Baldur's Gate
Developer(s) BioWare
Publisher(s) Black Isle Studios, Interplay Entertainment
Designer(s) James Ohlen (lead designer) Ray Muzyka (director)
Composer(s) Michael Hoenig
Series Baldur's Gate
Engine Infinity Engine
Version 1.1.5512
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
Release date(s) 30 November 1998
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: T (Teen)
ELSPA: 15+
Media/distribution 5 CD-ROMs, 3 CD-ROMs, 1 DVD, download
System requirements

166 MHz CPU, 16 MB RAM, 2 MB video card RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, DirectX 5.0, 300 MB available hard disk space, Windows 95

Baldur's Gate is a role-playing video game developed by BioWare and released in 1998 by Interplay Entertainment. The game takes place in the Forgotten Realms, a high fantasy campaign setting, using a modified version of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) 2nd edition rules. The game received critical praise, and was credited (along with Diablo) with revitalizing the computer role-playing game (CRPG) genre.

The story follows the journey of the player-controlled protagonist around the Sword Coast region, which lies on the west coast of the continent Faerûn, as this character grows up and learns of his or her unusual origins following the cataclysmic Time of Troubles. Development of this player character (PC), and an accompanying party of diverse companions, occurs through interactive dialogue, exploration, and numerous battle skirmishes. The game provides rewards to the PC according to the morality of the choices made by the player.

Baldur's Gate uses the Bioware-developed Infinity Engine to create an isometric user interface to the game-world. The same engine was later used in games such as Planescape: Torment, the Icewind Dale series, the Baldur's Gate expansion pack Tales of the Sword Coast, the sequel Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, and the sequel's expansion pack Throne of Bhaal. The Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance series took its name from Baldur's Gate, but the storyline is unrelated and the games have little in common beyond the setting.

On March 15, 2012 remake of Baldur's Gate was announced dubbed Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition slated for release Summer 2012.[1]


The game story takes place in the licensed fictional world of Ed Greenwood's Forgotten Realms setting, which provides a rich and well-developed fantasy environment. The mechanics of the gameplay were coded to conform to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition role-playing rules, though various elements from the ruleset were modified to allow the game to be executed in pausable realtime mode. Hence, although each character is in constant action, the game allows the player to pause the activity at any time.[2]

During the game, past and present events are related to the player through dialogue, written text, journal entries, or cut scenes. Dialogue is initiated when the player clicks on computer controlled characters. This generates written and sometimes spoken dialogue with selectable responses. Such interactions can lead to quests or missions.[3]

The game is separated into seven chapters interspersed with segments of spoken dialogue. Free exploration of the world map is allowed in every chapter, though some areas are not unlocked until the player's character (PC) advances to a certain point in the game. The PC begins as a weak character, poorly equipped and without allies. As the game progresses, the player discovers new and more powerful equipment and magic, and can recruit a party of up to six characters, including the PC. Experience points are gained through completing quests and killing monsters, and then at predetermined thresholds the characters' levels increase resulting in improved abilities and scores.

The flow of time during the game is expressed by changes in lighting and the opening and closing of most shops, with an increased likelihood of combat encounters during the night. Taverns are open during the night, but there are no changes in the presence of customers or the barkeeper to reflect the flow of time. The troupe of characters controlled by the player will become fatigued after traveling for a full day, which requires rest to recover.[4]


References could be improved.


The western shore of Faerûn along the Sea of Swords contains a multitude of ecologies and terrains, including mountains, forests, swamps, marshes, plains, cities, and ruins. Collectively called the Sword Coast, it attracts adventurers with both good and evil intentions, and provides the backdrop for the game's adventure. The region encompassed by the game is roughly bordered to the South by the Cloud Peaks, the East by the Wood of Sharp Teeth, the West by the Sea of Swords, and the North by Baldur's Gate, which is the largest and most affluent city in the region. The characters travel the countryside, exploring the various areas such as towns, dungeons, mines, forests, castle ruins, and Baldur's Gate itself. The main story involves the characters investigating a conspiracy, confronting the clandestine plots of organizations like the Zhentarim, the Red Wizards of Thay, The Iron Throne, the Flaming Fist, The Chill, The Black Talons, and the Harpers, and finding out the main character's own ancestry and history.


Baldur's Gate includes several canon characters from the official Forgotten Realms campaign setting, such as Cadderly Bonaduce, Drizzt Do'Urden, Volothamp Geddarm, and Elminster.


The protagonist PC and his or her friend Imoen have grown up together since childhood under the tutelage of their guardian, the mage Gorion. As orphans, they were raised in Candlekeep,[3] an ancient fortress-turned-library in the rural Sword Coast region, which lies south of the city of Baldur's Gate. However, strange things are afoot on the Sword Coast: iron production has virtually halted, metal already produced quickly crumbles, and bandits scour the countryside seeking iron over any other treasure. Strangest of all, there are mercenaries with designs on the main character's life, even inside the secure walls of Candlekeep. Gorion knows what is going on, but will not tell the PC, and instead decides to leave Candlekeep and journey with the PC to a hiding place. However, the night after leaving Candlekeep, the pair are ambushed by a group of bandits led by a mysterious armored figure. When Gorion refuses to hand over the PC, he is attacked by the bandits; Gorion defeats them but dies in doing so. Escaping capture, the PC soon runs into Imoen,[3] who had been following in secret after reading a note about the journey on Gorion's desk. She too saw Gorion's murder, and now insists on accompanying the character.

