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5E Baldur's Gate 3 AMA

Raduin711

Adventurer
Second person future tense is the only artistically daring choice.
The gypsy woman says, "After you walk through that door, you will meet... [entirety of the plot of Baldur's Gate 3 proceeds]
You: Wow! what an adventure! I can't wait to get started. But what if I go through that other door?
Gypsy woman: None of that will happen.
You: hmm... [walks through other door]
[Baldur's Gate 4 Logo appears]
 

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Oh I think all the interesting playable companions and Race/Class/Subclass/ Background combos suggests that this game is designed with extremely high replayablity.
Depends what you mean by "high". Would consider myself a fairly hardcore Baldur's Gate fan, but I have only actually completed the game about four times. I've only actually completed Pathfinder: Kingmaker once, but I have 789 hours logged on Steam. There aren't enough hours in a lifetime to play this type of game through "lots" of times.

I did see a statistical analysis (sorry I don't have the reference) that a small majority of players of games of this type never reach the end at all, with most of the rest completing it once. The number of players logging multiple completions was in the less than 1% bracket.
 

Ugh! Why?! It is so off-putting!
Game developers discovered an issue when they first started doing fully voiced dialogue. Most people, when they read "hear" the words in their imagination, so the protagonist would appear to say everything twice. Also see Galaxy Quest computer. They have tried multiple solutions for this issue. Sometimes everyone is voiced apart from the protagonist. KOTOR does this, and you barely notice you don't know what Revan sounds like - he/she sounds like you. In other games, such as Witcher 3, what the protagonist actually says can differ significantly to the dialogue option text. This can lead to the "I didn't mean to say that!" issue.
 


pukunui

Hero
The Hunger Games novels use third person present tense narration. I found it quite jarring.
They’re first-person present tense, which reads just fine to me.

Also, I write all my D&D recaps in third-person present tense. It makes them feel more like they’re happening now than something that happened in the past.

As I’ve said, my issue with this game’s use of past tense for the player dialogue options is that they’re mixing the past tense with a present tense activity. It just doesn’t compute.

Imagine you’re DMing a game at a table and you say, “The NPC tells you that the princess is in another castle,” and one of your players replies, “I told them I wasn’t going to go there and walked away.”

That would seem pretty jarring, wouldn’t it? You’d expect your player to say, “I tell them I’m not going to go there and then walk away,” wouldn’t you?
 

They’re first-person present tense, which reads just fine to me.
I think it's largely what you are used to. I think the tradition of writing in the past tense probably comes from the early modern novels which where often written in the form of journals and letters.
Also, I write all my D&D recaps in third-person present tense. It makes them feel more like they’re happening now than something that happened in the past.
???

But it did happen in the past!
Imagine you’re DMing a game at a table and you say, “The NPC tells you that the princess is in another castle,” and one of your players replies, “I told them I wasn’t going to go there and walked away.”

That would seem pretty jarring, wouldn’t it? You’d expect your player to say, “I tell them I’m not going to go there and then walk away,” wouldn’t you?
But that's not what actually happens. You might select I told them I wasn't going to go there and walked away from the list of options. But what the protagonist actually says is "I'm not going there", and then there is an animation of them walking away. The change in tense avoids repetition. It's like The Name of the Rose movie, where we have a past tense narration from Old Adso over events depicted as unfolding in the present.


It's probably worth noting that the original Baldur's Gate made quite extensive use of 2nd person present tense, particularly in the dream sequences, although "You must gather your party before venturing forth" is probably the most famous now.
 
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Baldur's gate 3 isn't a novel, it's a role playing game. On the tabletop 2nd person present tense is very common when the DM describes what happens in the game to the players, while players tend to use a mix of 1st and 3rd person present tense when stating their character's actions. Playing D&D in the past tense would feel really weird.
 

It's not a novel, but it's also not a tabletop game. In many ways modern CRPGS are closer to movies than either novels or tabletop games.
 

MonsterEnvy

Adventurer
Yes, but most of the major characters where killed off.
Minsc and Boo are around, Viconia should be around, Edwin could be around, Coran is around, Aerie is around. Xan should be around, Jan should be around, Kivan should be around.

A fair number of characters could show up.
 

fearsomepirate

Adventurer
BG 1&2 have occasional cutscenes where the main character narrates a summary of past events and usually some dream he had. It would be weird to have those in present tense.
 

gyor

Legend
Depends what you mean by "high". Would consider myself a fairly hardcore Baldur's Gate fan, but I have only actually completed the game about four times. I've only actually completed Pathfinder: Kingmaker once, but I have 789 hours logged on Steam. There aren't enough hours in a lifetime to play this type of game through "lots" of times.

