In an interview with Electronic Gaming Monthly, senior producer Darren Monahan and lead designer Dave Maldonado for Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II shared vital information regarding characters, gameplay, and the differences between the game and its predecessor.
According to Maldonado, the five playable characters in BGDA2 are more closely based on Dungeons and Dragons classes compared to the characters of the original BGDA. While the skills of the characters are not bound strictly to the rules, they at least follow them "in spirit." The diverse cast ranges from a female cleric to a womanizing barbarian, each with his or her own unique story and motives, and each character can upgrade his or her abilities by completing quests.
Alessia Faithhammer, a female cleric of Helm whose vague goal is to uphold the "common good," specializes in supportive magic. But don't mistake her for a mere mage; she can stand up for herself in physical combat. By contrast, Vhaidra Uoswiir is a female drow elf monk with the flame of revenge burning in her heart. She is a nimble, close-range attacker seeking power for herself so that she may return to her home and kill those who threatened to assassinate the members of her noble house.
As for the men of the game, one of them is a rogue dwarf by the name of Borador "Goldhand." As his name implies, he loves hoarding treasure, and he makes unpleasant company with his unsanitary language and terrible disposition. As a rogue, he is unfazed by locks and traps, and he can sneak about and set a few snares of his own. Those who prefer to be more open may opt for Dorn the barbarian, who seems more at home in a tavern having a good time and surrounded by women. Dorn, however, shines on the battlefield with his powerhouse skills. As barbarians often go, he can both give and take a large amount of damage. He is simply out to seek adventure and new thrills. Conversely, Ysuran Auondril, a moon elf wizard, is shrouded in mystery. He has an inexplicable desire to help others, and as his story progresses, this powerful spellcaster will discover the dark truth about himself.
There will be several notable differences from the original in BGDA2, which will continue the story begun in the predecessor and bring it to a conclusion. Maldonado noted that there is an emphasis in BGDA2 on making the game longer and more worthwhile to replay with plenty of story (complete with a promised intriguing twist), side quests, and extra games. Furthermore, each character will offer a unique take on the world of BGDA2, and each choice made by a particular character creates an entirely different experience.
The enemies of the game are also more intelligent. Each one uses its own unique tactics to threaten the player and challenge him or her to stop and think carefully before making his or her own moves. In other words, "constant button-mashing" will not suffice in BGDA2. Enemies may use magic for means other than a direct attack. For example, druids can cast mind-controlling spells on wild animals and use them to aid them in their attacks. Kuo-toa priests use a two-pronged method that involves boosting their allies' abilities while bringing detrimental curses on the player. Another example of advanced enemy combat is the organized attack of the hobgoblin soldiers, who use shield-bearers to defend and fighters with polearms to poke the player into submission.
To round out the gameplay, there will be an item creation system that allows players to completely customize equipment to suit the needs of whichever character he or she has chosen.
While BGDA2 has no online components, Monahan mentioned that online play was certainly considered. Instead, the game will have multiplayer capabilities, allowing two people to join up and explore the Forgotten Realms together.
The release of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II for PlayStation 2 and Xbox is still many months away, as it is scheduled to arrive in stores in the fourth quarter of this year. A specific date will eventually arise in the news, and RPGamer will continue to bring more information about this anticipated title as it becomes available.