Yikes: Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Pulled, BGII On Hold

By Nathan Grayson on June 20th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

We're gonna need a bigger lawyer.

I am worried. I still don’t know what a Beamdog is, and now my chances of finding out are looking rather slim. The Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition developer has hit a slightly, um, fatal rocky patch, with messy “contractual issues” leaving the update effort’s future in doubt. For now, the first Enhanced Edition has been yanked from all relevant e-tailers, and Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition is officially on-hold for the time being. Also, it probably goes without saying that this pushes Trent Oster and co’s Baldur’s Gate III pipe dream to the backburner’s furthest reaches. The back of the backburner. Ye gods, they said it was only a myth. You’ll find a statement from Beamdog after the break.

The developer has updated its website with all the details that it’s currently allowed to divulge, but here are the main beats courtesy of Oster himself:

“We recently removed Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition from sale on Beamdog and the Apple App Store. We’ve taken this step at our publishing partner’s request as we attempt to resolve a number of contractual issues.”

“This also prevents the launch of Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition. I sincerely apologize to the series’ fans and promise we are working diligently to remedy the situation.”

This unfortunate turn of events also puts the skids on a fairly massive patch for the first Enhanced Edition, which would’ve added a new interface, a new renderer capable of better performance and compatibility, German language support, and a whole host of other miscellaneous fixes.

I’ve sent a mail to Beamdog inquiring about both the current situation and the long-term outlook for BG III. Only now, however, do I realize that I forgot to ask what a Beamdog is. Will this nightmare ever end?

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73 Comments »

  1. Mister_Inveigler says:

    Sounds unpleasant.
    I feel ashamed to say that I’ve never played Baldur’s Gate when I was a kid.

    I think I’ll remedy that with the Neverwinter Nights 2 mod that recreates Baldur’s Gate. Slight tangent but it seems to me as a good way to experience the story of an old game. I know it’s not the ‘authentic’ experience, but we HAVE extended the boundaries of yester-year and it seems worth it to take advantage of that.

    Eitherway, hope this doesn’t turn ugly for the developers.

    • ShadowTiger says:

      I don’t know if the story is that great though some of the NPCs are memorable. I think that lots of people (like me) fell in love with the engine… and the enhanced edition adds modern resolutions and other goodies to fix it up. Thats why I am playing Icewind Dale and having a blast… the story is forgettable but man I love ordering my guys around in combat.

      So by all means play the NWN 2 mod… but that game engine will totally change the experience… keep that in mind.

      • nickclarkson says:

        All together now….”spam spam spam spam….”

      • Mister_Inveigler says:

        Oh, I was always under the impression that the story was “amazing” which made the game a must play.

        I’ve played through the old Fallouts again and they were okay, but I don’t think I’d do that again without an overhaul. But I do have BG (as part of an DnD Anthology) and BG:EE, but there’s something that seems a little…unwieldy about the interface and the graphics. I get the feeling that the combat is supposed to be more than a “select all + attack enemy + time to time figure out something special” of a bunch of characters. It doesn’t seem as intuitive anymore. Plus the graphics hit is a little much (shallow, I apologise, but it is).
        I don’t have the time to devote to games like I did when I was a kid, so I guess I like a little more pull than pure nostalgia (see the latest X-Com for example)

        Maybe I should look into this TuTu mod.

      • RedWurm says:

        The low levels had its problems, to be sure, but I really rather liked a game where every point of stats on a character or item, every spell and every level really mattered. And I quite liked the serendipitous and dangerous feel of the wilderness exploration, although it’s something that can and does outstay its welcome.

        No question though, BG2 fleshed out the subquests with substantial plot and added a lot more tactical options to the combat with the extra levels. It’s clearly the better title, but the first is quite a different game, and I really like some of those differences.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        If you’re playing Icewind Dale, you’re already playing one of the three Infinity Engine games that are worth a damn (the others being Torment and IWD2, of course). I always find it weird that IWD/IWD2 are dungeon crawlers but the writing is still lightyears better than the BG games.

    • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

      Like yourself, I never played them when they came out. No idea why. Played them both for the first time last year though, and there’s no way I’d rather play the NWN2 mod instead of the the original, I’ve always loved the Infinity Engine. The mod sounds pretty interesting, might get round to trying it some time, but it doesn’t look as aesthetically pleasing to me.

    • Teovald says:

      Same here. I tried to remedy to this with the Enhanced edition, but it is hard to get into this game (maybe it did not age well in that regard ?).
      It is sitting in my installed games tab, looking at me reproachfully.

    • mbp says:

      You can pick up the original Baldur’s gate cheaply from quite a few places (gog / gamersgate often have sales) and with a small bit of modding effort it is very playable. If you get both BG1 and BG2 then I recommend TUTU which is a complete rewrite of BG1 in the BG2 engine complete with graphical and user interface enhancements.

    • lowprices says:

      Same. Got it through GoG, played it, want to love it, but don’t. Not sure why, as I can deal with old gameplay and clunky interfaces (hellooo x-com!) Same deal with (don’t hit me!) Planescape: Torment, although in that game’s case the writing and setting is keeping me interested enough to keep at it.

    • nickclarkson says:

      Search ‘Definitive Dungeons and Dragons’ on your favourite no-DRM site, or any other (I think I got mine from GMG for <£10) and it contains a lot of the classics. Dirt cheap. I second the recommendation for TUTU.

    • Lemming says:

      I don’t want to slam someones loving modding efforts, but I can’t imagine playing the NWN mod version of BG is anything like the feeling you get from playing the proper game with widescreen/res mods. A huge part of the charm is the artwork, perspective and sound of the game.

    • bill says:

      Unless you have a lot of free time / patience / tolerance for RPG tropes then I’d recommend skipping BG1 and going straight to 2.

      Not that I’ve played 2, but lots of people recommended that to me last year – and I ignored them and decided I wanted to play from the start… and there isn’t really a lot to recommend about BG1 other than a few interesting NPC characters.

      Interface has aged. Combat is pretty dull. (though you get used to both and that improves a bit later). Story doesn’t really exist other than ‘kill big bad guy’. Massive amounts of traipsing about, repetition, endless combat encounters (i think when i gave up I had killed about 1000 kobolds).

      Plus it suffers from the usual D&D problems (for newbies) of: AC/Weapons that make little sense, having to sleep to regain spells (meaning spellcasters are useless at the beginning) and having starting characters be so underpowered that they die with one hit. If you can stick with it for 10 hours then you’ll get past these eventually.

      Then again, I didn’t start with BG2 because the opening is terrible and you start with high level characters with dozens of spells and no idea what any of them do. But it has to be better than 1.

  2. ShadowTiger says:

    I really hope this has nothing to do with Atari and is merely an Evil Publisher who was reading through the fine print and found a way to stick it to the innocent game developers.

  3. Anguy says:

    Since I just recently played through BG1 and 2 I haven’t bothered with the enhanced Edition yet, but I would have liked to try it in the coming years since it’s one of those franchises I reinstall and finish again every couple of years.
    I hope they’ll resolve those issues and will be able to release BGII enhanced as well.

    I’m not sure what to think about a potential BG3 though, I think the series is just fine as it is in a way and maybe doesn’t even need a sequel

    • Rao Dao Zao says:

      I’d be interested in Baldur’s Gate III in the sense of all the supposedly cut content that would have made Throne of Bhaal a full standalone game instead of a wee expansion pack, but otherwise I agree that the series feels complete and extending it would be a bad idea.

  4. TheApologist says:

    I was holding out for the promised android edition of BG:EE

    Oops, apparently. :(

  5. Lars Westergren says:

    The D&D licence stuff seems to a minefield. NWN2 was on Steam, then it got pulled a month later. Obsidian spending a year pitching Baldur’s Gate 3. The Dragon Magazine bonus comic in the Order of the Stick book. This stuff.

    Wonder if this was what JE Sawyer referred to a couple of days back on Twitter (or was it Facebook?) when he said something like “Again reminded that there are some bridges I’m very happy to have burned”.

