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Dungeons & Dragons brawler Dark Alliance won’t include local co-op at launch

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‘We got ahead of ourselves’

A verbeeg, splattered with war paint, stands behind two goblins ready for battle. Image: Tuque Games/Wizards of the Coast

Fans of author R. A. Salvatore’s Drizzt Do’Urden and the original Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance games let out a collective gasp in 2019 when Wizards of the Coast announced Dark Alliance, a reboot of the action role-playing series. While developer Tuque Games tells Polygon that the new Dark Alliance has been built from the ground up for online multiplayer, local co-op won’t be an option when the game launches.

The original Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance was an instant hit, thanks to its enjoyable real-time riff on Dungeons & Dragons’ then-new 3rd edition rules. The 2001 game and its 2004 sequel were beloved for their hack-and-slash action, impressive visuals, and two-player local co-op. But the classic Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance titles were top-down 3D games; the new Dark Alliance is in third-person.

Speaking with Polygon during a hands-on preview, the game’s creative director said the development team spent a lot of time and energy on refining its gameplay, but also on the game’s assets. That didn’t leave a lot of time for the couch co-op mode that was originally announced.

“All the environments are very unique looking, and we wanted to bring the Forgotten Realms to life,” Jeff Hattem said. “Icewind Dale, particularly, is a very harsh environment. We wanted to bring that to life, and that’s partially why we got we got ahead of ourselves and why local co-op is not in the build at launch. We had to make a choice at some point. Do we fully realize these environments, these monsters, and make it as immersive as possible? We put the foot on the gas on that front.”

Couch co-op play could come at a later date, Hattem said, along with many other features — new missions, new locations, new characters, and new gear sets, for example. It all depends on the success of Dark Alliance, and what the community wants from the game going forward.

Dark Alliance will be released June 22 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC (via Steam), Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The game is priced at $39.99, and will offer a deluxe version with access to the first bit of downloadable content for $59.99. For details on gameplay, check out our hands-on preview.