I should probably have seen this coming, what with Beamdog's 'Enhanced' editions of Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, but the news that a new version of Icewind Dale is on the way still came as a pleasant surprise. Beamdog's rejigged Baldur's Gate isn't the one we'd recommend , but it's always nice to see old BioWare/Black Isle favourites back in the limelight, even if buying the originals and modding the heck out of them is probably the best approach. Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition will add new spells, weapons, items and classes to the first game and its expansions, in addition to changing the interface, restoring/finishing cut content, and allowing cross-platform multiplayer between PC and Mac.
Here's the full list of changed or added content in Icewind Dale: EE, taken from an FAQ on the new site:
- Six expanded quests, featuring content cut from the original game
- 60 new items
- Heart of Winter and Trials of the Luremaster expansions
- 31 new class and kit combinations from Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, well as the half-orc playable race
- 122 new spells carried over from Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition
- Cross-platform multiplayer
- A new "Story Mode" difficulty setting to allow players to experience all of the story with none of the Game Over screens
That last one is interesting, given that Icewind Dale isn't a particularly story-heavy game. It's a nice option to have though, given the original's infamous difficulty level—story aside, there's a lot of great art and music to enjoy in this frosty series.
You'll notice that Icewind Dale 2 isn't included in the package, so we can expect a similarly rejiggered sequel further down the line. Now that Beamdog have expanded beyond BioWare's Infinity Engine games, I'd imagine that Black Isle's Planescape: Torment is on their list too. Here's a video showing the new version of Icewind Dale in action: