literally in the exact same situation as you. Was really disappointed that it felt like my console had every type of genre - first person shooter/stabbers and third person shooter/stabbers! I was never much of a PC gamer. Then I took the path I'm recommending here and was just left jaw dropped to realize we're seriously in the golden age of games right now, most certainly including classic RPG style games!

[1] - https://store.steampowered.com/app/566090/The_Bards_Tale_IV_...

[2] - https://store.steampowered.com/app/843260/The_Bards_Tale_Tri...

[3] - can't link

[4] - https://store.steampowered.com/app/841770/Siralim_3/

Are any of those available on iOS?

I remember lamenting the fact that nearly every party-based RPG seemed to have smaller parties with each sequel... it makes me wonder if they don't focus-group well or something.

I think it's partly to control difficulty better. In BG if you build your party neglecting some key concepts (a dps, a tank, crowd control spells etc) you can very well find yourself unable to continue at certain challenge (i.e. the for golem room if you focus too much on hth, out the first dragon in icewind.. memory about the specifics faded now pardon any confusion) and basically you do well up to the challenge then you can't progress anymore.

Also a smaller party with less variations in roles is much easier to do storytelling with.

There are piles of these, still. The second Divinity is barely a year old, party mechanics are typical in lots of tactical JRPGs if that's your thing, etc.

Horizon: Zero Dawn is one of the best RPGs I have played in a long time, and you can definitely plan out your combat.

Old one but a good one -- check out Dragon's Dogma

It's an open world RPG with Monster Hunter combat mechanics (and tbh I think also influenced how HZD's excellent combat is designed)

You also need to plan your equipment / consumables before you go take on certain areas in the world.

It's a flawed gem but I love it to death.

Incidentally, BG1, BG2, & Icewind Dale are available on iOS and play quite well on an iPad pro. Perhaps even better than on a PC, as using the touch screen is easier than moving a mouse around.

They're also incidentally available DRM-free for a few dollars in the GOG winter sale:





Some friends and I just started a BG2 game last night.

I've played BG2 on a tablet, and the interface is... Finicky. Playable, but everything takes much longer then it does on PC.

Planescape: Torment, as well.

1. I love techno-nostalgic stories, and this is a good one

2. I love how none of the people were technically experienced at video games

3. I wonder if people knew back then that this was going to be such an influential game (after it was famous, but before time had passed)

> I wonder if people knew back then that this was going to be such an influential game (after it was famous, but before time had passed).

I don't think anyone could have picked how lasting and influential it would be. It was one of about 3 games I've ever pre-ordered though.

Anyone remember Neverwinter Nights? That was my "thing".

Also, Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete was a high point in my childhood.

The best part of NWN was the ability to run your own custom servers online, with custom worlds. Sine the game had a fairly powerful (for its time) scripting system, and an easy to use editor, at its peak there were many thematic persistent worlds - various D&D universes, Middle Earth etc.

It was also very different from modern MMORPGs, since it wasn't massively multiplayer - you had at most 64 players per server, and it also provided for DMs. Thus, you could do the usual MMORPG-type XP grind, or you could participate in DM-managed adventures in parties. Most people did both. Of course, the game engine limits what you can do compared to a true tabletop RPG, but there's still plenty a creative DM can do. And even a simple dungeon raid can have a lot of unexpected twists and turns with a DM.

I recall there were some community-driven things to encourage roleplay, too. E.g. on some servers, all regular players would get an XP reward quota, that they could dole out to other players' characters for good RP interactions.

NWN Hordes of Underdark and NWN2 Mask of the Betrayer were fantastic. It had that “magic of the outer planes” flavor that reminds me of Planescape Torment.

Weirdly enough the main character of HoTU was the one from Shadows of Udrentide (did I spelled right?). I remember meeting the ghost of one of the antagonists of the original game in hell and my character having her as a ghost girlfriend for the rest of his life.

Ah... I miss those fantastic stories.

NWN Enhanced Edition is on sale for $6 on Steam, GOG, and Beamdog. $2 on Android. The multiplayer scene is having a bit of renaissance thanks to it, here's the live server list: https://nwn.beamdog.net/

Also, Darkness Over Daggerford is finally finished and polished by the original devs and is available as $4 DLC.

