Mad Mod Recreates Baldur’s Gate in Neverwinter Nights 2

By Nathan Grayson on June 6th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

Even the characters are amazed that it all looks so... multi-dimensional.

Whoops, this is insane. Completely insane. Game designer and ex-TimeGate-er Drew Rechner’s been on a seven-year quest to recreate the entirety of Baldur’s Gate (including expansion Tales of the Sword Coast) in Obsidian’s Neverwinter Nights 2, and he’s finally succeeded. With the help of a programmer and contributions from a ragtag team, he squeezed every last drop of the original’s genre-defining juice into a glistening concoction of role-playing past and present. There’s a trailer after the break, and it’s pretty bonkers. I’m reinstalling NWN2 right now, because wow. Madness.

I mean, look at that. Here’s how it all happened:

“Baldur’s Gate: Reloaded is a fan-made tribute and remake of the original Baldur’s Gate using the Neverwinter Nights 2 engine. The project started in November of 2006 and has slowly progressed since then towards completion. Our team size has varied throughout the course of development from as many as 5 members to as little as 1 member.”

If you want to play, you’ll need NWN2′s Mask of the Betrayer and Storm of Zehir expansions as well as the game’s vanilla version.

Rechner and the Reloaded team are well aware that bugs and glitches will likely wriggle forth from this behemoth’s heaving, creaking cracks, so they plan on supporting it for quite some time. If you’re interested in helping, there’s a bug tracker on BGR’s website.

So yeah, there goes your weekend. Or maybe your next few weekends. I desperately hope this can live up to the promise. Right now, I’m still reeling from the surprise, but I plan to hungrily dive into this Baldur’s Gate: Even More Enhanced Edition as soon as humanly possible.

Download the mod for yourself here.

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107 Comments »

  1. smokingkipper says:

    Suddenly we will see NW2 sales shoot up, a la ARMA 2.

    Developers, this is why you build in mod support; who knows what your crazy fans will do?

    • Lev Astov says:

      Indeed, I’ll be going out and buying NWN2+Expansions no matter the cost.

    • SomeoneSimple says:

      Yeah … probably not.

      The big difference here, is that you could’ve played Baldur’s Gate since 1998, but you couldn’t have played Day-z without buying ARMA2.

      And I’m not really sure why anyone, aside from humans with 2D-phobia, or masochists, would bother with this mod since BG1′s engine, UI, controls, AI and ruleset isn’t a complete POS … unlike NWN2′s.

      • defunct says:

        I was wondering the same exact thing. I loved Balder’s Gate. I hated NWN2 (but loved NWN, too). In fact, when it first came out, I couldn’t even finish NWN2 until it got patched, because of a game ending bug, with no way around other than starting from scratch. NWN2 was the game that finally taught me to never buy anything from Obsidian, again. I let that rule lapse for New Vegas, but only after a long wait after release to get it patched. It, too, was horrible on launch.

      • malkav11 says:

        NWN2′s better on pretty much all of those fronts than the original Baldur’s Gate, but it’s more faithful to the intended experience to do BGTuTu or BGT and import Baldur’s Gate into the Baldur’s Gate II version of the engine. And it would have saved these guys years of effort.

        (Seriously, there were some absolutely terrible design decisions with BG1′s version of the engine that were fixed in later games, and 3.5e (a faithful rendition thereof, even, for the most part) is soooo much better than 2e.)

        • Tuco says:

          No, it’s not. You are crazy.

          • malkav11 says:

            Baldur’s Gate fucking unpauses when you open your inventory, just for starters. I would overall rate the Infinity Engine higher than any version of the Aurora engine, but if you’re comparing NWN2′s version of Aurora with BG1′s version of Infinity, I’ll take the former any day.

            And, like I said, 3.5 edition D&D is an enormous, across the board improvement over the myriad mystifying design decisions in 2nd edition.

            I can’t say as I particularly noticed either game’s UI or AI suffering (although the camera is admittedly a bane of many 3D games), but NWN2 has very capable UI and AI mods if that’s a problem for you.

  2. Slinkyboy says:

    Shit I can’t find my copy…

  3. duncanthrax says:

    Butt-Kicking for goodness!

  4. RedViv says:

    I… But what about the running jokes? That each attempt at this would be killed by a new moddable DnD game…
    Oh wait. There was none. Good.

    Well then, to the DownloadMobile!

  5. amateurviking says:

    You must gather your party before venturing forth.

