Baldur's Gate 3 release date, gameplay details, and everything we know so far

 Baldur's Gate 3
Baldur's Gate 3
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Dungeons & Dragons fans can rejoice: Baldur's Gate 3 is on the way. With detailed character creation and robust combat systems, it's shaping up to be one of the best RPGs of the year. The full game due to launch this year after three years in early access, and since we haven't seen a new entry to the fantasy series since 2000, it stands to reason that this is one of our top new games of 2023 worth keeping your eye on.

It's taken a long time for Baldur's Gate 3 to come to fruition. The ill-fated first attempt made by Black Isle Studios, one of the co-creators of the first two games, ended up being shelved after the developer shut down in 2003. Publisher Wizards of the Coast finally passed the mantle to developer Larian Studios, giving it access to the IP and an opportunity to create a brand new third installment to the Baldur's Gate series. The game as we know it today might have a similar title to its scrapped predecessor, but it's a brand new story entirely. Here's everything we know about Baldur's Gate 3 including a release date, romanceable companions, character customization mechanics, and all the platforms it will be launching on later this year.

Baldur's Gate 3 release date

Baldur's Gate 3 screenshot showing ancient arcane magic attack
Baldur's Gate 3 screenshot showing ancient arcane magic attack

If you've been enjoying Baldur's Gate 3 in early access, we have great news. You can expect the full game to launch on August 31, 2023.

Larian revealed the Baldur's Gate 3 release date during the latest Sony State of Play livestream, where a new trailer was screened to make the announcement. In a follow-up blog post, the developer breaks down the contents of the trailer, including sharing behind the scenes footage of American actor JK Simmons' role in voicing antagonist General Ketherick Thorm.

Baldur's Gate 3 platforms

Baldur's Gate 3
Baldur's Gate 3

Baldur's Gate 3 is set to launch on PS5, Mac, and PC on day one, with an intention to finalize an Xbox version as soon as possible. Following the Sony State of Play announcement and the lack of mention of an Xbox Series X release date, Larian responded via a press release to worried speculation that Sony had landed a third-party exclusive.

"Following yesterday's PS5 and release date announcement, we've clarified that right now, we're planning to release Baldur's Gate 3 for PC, Mac, GeForce NOW, and PS5," the statement reads. "We've run into some technical issues in developing the Xbox port that have stopped us feeling 100% confident in announcing it until we're certain we've found the right solutions – specifically, we've been unable to get split-screen co-op to work to the same standard on both Xbox Series X and S, which is a requirement for us to ship."

So that means there is hope for Xbox players yet, since Larian has assured us that "there is no exclusivity preventing us from releasing BG3 on Xbox day and date [of the game's launch], should that be a possibility."

Will there be Baldur's Gate 3 multiplayer support?

Larian has confirmed that Baldur's Gate 3 will launch with "full controller support" and "split-screen co-op", meaning "you'll be able to experience the entirety of your adventures in Faerûn with another player on the same device."

Does Baldur's Gate 3 support cross-save progression?

When it comes to crossplay, Larian has more good news. "Baldur's Gate 3 will also support cross-save progression between PC, Mac, and PS5… Allowing you to transfer your saves between platforms and continue your adventure wherever you purchase the game."

Baldur's Gate 3 classes

Baldur's gate 3 character creation
Baldur's gate 3 character creation

If you're hoping to suss out the best Baldur's Gate 3 class before the game's full release, you'll have quite the list to narrow down. Right now, these are all the character Classes confirmed for Baldur's Gate 3, as seen in early access copies:

  • Cleric

  • Fighter

  • Ranger

  • Rogue

  • Warlock

  • Wizard

  • Druid

  • Sorcerer

  • Barbarian

  • Bard

  • Paladin

  • Monk (not in early access, but expected in final version)

The Bard class is a newer addition to the ranks, allowing your character to "hurl pithy one-liners at your enemies or play songs with your companions by the campfire." It was added to the game in Patch 8: Of Valour and Love, along with the Gnomes race and cosmetic hair upgrades.

Baldur's Gate 3 companions

Baldur's Gate 3 companion Astarion
Baldur's Gate 3 companion Astarion

In Baldur's Gate 3, companions are NPCs that can accompany your character on their adventure once they are recruited to your party. As you recruit them, you will learn that each companion has their own abilities, stats, and equipment all influenced by unique character backstories.

Although the feature is not enabled in early access, we will have an option during Character Creation to select an Origin. Origins are modeled after the five companions, so this means that we would essentially play the game through the perspective of your chosen Origin, using the companion's character sheet information, stats, and Background features.

