Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, the hack-and-slash action role-playing game released in 2001, is getting a reboot. Titled Dark Alliance, it’s the first video game set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe to be published by Wizards of the Coast. It will throw out the series’ traditional, top-down combat in favor of a third-person, over-the-shoulder style. Dark Alliance will also include both online multiplayer and couch cooperative action for up to four players.
The announcement was made tonight during The Game Awards, and included a flashy trailer featuring principle characters Drizzt Do’Urden, Cattie-Brie, Bruenor, and Wulfgar. We’ve embedded it above, but it’s also available on YouTube.
Polygon spoke with lead game designer Kevin Neibert earlier this week. He’s part of Tuque Games, which was acquired by Wizards of the Coast in October. Tuque’s previous work includes the top-down post-apocalyptic shooter Livelock. Neibert said keeping the original game’s co-op mode intact was integral while making the transition to over-the-shoulder melee action.
“We love to play cooperative games,” Neibert said, “and something that really connected with me playing the older Dark Alliance — Dark Alliance 1 and Dark Alliance 2 — was being able to play a game with your friends sitting on the couch and just having fun. That accessibility of the D&D rules was really attractive to us and that’s why we wanted to use the Dark Alliance name.”
The goal is also to “cast a wide net,” Neibert explained, by translating core concepts from D&D to an action RPG setting.
“We want players who don’t know they’re D&D fans to play our game and realize they’d been D&D fans the entire time,” Neibert said. “It’s about getting people in and getting players who love action games and RPG games to play our game.”
The team at Tuque Games has expanded from 12 to more than 60 people in the lead up to the acquisition by Wizards of the Coast. That makes it a significant addition to an already growing digital staff. Earlier this year, Wizards released the internally-developed Magic: The Gathering Arena to rave reviews from fans and critics alike. It now keeps pace, day and date, with new releases of the physical collectible card game and has become a viable venue for professional-tier play.
Dark Alliance is headed to consoles and PC in fall 2020. When asked, both Wizards and Neibert were unable to say which consoles specifically the game would be available on. They also declined to say if it would be sold through Steam, the Epic Games Store, or via GOG.com.