Baldur's Gate 3 is out on August 31st - with an iconic villain voice actor
Plus a couple of blink-and-you'll-miss-it gameplay reveals
I am extremely sympathetic to professionals complaining about celebritites horning in on their turf, but I will make an exception in the case of J.K. Simmons voicing video game villains. Portal's Cave Johnson remains one of the greatest turns in video game voice acting history, and we can now look forwards to Simmons playing a well evil, invincible necromancer in Larian Studios' RPG Baldur's Gate 3 - which, incidentally, is releasing into 1.0 form on August 31st. Fair play to 'em: they said August, and August it is. A new trailer featuring Simmons' character Kehteric Thorm, and the release date, was showcased at Sony's State Of Play event last night.
The RPG quest in BG3 is to get rid of the little worm in your head that will, over time, turn you into a tentacle-faced mind flayer, and it appears from the new trailer that Ketheric could help you with that. He's one of those sympathetic villains, though, with a tragic past, and Larian's creative director Swen Vincke said they cast Simmons because they wanted a character actor who could give a nuanced performance.
"While we expected it," said Vincke, "we were still amazed at how much his performance helped deepen the character." It certainly strikes a different tone to Cave Johnson's business-bastard lemon-shouting. You can see a little taste of Simmons recording a sad monologue in the booth here.
It seems that Ketheric may not provide the answer to your brainworms-based problem, as Vincke says the team have two more antagonists to reveal. Luckily, the trailer indicates that Ketheric can be defeated with the power of friendship, which should help you save your energy for the other baddies. Or, I dunno, that could have been a pithy way to cut to some split screen co-op in the trailer, the first time we've seen this for BG3. Another new reveal was the addition of controller support, which makes sense for a Sony event - but honestly, why anyone would pick a controller over mouse and keyboard for an RPG like this is beyond me.
Baldur's Gate 3 has been in early access (via Steam and GOG) since late 2020, and 1.0 marks what Vincke told me in December is hopefully the point that you won't have to reload or restart the game - the full BG3 experience. He also told me that the thing he was most excited for with the 1.0 release was a big secret he couldn't talk about. I wonder if J.K. Simmons was it, or if there's a biggerer secreter secret to come?
Disclosure: former RPS dep ed Adam Smith is lead writer at Larian, so presumably at some point I will replace him and he'll become, I dunno, Phil Spencer.