  6. Anthile says:

    Gorion? More like Gorioff! No worse place to be a dad than a Bioware game.

  7. Core says:

    Icewind Dale has also been ported to NWN 2. I played it to completion a while ago, and the quality was really good.

  8. -Spooky- says:

    Will give it a shot.

  9. Grey Poupon says:

    Wonder if multiplayer is as cluncy as it is in vanilla NWN2 or as fluent as it is in Storm of Zehir

  10. Choca says:

    As much as I like the rules used by NWN 2 in comparison to those used by Baldur’s Gate, I really can’t stand the clunky gameplay in Obsidian’s game.

    I think I actually would have been more likely to want to play NWN 2 in BG’s Engine and rules than this.

    Still, great achievement.

    • apocraphyn says:

      I’m with you. The gameplay certainly is clunky and I could never stand the camera – it operated in such a terrible way, even after it was patched somewhat upon the release of Mask of the Betrayer. Dragon Age: Origins managed 3D camera controls quite nicely, comparatively. I’d also much rather play NWN2 in the Infinity Engine than BG in NWN2′s engine.

      And yes, regardless of how I may feel about it, this was quite the impressive undertaking – congratulations to all those involved in the development of it.

      • stkaye says:

        Yep. NWN2 was a complete mess in almost every regard, only somewhat redeemed by the excellent Mask of the Betrayer. I almost feel like this conversion mod would have done better as a DA:O total conversion, or even using the original neverwinter nights as a platform.

      • Arglebargle says:

        Yeah, the interface on NWN2 is so bad that I wouldn’t play (insert your favorite) on it. Just disasterous. I’d rather play NWN’ s graphicaly stunted antique version. Too bad it wasn’t done in a better version. Of course, my attempts to play BG in original form foundered on the same issue.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Really. NWN relied heavily on the incredibly clunky combination of radial menu and toolbars. NWN2 fixed a lot of that with quickcast.

          • malkav11 says:

            And has a full party, and graphics that won’t blind you, and a better version of the rules that’s also more faithful to the PnP version, and…

    • Drake Sigar says:

      I adore NWN 2, but have to agree. It would’ve made more sense to create NWN 2 using the BG engine, rather than create BG in the NW 2 engine.

    • Vinraith says:

      I was thinking the same thing. The visual upgrade is welcome, but NWN2′s combat is just terrible.

  11. aepervius says:

    It sadly requires storm of Zehir , which i do not possess… *sadface*

  12. Snidesworth says:

    I was going to post about how nothing could make me put up with NWN2′s awful camera and party AI again, but that video is quite enticing.

  13. amateurviking says:

    I’m going to assume not, but did they manage to crowbar 2nd ed rules into this? Or is it still using 3.5? I looked but couldn’t find it stated overtly.

    I kinda like the shonky old 2nd ed rules*. 3rd ed games like IWD2 and NWN never really clicked for me in the same way.

    *in CRPGs, I’m a PnP virgin.

    • Anthile says:

      Unlikely. They’d have to redo all of the spells, gear, classes and game mechanics which may or may not be hardcoded. Everything, really. Even the groggiest of grognards would admit it’d too much effort.

      • amateurviking says:

        Aye that’s what I thought. Still really enjoyed vanilla NWN2 and never played the expansions (which a lot of people really dig) so this is a good excuse both to remedy that, and give this a go too.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        You can make your own classes, spells, etc. I don’t think you can do the rules to, for example, make it go back to THAC0. That kind of stuff, AFAIK, is hardcoded.

    • Zekiel says:

      Man, for me Baldur’s Gate with 3.5E rules sounds like a dream… I always did like BG 1&2 in spite of the rules, not because of them.

      But it looks from other comments like NWN2 is hard to recommend so I fear I’ll be giving this a pass :-(

      • amateurviking says:

        I like a lot of 3.5′s ideas and the way it plays. What I absolutely can’t stand is the class system – I think it’s too flexible (that sounds like a weird complaint I know) and the game loses a lot of flavour as a result.

        BTW Icewind Dale 2 uses 3rd ed in a BG-like setting. Might be worth a look.

        Edit: a little googling turns up this http://weidu.org/iwg2/ it’s Baldur’s Gate 2 ported in to Icewind Dale 2 (so BG2 content with IWD2′s 3rd ed ruleset). Looks like it’s been abandoned at the beta stage. I may well give this a go this evening though.

