Throne of Bhaal Nears Completion

The expansion to Baldur's Gate II will conclude the game's epic storyline--new screens and surprising new gameplay details inside.

BioWare recently visited GameSpot's offices to show off Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, the forthcoming retail expansion to last year's hit role-playing game. Throne of Bhaal will serve as the third chronicle in the "Child of Bhaal" saga, the story that began with the original Baldur's Gate in 1998. The expansion will let your characters become extremely powerful--but they'll have to be, in order to face the perils that will await them in the expansion's numerous and dangerous environments.

Fans of the Baldur's Gate series will be in for some big surprises with Throne of Bhaal. Not only will the expansion let your characters reach near-godlike status in terms of experience levels, but it'll also feature the return of Sarevok, the villain of the original Baldur's Gate, who also happens to be the protagonist's brother. BioWare announced that Sarevok will in fact be a new, playable character who'll offer to join your party early on in the expansion, within your abyssal stronghold. You'll actually be able to form a pact with Sarevok: In exchange for part of your soul, Sarevok will be restored to life and put in your servitude. He is an extremely powerful fighter, and voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson, who did the voice of Sarevok and also the narrator in the original Baldur's Gate, will provide the voiceover for the character.

Throne of Bhaal will feature around 50 new high-level spells for clerics and magic-users, powerful new skills for melee classes, as well as a new character kit, the wild mage, whose spells have a chance of generating unforeseen, chaotic surges of magic. The content in the game will be split between a high-level dungeon and the main narrative path, and you'll be able to move between these as you like.

You'll also be able to import your Baldur's Gate II characters straight into the game, but you'll have the option to begin the expansion with high-level characters that are prepared for the challenges in store. Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal is now feature-complete and is undergoing rigorous testing until the game is ready to ship sometime in the middle of the second quarter. For much more information about this promising expansion, take a look at our full preview. And also be sure to look at these five new screenshots of the game in action.

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