Baldur’s Gate: EE Expanding With Siege Of Dragonspear

We live in interesting times. The Baldur’s Gate RPGs are amongst the most well-loved, well-regarded and influential the PC has ever seen, but surely they’re now a relic of an ever more distant past? Along with most things that we consider legendary, they have begun to fade into the past and, like weathered statuary, are slowly losing their definition. We remember them fondly, but indistinctly, imperfectly. We forget the rough edges. Beamdog’s Enhanced Editions were well-curated, well-preserved museum pieces. Classics polished for one last, albeit glorious, hurrah.

Or that’s how it was until last night, when Beamdog announced they have been both working on a new expansion for Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, as well as planning to bring the rest of the series back into sharp relief. The expansion’s called Siege of Dragonspear [official site], a name that may sound familiar to those well travelled in the Forgotten Realms. It features a new shaman character class, scores of new maps, new companions, and what Beamdog’s grand magus Trent Oster says is “at least twenty-five hours of adventuring.”

It’s been nearly a decade and a half since Throne of Bhaal brought the Baldur’s Gate saga to a climactic conclusion, but Beamdog won’t be picking up from where that story left off. Instead, they’re filling in the blanks, inserting Siege of Dragonspear between Baldur’s Gate I and II, elaborating on the ambiguous and indistinct “dark circumstances” that bridge the two games, previously unwritten happenings that drove an apparently very heroic player out of a city where they were previously considered a saviour.

Siege of Dragonspear will also come with a quiverfull of extra features and interface improvements, including new a hardcore mode, an easier story mode, inventory highlights, cute little hit point bars hanging over characters and a whole lot more. At an elaborate evening reveal in Edmonton, Canada, Oster reminded players that they won’t have to turn any of these features on if they interfere with their purist tendencies. All these changes won’t just come with Dragonspear, they’ll be built into all the Enhanced Edition titles that Beamdog have been working on. In other words, Dragonspear isn’t just a new game, it also represents a series-wide update.

Beamdog say that the scale of Dragonspear means it will be much larger than the expansions made for Baldur’s Gate I and II, Tales of the Sword Coast and Throne of Bhaal, and writers Amber Scott and Andrew Foley reckon that over 500,000 words of dialogue, description and flavour text have wormed their way in. This is certainly going to be substantial.

Perhaps most importantly, Minsc is back, and the slightly unhinged ranger will be joined by many of the other most famous NPCs from the first Baldur’s Gate. Beamdog have recruited voice actor Jim Cummings and many of his colleagues to reprise their roles, as well as as Mass Effect composer Sam Hulick to provide instrument-based noise.

Oh, and if you’re as old and leathery as I am, the name “Dragonspear” may ring a bell or two with you. Dragonspear Castle was the subject of a Second Edition Dungeons & Dragons module way, way back in the day. Yes, says Scott, some inspiration has been taken, but there’s a lot here that’s new.

I’ll have much more to tell you about Siege of Dragonspear very soon, including choice words from writer Amber Scott and Beamdog co-founders Cameron Tofer and Trent Oster.

20 Comments

  1. drinniol says:

    MINSC! ORIGINAL VOICE! Sold.

    • Lakshmi says:

      As I was reading I was thinking – even if it’s all new & shiny, it needs Minsc or I’m not interested. Butt kicking for goodness!

  2. DaViD_082 says:

    If “new expansion for Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition” is true, does that mean, that it will not be stand alone expansion? Because from the teaser it doesn´t look loke expansion/DLC, but a separate thing…

    • DaViD_082 says:

      Should look to their site before posting… Answer i there (Q: Is this an expansion pack? Do I need to own Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition?
      Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear is an expansion to Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition. You need to own Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition to purchase and play it. )… Pity they didn´t mention this at trailer at all.

  3. teppic says:

    It’s interesting they got the original actor for Minsc, while Neverwinter (which should be raking in the cash) got someone else, presumably a lot cheaper.

    This sounds great, but I wish they’d remastered the game’s graphics. I’d love to play the game again with it looking like Pillars of Eternity.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Chris Avellone apparently had a small part in it, doing a review with feedback of the writing.

    link to pcgamesn.com

  5. PsychoWedge says:

    I don’t know about this… I mean it is a new game after so long so it inevitabely will be so much more grande and spectacular than anything found in BG2. The final fight in this thing will probably overshadow the battle against Mellissan by the factor of five just because…

    Not that this is a surprise because marketing and stuff but I don’t understand why they just didn’t make a stand alone thing like Icewind Dale. Maybe even a story that’s taking place parallel to BG1 but with different people. This way they gonna fuck up every bit of continutiy there is…

  6. Sly-Lupin says:

    They didn’t actually announce this today, they unveiled it. And it’s been a LONG time coming. Beamdog announced Adventure Y way, at back in 2012, prior to the release of BGEE.

    Why it took so long yet is STILL just DLC for the first game instead of standalone, I’ve no idea.

  7. Wormerine says:

    Not sure if it is a welcome addition…

    Baldur’s Gate/Planescape are still best cRPG out there (recently got around to beating Icewind Dale2 so my memories of the engine aren’t just nostalgic memories.) Sure, graphics show the age, and the pathfinding is annoying, but still much richer and more enjoyable than whatever Bioware spits out these days. However, from what I saw additions made to Enhanced BG don’t match the quality of the original game. I am worried how good this expansion will be.

    Throne of Bhaal was already quite flawed. I don’t think we really need another expansion to drag the series down… unless it will be a very very good one, in which case sure, why not.

  8. anHorse says:

    Wouldn’t get too excited, I don’t think anyone was a fan of Beamdog’s writing in the enhanced editions, their “additional content” was not well received.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Listen to this guy. Beamdog releasing a BG expansion is like Michael Bay filming Schindler’s List 2.

      • Scelous says:

        Totally agree. Although it is impressive they’re getting some of the voice actors to reprise their roles. That’s the only appealing part for me.

      • thmal says:

        I’m cautiously optimistic. The screenshots look pretty good, and hiring old voice actors to reprise their roles is certainly an indication that there’s a level of seriousness about this. It looks like they’ve stepped up their game with the new character portraits as well. Notice how there’s no release date; they’re taking their time.

        They blew it with the additional content for BG1/BG2, but this could turn out to be very good.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        It’s not that bad, and they had Chris Avellone’s feedback on dialogue for this one.

  9. malkav11 says:

    It’s…certainly unprecedented. I guess this is what they were talking about all this time when they promised more Baldur’s Gate? Well, if it’s good, yay. I’m not convinced it’ll be good, though. And I kinda didn’t buy BG:EE because for some reason it’s been the least discounted and I’ve already played BG1 the one time I ever wanted to play it (BG2 is so much better).

  10. yeastcapp says:

    Something something Chris Avellone

  11. Ejia says:

    I still say the proper way to have remastered it was to bring it to 3/3.5E.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      I think you and I both know the fan reaction to such a change. After all, BG:EE was mainly fixes of long-standing issues with the game and all anyone bitches about is the addtional, optional content. An entire rulset change? Beards would have audibly bristled across the globe.

  12. Ancient Evil says:

    Sold. Between this expansion, these new updates, and the improvements they’ve already made, I think a copy of Baldur’s Gate: EE is in my near future.

    As to the critics and the purists, the original, unaltered Baldur’s Gate games are still right there on GOG.com, so I don’t see what the problem here is. Let the people who want these evolutions enjoy them.