File:Duchal palace sarevok speaks BGI.png

The player's character is left bereft of a secure hiding place as the nearest cities are blocked from access: Candlekeep demands a unique, valuable book as its admission fee, while the city of Baldur's Gate is closed off to outsiders from fear of bandit hordes. Seeking safety, the PC teams up with other adventurers, and soon he or she is drawn into an effort to find the cause of the iron shortage by traveling to the source of the iron, the mines of Nashkel. In doing so, the player begins to unearth a deeper conspiracy. Kobolds have been contaminating the iron in the Nashkel mine, and documents found there connect the operation with the iron-hunting bandits, ultimately leading the protagonist to the secret campsite of the bandits. In actuality, they appear to be mercenary companies employed by the Iron Throne, a mysterious organization which is aggressively expanding its influence. The Iron Throne intends to gain control of the Sword Coast by diverting the iron supply to its own armies exclusively, and stockpiling all plundered iron at the only working iron mine in the region, located deep in the Cloakwood forest. As the main character sabotages the mercenary's installation in the Cloakwood mines, the pressure on Baldur's Gate is relieved enough for the city to be re-opened to outsiders, allowing the PC to confront the local Iron Throne leaders at their headquarters.

In Baldur's Gate, the PC is enrolled by the Flaming Fist city guard to investigate the Iron Throne, but as no damning evidence is found, the PC returns to Candlekeep to spy on a meeting of the Iron Throne leaders. Much has changed in Candlekeep since the PC left, and it is soon revealed that the fortress has been at least partially taken over by Doppelgängers. The PC also encounters a mysterious man named Koveras. Soon after leaving his company, the PC is charged (rightfully or falsely, depending on the player's choices) with the murder of the Iron Throne leaders. The only route of escape is through the catacombs below the monastery. The PC manages to escape the catacombs, and returns to Baldur's Gate. But things only get worse, as the PC is framed for the murder of a Flaming Fist officer and must stay hidden while working to uncover the truth, finally uncovering a grand scheme masterminded by Sarevok, the man who slew Gorion.[3]

Seeking to confront Sarevok, the characters find out that he is actually half-brother to the main character, both of whom are children of the dead Lord of Murder, Bhaal.[3] The main character's Bhaalspawn ancestry explains much about their past, and raises questions about their future. Sarevok's plans turn out be much more sinister, as the Iron Throne is just a façade for his real intentions. Through manipulation of politics and resources, Sarevok plans to start a war of sacrifice between Baldur's Gate and the kingdom of Amn to the south, causing enough carnage to become the new Lord of Murder. In the end the PC defeats his brother Sarevok and sends his tainted soul back to Bhaal.


Baldur's Gate was developed by the Canadian game developer BioWare, a company founded by a pair of practicing physicians, Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk. The game required ninety man-years of development, which was spent simultaneously creating the game's content and the BioWare Infinity Engine.[5] The primary script engine for the game's AI was Lua.[6]

At the time that the game was first shipped, none of the sixty member team had previously participated in the release of a video game.[7] The time pressure to complete the game led to the use of simple areas and game design.[5] Ray Muzyka said the team held a "passion and a love of the art," and they developed a "collaborative design spirit." He believes that the game was successful because of a collaboration with Interplay.[7]

The game was published by Black Isle Studios, an internal division of Interplay.[5]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 92%[8]
Metacritic 91%[9]
Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot 9.2 out of 10[10]
IGN 9.4 out of 10[11]
Maximum PC 9 out of 10[12]
PC Gamer US 94/100[13]
Computer Gaming World 4 out of 5
Computer Games Magazine 5 out of 5
The Electric Playground 9 out of 10[14]
1998 Game of the Year:

Computer Games Online · Computer Games Magazine · GameCenter Reader's Choice · Games Domain · IGN · Vault Network

1998 RPG of the Year:

Adrenaline Vault · Computer Games Online · Computer Gaming World · Electric Games · GameCenter · GameCenter Reader's Choice · Games Domain · Gamespot · Gamespot Reader's Choice · IGN · PC Gamer · Vault Network

Baldur's Gate received positive reviews from virtually every major computer gaming publication that reviewed it. At the time of the game's release, PC Gamer US said Baldur's Gate "reigns supreme over every RPG currently available, and sets new standards for those to come."[13]

The Maximum PC magazine game review compared the gameplay to Diablo, but with a more extensive selection of features and options. The pixel-based characters were panned, but the reviewer stated that, "the gloriously rendered backgrounds make up for that shortcoming." The main criticism was of the problems with the path finding algorithm for non-player characters. Despite this, the game was deemed an "instant classic" because of the amount of customization allowed, the "fluid story lines," and the replayability.[12]

Baldur's Gate did much to revive the role-playing video game genre,[2][15] which was struggling at the time. Baldur's Gate was notably successful in using AD&D 2nd edition rules in a video game.

