Earlier this week I chatted with Beamdog and Overhaul Games' Trent Oster, the BioWare veteran who's heading up development of Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition . The full transcript will be posted next week, but in the meantime, Oster had some interesting remarks regarding the possibility of a new game in the Baldur's Gate series, which ended in 2004 with the cancellation of Baldur's Gate III.
The developer established early that developing a new Baldur's Gate (codename: Baldur's Gate: Next) is its long-term goal, and speaking to GameSpy in March, Overhaul's Cameron Tofer said, "We're totally thinking Kickstarter. It just makes so much sense and solves so many problems." That's no longer the case, says Oster.
"We've talked a bit with our partners about it, and they've kind of indicated a preference to not go with a Kickstarter route," he told me. "So we'd have to figure out some other mechanism for funding it, whether it's a standard publisher deal, or some other alternative financing. We'll have to see."
Oster still likes the idea, though. "I think Kickstarter's brilliant," he said. "I love the idea that fans can say, 'Hey, I want this kind of game made, and if a publisher's not willing to risk the capital to have this game made, maybe I'll jump forward and provide the capital.' And from a developer standpoint, you don't have the burden of a normal investor relationship. You have a customer who you essentially pre-sold a good to. So it's a pretty awesome concept."
For Overhaul, Oster says that "dealing with licensed properties, because there's a number of companies in the chain, is a little more difficult" on Kickstarter, but the drive to make a new Baldur's Gate hasn't changed. They're still "really interested," he told me, but also reiterated that it's not a sealed deal.
"Again, it's kind of a wait-and-see," said Oster. "If Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition is successful, the interest in the partners goes way up. If Enhanced Edition isn't that successful, the interest goes down. Gotta play it by ear and see how it goes."
The new game also won't necessarily pick up the pieces of the cancelled Baldur's Gate III. "Rather than calling it 'Baldur's Gate III' we've been calling it 'Baldur's Gate: Next' internally," he said. "We're not totally sure what it's gonna be, but it's something we really want to do."
After a few delays, Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition will release for PC either on, or "pretty close to our November 28th target," says Oster. The retrofitted game includes interface, graphics, multiplayer, and other upgrades, as well as new characters and a new adventure. Check back next week for the complete interview transcript, with Oster's stories about debugging old code, developing the new content, localizing 1,000,000 words, and other fascinating classic RPG musings.