I played NWN1 for _years_, on "Persistent Worlds" - the (usually) 40 - 80 concurrent player worlds created by the community. Battledale and Dasaria. Had some of the best gaming & storytelling experiences on those servers.

Sidenote: I used to moderate PlanetNeverwinter, the NWN forum on Gamespy's ForumPlanet.

Yep, I played on Aventia - those servers were great.

NWN Enhanced Edition is on sale for only a few bucks! Check out my other comment on on ulzeraj's reply.

I played the hell out of NWN when it came out. I still think the engine holds up, too. The content creation tools they gave you with the game were phenomenal. Probably my favorite game.

Since I don't see it mentioned, another shout out to Arcanum, one of the few RPGs that made a good attempt at creating a compelling vision of a world where magic and technology coexist.

The game is not without its issues, but overall it's a solid cRPG from the same era as BGI/II

Arcanum gave me permanent gnome trust issues.

Completely unrelated, but... The story was ofte a little hard to follow when I was a kid, but using a dictionary I was able to not just understand and progress throughout the game, but I also learned a lot of English in the process.

It all started with Transport Tycoon Deluxe, then Age of Empires. But it was with Baldur's Gate things really started to make sense. Because of these games I was reading and sort of speaking English before we even started having any English classes.

Good times.

I learned English by trying to figure out how to navigate menus in Warlords II and Castles II.

I played Baldur's Gate and barely understood the plot. A few years later, I eventually got to Planescape: Torment and actually managed to understand it.

If you love TTD, you should check out http://www.openttd.org/en/ if you haven't already.

OpenTTD is amazing. A group of friends of mine often have online games over the Christmas holidays. The only time everyone are able to play at the same time.

I have also been playing a little CorsixTH, the open source reimplementation of Theme Hospital. Theme Hospital came with Swedish translations, which are close enough to Norwegian that I was able to understand it. No dictionary needed!

To me, the two games that "saved" the CRPG were Fallout (because I was tired of Elves and Orcs) and Planescape Torment, because of the same... and the cool setting and compelling characters.

Baldurs Gate was really good, but I think people give it too much credit. Fallout 1$2 and Planescape Torment showed what really is a narrative-driven RPG game, they deserve more attention.

Well I’ve played Torment and BG games. While Torment had a superior story the immersion and worldbuilding factor of BG and BG2 were a different beast.

You know, I feel the same way about Half-Life.

It's a good game and lord knows I played it enough to know it like the back of my hand, but people keep bringing it up like it is the Monolith from 2001 bringing us gamer-apes into the modern world.

It's still a first person shooter. A well-made one, but not revolutionary. Unreal came out six months before it and it also had story-driven gameplay and used environmental effects like lighting too.

The Fallout series isn't exactly obscure and Fallout 1 in particular is terrible. I got a game over 5 minutes into the game because I walked too far and the arbitrary timer ran out.

That's not an "arbitrary" timer, it's your character's core motivation. Why would somebody wander aimlessly about the desert searching for side quests when their friends and family are dying of thirst? You're supposed to be searching for the water chip, and if you pay attention to the clues you should find it in time. And it's possible to extend the time limit with no consequences in the patched version.

The secondary timer is harder to justify, which is why it was extended to 13 years in the patched version (more than enough time to do everything).

In all the many play-throughs I did on that game I don't think I ever hit the time limit. I always thought it was generous enough to enjoy the game fully.

If you really want to explore [sort of] unhindered Fallout 2 takes care of that, even letting you continue to play after you finish the game.

"This game is terrible because I got game over after ignoring the primary quest" is not a good reason to hate a game...

Yeah, I think it kind of is. I was 10 when BG2 came out, and that’s when I first played it too. It would have taken me far longer to understand what to do in all the quests, and how to be effective in combat, than any adult. I loved that I could just enjoy playing it slowly.

I remember loving the original Fallout, until it basically said “you didn’t find the water chip in time! Goodbye!”

