Gleaming: Icewind Dale’s Enhanced Edition

It's sleeping, okay?

They don’t make ’em like the old days, but they do revamp and remake ’em like the new days. After fancying up BioWare’s two olde Baldur’s Gate games with Enhanced Editions, Beamdog have now turned their revitalising eye to another Infinity Engine classic. Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition is a shiny new version of the fantasy RPG by venerated Fallout creators Black Isle Studios, with a reworked UI, new quests, items, and spells, plus six-player cross-platform co-op multiplayer.

Beamdog have had a good rummage in their drawers, digging out some quest content cut from the original game, adding new items, and bringing over spells and classes from their Baldur’s Gate revamps. They’ve reworked that old UI to better use modern resolutions, though also added new bits like zooming and a quickloot bar. They’re also adding a new super easy ‘story mode’ difficulty. The original two expansions are included, of course.

Icewind Dale’s one of those classic games I watched a friend play over their shoulder, but never got to play myself because they were so over-protective of their characters. I’ll nick anything not nailed down, me, which often had serious consequences in ye olde days. Maybe my pal was right.

Beamdog expect to release Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition for Windows and Mac (and iOS and Android things) “likely within a month.” It’ll cost $19.99. That’s twice the price of the original on GOG and around, but how much would you pay to lark about in Easthaven with your chums?

39 Comments

  1. Gilead says:

    To be honest I’d prefer that they brought over the classes and updates from Icewind Dale 2 rather than (presumably) Baldur’s Gate 2. IWD2 was technically the more up-to-date implementation, after all, and it makes sense to make the series consistent.

    • Renfield says:

      IWD2 was based on 3rd Edition D&D, so ‘bringing over’ classes and updates from it to IWD is effectively a total conversion.

      (Not to mention an unwelcome one in my opinion: I much prefer IWD’s 2nd Edition ruleset.)

      • remon says:

        Tbh, I prefer ToEE 3rd edition implementation.

        But I’m guessing that’s a whole other discussion.

        • czerro says:

          TBH, this is fast becoming the dorkiest thread ever…plus, everyone knows 3.5 is where it’s at.

          • welverin says:

            3.75 For Work Groups, a.k.a. Pathfinder

          • remon says:

            I think we can all agree that the 4th is the worse?

            And on the topic, isn’t it weird that WotC hasn’t licensed a game for at least the 5th edition that’s coming out?

          • Renfield says:

            We can’t at all agree that 4E is the worse!

            Though it’s also not the best. Personally, my pick would be the recent 5th Edition, and I would indeed like to see them license it – but not carelessly.

          • Orillion says:

            4E would be a much better system for the Icewind Dales than 2E. 4E was a really well-thought out tactical tabletop war game that’s heavy on content-based rules. 2E was a really well-thought out simulationist ruleset that put you in what you would expect a fantasy world to really be like.

            ONE of those sees characters of certain classes inevitably be useless in combat at a certain level range and far, far too many deaths-by-combat (due to the intent being that you find non-combat solutions to as many problems as possible)

          • malkav11 says:

            Sadly, there is no way there will ever be a licensed 4th edition videogame that actually cribs the real rules, because the only licensed D&D videogames that came out during 4th edition’s reign were a Facebook game, a crappy hack-n-slash, and an MMO. (As far as I am aware. If there were others I’m pretty certain none of them were an actual CRPG with faithful rule reproduction because I would have bought that so hard.). Any D&D game that comes out now will use 5E because that’s the current version of the rules. And while we can reasonably expect Pathfinder CRPGs given that they granted their license to Obsidian, that’s based on 3.5E.

          • jrodman says:

            Eh, i think the 4.x version was annoyingly fiddly — even for a computer game. Too many unclear +1 for this and a 1-round +1 for that etc etc.

    • Anthile says:

      That’s not going to happen. Icewind Dale still uses 2nd edition D&D while the sequel is the only infinity engine game to use the 3rd edition. This means every class, enemy, item and spell had to be remade and rebalanced.

  2. Big Murray says:

    I honestly don’t get the point of doing these things if they’re not going to improve anything substantial.

    • Orillion says:

      The ability to play it in a large window. Then again, I fixed that one with a couple other programs to a rousing applause from nobody, so maybe I’m the only person who cares.

      Personally the major problem is that they are really just trading in-engine instability (effectively plagiarizing the fan-made fixpacks, but that’s a whole other discussion) for actual engine instability. Like, I can’t finish Candlekeep without the game crashing on me at least once (compared to “never once in fourteen years” for the original).

      • BooleanBob says:

        I’ve got an IWD save that I really need to get back to one day (I started the expansion too early, like everyone always does), so I’ve bookmarked your solution in anticipation of that. Thanks!

      • Paul B says:

        With Baldur’s Gate: EE, I finished it all the way through with no crashes. I think it’s the people who played it first, when it was released in a buggy state, who got the worst of it. Once Beamdog had finished patching, it ended up pretty stable.

        I bought the Enhanced Edition because it’s just a one click download from Steam instead of a list of different exe files to install. I’ve gone the patching route myself, but lost it all after a hard-drive re-install. So, it’s just the convenience of the Enhanced Editions that do it for me (though it’s worth waiting for the Steam sale and patches before buying).

      • Premium User Badge

        Joshua says:

        I disagree with the “plagariazing the fanmade fixpacks”. The modders who work on those packs are actually part of the dev team and are credited for their work. They are probably also paid for it.

    • Fry says:

      I’m happy to pay for little quality of life UI improvements. What I’m not so jazzed about is adding a bunch of spells and class combos from BGEE, but I suppose you don’t have to use them.

      • JFS says:

        I’d also prefer them not cross-breeding IWD and the BGs. Of course, I don’t have to take a Half-Orc, but with a reworked spell system, changed items and the like, there’s not so much choice. I wasn’t even a fan of the new race and classes and spells in BG:EE, they just didn’t fit and some things were way unbalanced.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Velorien says:

    A story mode for Icewind Dale? Isn’t that like making a survival mode for Planescape: Torment? From what I remember, ID’s story was fairly shallow, and mostly an excuse for lots of tactical combat against interesting critters in varied environments.

    • Philomelle says:

      You remember wrong. While Icewind Dale had way more combat than its cousins (and had much more interesting combat encounters), its writing was miles above anything Baldur’s Gate put out.

      • Gog Magog says:

        Wasn’t it Balder’s Gate II: Balder Harder that had your teenage-previously-chipper-if-annoying-but-now-brooding companion go “Murder is pretty” at one point and have a big boo to emphasize how it totes sucks to be the soul vessel of the God of Murder? Or something?
        That shit’s deep yo.

        • BooleanBob says:

          If you read between the lines, it was something a lot worse than a big boo.

          And yeah, Icewind Dale had about as substantial a plot as Diablo III. The writing wasn’t bad, per se, but it didn’t really serve much more of a purpose than to enumerate the destinations on your itinerary.

          • Gog Magog says:

            Do enlighten me about what it is that lies “between the lines”. I must admit I am simply incapable of perceiving that which you are obviously referring to as a lot worse than a big boo.

            Then again I have never been any good at reading between the lines.
            I have been told that is where the magic spells are hidden and where I may gain an understanding beyondering that of Joe Pants many times throughout my brief existence and yet all I see is empty space with nothing in particular at all. Why would anyone draw attention to this, I wonder? Or rather, what part of my immortal coil is amiss that I see the notes of Balder Harder’s Mature Subjects and yet find no music between them at all?

          • BooleanBob says:

            It’s the bit where you encounter the Dryads, and it’s easy to miss. Imoen mentions what she saw Irenicus doing to them, things I’d need to append at least one content warning to this post to discuss in more detail. She begins to say something else, to open up about what Irenicus did to her, but she trails off. It’s really up to the player to decide exactly what the writers intended to imply, but it puts her jarring shift in tone between games in fresh context, to say the least.

          • Asurmen says:

            I’m not sure what you mean by a big boo, but having your soul sucked out probably doesn’t cover the world is rainbows and butterflys.

