Baldur’s Gate 3 Is Altering Its Ending, Starting With Karlach

In the weeks since Baldur’s Gate 3 launched, some fans of Karlach, your party’s feisty, hopeful, and powerful Tiefling Barbarian, have been unhappy with the conclusion to her storyline. There are even extensive threads about it on developer Larian Studios’ own forums, with some decrying the particulars of Karlach’s potential, player-dictated fates. It seems the studio has heard all the feedback, and is planning to address it with a new “optional” ending for Tiefling warrior.

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Karlach is getting a new ending in Baldur’s Gate 3

A lengthy blog post on Baldur’s Gate 3’s Steam page addresses numerous planned updates, and specifically talks about Karlach’s ending and the team’s plans to, not necessarily change it, but to at least add something that might bolster it. While there aren’t any real details yet, the post describes the new ending as being “fiery, poignant, and [giving] her the ending she deserves.”

Karlach is one of the only characters in Baldur’s Gate 3 who, depending on your choices, doesn’t really get a happy ending. She has an infernal engine in her chest that is slowly killing her, and the only options she has in the endgame are to either return to the Avernus, one of the Nine Hells, where she won’t burn up, turn into a Mind Flayer in order to shed the engine entirely, or die.

Karlach’s mortality and her reckoning with it are a huge part of her arc. Everyone else in the party is dealing with the threat of becoming a Mind Flayer, but they have hope that once they find a way to purge themselves, they can go back to their old lives. Karlach doesn’t have that hope, and that’s been a point of contention for fans of hers. What remains to be seen is if Larian plans to add a new option to save her, or if it will be expanding upon the established story in ways that might, at the very least, be more satisfying. Whatever it is, it will be part of the game’s next big patch.

As a Karlach fan, I’m conflicted. I like the notion that she might get an enhanced epilogue (especially for players who romanced her, as the game pretty abruptly ends if you pursue that relationship and choose to go to Avernus together), but I do think her grieving her own life and coming to terms with her death in her final moments was what made her story arc so compelling to me. I would be disappointed to see the end of her journey be changed entirely to just make it “happier.” Not everything needs to have a resounding hurrah at the end. Plus, if she goes back to Avernus, she can perhaps find another way to survive one day. For me, the hope that she might find a new solution feels good enough for me, but it doesn’t sound like everyone shares that sentiment.

Larian will be updating Baldur’s Gate 3‘s epilogue

It sounds like Larian is looking to expand upon Baldur’s Gate 3’s ending beyond Karlach, with the Steam post saying other new content will be coming to the epilogue. The ending that exists in the game now is pretty brief, some might even say abrupt depending on choices you’ve made, but the studio said it trimmed things down before launch because it feared the cinematics were becoming “too long” and “detract[ed] from the epicness.” But after some pushback, it looks like Larian will be adding new scenes to the ending, and that might extend to currently unused scenes dataminers have found in Baldur’s Gate 3’s files.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is available now on PC, and the PlayStation 5 version is coming out next week on September 6. An Xbox Series X/S version is also in development and planned to launch this year, but the Series S won’t be able to play the game’s split-screen co-op.

Baldur’s Gate 3’s New Karlach Ending Is Definitely Better

Larian Studios recently announced it would be altering some aspects of Baldur’s Gate 3’s ending in order to flesh out parts that some fans (rightfully) argued felt a bit undercooked compared to everything that preceded them. The first of these updates came out today, August 31, as part of the game’s second big patch, and it centers on Karlach, the Tiefling Barbarian party member whose ending felt especially abrupt in its initial iteration. Having seen the revisions, I’m pretty happy with what Larian’s added.

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Karlach’s storyline revolves around her mortality, as the infernal engine in her chest is slowly but surely burning her alive. Depending on your choices and whether or not you’ve completed certain questlines, Karlach can either turn into a Mind Flayer and shed the engine entirely, return to Avernus (one of Dungeons & Dragons’ layers of Hell), or accept her fate and die after the final battle. Initially, the Avernus path seems to be the closest thing to a happy ending, but Karlach very much does not want to go back to a place where she’ll likely be hunted.

The silver lining has been that if the two of you are in a romantic relationship, you can accompany her to Avernus in hopes that she can buy herself some time to find another way to save her life. However, in the original ending, you would make this decision, the game would cut to black, and then the credits started rolling. It was abrupt, not at all satisfying, and felt odd considering most other characters got some kind of epilogue.

Karlach’s new scene if you go down this path isn’t quite as fleshed out as some other party members’ epilogues, with zero back-and-forth between her and your protagonist. Instead, Karlach does all the talking. But this new sequence does, at the very least, give you a slight glimpse into what she and your character will be doing in the immediate future: kicking ass in Avernus alongside Wyll, who can choose to fight for Avernus in his own personal quest.

You can check out the full scene here:

Larian Studios / Dr Hope Math

This is definitely an improvement from the non-ending she got in the base game, but it will likely not satisfy anyone looking for a way to definitively save Karlach from her fate. Sure, there’s hope that your team might find some solution for her condition as long as she’s alive, but I think some fans wanted a more clearly happy ending for her.

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I get it. RPGs like Baldur’s Gate 3 inherently make us care for characters because we feel like we can touch their lives (and vice-versa) with our choices and relationships. But I do think Karlach’s worrying potential fate is paramount to what makes her so effective as a party member. The scene in which she breaks down after the death of antagonist Gortash, who pretty much put her in her predicament, is one of my favorite moments in the game because it plays into themes of grief and fatalism that permeate through the story. It would feel cheap to simply erase that just for a more feel-good ending. I like the ambiguous hope of the current Avernus ending better than a more overtly happy one. It ends with her resolve hardened and more paths before her, and I think that’s a powerful note to end on.

Karlach’s new ending is the first of Larian’s planned ending updates, so it will be interesting to see what Baldur’s Gate 3’s wrap-up looks like after a few more patches. I’m pretty satisfied with the conclusion I got as a Gale romancer, but broadly, the ending feels a little bit rushed, and could benefit from some filling out in the months to come.

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