Exactly the same story with Commandos 2 vs Commandos 3.

Has anyone that played BG also played Dragon Age Trilogy? Is it a spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate? I loved BG1/BG2 in middleschool/highschool.

The first Dragon Age is arguably a spiritual successor.

Dragon Age II was largely panned by Bioware fans as it got a lot more action oriented and less RPG/choice driven.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is basically unrecognizable to Baldur's Gate days, as mechanically it's more similar to Mass Effect 2 than old time RPGs. That game was 90% pulp fantasy open world quest completer with decent combat/skill syngergy. But the last 10% uncovered some story bits that really made me go "wow I want to know more".

Looks like the sequel is in the works.

I've never been a hard-core gamer, but I've always loved RPGs. I think I'm showing my age by not liking the more recents games and having nostalgic feelings towards that era's games. Baldur's Gate is one of the last games that I've truly enjoyed playing. I haven't tried BG 2, though. Maybe this is a sign, and it can be my present to myself for this holiday season :).

When I think about a hard software project, this game is the what I think of every time.

It is like it says in the article: you're not just making a movie, you're inventing the camera.

By the sound of it they went right from DirectX to build the engine, a huge task in itself, and then writing the story with the engine. And of course when you try to write the upper layer, you're going to discover you forgot something in the lower layer. Often something bad that makes you have to re-architect.

In my own line of work it there's also layers like exchange integrations and strategies, but you're still reasonably close in terms of domains of thinking. With games you're both performance optimizing c++ code and trying to tell a compelling story at the same time.

And you can't skip the artistic side. You have to have a proper story. The characters have to have correct looking clothes and weapons. NPCs need to have the right speech coded, and they need to drop the right loot for the plot to work. Maps have to seem expansive yet still seem coherent to the atmosphere.

People probably haven't given a shout out to Knights of the Old Republic because it came out almost a decade after Bauldur, but I saw a bunch of people listing their favorite CRPGs and KotOR and KotOR II should be mentioned. (I also like Morrowind and Skyrim)

More like half a decade: Baldurs Gate was released in 1998 and Knights of The Old Republic in 2003.

Rounding to the nearest decade

Baldur's Gate was the first RPG I played on PC. Had to play it at a friends place (he had a PC), it was a very intriguing game with the strong characterization and choices you could make in the game. Once I finally got a PC, I bought and spent many hours playing Baldur's Gate 2, which was great. This was all in New Zealand, and ironically I now live in Edmonton, Alberta where Bioware first made them. So definitely interesting to delve into the early days history of the company. Thanks for the nostalgia!

My greatest accomplishment as a kid was beating BG2 on "Insane" difficulty as a solo character.


I must have played through the game at least two dozen times and I never got tired of it. To this day it's still my favorite game of all time. Modern RPGs just don't compare in terms of storytelling and gameplay experience, in my opinion.

Used to feel the same but I think Divinity 2 in co-op mode edges it for me now.

Oh fond times, I bought BG2 the day it was out and the early adopter CD with bonus.

I also spent lots of time scripting the game, like trying to replicate Balthazar IA (the monk spawn of Bhaal that lead one of the last locations in Throne of Bhaal).

Sadly it seems like SCS (Sword Coast Stratagems) does not exist anymore? The IA it introduced is crazy good, though it gets tiring to beat mage and have to stock up on breach/spell-pierces.

Looks like the whole Gibberlings website is temporarily offline, but it will be back up shortly.


Game experience is so much more than cutting edge graphics. From the many games I played in high-school, this one remembered as particularly charming (literally). I listened to the soundtrack on youtube recently. Beautiful. Maybe a good game for retirement as-well.

EDIT: I wonder if I am the only one noticed the Beholders' cave shape is a perfect Nazi swastika

Oh, yeah! You’re right! I mean, not perfect, and it’s backwards, but otherwise pretty close.

I remember Baldurs gate, sure. But i dont recall Baldurs gate being anywhere near as important to the survival of Computer RPG's than Diablo, and more importantly Diablo II. If i'm not mistaken DII had macintosh support out-of-box, and is still played to this day on battle.net

Diablo was great, but it's very different and really a action RPG.

