Surprise, surprise. Rebecca’s Game of the Year is Baldur’s Gate 3, and can we blame her? Not at all, especially considering that the majority of folk agreed with her when Baldur’s Gate 3 took home the GOTY award at The Game Awards.
And the rest of us at VG247 can scarcely disagreee with her, despite what our other GOTY videos may lead you to believe. Baldur’s Gate 3 had most of the team in a chokehold upon release — mainly because of the gargantuan pile of guides we had to conjure up — but also because the game is bloody brilliant, as Rebecca explains in the video below.
There’s so much to discover, so much to do, and so many dice to roll that will determine your fate. While admittedly overwhelming for newcomers to the series and those inexperienced with Dungeons & Dragons, the game has managed to win the hearts of people from all walks of life, somewhat introducing a new generation to D&D.
There’s also in-depth, romanceable companions that certainly took the world by storm. Not only are their tales touching and relatable, bringing to light real, sensitive issues to all the gamers who dare develop their relationships with these characters, but god damn, they’re funny, too.
And you can bet that gamings’ unlikeliest babygirl, Astarion, was Rebecca’s first pick from the crowd. Again, we can’t blame her. Surprising noone, Neil Newbon took home the award for Best Performance for his portrayal of Astarion in Baldur’s Gate 3, with many singing overwhelming praise for the whole cast.
It’s astonishing how different it could have all been. The stars aligned for Larian Studios in a number of ways: BG3 is part of a huge mainstream push for Dungeons & Dragons as a whole, with a new movie universe launching in the same year as its cRPG revival. And an infamous clash between a certain rigid Microsoft policy and the fact that Larian couldn’t get a key feature of the game working on the Xbox Series S ended up in a situation where Sony, without sending a single email, ended up with console exclusivity for the first quarter of BG3’s release. And, with it releasing so close to Xbox’s flagship RPG Starfield, a narrative emerged that this was essentially a clash of platform holders rather than just two Big Games releasing close to each other.
One might suspect that a vocal chunk of the PlayStation audience who were previously unaware or uninterested in the game all of a sudden found themselves invested in its success. One might also suspect that the resultant staggered release probably won’t hurt the game’s long-term relevance, either. Of course, none of this would matter if BG3 wasn’t, in fact, an excellent game made by noted masters of their particular craft.
Before they were custodians of the D&D license, they were making the Divinity series, which we’re assured by the various neckbeards on staff is very good. BG3 is as much a spiritual sequel to Divinity: Original Sin 2 as it is an actual sequel to Baldur’s Gate 2. So, while the hand of fate certainly seems to have held Larian in its favour this year, we shouldn’t for a second suggest that it isn’t mainly down to the talent at Larian that we’re sitting here talking about it in such glowing terms.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a tour de force of an RPG that has already earned its place among the legends of the genre, including its predecessors. The performances are beautiful, the story is whatever you make of it, literally, and all in all it has shaped up to be the beautiful and intoxicating bumper dose of video game magic that we all needed. If you’re yet to play it, don’t let the hundreds of hours of gameplay put you off; you’ll enjoy every little moment. And you might never finish it, but that’s ok. As the old saying goes, most D&D campaigns aren’t finished: they’re abandoned.