Here's every companion we know of so far in Baldur's Gate 3:

  • Astarion the High Elf Rogue

  • Shadowheart the High Half-Elf Trickster

  • Gale the Human Wizard

  • Lae'zel the Githyanki Fighter

  • Wyll the Human Warlock

Bladur's Gate 3 romance

baldur's gate 3 party
baldur's gate 3 party

In Baldur's Gate 3, you will be able to romance your companions if you so wish. Larian describes this potential for love in the game as "reactive systems all throughout the journey of a relationship," along with "hundreds of permutations that define where a relationship heads."

As you interact with your companions, they will form opinions of you based on your actions, dialogue choices, and who you choose to form alliances with in-game. Romancing some companions might have a negative impact on your relationships with others, so be aware of that when you settle down to make camp each night.

According to the early access version, there are 6 romance options in Baldur's Gate 3:

  • Astarion

  • Shadowheart

  • Gale

  • Lae'zel

  • Wyll

  • Minthara (romanceable NPC, not a companion)

After your character is created, you'll also get to select "who do you dream of?" and "who attracts you?". These won't limit or restrict who you can romance later in the game, but the tadpole in your brain will take this form in order to talk to you in your dreams.

Baldur's Gate 3 races

BG3 Bard class
BG3 Bard class

Being a Dungeons & Dragons spin-off, it makes sense that Baldur's Gate 3 features the same character Race system. Your Race dictates your innate strengths, weaknesses, and abilities, allowing you to further tailor your builds according to your preferred playstyle.

Here is every Race and subrace you can choose to play as in Baldur's Gate 3:

  • Asmodeus Tiefling

  • Deep Gnome

  • Drow

  • Drow Half-Elf

  • Dwarf

  • Elf

  • Forest Gnome

  • Githyanki

  • Gnome

  • Gold Dwarf

  • Half-Drow

  • Half-Elf

  • Halfling

  • High Elf

  • High Half-Elf

  • Human

  • Lightfoot Halfling

  • Lolth-Sworn Drow

  • Mephistopheles Tiefling

  • Rock Gnome

  • Seldarine Drow

  • Shield Dwarf

  • Strongheart Halfling

  • Tiefling

  • Wood Elf

  • Zariel Tiefling

There's no such thing as one single best race in Baldur's Gate 3, simply because each Race lends itself well to a particular style. It's all down to preference, and we'll get into more of that next.

Baldur's Gate 3 builds

BG3 character sheet
BG3 character sheet

The foundation of combat in Baldur's Gate 3 is your build, and creating a strong build is a fine balancing act. You'll be investing six total points into six Ability areas, namely Strength, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, and Charisma. Then you'll be fleshing out your starting Skills, which are largely influenced by your race.

Your character sheet lets you map out who you are in the game, which skills you have, and how you can use them to suit your chosen gameplay style. Whether you love melee or ranged combat, you need to make sure you know your Class and Race matchups for optimal efficiency since you can't gain too many Ability Points after creating your character.

Start with selecting your Class first and then choose a complementary Race or subrace. For example, Wood Elves and Half-Elves are a good matchup with the Rogue class, since they add Dexterity, Wisdom, and Stealth proficiencies to your stats that will help your sneaky Rogue flourish. If you're playing a Cleric Class on the other hand, you'll want to select a Race that gives you extra Wisdom points.

Baldur's Gate 3 character creation

Baldur's Gate 3
Baldur's Gate 3

Before you even get started in exploring the Forgotten Realms, you'll get to arguably the most important and enjoyable part of any RPG: creating your character. Your playable character is fully customizable, allowing you to select gender, race, and physical attributes, including over 150 heads to choose from. Once you've customized your appearance you can then move on to selecting your Class and Race, as described earlier in this guide.

You will also get to select some Background traits, and each Background will give you two features apiece. Like with Races, certain Backgrounds lend themselves well to certain Classes. You'd want your Bard to be an Entertainer, for an example. Here are the Backgrounds you can choose, and the features they will give you:

  • Acolyte (Insight and Religion Proficiency)

  • Charlatan (Deception and Sleight of Hand Proficiency)

  • Criminal (Deception and Stealth Proficiency)

  • Entertainer (Acrobatics and Performance Proficiency)

  • Folk Hero (Animal Handling and Survival Proficiency)

  • Guild Artisan (Insight and Persuasion Proficiency)

  • Noble (History and Persuasion Proficiency)

  • Hermit (Medicine and Religion Proficiency)

  • Outlander (Athletic and Survival Proficiency)

  • Sage (Arcana and History Proficiency)

  • Sailor (Athletics and Perception Proficiency)

  • Soldier (Athletics and Intimidation Proficiency)

  • Urchin (Sleight of Hand and Stealth Proficiency)

Remember, if you choose an Origin for your character during Character Customization, your Abilities, Class, Race, and Backgrounds will all mirror the character sheet of the selected companion.

Here are some of the best tabletop RPGs you can play in 2023, from Blades in the Dark to Alien: The Roleplaying Game.