How Baldur’s Gate 3’s secret ingredient has made it the new Skyrim

Jessica Filby
Baldurs Gate 3 and Skyrim

Baldur’s Gate 3’s major success has blasted it to a height that can only be met by the legendary RPG Skyrim, but there’s one key reason for this popularity – its dialogue.

Typically, when people think of the most successful RPGs of today’s generation, Skyrim is one of the first to come to mind. Sure, the likes of Red Dead Redemption, The Witcher, and the other Elder Scrolls games feel prominent, but nothing hits the spot like Skyrim.

Even 13 years after its release, Skyrim rakes in an average of around 3,000 concurrent peak players a month and that’s just on Steam. However, it feels like a new RPG is pining for that top spot, with Baldur’s Gate 3’s timeless attention to detail, consistent playerbase, and touching subject matter propelling the game to a height that finds itself standing face-to-face with the legends gone by.

Skyrim is timeless but Baldur’s Gate 3 is timely

A screenshot from the game Baldur's Gate 3

When comparing a game to the narrative and explorative giant that is Skyrim, it’s important to highlight the timeless nature of Skyrim’s storyline and how the title managed to capture an entire community who are still firmly in their grasp. All you would need to say is “arrow to the knee” or “You’re finally awake” and most of the gaming world would know what you mean.

To have such a grasp on a playerbase is unbelievably rare and creates a timeless aura around Skyrim. Many embrace its bugs and older graphics, and plenty more constantly crafting new mods to keep the game up to date.

However, while Skyrim is undeniably timeless, Baldur’s Gate 3 just feels increasingly timely. 2023 was a year of major gaming success. Yet, despite the likes of Zelda, Resident Evil, Like a Dragon, Starfield, Mortal Kombat, and more proving their metal, Baldur’s Gate 3 shone brighter than any other title could. It captured thousands and has continued to hold them in its grasp.

It’s important to note that this is mostly due to its in-depth characters, plotline, visuals, and dialogue, but it’s equally as vital to analyze the impeccable timing in which BG3 was released. The release happened during a time when many RPG fans and D&D fans felt a little lost.

Sure, there are plenty of great RPGs out there, and D&D is the gift that keeps on giving, but after little word on the next Elder Scrolls game, it’s safe to say that fans were getting a little frustrated. Combine that with the OGL controversy from D&D, as well as the sizeable shift with a rules revision coming soon, and you have two player bases with an intense hole in their passions, one perfectly filled by Baldur’s Gate 3.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a sign of the times

Karlach ending

Along with its perfect timing, Baldur’s Gate 3 feels like it improves on the best aspects of Skyrim, most obviously with its dialogue.

As previously mentioned, many would only need to say the first few lines of some dialogue from Skyrim for other gamers to understand the reference. However, it just doesn’t capture the intense, raw, and gripping dialogue expertly added to Baldur’s Gate 3.

BG3 touches on some intense topics, from manipulation, abuse, trauma, and so much more – yet it does so with grace and through some stunning performances from its talented voice actors. Once you combine Karlach’s final speech or witness Astarion’s “full concentrated power of the sun” rant it’s hard to ever see how you could compare such a performance to the NPCs of Skyrim.

Skyrim still holds power over its immersive world and soundtrack, but its dialogue in comparison to Baldur’s Gate 3 undeniably falls short. When taking into consideration the importance of sound and great NPC performances in successful games, it’s tough to argue that Skyrim beats Baldur’s Gate 3 in any regard – especially when implementing modern graphics, choice variety, and the turn-based combat players have fallen in love with.

Inherently, it’s hard to compare two entirely different generations and two very distinct games. However, when analyzing the engrossing storyline and how the dialogue immerses the player, one thing becomes abundantly clear: Baldur’s Gate 3 could just be the new Skyrim and may even surpass it one day.