Excerpt from the Community Update #2 just now:
What you will eventually play has been in the planning at Larian and closely with Wizards of the Coast for over 4 years now, with their key creative people colliding with our key creative people in ways that we will eventually talk about in greater length. Our task is to create the ultimate Dungeons & Dragons game; a loving and modern sequel to Baldur’s Gate 2. Oozing with 5e D&D greatness, set in the world that you know and love. You will explore Baldur’s Gate 100 years after Baldur’s Gate 2. The Bhaalspawn saga has ended, and a new threat is converging on the city of Baldur's Gate. But the gods do not forget, and the shadows and scars of the past will not stay silent. You will meet and get to know many new characters, and encounter some of the legendary characters you know and love. Most importantly, you’ll learn how their stories have evolved. And as you play, you will heavily influence their fate.
We’ve built an engine that allows all 250 people at Larian collaborate to become the ultimate DM. Allowing for near-limitless reactivity, responsiveness, and a memory that never forgets who you are, or what you’ve done. No matter who you roll, dice-rolls, modifiers, and physical simulation have all been designed to simulate a D&D experience that feels as though it’s straight from the imagination, where no matter the dice roll the story will continue. It’s also a game that is intended to span the entire range of human emotion. It is in equal parts a dark and a light game. “We always want to make failure as interesting as it possibly can,” said Senior Writer Adam Smith. “We don’t put everything that’s cool and interesting behind success.”
“Light and dark are really good sources of advantage,” noted Swen in a recent GameSpot interview. The philosophies that define the rules in D&D 5e also define the narrative, where you’ll often make difficult decisions through initiative or through the roll of the dice. The Baldur’s Gate games were dark - sometimes darker than many people remember. Baldur’s Gate 3 is no exception, though in 2020 we’re able to take the gamut of emotion and experience and stretch it further due to systems, simulation, and of course also our cinematics team. Unfortunately we did not make it to the end of our PAX East 2020 live demo due to a feature (see: bug), but those in the hall witnessed a scene where Astarion’s hunger got the better of him, and through a series of dice rolls (and often audience choice), Astarion sank his teeth into Shadowheart to varying degrees of mortality. Astarion was happy (systemically), but Shadowheart often ended up dead (also without irony, systemically). Baldur’s Gate 3 is on course to be a ‘Mature’ game, which is publishing language for “if you go any further the ratings board is going to be extremely annoying”. We want to push the limits of every theme within the game, which should allow you to play exactly how you’d like to play. Astarion may be a Vampire Spawn, but that doesn’t mean he has to be evil - if hungry. Though you saw one path at PAX East, there were many possibilities for good, and evil -- note also, everything in between. It has always been Larian’s plan to create games that allow you to play however you wish. This larger team, and this new engine, allow us to push this further than ever before. Much further than Divinity: Original Sin 2.
As you delve into an epic adventure that subverts the binary morality found in many RPGs, and explore Baldur’s Gate with new and existing characters, 100 years after the story of the first two games, dice roll by dice roll, we hope that together we can reignite that great sense of discovery you felt as you dived for the first time into Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2, bringing the experience of an open-ended D&D game to photo-realistic realisation, albeit with 5e rules in place of 2nd edition rules. Things have come a long way in 20 years, but what’s important to us is that you’re along for the ride. You have many questions, and we have answers. We’ll be hosting a Reddit AMA where you can ask Swen (Creative Director), David (Producer), Adam (Senior Writer), Nick (Lead Systems Designer), and Jiji (Writing Director) your questions. 11:00 PT on March 12, over on Reddit!