Developed by BioWare and published by Interplay, Baldur's Gate was Interplay's most popular game EVER or EVAR.
The game takes place in the Forgotten Realms, a high fantasy campaign setting, using modified Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) 2nd edition rules. The game received critical praise, and was credited (along with Diablo), with revitalizing the CRPG genre.
The story follows the journey of the player character (PC) along the Sword Coast, which lies on the west coast of the continent Faerûn, as he or she grows up following the cataclysmic Time of Troubles. Character development occurs through dialogue and battle. The game rewards the PC according to his or her moral choices.
Baldur's Gate uses the Infinity Engine, which was developed by BioWare. The same engine was later used in games such as Planescape: Torment, the Icewind Dale series, the Baldur's Gate expansion pack Tales of the Sword Coast, the sequel Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, and the sequel's expansion pack Throne of Bhaal. The Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance series took its name from Baldur's Gate, but the storyline is unrelated and the games have little in common beyond the setting.
Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast was the first and only expansion released for Baldur's Gate.
The experience point cap of the original game has been raised from 89,000 to 161,000. This allows players to reach higher levels of power, wielding more powerful spells and better weaponry. The interface has seen a number of improvements, including automatic stacking of identical items for less micromanagement, and the display of unidentified magic items in a blue tint. The thieving class has had its abilities somewhat toned down, requiring appropriate shadows nearby in order to vanish from sight, and thieves must now sneak behind opponents in order to attempt a backstabbing attack.
If the player has already finished Baldur's Gate, the game presents the option of loading a save game which places the player character (and party) in Ulgoth's Beard. Ulgoth's Beard acts as a hub for the new quests introduced by Tales of the Sword Coast.
Ulgoth's Beard is a small town with great adventuring possibilities. Outside the inn of Ulgoth's Beard stands a mage called Shandalar. Shandalar forcefully teleports the party to a desolate Ice Island, ordering the player to retrieve his cloak for him at the island. Player is forced to fight off other, already insane prisoners of the Island Dungeon in order to escape it.
At the docks of Ulgoth's Beard, the party encounters Mendas, who asks the party to accompany him in traveling the Trackless Sea. The ship is wrecked on a mysterious island, which player is set out to escape. There are people on the island who are suffering from the werewolf attacks. The player helps them, only to discover that these people are in fact Wolfweres, a vice versa-form of Werewolfs. The player fights through the island's lycantrophic population, including the greatest of Werewolves, Loup Garou. Upon the return to Ulgoth's Beard, it is revealed that the men who sent player on journey are Loup Garou too, and they are about to avenge their brethren.
In the inn of Ulgoth's Beard, the dwarf Hurgan Stoneblade approaches the party, asking the player to find the Soultaker dagger at the bottom of the dungeons of Durlag's Tower. Several other characters implore the player to visit Durlag's Tower, including a mother looking for her missing son, and Ike who offers a guided tour of the dungeon complex. The Durlag's Tower proves to be a dangerous place full of traps, monsters and loot. There, the party has to defeat a powerful Death Knight in order to complete the tasks.
The final task in the Ulgoth's Beard is to stop a cult that recaptured Soultaker dagger from summoning a demon from the Abyss. Arriving in the cult's hideout, the player party is, however, too late, and the only option left is to destroy already summoned demon, Aec' Letec.
It was followed by Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn.