After a bit of an unscheduled pitstop on the road to release, Larian Studios' Baldur's Gate 3 will be getting the Steam and Stadia early access treatment on 30th September.
That date comes via today's Geoff-Keighley-hosted Panel From Hell livestream, in which Larian shared more details on what players can expect when the highly anticipated RPG arrives next month, including a little bit of narrative scene-setting.
According to Larian, players begin their Baldur's Gate 3 journey in Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells. "Captive aboard a nautiloid," an accompanying press release reveals, "they take part in a daring escape as the ship jumps between planes of existence, and is caught up in the fury of the eternal, apocalyptic Blood War that rages across the hellscape".
The resulting adventure promises to offer a "depth of reactivity" that allows for a wealth of different permutations in encounters and dialogues depending on the characters played, and you'll find a few hints of Baldur's Gate 3's malleable world dotted throughout today's livestream, should you have an hour to kill.
Baldur's Gate 3's early access launch will feature the first of three acts, and includes five recruitable Origin characters - elf/vampire rogue Astarion, human wizard Gale, Githyanki warrior Lae'zel, half-elf cleric Shadowheart, and human warlock Wyll - with more arriving throughout development. Larian says it will detail player classes (of which there'll be six at launch) and races closer to 30th September.
And if you're in the mood for some statistics, Larian also promises 80 combat situations at early access launch, 45,980 lines of English dialogue, 596 characters, plus 146 spells and actions. By way of contrast, Divinity: Original Sin 2's early access build arrived with 22 combat situations, 17,600 lines of dialogue, 142 characters, and 69 spells/actions. So there you go.
Over on the Baldur's Gate 3 Steam page, Larian suggests the early access version of Act 1 will amount to around 25 hours of self-contained content, and notes that while there's no firm end-point for development just yet, it anticipates work will continue for at least another year.
Already though, perhaps unsurprisingly given Larian's pedigree, Baldur's Gate 3 is shaping up to be a good 'un. You can check out Chris Tapsell's enthusiastic impressions of the game from earlier this year - he called it "a ridiculous, divine physical comedy, despite the grimdark lore and the toothy brain worms that go in through the eye" - if you'd like to know more.