          • frightlever says:

            I love the idea of a band of burly, hard-bitten adventurers not setting out until they’ve made themselves an itinerary, probably got their jabs and checked that everyone had their passport and tickets with them.

      • supermini says:

        It must be the two of us remembering it wrong, since from what I remember Icewind Dale had a linear story line with very little chance of exploration beyond that, no npc companions (since you built the entire party yourself), no particularly interesting or memorable characters and a LOT of tactical combat.

        • Philomelle says:

          A linear story doesn’t necessarily mean a worse-written one, neither are companions with dialogue necessary for providing a more compelling narrative experience. Every NPC in Icewind Dale had more personality than anything that inhabited Baldur’s Gate, their dialogue flowed much better and all of them had their own stories to tell. It was Chris Avelonne proving that one can make a lot out of very little, and he truly succeeded in that.

          • Anthile says:

            This is especially notable in the expansions. Heart of Winter is fantastic.

  4. somnolentsurfer says:

    Is the Mac version going to be coming Steam? Unlike the Baldur’s Gate ones that still haven’t.

  5. PsychoWedge says:

    They should make a PST:EE (and spare us any self-made new content), because contrary to IWD1 (which is basically BG2-ToB engine-wise) PST does have a lot of problems with new systems and suffers from a horrible interface on new resolutions…

    • Volcanu says:

      The GoG version of PST works just fine on new systems, and there are easy to find mods to add widescreen support, higher resolutions and improved UI, aswell as fixes for bugs in the original game.

      Playing it with some of these really does give you a “PST:EE” without the $20+ price tag. Admittedly it is slightly more hassle to set up than just downloading a prepackaged Beamdog effort, but if you are interested then this link is a handy guide for getting it working with the mods

      link to thunderpeel2001.blogspot.co.uk

  6. Jazzyboy says:

    Awesome! It turns out I’m missing the expansions for IWD on disc, so I was thinking of buying it on GOG, but if I can just get an enhanced version with more content and native widescreen support, then all the better.

    I’ve never finished IWD for some reason. I think I’ve gotten about halfway before, but then stopped. Can’t recall why; maybe my old PC broke; it had a habit of doing that.

  7. cpt_freakout says:

    ” I’ll nick anything not nailed down, me, which often had serious consequences in ye olde days. Maybe my pal was right.”

    I played this game with my friends almost all the way through (I bugged it with a Knock spell where it didn’t belong, lol) when we were in highschool. Of course, we were a bunch of dicks, so we kind of played it as a co-op competitive party game (throwing Fireballs that could potentially damage my friends was such an essential part of the fun!) in which we constantly got each other killed in the most hilarious of ways. Our thief was an asshole that really stole everything we couldn’t gather, our priest was a wannabe fighter and so was pretty useless, I played a psychotic wizard… you can imagine we were a recipe for disaster, and man it was so much fun, and so much better than playing the game ‘seriously’. I had some great laughs back then with all the stupid occurrences and pranks we played on each other. Anyway, I really suggest anyone giving this a go again, if you have good friends you know won’t get mad because of whatever, play it like a party game that’s coincidentally also an RPG. If you have a juvenile sense of humor (you know you do; and I mean it in the playful, prankster way) and don’t mind not taking the game seriously at all, it’ll be a blast.

  8. green frog says:

    Disappointing. I’d much rather have them do Planescape: Torment than Icewind Dale.

  9. Neurotic says:

    SPeaking of all which, they just released a 350mb update to BG:EE — “We’re pleased to release the latest version of Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, including over two-hundred fixes and dozens of new gameplay enhancements.”

  10. Laythe_AD says:

    Honestly… eh. I loved Icewind Dale and it’s sequel, though not so much as the more story driven IE games. But the only reason I was happy to pay so much for the enhanced BG editions was because no amount of modding and patching and fiddling various pretend ways of running direct draw stopped them from crashing and doing horrible things on my PC. Icewind Dale, on the other hand, mysteriously runs just fine, as does it’s sequel.