When you think about fantasy worlds that have stood the test of time, there are a couple of standouts. You have some major staples like Middle Earth and Discworld. Those are great, for sure, but we can’t forget one of our favorites – the Forgotten Realms.
The Forgotten Realms of Dungeons & Dragons fame has existed in one form or another since the late 1960s. That is when Ed Greenwood created the world as a place to house his many childhood stories.
Now, 50+ years later and players have a vast world to lose themselves in through various forms of media. There are books and D&D campaigns, but obviously, one of our favorite ways to enjoy the Forgotten Realms is through video games.
The Forgotten Realms and its many stories have been featured in tons of video games, with something for nearly everyone. We wanted to take a little while to look back at the history of the Realms, plus highlight some of our favorite video games that take place there.
Let’s dive in!
Lore and books featuring the Forgotten Realms
As we mentioned above, Ed Greenwood first thought up the Forgotten Realms around 1967. Eventually, he turned the world into a series of magazine articles. It was turned into a Dungeons & Dragons campaign in 1987.
The Forgotten Realms is huge, and Greenwood worked tirelessly to build and expand the lore of it. Once, when TSR, the publishers of Dungeons & Dragons, was interviewing him about his created world, Greenwood was asked, “Do you just make this stuff up as you go, or do you really have a huge campaign world?”
Greenwood answered “Yes” to both of the questions. Shortly after, in 1986, TSR bought the rights to the Forgotten Realms.
Then, in 1988, R.A. Salvatore got his hands on the world and wrote his first Forgotten Realms story, The Crystal Shard. In this book, he created a band of iconic characters, including Drizzt Do-Urden, a dark elf that has now been featured in over seventeen Forgotten Realms books.
Salvatore and many other writers have gone on to create many books set in the Forgotten Realms. So, if you are a fantasy lover and want an epic setting that spans thousands and thousands of pages, Greenwood’s world is for you.
The Beholder series and other CRPG games
The early 90s saw the creation of the first Forgotten Realms video game in the form of the Beholder series. The Beholder CRPGs (along with multiple other CRPG games set in the same universe) let you see the world of the Forgotten Realms in first-person.
The first game of the series is Eye of the Beholder. Adventure into the sewers of Waterdeep as you uncover the mysteries and enemies plaguing the citizens of the city. The follow-up, The Legend of Darkmoon, pulls you from the sewers and plops you in the lands north and west of Waterdeep to continue your adventure.
Finally, in the third game, Assault on Myth Drannor, you are celebrating some much-deserved downtime before being thrust into a new adventure that has you going toe-to-toe with a Lich.
The isometric era of The Forgotten Realms
After the time of the CRPGs, the Forgotten Realms moved to one of its most iconic genres – the isometric era. Let’s fast forward to 1998 and talk about Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Neverwinter Nights.
These games replaced the first-person CRPG style with isometric cameras that let players explore a huge, detailed world. Baldur’s Gate helped lead the charge. In it, players could customize their hero, recruit other adventurers, and explore the infamous Sword Coast.
Then, in Icewind Dale, choose from 30 different kits to create the perfect adventuring party. That perfect adventuring party better be prepared, as players will be exploring the Spine of the World mountains as they confront a new evil.
Finally, Neverwinter Nights takes you to dangerous cities and dungeons with over 40 hours of gameplay for players to work through.
Finally, if action games are more your style, you are in luck. The Forgotten Realms can be explored through more fluid action games in the form of Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone and Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance.
Both of these games provide third-person perspectives and continue to build out the story and world. They also let you hack-and-slash a ton of freaking enemies. So it’s really a win-win-win situation for fans of hacking, slashing, and lore.
Start exploring the Forgotten Realms today
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that it is time to get lost in the Forgotten Realms if you’ve never done so before. For those that have in the past, now is time to get lost again. Especially with the release of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2.
Players have plenty of choices depending on their style of gaming. There are the Forgotten Realms CRPGs (Collection 1, Collection 2, and Collection 3). These series are perfect for both old-school gamers and those looking to experience what gaming was like nearly three decades ago.
For isometric fans, you can’t go wrong with the Baldur’s Gate series. That includes the original Enhanced Edition and the sequels Enhanced Edition. There’s also the relatively new Baldur’s Gate 3, which released in 2020.
Isometric gamers also have Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition, Neverwinter Nights 2 Complete, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II to explore. So, as you can see, there’s no shortage of isometric RPGs in the lineup for gamers.
Finally, action game fans can also get in on the action through Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone.
Thankfully, all of these games are available directly from GOG. And remember, when you purchase games from us, they are yours to keep forever.