    • Merlkir says:

      NWN2 is now on GoG, which I prefer to Steam anyway. So, yay for not having bought it before.

      • Jekhar says:

        Just curious, what happens when a game is pulled from steam that you bought before? I know GoG has also pulled a number of titles from their store, but they remain in your collection and can still be downloaded. Is this how it works on steam?

        • Anguy says:

          I’m pretty sure thats the case with Steam as well. I remember reading about the War Z pull that people who had bought it before could play it and download it without any restrictions. It just wasn’t on sale anymore

          There’s even a steam community site still available for NWN 2: http://steamcommunity.com/app/2760

          • ch4os1337 says:

            Fun fact, GoG has pulled games before. Arma is the only one that comes to mind however but I know there was more.

        • amateurviking says:

          I’ve still got access to Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age and the like despite the EA/Valve tiff so it seems it’s only removed from sale rather than the library proper.

          Come to think of it, can you imagine the dust up if (through publisher wrangling) games you’d bought and paid for were removed from your account? I think the internet would explode (more than normal at least).

          • jamesgecko says:

            Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins are still available for sale, although with the trouble one has to go through to buy and plug DLC into ME2, it’s pretty easy to see why Valve put their foot down. Heck, just activating the DLC bundled with the game is a pain.

            IIRC, Dragon Age 2 and Crysis 2 were the big ones that got pulled. Crysis 2 is back now, but it’s only available as a “Maximum” edition that includes all the DLC.

        • kororas says:

          I still have access to my NWN 2 Gold edition.

          • suibhne says:

            Same here. Looks like I got several titles that are no longer available, in fact, and Steam claims I’ll still have access to them in perpetuity. I’m guessing this is something they negotiate into their contracting.

        • Diving Duck says:

          Space Rangers 2 Reboot got pulled but still features in my list. I imagine there would be an exodus from Steam if they pulled games from your list willy nilly.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I kinda thought the reason NWN2 was pulled from Steam was because it was released on other digital/retail sites with all of the expansions and the Steam version wasn’t.

  6. RodHope says:

    It’s still up on Steam though. Sounds like a mobile issue.

  7. Core says:

    Daily reminder to never work with Atari or the Wizards of the coast.

    • Wonderboy2402 says:

      According to Trent the problem does not lie with wizards of the coast. It does sound like the problem is with Atari.

  8. Crosmando says:

    Can’t say I care much, the “Enhanced Edition” was a turd, a big ugly low-res GUI designed for tablets first PC’s second. Not to mention the myriad of new bugs it introduced into a 1997 game (seriously check the Beamdog forums for beauties like “Sarevok missing from final battle” and other gems). It literally did nothing to BG that wasn’t already done years ago by modders.

    • drinniol says:

      Yes, clearly they should have just packaged some mods and sold that instead.

      There’s a reason they had to do everything from scratch themselves.

      • Cinek says:

        They can’t just use mods and sell the game with them pre-installed. It’s illegal.

      • Crosmando says:

        Then why bother at all? What did the EE actually had to Baldur’s Gate apart from some badly written NPC’s with facepalm dialogue? Nothing but a blatant cash grab

        • Darzu says:

          Co-op, I believe.

          • MasterDex says:

            You’d be wrong. Co-op was in the original.

          • Jazzyboy says:

            They promised online co-op, yes. It’s yet to become a reality.

            The original already had local co-op anyway.

          • MasterDex says:

            And thanks to the likes of Hamachi, that local co-op also became online co-op.

        • Caiman says:

          Well they brought a classic game to the iPad, a platform in desperate need of more proper games like this one. This has opened it up to a large new audience, which you might not care about I imagine, but whatever.

        • Wonderboy2402 says:

          You Can read the forums where they have hundreds of bug fixes listed. Never mind all the other stuff including the engine update in high resolution fix. It is not a cash grab like it is popular to say. I think a lot of that is spoken out ignorance. A lot of people can’t be bothered to follow steps for applying fan fixes and mods and hope it plays nicely on their modern machine. Bgee fixes that by offering a simple single launcher and modern of support.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            The bug fixes are part of the Community updates that have been released over the years.