I don't think many computer RPG players took Diablo or Diablo 2 seriously in that respect back then. They weren't really comparable to computer RPGs at the time. They were like console-friendly RPG-lite-type games.

Diablo and Diablo 2 are hack and slash action games. They don't really have anything to do with RPGs.

I never had a chance to play it as a kid. I just checked GOG, looks like they only have the "Enhanced Edition" which appears to be universally hated. I looked around but finding the original seems to be as hard as finding the unenhanced Star Wars'.

The Enhanced Editions are great – tons of warts removed, support for modern platforms, and a bunch of nice quality-of-life improvements by some of the original developers.

The company which made them offended some gamergate types awhile back so they perennially get negative reviews but that’s politics rather than a reflection on the work.

I've bought both the original game back when it was released and the enhanced edition some years ago.

I prefer to play Baldur's Gate in the original engine. Sure there are some annoyances (e.g. small stacks of ammunition), but some mechanics work very differently in the Baldur's Gate 2 engine compared to the Baldur's Gate 1 engine and for me that's a dealbreaker. For example the monster summonings or the weapon skills.

If you've never played the original Baldur's Gate, then you will not be annoyed by these differences though. So if you just want to try the game out for the first time, then surely the Enhanced Edition is a good buy.

Ignore the haters. I'm a huge fan of the original BG2, and the EE has all the same stuff. If you don't want to try the new content, you don't have to; it's mostly self-contained.

Coincidentally, I did another solo-sorcerer run through BG2 last weekend. It's still fantastic.

There's talk about some new characters and items that mess up the original "feel" of the game that can't be turned off. I'm trying to read without spoiling anything, that's just the theme I'm seeing.

You can tell those characters to go away in your initial interactions with them. I think there are three. One in the Copper Coronet, one in the Graveyard District (or was it Trademeet? I don't remember), and one in a random encounter when moving between Athkatla districts.

People who say this "ruins" the game are just angry nerds being angry nerds.

BG2 wasn't just great for its time; it's great now.

I yell at that singing ant-eater thing to go away when it shows up in Star Wars, but it never works :) I'll be annoyed enough by the idea, even though I never played the original. I'll pick up the original if I come across it, but if not, I'll just skip it.

Enhanced edition universally hated? Might you be looking at the new baldurs gate game they made recently? Enhanced edition is just easier to run on newer pcs

The hate for the new Baldur's Gate seems misplaced, too. If you check the reviews on GOG and elsewhere, it seems to be thinly disguised "GamerGate" anger :/ (with some genuine complaints, to be fair)

I read 4 pages of comments on GOG and found not one that matches your description, at all. On page 2 I saw this:

> After seeing how the devs treat customers I'd highly recommend a pass on this and the expansions. There are legitimate issues with the game, but anyone pointing out issues with multiplayer, buggy UI tweaks, game crashing, characters and saved games being corrupted are being called transphobes and having their legit issues deleted. The devs have also gone begging for good reviews and are currently trying to create drama where they should just admit they screwed up. I wouldn't touch this game with a 50' pole. Stick to the originals avoid anything Beamdog has touched.

Well, I haven't re-read the thread now, so maybe it has changed (and maybe some of the flamebait was indeed deleted). Last I checked there were tons of reviews complaining about "politics" and "SJWs". If I remember correctly, there was a concerted effort to bring the review ratings down because of this.

I now actually scanned it all, reading all 1-2 star reviews, though I may have overlooked something, I only found these two:

> they went beyond and started to brake things in attempt to make the game "more socialistic"

which I find hilarious :D But this isn't hilarious at all:

> Amber Scott should be fired for shoveling her cultural marxist bullshit into this game. There's nothing good about this game

but it's literally the only grain of genuine toxicity I found. Maybe I overlooked something, but if GOG deletes reviews that would be an entirely other can of worms. Most 1 star reviews are stuff like

> I get a non specific error code with instruction to contact beamdog support. I haven't heard back.

