Can You Play Baldur’s Gate 3 Without Playing Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2?

baldur's gate 3 can you play without playing 1 and 2

Are you looking forward to playing Baldur’s Gate 3, but aren’t sure if you should play Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 first? We’ll explain why you shouldn’t worry about that too much.

The issue of previous lore and characters can weigh heavily on some players when they’re introduced to a later game in a franchise. The original Baldur’s Gate was released all the way back in 1998. Its sequel came only two years later, so today’s players can be forgiven if they haven’t played them. Fans of the franchise have been waiting over 20 years for the latest instalment. So how much do you have to know to enjoy Baldur’s Gate 3 now that it’s out? Let’s tackle that question.

Do you have to play Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 to enjoy Baldur’s Gate 3?

In short, no, you don’t have to know anything about Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 to enjoy Baldur’s Gate 3. You can rest assured that you can play Baldur’s Gate 3 without playing parts 1 and 2 first. While set in the same world and approximately the same location, the timeline, story, and characters differ enough that you don’t need prior knowledge to have fun. 

As the game title suggests, the city of Baldur’s Gate plays a prominent role in the franchise. But even that was different in the second game, which took part in the city of Amn instead. With that being said, there certainly are some characters, story beats, locations, and other easter eggs for long-standing fans.

Are there characters and locations from previous games in Baldur’s Gate 3?

Yes, there are some characters and places that crop up which directly reference previous Baldur’s Gate games. For example, all fans of the franchise know that the notorious duo of Minsc and Boo make an appearance in Baldur’s Gate 3. Then there’s also their old companion Jaheira, a famous Harper from Baldur’s Gate 2 returning as well.

Along with them, there are lore books scattered throughout the game. Some of them nod towards the events from previous games, such as the whole Bhaalspawn saga, which plays a role in Baldur’s Gate 3 too. However, you don’t need to know anything about prior events to enjoy this part of the story. Names such as Viconia DeVir and Sarevok Anchev may not mean much to you but will be a nice “Aha!” moment for long-standing fans.

The map of Baldur’s Gate 3 is also vastly larger than in previous games. That means that many old locations can be revisited in some capacity. Of course, many years later, since the timeline has progressed by about a century or so. Without delving too deep into spoilers, players can certainly enjoy Baldur’s Gate 3 in equal measure, whether they recognize the places and characters or not.

There are certainly going to be many more easter eggs for diehard fans of the franchise, but none of them are likely to spoil the fun for newer players. You can check out our other Baldur’s Gate 3 guides, like Best Barbarian Build in Baldur’s Gate 3 and Who are all the Companions in Baldur’s Gate 3.


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