While it’s mostly known for powerhouse Western RPG franchises like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, it’s easy to forget that Canadian developer BioWare started making games based on the popular tabletop RPG Dungeons & Dragons. A favorite of VB’s Jeff, Baldur’s Gate and its sequel are still considered the gold standard for D&D-based games, and the acclaimed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic pulled its infrastructure from Wizards of the Coast’s Star Wars d20 (literally just D&D but with lightsabers).
The appeal of making a video game based on tabletop is clear to anyone who enjoys both hobbies. There’s nothing quite as interesting, exciting, and memorable as a good game of your favorite pen and paper system, but the time, resources, and schedule coordination necessary to make an ongoing campaign happen means that it’s rare you’ll be able to play more than one good, meaty adventure every few years. In this regard, BioWare’s attempts at emulating the expansive glory of a good campaign is admirable. However, I feel like they have never quite hit the nail on the head of a strong D&D game, always being just a little too serious or a little too game-y to make it work. Until now.