The game was a financial success, selling over two million copies worldwide.[16][17] This success led to an expansion pack, a sequel, and a separate spin-off series. It also set the standard for many other games, in particular those using AD&D rules, especially those developed by BioWare and Black Isle Studios: Planescape: Torment (1999), Icewind Dale (2000), Icewind Dale II (2002), and Neverwinter Nights (2002).


Baldur's Gate was the first game in the Baldur's Gate series, which spawned three more software titles before the series ended. It was immediately followed by the expansion pack Tales of the Sword Coast (1999), then the sequel Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000) and its expansion pack Throne of Bhaal (2001). As of 2006, total sales for all releases in the series was almost five million copies.[17] The series set the standard for other games using AD&D rules, especially those developed by BioWare and Black Isle Studios: Planescape: Torment (1999), Icewind Dale (2000), and Icewind Dale II (2002).

Baldur's Gate was re-released along with its expansion in 2000 as Baldur's Gate Double Pack, and again in 2002 as a three CD collection entitled Baldur's Gate: The Original Saga. In 2002, the game and its expansion were released along with Icewind Dale, Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter and Planescape: Torment as the Black Isle Compilation. In 2004, it was re-released once again, this time along with Icewind Dale II, in Part Two of the Black Isle's compilation. More recently, Atari published the Baldur's Gate 4 in 1 Boxset including Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast, Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, and Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal on a combination of DVDs and CDs.

Baldur's Gate and its expansion were released digitally on Good Old Games on September 23, 2010.[18][19]

On March 15, 2012 a remake entitled Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition was announced, slated for release in Summer 2012.[20]. Five days later, Overhaul Games announced that the Enhanced Edition would also be released for the Apple iPad.[21]

On March 17, 2012, Beamdog founder and BioWare co-founder, Trent Oster confirmed that Baldur's Gate III would be the company's "long term goal" via Twitter.[22][23]


  1. "Baldur's Gate remake press release". Overhaul Games (March 15, 2012). Retrieved on 2012-03-15.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harris, John. "Baldur's Gate (series)". Game Design Essentials: 20 RPGs. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2009-10-05.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Carr, Diane; Burn, Andrew (2006). "Baldur's Gate". Computer games: text, narrative and play. Polity. pp. 31–33. ISBN 0-7456-3400-1. 
  4. Rollings, Andrew; Adams, Ernest (2003). Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on game design. New Riders Games Series. New Riders. p. 86. ISBN 1-59273-001-9. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Muzyka, Ray (May 2, 2001). "Baldur's Gate II: The Anatomy of a Sequel". Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2010-08-17.
  6. Gutschmidt, Tom (2003). Game Programming with Python, Lua, and Ruby. Premier Press game development. Premier Press. p. 323. ISBN 1-59200-077-0. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Carless, Simon (August 16, 2010). "GDC Europe: BioWare Doctors Look Back On Baldur's Gate Franchise". Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2010-08-17.
  8. "Baldur's Gate". CBS Interactive Inc.. Retrieved on 2010-06-27.
  9. "Baldur's Gate (pc) reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc.. Retrieved on 2009-07-25.
  10. "GameSpot review Baldur's Gate Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc.. Retrieved on 2010-06-27. [dead link]
  11. Ward, Trent C. (19 January 2012). "Baldur's Gate - BioWare proves that they are more than capable of carrying the AD&D torch.". IGN.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Baldur's Gate. 4. June 1999. p. 90. ISSN 1522-4279. Retrieved on 27 June 2010. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Wolf, Michael (April 1999). "Baldur's Gate". PC Gamer US. Archived from the original on March 6, 2000. Retrieved on April 19, 2010.
  14. "Baldur's Gate [review]". The Electric Playground. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012.
  15. "Baldur's Gate (PC)". IGN.
  16. "About Bioware". BioWare. Archived from the original on 2008-04-09. Retrieved on 2009-07-25. "Baldur's Gate, released in 1998, has sold over 2 million units for PC..."
  17. 17.0 17.1 Plunkett, Jack W. (2009). Plunkett's Entertainment and Media Industry Almanac 2009. Entertainment and Media Industry Market Research, Statistics, Trends and Leading Companies. Plunkett Research, Ltd.. p. 210. ISBN 1-59392-471-2. Retrieved on 2010-06-26. 
  18. "Baldur's Gate: The Original Saga". Good Old Games.
  19. Deleon, Nicholas (22 September 2010). "Good Old Games Not Shutting Down, Re-launches Tomorrow With Baldur's Gate Among New Games". TechCrunch. Retrieved on 16 March 2012.
  20. "Announcing Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition". Retrieved on 15 March 2012.
  21. "Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition for iPad" (20 March 2012). Retrieved on 22 March 2012.
  22. "Baldur's Gate 3 Announcement - Trent Oster Twitter". Retrieved on 17 March 2012.
  23. "Baldur's Gate 3 Announcement - PC Gamer". Retrieved on 17 March 2012.

External linksEdit

Template:Baldur's Gate Template:Bioware games

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This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Baldur's Gate.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with MUD Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

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