Obsidian almost made Baldur's Gate 3 in 2008
According to Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart, Baldur's Gate 3 was on the table in a serious way not too long ago. In an interview with Kotaku, he revealed that Atari, owners of the rights to Dungeons & Dragons-based games, were interested in the project and had even given the verbal thumbs-up on a Mass Effect-sized budget.
"[Atari] asked in 2007 if we wanted to do Baldur's Gate 3," Urquhart told Kotaku. "And I'm like 'Yes, if you guys are serious about it.' They were like, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'If you'll put a real budget behind it: it can't be $10 million, it needs to be $20 million, $25 million. If you really want to do this, then you need to put a real budget behind it. You need to give a budget that BioWare would have to do a Mass Effect or whatever.'"
Unfortunately, the project would meet its end when Atari was bought by Namco Bandai a year later, and the offer evaporated. "All this work got done," Urquhart said. "We negotiated a whole contract. Years worth of work, and it turned out they didn't have the money."
While a tragedy for many RPG fans, we can at least take comfort in knowing that Obsidian's isometric fantasy RPG Project Eternity is currently in the pipe, having vastly surpassed its Kickstarter goal. You can keep up with regular updates on the project's blog. And for what it's worth, I'm very okay with that. A new setting with the same writing quality as Baldur's Gate seems more appealing than a journey back to the Forgotten Realms, which are beginning to taste a bit stale at this point.