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Baldur’s Gate 3’s victory tour has been extraordinary, but it feels like it’s finally coming to an end

It just occurred to me that Baldur’s Gate 3 isn’t even a year old yet, and I’m having a hard time dealing with that because it feels like the game just came out. I know in my rational mind that this wasn’t the case, but where did those months go? Why didn’t I feel them the way I normally would? I think I have an idea why.

I felt it while watching an orchestral performance of Baldur’s Gate 3 over the weekend. It was part of the Game Music Festival and featured a special concert arrangement of the game’s score, and it was superbly done. There was a large choir and a full orchestra, which enhanced the dramatic music from the play. Even the vocalists were on hand to reprise their iconic “down, down, down by the river” motif. Not that this is all unique; we’ve had orchestral video game concerts before – Ed was just there for Elden Ring – and earlier today there was a recital for The Last of Us at the Southbank Center. I saw people walking around in The Last of Us T-shirts when I arrived. So I expected a lot from it. However, what I didn’t expect or wasn’t prepared for was the Baldur’s Gate 3 effect.

Consider what the event itself was: an orchestral performance by the Philharmonia Orchestra. It’s not where you’d expect to see cosplay, like you’d expect at a games convention, but as the afternoon progressed, it seemed that way. Shadowhearts and Astarions gathered, as did copies of other characters from the game, and there was a palpable sense of excitement. This calmed down at the start of the performance as people sat down sensibly and clapped in the right places, but the further it progressed the less it could be controlled.

You see, it wasn’t just the important orchestra in the room that night. In the middle of the room sat a handful of actors from the play. Shadowheart actor Jennifer English was there; Lae’Zel actor Devora Wilde was there; Karlach actor Samantha Béart was there; Halsin actor Dave Jones was there; Raphael actor Andrew Wincott was there; and the play’s narrator, Amelia Tyler, was there, directly involved in the performance itself. In addition, Borislav Slavov, the game’s BAFTA-winning composer, was in attendance, as well as an entourage of Larian employees. I was thrilled when—a day before I published a piece about him—I saw lead story designer Lawrence Schick across the room. Wherever Baldur’s Gate 3 goes, it seems like a convoy is following – and I was far from the only person who noticed it.

Excited applause began to interrupt the exchange of movements, where usually there was only a silent pause. From my spot I had a good view of conductor Marek Wroniszewski, so I could see the slight bewilderment on his face – happy bewilderment – ​​because it was happening more and more often, but the closer the orchestra got to the end, the more trouble he got. seemed to contain it. As his hand closed and the orchestra played its last note, the pent-up energy flowed out. A wave of applause rippled through the room, mixed not least with a sense of relief that noise was now allowed. Host Amelia Tyler returned to the stage – and the audience was now standing and cheering – to say thanks and read a prepared outro, before composer Borislav Slavov was invited on stage. The audience roared and Slavov – as you might imagine if you saw his impassioned speech upon winning the BAFTA for Best Music – stormed onto the stage in a fit of emotion, with arms raised and a beaming smile. But that wasn’t all.

Earlier, before the concert started, when I saw Raphael actor Andrew Wincott say something to himself, I suspected he might be rehearsing something, and I hoped, given how iconic Raphael’s Final Act song has become, that it could be a live performance. . But the gig had come and gone and we hadn’t heard it. Yet.

Back to Slavov, who now interrupts his own applause. “Hold your applause!” he said. Weren’t they the same words Raphael says in the song? Understanding began to flow through the room. Then Slavov confirmed it: “Down comes the claw!” he roared. This was unequivocally Raphael’s line, and there Wincott/Raphael walked up to the stage to reprise it – to sing the song. I’m not ashamed to say that I lost my cool at this point: my partner tried to capture the moment for TikTok, where you can probably hear me screaming. Suffice it to say that what had started as a relatively reserved affair now looked more like a carnival. Even the conductor seemed to be enjoying himself, sandwiched between several people among the violins. It was a cheerful chaos.

This kind of thing always seems to happen in the game, around Baldur’s Gate 3. Wherever the cavalcade goes, there seems to be an unprecedented amount of love flowing into it. Whether it’s an awards ceremony, a conference, a congress or an orchestral performance, the level of goodwill is staggering. And I think this is why I haven’t noticed the time like I normally would, because the applause for Baldur’s Gate 3 has never really stopped. It’s the encore that goes on and on (a bit like our applause that night – my hands still hurt). I laugh now when I remember Larian founder Swen Vincke saying around launch that he was now done talking about BG3 because he’d been working on it for so long, only to then talk about it for another six months. However, it’s not like he could have predicted the reaction the game received. Who could have done that?

The power of Baldur’s Gate 3 was never more evident than during that concert last weekend. It’s a phenomenon, not just as a game, but how it spreads to a community around it. There’s a sense that people want to belong to the fandom just to be part of that big, happy club, and Larian encourages and protects that, which is really heartwarming to see. But there’s something else that I thought also became clear during that concert, and it’s a slightly more sobering thought: that this might be the end of the victory tour. The awards are all being handed out and the last remnants of the BAFTA-related events – including this one – are now coming to an end. There’s a BAFTA masterclass event in June – An Evening with Baldur’s Gate 3 – and the actors will continue to appear at conventions such as London Comic Con, but it feels like the main tour is over. That’s what I felt when I saw Slavov on stage this weekend singing with Wincott and hugging everyone. I got the feeling this was a final bow.

Of course, there has to come a time when people start working on new projects, because that’s the natural order of things. Actors will take on other roles and drift away (many of the BG3 players already have) and Larian will settle down and make new games, and the fame of them all together – all those backstage selfies on social media – will continue to grow. seem further away. When I write, I realize it may sound sad, but I don’t mean it (or think about it) that way. I think that, with a little room for reflection, this will only highlight what an extraordinary period this has been. I’ve never seen a developer, community and cast come together like this – it’s a meeting that will live long in the memory.