I did see a statistical analysis (sorry I don't have the reference) that a small majority of players of games of this type never reach the end at all, with most of the rest completing it once. The number of players logging multiple completions was in the less than 1% bracket.
Most folks would concider 4 times alot.
 


Quickleaf

Legend
*They are wedded to the first person past tense narration though
Ugh! Why?! It is so off-putting!
If you read over Swen's actual reply (#10 over here) to the question about the past tense (e.g. "I said that was enough. More goblins could be coming"), there's something that a lot of folks are missing, which I'll put in bold...

Swen Vincke said:
There’s several reasons we’re doing it this way. Of course there are story reasons but it also allows you to get closer to your character; their thoughts, their feelings and moments of introspection allowing you to truly understand their motivations. We’ve experimented with several styles when starting development but this was the one that at the end of the day stood out and we’re actually quite excited by what we can do with it. It turned out to be an excellent way of allowing players to tell their own story and role-play their character on a deeper level. I think it’s a wonderful tool for role-playing and story telling and when you’re playing it’s like you’re narrating your own adventure.
This sort of tense shift can work when doing a Prologue as Flashback (many video games have done this) or when doing an Interrogation Flashback (Dragon Age 2 did this with Varric). Either of those would constitute "story reasons" that the developers might be keeping close to the vest to preserve some mysteries in the game.
 


pukunui

Hero
???

But it did happen in the past!
Yes, but by putting it in the present tense, it feels more immediate, like you're reading something that is actually happening currently rather than something that happened in the past.

When I play a CRPG, I want to feel like I'm doing something that's actually happening currently.

If you read over Swen's actual reply (#10 over here) to the question about the past tense (e.g. "I said that was enough. More goblins could be coming"), there's something that a lot of folks are missing, which I'll put in bold...
I did read his reply. I think most of it was referring to first person instead of third, rather than the tense. If the opening is past tense because your character is retelling it to someone later in the campaign, but the majority of the campaign is in the present tense, I think I could live with that. But if I have to go through 100+ hours of gaming with all my character's active responses being phrased in the past tense, that's going to drive me nuts.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
Yes, but by putting it in the present tense, it feels more immediate, like you're reading something that is actually happening currently rather than something that happened in the past.

When I play a CRPG, I want to feel like I'm doing something that's actually happening currently.

I did read his reply. I think most of it was referring to first person instead of third, rather than the tense. If the opening is past tense because your character is retelling it to someone later in the campaign, but the majority of the campaign is in the present tense, I think I could live with that. But if I have to go through 100+ hours of gaming with all my character's active responses being phrased in the past tense, that's going to drive me nuts.
I'm with you on this one! People keep defending it like it's normal, but I've played a lot of CRPGs and I've never encountered this narration style before. I also find it weird and off-putting. I know they probably won't, but I hope they change it.
 

Yes, but by putting it in the present tense, it feels more immediate, like you're reading something that is actually happening currently rather than something that happened in the past.
Sure, when you play D&D it is happening in the present, so you narrate it in the present tense. But when you do a recap it happened in the past, so you should use the past tense. You don't want it to "feel more immediate" because it isn't immediate. Past tense exists for a reason - to show something happened in the past.
 

BG 1&2 have occasional cutscenes where the main character narrates a summary of past events and usually some dream he had. It would be weird to have those in present tense.
Nope.

The DM voice (Kevin Michael Richardson, who also voices the main antagonist) narrates dream sequences and cut scenes in 2nd person present tense.

"You do not dream often, but tonight the visions are vivid, indeed. Long have you walked, but now you find yourself back amid the stones of Candlekeep. Your former home looms before you, but the gate is closed and barred. Over the walls, there is a candle in your old room, but as the light goes out, the brick surrounding the window closes together. The very walls conspire to keep you at bay."

Apart from a few combat grunts and selection responses the protagonist of BG1 and 2 has no voice.
 

Minsc and Boo are around, Viconia should be around, Edwin could be around, Coran is around, Aerie is around. Xan should be around, Jan should be around, Kivan should be around.

A fair number of characters could show up.
Coran is killed off in BG2 (as are Serafina, Tiax, Xzar and Monty and many others). Edwin can be assumed to have died of old age, after Elminster kicked his butt and stripped her of her power (ToB epilogue). Viconia may be dead or have returned to the underdark depending on which epilogue you got.
 

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