Baldur's Gate 3 will release 'hopefully somewhere in 2022'

Larian's latest community update for Baldur's Gate 3 comes alongside the studio's third Panel from Hell livestream, but if you want the short version, here it is: Patch 5 will go live on July 13 and is focused on mechanical changes based on community feedback rather than new content, and studio head Swen Vincke says full release will be "hopefully somewhere in [20]22."

What's in Patch 5? A whole lot. First, dice-rolling will get a fancy interface that shows modifiers being added after the roll (hallelujah!), and asks if you want to cast spells like guidance to influence the outcome. You can even ask party members to assist with their own spells, but in multiplayer mode the other players might turn you down.

Camping has had an overhaul, and now you'll need to spend supplies for every long rest rather than taking a free nap after every fight. My habit of hoarding all the cheese scattered around will suddenly pay off. Campsites will also reflect your surroundings in patch 5, rather than always looking like that one spot of forest near the beach, and some new cutscenes can play out there including a cute-looking one if you manage to recruit both a dog and owlbear cub as pets.

Combat changes include the separation of jump and disengage so they're separate actions, with disengage as a full action. That brings Baldur's Gate 3 more in line with tabletop D&D, and is something players have been demanding, as is the new option to cancel spells that require your spellcaster's concentration, and a toggle for non-lethal attacks to let you knock enemies unconscious. "You can still rob them blind," says Vincke, "but you don't have to kill them. It's better for your karma."

Another addition will be secret miniquests based on each character's background to reward them for playing to type. A character with the Noble background will be rewarded for hiring ogres as bodyguards, while an Urchin will be rewarded for talking those ogres into working for free. Or, for stealing a toe ring. The rewards are inspiration points, which can be spent to reroll d20s. Once you've got a stockpile of four inspiration points, any more will convert to 25 XP.

One last sizeable change is the addition of NPC barks for various actions, like Minsc shouting "Go for the eyes, Boo!" every time you told him to attack in the original Baldur's Gate, as is permanently etched in my mind. Apparently in Baldur's Gate 3 the things characters say will change depending on where you are in the story and their character arcs, and over 800 lines per character have been recorded just to cover the Early Access slice of the game.

Smaller changes include some tweaks to spells, enemy AI, and now when you find Shadowheart—the cleric you eventually have the option of recruiting—imprisoned in the tutorial you get an option to free her. Which is nice. Also the bug that made some buckets edible has been fixed.

Patch 6 will be more of a "new content" patch, and Larian is already working on it. It'll be here "faster than you think" according to Vincke.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.