        • Nick says:

          I completely agree with you, I think the 2nd edition (well, weird 2.5ish sort of thing) they have in the BG games works much better from a CRPG point of view, especially with the class variety. £rd ed and its take a level here and there just leads to homogenized dullness and half the good pnp stuff is rarely used or useful in a CRPG.

        • Zekiel says:

          Yeah I played IWD2. Loved the ruleset. The game itself left a bit to be desired (since – after the prologue – it was the usual IWD “hit everything that moves” rather than the more interesting Baldur’s Gate “hit 75% of things that move, talk to the other 25%”. (Also IWD2 has some balancing issues, not all caused by using 3E rules)

      • malkav11 says:

        The people who didn’t like NWN2 are crazy, just FYI. Especially the ones that like 2e better than 3.5e.

  14. moure says:

    That really looks like an enhanced edition ;)

  15. povu says:

    Not exactly a great engine, but I’ll take it!

  16. Demiath says:

    Horrible controls and one of the ugliest 3D engines the world has ever seen normally isn’t my idea of “improving” Baldur’s Gate 1, but the effort is commendable for…well, for being a commendable effort. It’s the least asked for solution to a non-existing problem, but it’s admirable nonetheless.

  17. Tom De Roeck says:

    well that looked like shit.

  18. BTAxis says:

    Ah yes, I remember NWN2. More specifically, I remember it becoming unplayable the moment I left the first house because the FPS tanked to something like 0.5.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      I think the issues with the graphics were solved via some patch. I re-played NWN2 and MotB last year after buying the ultimate edition in GoG (which I recommend for the price, if anyone’s unsure about their CDs) and it was pretty good practically all of the time. I put all settings on highest (and I’m playing on a laptop with a GeForce 560M, so any desktop with a similar set or a bit lower should handle it perfectly) and it was always fine. I just remember having a couple of bugs where the textures would stretch like crazy, but other than that, I had a blast.

      As for the UI, there’s several mods out there that can make your life easier, so I think it’s pretty worth it if you feel like giving the good ol’ “look for patches and mods” setup a go.

  19. RuySan says:

    I don’t really see the point of it. Recreating a lovely 2d “hand painted” in characterless 3d with an awful interface.

    • Nim says:

      ‘handpainted’, my low-poly mid 90′s 3d pre-rendered ass.

    • elevown says:

      It wasnt pixel art, except for the normal stuff like portraits etc- its prerendered – both backgrounds and sprites. Not that it dosnt look nice- and certainly a lot better than real time 3d stuff of that time.

    • Flavioli says:

      Normally I’d agree… but I’ve played and beaten BG1 so many times by now that I’m curious to see what the experience would be like when played from a different view or perspective. If done right, I imagine exploring the very familiar Beregost in full 3D would be a really cool way to experience the beloved city. I imagine it would be akin to revisiting a place you cherished during your childhood, where you’d get a blast of nostalgia mixed with seeing everything from a new perspective. Overall, I think this would definitely be worth a try.

  20. SanguineAngel says:

    This video is an active reminder of the horrible way NWN2 would slow down to a crawl the minute anything moved on screen, regardless of the machine you were running it on

    • Grey Poupon says:

      It used to do that on my old puter, but I have none of the symptoms on my new one. But it is indeed a lot heavier than it should be.

    • Lawful Evil says:

      I am pretty sure I did not have a supercomputer when I played NWN2 some 3-5 years ago. Perhaps initially the game was poorly optimised, but later it got patched good enough to run satisfactorily even on mediocre PC i had at the time.

    • Jonfon says:

      In fairness both NWN2 and The Witcher initially ran like dogs on my laptop when they came out (both use modified versions of the same engine). Horrid, horrid engine.

      Both eventually got patches that made them perform better after a while though.

      I’ve had a lot of fun from NWN2 recently playing through the expansions with the extra classes from Kaedrin’s Class Pack. The OC is still patchy as I remembered. Storm of Zehir was a nice idea but a bit limited but Mask of The Betrayer was excellent and Mysteries of Westgate harkened back to Act 2 of Baldurs Gate 2, but fell a bit short.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Yeah, it was patched and ran a lot better but still, even on the video above you can see the game struggling mightily. I played NWN2 twice, once on a pretty decent powerhouse for its day and later on my E8400, and both times it was a porridgefest

      I still enjoyed it though! But that was despite the engine. (I didn’t find the witcher anywhere near as bad though)

    • Nick says:

      Never did that with my computer, it did however have so many dead end scripting bugs I stopped playing it ¬_¬

      They are patched out now but the camera still sucks so hard I can’t go back.