I found this though, when looking for "gog deleted baldurs gate reviews" (which I assume they didn't do because I think the "gamergate crowd" would be all over that)


> Hi everyone. I usually spend most of my time lurking here, but I'd like to ask a favour. It appears that having a transgendered cleric and a joke line by Minsc has greatly offended the sensibilities of some people. This has spurred these people into action, causing them to decide this is the worst game of all time and give it a zero review score on Steam, GoG and meta critic.

Note how they're not offering actual evidence, either. That this turned them from lurking to posting is all the "evidence" anyone needs. Just painting people with a broad brush in their absence. Not that I have a problem believing that there was a lot of hate, I haven't looked at Steam or Metacritic at all, but I just went through all of GoG, pretty much nada. So it might also be the attempt to engineer a narrative based on a few grains of truth, instead just owning a shoddy product, a la Ghostbusters, and then people develop false memories based on that narrative?

I'm pretty sure they must have deleted them, because I remember reading pages upon pages of reviews complaining about the game's "agenda". Note I wasn't even aware of this so-called controversy so this is how I found out about it: plenty of 1 and 2 stars reviews on GOG complaining about it..

If they are gone now, it can only be because GOG did some cleaning up. I can't fault them.

Speaking mostly about my experience with Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, but my impression is it's pretty similar for the other games:

The early EE release was a bit buggy. When you're just re-releasing an old game and charging $20+ for it, if it ends up buggier than the original, it tends to attract the "what are you good for?" sentiment.


1. They've ironed out the bugs over the years

2. There's loads of nice interface improvements that makes it a much more polished experience.

3. The new content they add tends to be a notch or two below the original game, but I still find it pretty enjoyable and well above the quality of most fan mods. And the new content isn't intrusive; you can ignore it if you want.

4. Obviously, it's much more convenient than trying to figure out how to install the original from CDRom, and it's nice that I can play it on Mac or on a tablet these days.

5. The modding community has entirely embraced EE and has for years. I was afraid that I would be unable to install some of my favorite mods when I tried the EE version, but it's actually much easier. If you try to go non-EE, then you're probably going to have more problems with installing stuff nobody has paid attention to in 8 years.

BG2 original (aka "Baldur's gate 2 complete") is included as part of BG2 enhanced edition on GOG, check the description :)

I too prefer the original versions, particularly because there's a mod called Baldur's gate trilogy that combines both games and their expansions into one huge game with a ton of fixes.

Nope. It just slowed the decline. Good RPGs with high production values are extremely rare. We have witchers, divinity and pillar/tides(maybe) . Dragon age 1 was the last true Bioware RPG...

Fallouts lack stories (except new vegas which mostly lacks sequesls).

I highly recommend Underrail - while the graphics are a bit simplistic (it was made entirely by a Ukrainian programmer/artist), it's the closest we've got to a modern Fallout 1/2.

I'm also looking forward to Obsidian's new game The Outer Worlds, seems like New Vegas IN SPACE.

I played Underrail a while back but didn't get too far. I do want to go through it fully at some point. Is it worthwhile? I also heard the developer is working on an expansion pack of some sort.

Speaking of modern Fallout 1/2, this game just came out:


I'm kind of waiting for the initial round of reviews / reactions before deciding on whether to give it a shot.

Dragon Age suffered EA-fication along with Mass Effect. Even then I never thought it was even close to Baldur’s Gate. Part of it about being too edgy and tryhard but I did played it. My favorite part was the underground exploration part specially having Shale on your group. That was immersive AF and I did completed it in one go.

I recall reading somewhere that two days before shipping the game was crashing in release mode builds, so the binary that shipped was in debug! Apparently a big part of the performance increase in BG2 came from fixing this bug.

That where some crazy years for PC gaming. I like that they took the naive approach eg. large images instead of tiles. I really enjoyed walking around in the woods exploring and searching for dungeons.

> The video-game review site GameRankings has indexed at least one review for 27 RPGs released in 1995.

The list appears incomplete. It doesn't even cover albion.

BG2 and Xmas break... great memories

Literally been replaying BG2 over the Christmas break. It's still just as good as it ever was.

Baldur's Gate on the Apple ][ was cutting-edge at the time... I played it for hours on end.

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