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SYFY WIRE Borderlands

PAX East: Baldur’s Gate 3 trailer enters D&D’s Forgotten Realms; Jason Mewes’ Fallout 76 role & more

By Benjamin Bullard
Baldurs Gate 3

Dungeons & Dragons is coming back to video games in a big way, with several projects planned or already in the works — and none of them is bigger than the long-awaited next installment in the classic Baldur’s Gate franchise.

Developer Larian Studios unveiled a mind-flaying new cinematic trailer for Baldur’s Gate 3 at the just-concluded PAX East gaming expo, and it’s safe to say D&D has never come to life quite like this in a video game before. Naturally, it wouldn’t be Dungeons & Dragons without, well, dungeons and dragons, and we literally get both in this hi-def, five-minute dive deep into the Forgotten Realms.

Check it out:

Larian is promising its new RPG will offer “unprecedented freedom to explore, experiment, and interact with a world that truly reacts to your choices” in a way not seen even in its predecessors — and that includes BioWare’s Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, still regarded two decades after its release as one of the greatest role-playing games ever made. Developers are keeping story details close to the vest, but have said that players and their parties will be tasked with tracking down the source of the tadpole-like parasites — like the one seen in the trailer — that the mind flayers use to turn their minions.

There’s no firm release date yet for Baldur’s Gate 3, but Larian says the game is expected to appear sometime this year on Steam early access, before a wider release that, at least for the time being, will be limited to Google Stadia and PC.

The clamor for a Wasteland populated by good old-fashioned NPCs has been at the top of fans’ wish lists for future improvements to Fallout 76, and Bethesda took the opportunity at PAX East to show that it’s been listening.

Sharing a half hour’s worth of details from the much-anticipated Wastelanders expansion, Bethesda walked fans through a demo of new gameplay that revealed the return of classic Fallout-style NPC conversations and dialogue choices, as well as the tease of one new character — a ghoul named Mort — who’ll be voiced by Jason Mewes.

In addition to the NPC changes, the studio also teased that Wastelanders will feature new player companions, new locations to explore in the West Virginia wilderness, new monsters, and new ways to extend the story’s main quest. In other words, it’ll bring Fallout 76 even closer in spirit to a conventional Fallout game for players who prefer 76’s single-player predecessors. “We get to go back to one of the strengths of Bethesda: the conversations,” lead game designer Ferret Baudoin explains in the clip. “We’re trying to connect with you — with human beings; with emotions. We're trying to give you a real impetus for why you’re doing the things you’re doing.”

Fallout 76: Wastelanders is slated to arrive on April 7 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Finally, Borderlands is getting ready to probe one of the few corners of the universe it hasn’t yet explored: the primordial world of H.P. Lovecraft. Announced with an appropriately spooky, tongue-in-cheek trailer at PAX East, Gearbox Software unveiled its upcoming eldritch expansion for Borderlands 3, titled Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright & Hammerlock.

Borderlands has an endearing habit of injecting cockeyed humor into its cartoonish, genre-bending game add-ons, and this one looks like it won’t be an exception. “One of the key pillars of [Guns, Love, and Tentacles] was to put the love back into Lovecraft,” art director Jonathan Rancourt recently told GameSpot. “We're going for a strong contrast between those [Lovecraftian] landscapes and the story of a love worth telling.”

Sure, the plot may hang on the marriage of two Borderlands favorites, but of course that’s really just a fun excuse to put players in all kinds of absurd new situations. Let the ghastly gunplay begin March 26, when Guns, Love, and Tentacles arrives for Borderlands 3 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC, and MacOS.