BioWare's Baldur's Gate Was Almost Massively Multiplayer

BioWare's Baldur's Gate Was Almost Massively Multiplayer

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One of the greatest RPGs of all time could have been the first World of Warcraft.

Today, BioWare is well known for quality RPGs such as Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect, but the company cut its teeth on a series called Baldur's Gate. The original game, which spawned an expansion pack, a sequel, and a sequel's expansion pack, was valued for incredibly deep single-player gameplay. But according to BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, it wasn't originally conceived as a single-player game at all.

At GDC Europe 2010, the duo described the original title that Baldur's Gate's once was as Battleground: Infinity, a massively multiplayer online game. Muzyka described the concept as: "A pantheon of all these gods across all of these mythologies, it was crazy ambitious."

At the time when BioWare was shopping Infinity around to publishers, the MMOG genre was still trying to grow out of its text-based, multi-user dungeon beginnings. Publisher Interplay saw Infinity's tech demo and suggested changing it into a Dungeons & Dragons licensed single-player game.

This was a risk, with Zeschuk admitting "the RPG genre was pretty much dead in America; people would actually scoff when you said you were making an RPG," but the doctors took Interplay up on the new concept anyway. Thankfully, Diablo was released in 1997 and brought the action-RPG into mainstream consciousness, which gave BioWare the motivation to try the same with the traditional RPG.

Baldur's Gate is still easily one of my favorite games ever, so I'm very happy it was never turned into an MMOG. I'm confident that if BioWare was left to its own devices in the mid-1990s and created an online game that could be played for 60 hours a week, I would have been playing it 75. Thanks, BioWare, for not destroying my life, and simply enriching it with the Baldur's Gate series instead. It's a very good thing for the world's productivity that BioWare is sticking to single-player games and not highly funded MMOGs based on Star Wars or anything.

Source: 1up

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Wow, quite crazy. Baldurs Gate is still, to this day, one of my favorite RPG's ever made. Only second to the Fallout franchise. I loved being just a completely evil jerk, every game I played I ended up having soldiers after me. Although a MMO for that time would have been great, I wouldn't trade the experiences I had for anything else.

Wow. well i'm glad for Baldurs Gate and agree that it is one of my favourite all time games and got me into a whole range of Books and Tabletop gaming (for a while). I probably wouldnt have played it as an MMO, so thanks to interplay for fixing that aspect.

also Woot fot TOR!

You know what, as much as I loved Baldurs Gate 1 and 2 an MMO on top of the Infinity Engine would have been pretty damn sweet at the time.

Though an infinity engine MMO set in Planescape would be equally godly

I think it could have done quite well actually, at least at tht time...however, if it had lasted to modern day, I dont know if it would have kept a good seat of power

Much as I love it, can you imagine what the pubes would do to it? Ick...

All I can say is Thank Minsc and Boo they didn't make a MMO. The D&D license made it one of the best RPGs I've ever played. Without it, Biwoare is a bit rubbish when it comes to spells.

Interesting.

And incidently, I had my dad help me buy a copy of Baldur's Gate online.

It's probubly the best PC game I can play, considering I have a Windows ME computer that keeps getting screwed over by people upgrading their websites because they forget not everyone out there has Windows XP, which is 1 reason my computer keeps freezing on me whenever I surf the web.

unacomn:
All I can say is Thank Minsc and Boo they didn't make a MMO. The D&D license made it one of the best RPGs I've ever played. Without it, Biwoare is a bit rubbish when it comes to spells.

I disagree, at least Dragon Age didn't have crappy status effect spells that don't do jack in battles where they'd actually matter. (I'm looking at you, Square.)

The_root_of_all_evil:

I can't believe my eyes boo...I CAN'T BELIEVE MY EYES

I still gotta play that game, man and I ever late to the party.

Best game series ever.

I miss it so....

Stolen in a house theft along with my computer years ago. Had all of them except for Tales from the Sword Coast. I still nostalgia back to it.

