In the days before video games, the only way that players could slay monsters and steal their gear was in the form of tabletop RPGs, such as Dungeons & Dragons. It wasn't until the late '90s and early '00s that computers could emulate the tabletop experience, with the Baldur's Gate series bringing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons to a massive audience, and a few years later, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines would introduce many people to the dark, horrifying, and sexy world of the Kindred.
The last mainline entry in the Baldur's Gate series was released in 2001 in the form of the Throne of Bhaal expansion, while Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines was released on the same day as Half-Life 2 in 2004, which meant that no one bought the game at the time and it would eventually find an audience as a cult classic.
The Baldur's Gate series and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines are fondly remembered, but there never seemed to be much of a chance of either series being revived. Everything changed in 2019 when both Baldur's Gate III and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 were announced.
So, what has changed in the past few years in order to prompt developers to revive these two video game series? The most likely answer has to do with changing attitudes towards tabletop RPGs and their growing popularity, thanks to streaming video services like Twitch and YouTube.
In the days before the Internet, it could be tricky to get involved in the tabletop RPG hobby. It wasn't always easy to find groups of players and there was no guarantee that the person running the game knew what they were doing. Nowadays, it's easy to pull up hundreds of hours of videos of people playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and Vampire: The Masquerade and to see how they work. The enjoyment of seeing these games played (and played well) is infectious and shows like Critical Role and L.A. By Night have introduced people from all over the world to tabletop gaming.
The rise of the tabletop RPG and the return of both Baldur's Gate and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is no coincidence. The market for these kinds of games has never been bigger and there are many fans from the old days who have waited almost two decades for their return. Games like Dungeons & Dragons have a massive audience thanks to the Internet and the return of some of the best video games based on tabletop RPGs is a reaction to this newfound popularity.
Baldur's Gate III is currently in development for Google Stadia and PC, and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2020.