  21. starmatt says:

    That’s bigger than Black Mesa.

  22. JFS says:

    Helm yeah!

    But only for the effort. I never liked NWN’s style and gameplay. As others have said, I’d rather play NWN in the Infinity Engine than the other way round.

  23. Megadyptes says:

    I wish Josh Sawyer never cancelled his Black Hound mod he was designing for NWN2. We almost had a Baldur’s Gate III, so close…

  24. Grygus says:

    Unalloyed pleasure and joyous anticipation. I’m not too cool to check this out; I’d report back, but you kids sound like you’ll be too busy doing something a lot better. Hope it works out!

  25. Ysellian says:

    Neat! Definitely going to try this out later next week :)

  26. aliksy says:

    AD&D or 3e? I need to know!

    Also NWN2 had awful, awful camera controls. Like, amazingly bad. Also if I recall the combat was kind of slow and had a lot of unnecessary animations slowing things down (order attack- dodge, dodge, feint, swing!). Also the real time simultaneous turn based was a pain in the ass. … yeah, I really didn’t like NWN2 at all. Guess I won’t try this.

  27. Divinitarium says:

    What do you do to install this mod if you don’t have a Neverwinter nights 2 folder in my documents?

  28. RProxyOnly says:

    It’s not Baldur’s Gate unless it’s AD&D (2nd ed D&D).

  29. Jason Moyer says:

    Using the NWN2 engine as a base for an inferior game just seems wrong, somehow.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      BG is inferior to NWN2?… Is your brain screwed in right?

      • malkav11 says:

        Baldur’s Gate 1 is kind of low on encounter density (aside from gibberlings and wolves), dialogue and narrative. It’s not nearly as impressive as people recall it to be. It’s Baldur’s Gate II that’s the absolute masterpiece. I don’t know if I would call NWN2′s original campaign better than BG1 or not, but it certainly has more modern niceties and design, and I had a lot more fun with it.

  30. Zombat says:

    I never played BG because it came out whilst I was still a lowly potato farming console peasant, why should I play this?

  31. Bloodyhell says:

    Everyone moaning about NWN 2 hasn’t played it recently – or even after it was patched up. And as far as preferring the original NWN over NWN2??? I remember being completely shocked at how utterly boring NWN was when Bioware released it. I had played BG and BG2 and was expecting the same greatness. Nope. Other than the multi-player, the game was completely forgettable.

    Obsidian may put out buggy games (mainly because they are working under some jack@$$ publisher that gives them a year to make a game that should take three) but I sure prefer their stories to almost anyone other developer out there (see: Mask of the Betrayer and Fallout: New Vegas).

    • xsikal says:

      I agree. NWN was terrible. Awful and boring original campaign. Horrible radial UI. Lousy graphics. Its only saving grace (if it had one) was the mod community.

      NWN2 performed poorly when it was first released, and the OC was over-long (albeit still much more interesting than NWN’s), but otherwise, I thought it was an improvement in most ways over its predecessor.

      And Mask of the Betrayer was a lot of fun.

      All of that said, I have BG in a variety of formats, and, while I applaud the modders for recreating it in the NWN2 engine, I can’t see myself playing through it yet again, particularly given that I do prefer 2nd edition rules and the painted backdrops + sprites approach to NWN and NWN2′s 3/3.5 edition ruleset and entirely 3d approach. :)

    • RProxyOnly says:

      “Haven’t played it recently”

      Why the hell should we?.. People bought the game and received a wholly broken pos for their trouble.. that took MONTHS to even get into a partially playable condition, never mind actually fixed.

      NWN2 was an abortion of a game that missed the whole point of it’s existence, entirely.

      Obsidian were updating a game that people used to play D&D TOGETHER… and completely left out the ability to play together… OB should simply stop making games.. PS:T (majority of OB is BI) was a total fluke and it’s that game’s rep that they have traded on for over a decade, whilst releasing NOTHING even partially comparable to it’s quality.

      Obsidian are obsolete, and have been for years.

      • malkav11 says:

        Obsidian made a sequel to a game that was a CRPG. Their game was an infinitely better CRPG. If you want to play D&D on the computer there are vastly easier and more suitable ways to do it than a limited toolset like either NWN.