            Much of the new content is part of the Community updates that have been released over the years.

            The engine update is part of the Community updates that have been released over the years.

          • Wonderboy2402 says:

            Yep, community fixes were included. Beamdog was very open with working in the BG community. They also fixed long outstanding bugs that have been to difficult to knock out by the community. They also went into the code and rewrote alot of the broken sections ( even tearing out redundant code) thus improving engine performance. In fact, this next halted patch would have further improved performance.

            So I know it’s cool to hate on them, but Beamdog has gone out of their way to improve and polish this classic game. Within the limitations of the license and assets of the game.

  9. amateurviking says:

    Something’s been odd about the relationship between Beamdog/Overhaul and whichever not Atari is currently calling itself Atari these days for a long time. For example Trent Oster was fairly insistent that BG:EE wasn’t going to be on Steam, and then Atari plopped it on there without notice. Not to mention all the BS getting it onto (or not as the case may be) iOS, linux and android.

    For my part I played and enjoyed BG:EE and liked most of the changes they made. I do get the impression that they were slightly unprepared for the QA/QC task that completely rewriting a 15 year old game engine would generate but they were making progress and it’s a shame that they may not get a chance to finish the job.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      When did they “completely rewrite” the engine?

      They used the Community updates to run BG1 on the BG2 engine.

      • amateurviking says:

        Ah that old chestnut.

        They ported the whole thing to OpenGL. Which, incidentally, is why it works terribly with Intel integrated graphics.

      • Igneous says:

        The devs didn’t completely re-write the engine; they were wrangling with the Infinity Engine the whole time. However, there was a lot of engine re-writing that went on to optimise performance (e.g., the EE doesn’t hog all available CPU resources like the old games do), get the multiplayer working, get the game compatible with newer OSes, and the like. As said, they ported the game to OpenGL, and added OpenAL support, too. Also, a huge amount of very nice engine fixes were made that couldn’t be addressed by community modders.

        They didn’t use the engine conversion mods, either (i.e., Tutu/BGT). They did it themselves.

  10. Josh W says:

    It’s like a blinkdog, only more consistent.

  11. MOKKA says:

    If this kills any thoughts about a Baldur’s Gate 3, I’m happy.

  12. Darzu says:

    Damn, my friend and I were planning to begin the BG campaign cooperatively tomorrow on the iPad.

    I LIKE NOT THIS NEWS! BRING ME SOME OTHER NEWS!

    • amateurviking says:

      You can still play it, you just can’t buy it.

      • Darzu says:

        Unfortunately we hadn’t bought it. I blame myself as I really wanted to finish KOTOR on my iPad before beginning another RPG.

        • amateurviking says:

          Aw bumcakes. I’ve been playing BG co-op with 4 friends once a week for the last year and a bit (we’re about a third of the way through BG2) and it’s aces.

          The non-EE version works fine on laptops and with a vLAN (we use Tuungle) you can get multiplayer running nicely as an alternative. Definitely worth it if you can.

    • TheTingler says:

      Holy crap, why am I not using this Brian Blessed quote for every single news piece that displeases me?!

      • Darzu says:

        Haha, I knew someone would catch on to the Blackadder reference. Legend has it that Brian Blessed is the only man in the world who’s voice creates an echo BEFORE he starts shouting.

  13. destroy.all.monsters says:

    Dollars to donuts this is due to Atari’s implosion and their potentially selling the rights to the series (as well as Wizards of the Coast also renegotiating the deal for the successor company).

  14. TheTingler says:

    Rather a coincidence that this happens on the day that Neverwinter properly launches, wouldn’t you say?

  15. Lemming says:

    “You have been waylaid by enemies, and must defend yourself!”

  16. JFS says:

    You must gather your copyrights before venturing forth.

  17. Yosharian says:

    Fuck whoever is behind this… fucking bastards

  18. thekelvingreen says:

    Oh bums. I was waiting for the Android version.

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