Wow... thank Bhaal they didn't go with that plan. The world would have been denied the best singleplayer western cRPG to date.

i'm sorry to say this, but it would have been really awful !

RPG genre dead in the mid nineties? We had some of the best rpgs of all time during that period. Look at Chrono Trigger, FF6, Earthbound, Suikoden and many others as an example. Ultima went MMO and we had neverwinter nights as well, but single player rpgs were far from dead.

Optimystic:

unacomn:
All I can say is Thank Minsc and Boo they didn't make a MMO. The D&D license made it one of the best RPGs I've ever played. Without it, Biwoare is a bit rubbish when it comes to spells.

I disagree, at least Dragon Age didn't have crappy status effect spells that don't do jack in battles where they'd actually matter. (I'm looking at you, Square.)

The fact that you compared the spells from Dragon Age to the ones from a Square Enix game proves my point. Magic in Baldur's Gate was immensely complex compared to Dragon Age. And in BG2 it really went nuts with stuff like Wish and Wild Magic. I was kinda expecting Bioware to go all out in Dragon Age, I mean, they didn't have to adhere to a strict rule set. Instead they made a game with less summoning in it than Drakensang, a game where the spells were so crappy that the game presumed you would be playing a fighter class.

unacomn:

Optimystic:

unacomn:
All I can say is Thank Minsc and Boo they didn't make a MMO. The D&D license made it one of the best RPGs I've ever played. Without it, Biwoare is a bit rubbish when it comes to spells.

I disagree, at least Dragon Age didn't have crappy status effect spells that don't do jack in battles where they'd actually matter. (I'm looking at you, Square.)

The fact that you compared the spells from Dragon Age to the ones from a Square Enix game proves my point. Magic in Baldur's Gate was immensely complex compared to Dragon Age. And in BG2 it really went nuts with stuff like Wish and Wild Magic. I was kinda expecting Bioware to go all out in Dragon Age, I mean, they didn't have to adhere to a strict rule set. Instead they made a game with less summoning in it than Drakensang, a game where the spells were so crappy that the game presumed you would be playing a fighter class.

Baldur's Gate's magic system was indeed complex, but you can't blame Bioware for that. They were stuck with TSR/WotC's AD&D magic model, because BG is/was an AD&D adaptation. Dragon Age represents Bioware being left up to their own devices, and the system worked much better as a result.

Sounds cool, though I much prefer traditional rpg seeing as Baldur's Gate 2 is my often-referenced favorite game ever.

Wow, that's... just... insane now that we know what BG ended up being (one of the best single player RPGs *ever*, 'nuff said). I can't imagine what BG would've been like now, all these years later. It is interesting, though, to remember that BG2 did have an extensive multiplayer mode (you could have played a game with all 6 party members controlled by "humans", no NPCs), but I don't think a lot of people used it, in the end.
Huh.

There is one reason why I would have liked Baldur's Gate to be a MMORPG. Of course we would have lost one of the greatest and most influential singleplayer RPGs, but I think it would be really interesting to see what the MMO market would look like today if Bioware had started it.

Its roots aren't too surprising. A half dozen of us actually played the first third or so of the game together as one big party and as it was over a LAN so not as massive or online as, say, Ultima Online, but but definitely was a functional multiplayer RPG.

It was quirky and tedious as you'd imagine a multiplayer RPG where only one character can the be the hero and the rest as basically NPCs and it was hard to keep everyone entertained (especially when a thief wanted to try EVERY drawer and locked chest), but it did work. Sadly, you missed out on some of the true NPC interaction, so I'm glad I played BG2 solo.

Baldur's gate... that brings down some memories down the lane.
Must... find... my backup dvds and the BGtrinity mod...

Baldur's Gate was the first PC game I ever played, beginning to end. My best friend and roommate played all sorts of games which I ignored. When I suddenly heard an NPC pipe up, "Gorion would be proud of you", I looked up from my book to ask what he was playing. I was hooked the moment I made my first character.

If it had been an MMO, my roommate wouldn't have bought it and I would have missed out on a great game.

 

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