Baldur's Gate 3 comes to Early Access on September 30, hopefully

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Larian Studios announced today that Baldur's Gate 3, which was delayed earlier this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will go into early access release—if all goes well—on September 30.

"We did Early Access for Original Sin 1 and we liked it a lot because it helped us to make OS1 a better game," Larian creative director Swen Vincke said. We're hoping to get the same out of Early Access for BG3."

The Early Access version of the game will give players a taste of Avernis, Faerun, and the Underdark, and enable them to advance to level 4. Multiplayer support won't be in place at first, but will hopefully be rolled out not too long after. You'll also apparently be able to recruit an owlbear cub to your camp, which is wonderfully cute but might be a handful to manage.

It is awfully cute, though.

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

The Early Access release will include five Origin characters—Astarion (Elf/Vampire Rogue), Gale (Human Wizard), Lae’zel (Githyanki Warrior), Shadowheart (Half-Elf Cleric), and Wyll (Human Warlock)—as well as custom character creation. More Origin characters will be revealed throughout the Early Access period. 

Larian also dropped a few numbers to compare the "depth" of Baldur's Gate 3's Early Access release with its previous game, Divinity: Original Sin 2:

  • Number of combat encounters: 22 in DOS2 EA vs. 80 in BG3 EA
  • Number of English dialogue lines: 17,600 in DOS2 EA vs. 45,980 in BG3 EA
  • Number of characters: 142 in DOS2 EA vs. 596 in BG3 EA
  • Number of spells/actions: 69 in DOS2 EA vs. 146 in BG3 EA

It's possible that the new Early Access launch could be pushed back a little bit further: Vincke said during today's stream that the process of optimizing the game could lead to unexpected, but hopefully brief, delays. He sounded reasonably confident in it, though, adding later that "We have a really good chance of hitting" the date.

As for how long Larian expects Baldur's Gate 3 to remain in Early Access, Vincke said that "we intend to stay there for awhile," while the updated Steam page predicts that it will last "at least one year."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.