  32. Doganpc says:

    My girlfriend is jealous that she can’t get me this aroused.

  33. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    Well, they’ve clearly put a lot of effort into this. So well done to them for putting a lot of effort into something.

    But… I can’t see the point of this at all. I adore BG but I’m not even going to bother playing this thing.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      The shitty ruleset and the grotty engine is more than enough to repulse me.

      NWN2 is a horribly ugly looking engine.

  34. effervescent says:

    This looks great.
    I’ve been meaning to play BG for an age. I wasn’t too much into RPGs when I was young.
    That being said, I’m confused. I don’t know which version of BG to play, keeping in mind I never played it.
    There’s the original versions with mods, there’s the Enhanced version and then there’s this.
    Could anyone help me with this decision?

    • WrenBoy says:

      I will go against the flow here and advise you to just not bother. While it may have been good for its time Baldurs Gate is a classic example of a cliched story being ridiculously contradicted by the game mechanics.

      I missed it when it came out originally but had a lot of nostalgia for its sequel so picked it up on GOG last year. I was unable to play more than a few hours. Modern games are far better.

    • Flavioli says:

      I will go with the flow and STRONGLY suggest to not listen to WrenBoy. I have introduced multiple friends to BG in the last few years… some got into it, and some did not. The ones who got into it REALLY got into it and absolutely loved it (some listing it now as one of their favorite games). It hasn’t aged as well as many games of past generations but if you happen to be the audience of this game, you are quite likely to adore it.

      “Modern games are far better.” – This is so fucking stupid that I think I lost a piece of my brain just quoting it. The quality of a classic game like this one is completely subjective and whether or not you like it depends 100% on the kind of person you are. I personally don’t enjoy modern games nearly as much as stuff like this (and that’s not nostalgia talking… I replay these games regularly; they have a certain type of depth that modern games don’t have anymore).

      If you are an RPG fan, give this one a solid shot. As in, try to get more than 20 minutes in… it may take a few hours to really get into the meat of what makes this game so good. In the best case, you will have an amazing experience, and in the worst case you’ll be out a few bucks and nothing will have changed. I recommend the GoG version with mods, although I have not played the Enhanced Edition.

      • effervescent says:

        Thanks for the reply. I WILL play it. That much is sure. I have both BG and NWN2 bought from GameStop Download (impulsedriven). I just need to make some time, of which I have less and less for games (aaah, the benefits of growing old).
        I too was planning of playing the Complete Version (BG2 engine, BG1+BG2+Expansions) but then this came up and I thought and thought maybe it’s better version.
        I guess I’ll have to play a bit of both and see which game system I like best.

      • Nick says:

        Very well said.

        Also its story really isn’t particularly cliche, especially by Bioware standards.

      • WrenBoy says:

        whether or not you like it depends 100% on the kind of person you are

        I am the kind of person who, when the games story tells me that iron is so unusuable that quality iron is effectively more expensive than gold, is disappointed to discover that the games mechanics implement this by having iron based weapons break extremely rarely and, as far as I can tell, iron based armor and shields break exactly never. Despite everyone talking about how poor such weapons are it seemed like every NPC trusted them enough to be armed with them.

        “Poisoning” the iron in this way is the least cunning plan I have ever seen.

        Of course, by your own admission, you are the kind of person who risks brain damage by reading so I can see why you may have skipped past that one.

        • stkaye says:

          Huh. You obviously never had both Minsc and Khalid’s swords fall to pieces during the fight against Mulahey in the Nashkel mines…

    • RProxyOnly says:

      Just go play BG.. why would you bother with some amateur’s version of it that’s been shoehorned into an engine that has to change it’s rules and mechanics.

      C’mon.. 3rd ed is for idiots that can’t count backwards..All of these brainless morons unable to get their head around THE VERY SIMPLE THAC0 rules..

      • Archaos says:

        I finished almost all the Infinity Engine games. I know how ADnD works. I still don’t like it.

        Since 3E is far more complex, your comment about “3E is for morons that cannot count” is totally absurd.

    • malkav11 says:

      Play Baldur’s Gate II instead. It’s way more polished, tightly designed, better written, has far more cool things stuffed into every last little corner, and will let you skip the horrible pain that is playing first level D&D, especially in a combat environment where one bite from a wolf to the main PC will immediately end your game.

  35. Andacanavar says:

    Is this still available for download, or did they take the site down?

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