Tuesday, 11 May 2021

BALDUR'S GATE: DARK ALLIANCE to hit PC after twenty-year wait

The 2001 action-RPG Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance is to arrive on PC later this year after spending more than twenty years as a console exclusive.

The original game was an action-oriented spin-off from the Baldur's Gate CRPG series from BioWare, although they were not involved in the Dark Alliance project. Snowblind Studios (now part of Monolith) developed the game and its highly-acclaimed (for the time) engine, and the game was published by Interplay via their Black Isle subsidiary. The game is less talky and cerebral than the mainline CRPG series, instead focusing on combat as the resolution to most of the game's challenges. Despite this, it still uses a simplified version of the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition ruleset to handle gameplay.

The game was well-received and sold over a million copies in its first year on sale, which at the time was considered a great success. Polish developers CD Projekt began developing a PC version of the game as their very first project, but Interplay, in financial difficulties at the time, went bust and the port was cancelled; CD Projekt used the expertise and experience gained to help develop The Witcher for release in 2007. Black Isle did release a sequel to the game, Dark Alliance II, in 2004.

The game has since been reissued for PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X/S and Nintendo Switch, with a PC version now slated to follow in a few months. At over twenty years, this marks one of the longest waits a game has had to endure for a port to a platform that existed when it was released, although it is not a record: Final Fantasy III (1990) had to wait for twenty-four years for its port from the Nintendo Entertainment System to PC in 2014, whilst Chrono Trigger (1995) had to wait twenty-three years for its port.

Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance, a spiritual successor the Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance series, is set for release on 22 June this year. Baldur's Gate III, a semi-sequel to the original CRPG series, is currently in Early Access and should get a full release in late 2021 or (more likely) 2022.

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