Baldur's Gate series
Group DescriptionBaldur's Gate is a role-playing franchise released under the Dungeons & Dragons video game license. The games take place in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, on the fictional continent Faerûn.
The series started with Baldur's Gate (1998), eventually evolving into two distinct sub-series. The so-called Bhaalspawn Saga, developed by BioWare, includes the first game, its sequel Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000), and their expansion packs, most notably Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal (2001), which concludes the overarching story. The games in the Bhaalspawn Saga are party-based RPGs with tactical real-time combat.
The Dark Alliance series initiated with Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (2001), and are action RPGs with "hack-and-slash" tendencies, unrelated to the Bhaalspawn Saga story-wise. Developed by Snowblind Studios and Black Isle Studios, this series is often considered a spin-off of the former, due to its console-exclusive releases, reduced RPG elements, and projects of continuing the series in the gameplay vein of the first two games.
The first Baldur's Gate is commonly regarded as one of the significant contributors to the RPG revival of the late 1990's, the others being Diablo (1996) and Fallout (1997). It introduced the Infinity Engine, which served as a basis for several other isometric role-playing games, and popularized the "real-time-with-pause" combat system, which has been since implemented in many party-based Western RPGs.
Black Isle announced another Baldur's Gate title in 2001, Baldur's Gate 3: The Black Hound, but it was canceled in 2003. The game was supposed to implement a gameplay system similar to the one of the Bhaalspawn Saga, while starting an entirely new storyline. According to lead designer Josh Sawyer, it started development as a completely unrelated game, but Interplay lost the rights to make Dungeons & Dragons games outside the Icewind Dale, Baldur's Gate and Dark Alliance franchise. In order to continue development, they had to re-brand it as a Baldur's Gate game.
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Front cover for Baldur's Gate (Gold Edition)
Front cover for Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition
Front cover for Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (Collector's Edition)
Front cover for Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal
Front cover for Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
Screenshot from Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition
Screenshot from Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal
Screenshot from Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
Screenshot from Baldur's Gate: The Original Saga
Screenshot from Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn