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Baldur’s Gate 3 writer explains why Act 2 cuts back on exploration

Baldur’s Gate 3 the lead writer explained the reasons why its second act reduces exploration of the outside world.

Adam Smith, the lead writer of Baldur’s Gate 3, spoke to Games Radar on the direction he and developer Larian chose to go for Act 2. Smith notes that it was important to differentiate the pacing of the first two acts to help the player hone their skills in the first before putting them to use in the second.

“One of the reasons Act 1 is so open-ended is that you have room to experiment,” Smith says, “and then as you go deeper, Act 2 is much more ‘did you bring any skills with you?’ learned to navigate this much more dangerous area?’ The systemic and emergent stuff you’ve learned at that point serves to keep you alive while Act 1 is much more playful.

“It’s an adventure, isn’t it? The beginning of an adventure is much freer: find out what your role is, find out what you can do. And then, in the second act, the intensity of the drama increases.”

Smith adds that Act 2 feels more linear in structure to help guide players through a more focused storyline. “I think some people found it quite jarring because it’s like, ‘this is very different,’” explains Smith. “But that’s its richness. In terms of pacing, I think if we did three big chunks of space like we did in the first act, I think it would be exhausting.”

The relative linearity of Act 2 is a smart decision. The opening act gives players time to figure out who they want to be in the world Baldur’s Gate 3 and offers an opportunity to develop relationships with its excellently written party members before upping the ante in the proceedings papers. I feel some events probably wouldn’t have hit so hard if the focus had remained open like in the prologue.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is one of the best RPGs out this year, but if you’re looking for the next RPG or strategy fix, consider browsing our guide to the best pc games to decide what you should play next.


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