From the moment I played Baldur’s Gate 3 for PC Gamer magazine’s recent final preview cover feature, I knew it was going to change the history of games forever, predicting before release it was going to be “the fantasy RPG of the decade” and that “RPGs are about to be changed forever with Baldur’s Gate 3”.
What followed cemented that what I’d written was no hyperbole. PC Gamer proceeded to bestow upon Baldur’s Gate 3 the highest score we’ve handed out to a game for 16 years—and, depending on which version of PC Gamer magazine you consult before then, the US or UK variant, the highest score we’ve ever handed out—calling it a “dream RPG” and the “the new pinnacle of the genre” in our 97%-rated Baldur’s Gate 3 review.
Like many of you, I’ve been involved in the PC gaming community for a long time now, having started my adventure with our beloved hobby back in the early 1990s. Since then I’ve borne witness to many of PC gaming’s greatest-ever events: Doom, Half-Life, Deus-Ex, and WoW, to name but a few. But, honestly, I can’t think of such a PC gaming story that’s been more dramatic, and improbable, than what’s happening right now with Baldur’s Gate 3.
I mean, what are the actual chances? Just think about it for a moment. Here is a series that in its first title, created by the legendary BioWare of the 1990s, established the foundations for all other CRPGs that followed. Then in its second title, delivered a game that built on the original in a way that saw it honored with fantastic review scores, and a place for the Baldur’s Gate series at the very heart of PC gaming. But then what happened? Nothing, and for a long, long time too.
Baldur’s Gate, as a series, would then pass out of mainstream thought and memory, entering the desert of PC gaming’s past. More than 20 years would elapse before a third game in the series arrived. And I’m sorry, even for me, a die-hard fan of the series, that’s a story I didn’t think would play out anywhere near as well as it has.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a dream RPG that has enraptured the entire PC Gamer team. (Image credit: Future)
Even being a signed-up fan of Larian Studios (thanks to its pedigree with the Divinity: Original Sin games) being candid, I think if you’d told me back in 2017—roughly when Larian began work on BG3—that the studio was working on it, I’d have been excited, sure, but I absolutely wouldn’t predict the industry-shaking, RPG-changing triumph it’s turned out to be. A triumph that feels miraculous due to the improbability of any series, no matter the medium, to come back from the dead like this.
It’s not a miracle, though, as those require divine intervention, whereas Baldur’s Gate 3’s triumph has been delivered by a team of creatively free, passionate developers who all clearly knew the brief and this series’ importance to PC gaming. It’s evident how much hard work, love and care has gone into every aspect of the game, and over six years that has led to this lighting-in-a-bottle moment which, trust me when I say this, is so, so rare. Decades can pass without such an event happening, so to not only live through one but to recognise it for what it is, truly is something special.
Honestly, I still keep finding myself almost in a state of disbelief that not only is Baldur’s Gate as a series back, and with some of the previous two games’ most iconic characters as well, but is back in such an awesome and transformative way. It does indeed feel like a dream, as it is a dream RPG.
I’m not just talking about the game’s review score and industry impact, either, when I speak of this as the most dramatic, improbable PC gaming event ever. Baldur’s Gate 3 has captured the heart of what PC gaming is: its culture. This is a series that, after being dead and buried for over 20 years, has returned and embedded itself as an exemplar of what PC gaming is, and what types of games PC gamers really get a kick out of.
The PC Gamer team is simply in love with Baldur’s Gate 3, and so is the wider PC gaming community. From its superb, boundary-pushing realisation of a CRPG, to its deep immersive sim gameplay, to its refreshingly complex narrative and moral choices, this is a game that really does speak to us as PC gamers.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a landmark game and, even more importantly, a landmark in the history of PC gaming. Most excitingly, we’re living through it. So even if you’re like me and still are deep into your first BG3 playthrough, I think it’s worth taking a moment to step back, breathe, and take in just how special this event is. It may not happen again for a very, very long time.