Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition Includes "The Black Pits" (Updated)

Overhaul Games is just lifting the veil following the conclusion of their countdown for Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, and while there's no doubt going to be more information to be revealed about the title shortly, I felt it was important to give "The Black Pits" their own newsbit. In short, this six-hour standalone adventure will have us headed into the Underdark with a fully party of six customized characters in order to be contenders in the mad drow Baeloth's grim arena:
"Rouse yourselves, you lice-laden layabouts. Stand and salute your new master, Baeloth the Entertainer!"

Across the realms, individuals of great power and prestige receive a scroll via magical means. Unfurling it, they discover that they have been selected as one of the very few to enjoy the finest forms of entertainment in all creation...

Come one, come all! Baeloth the Entertainer cordially invites you to the greatest spectacle the realms have to offer - mortal pitted against mortal in a desperate bid to survive! Thrilling combat, scintillating magic, and the grim spectre of death lurk above this, the greatest of all shows! All this and more can be enjoyed within... THE BLACK PITS!

Deep within the Underdark where few dare to tread, the mad drow Baeloth has used his extensive mastery of magic to force a duergar colony into creating an entertainment complex of his own design. He has invited guests from across the realms, from Maztica to Menzoberranzan, and they will readily attend - Baeloth is known to be an excellent showman.

Sound interesting? Here's the additional bullet point summary:
The Black Pits is one of the enhancements that make up Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition that allows you to create a full party and battle through fifteen hellish battles in a desperate bid to escape. Difficult challenges, unique battles, and a bizarre cast of characters await you within the Underdark!

'¢ A stand-alone adventure set deep within the Underdark
'¢ Fifteen levels of arena-style combat challenges
'¢ Full control and customization of up to six party members
'¢ Over 6 hours of additional gameplay

The Black Pits are your new home... enjoy your stay while you can!

And let's not forget about the key artwork of Baeloth himself (Update: And the first twelve screenshots!) over in our image gallery.

Update: Thanks to a bevy of new information available on the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition official site, we're also pleased to report a number of additional pieces of information!

First off are three new characters added to the main game - Rasaad yn Bashir, a Monk, Dorn Il-Khan, a Blackguard, and Neera, a Wild Mage:
Rasaad is a Calishite Monk demonstrating his monastic arts to the people of Nashkel. His quest ultimately leads into the highest reaches of the Cloud Peaks, where he must face an unexpected nemesis. Add him to your Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition experience to unleash the Monk's extraordinary power. Rasaad adds the following Enhancements to Baldur's Gate:

  • The Monk Rasaad yn Bashir, a new NPC to join your party
  • A new playable adventure
  • New area: the Cloud Peaks Rasaad's adventure through the never seen before Cloud Peaks adds up to four hours of additional gameplay.
Neera is a half-elf wild mage slowly coming to terms with her enormous magical potential. Add her to your Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition experience and ignite your wild side. Neera adds the following Enhancements to Baldur's Gate:

  • The Wild Mage Neera, a new NPC to join your party
  • An engaging romantic adventure
  • Up to four hours of additional gameplay
  • New area: a secluded hideaway northeast of Durlag's Tower This half-elf wild mage finds both delight and terror in her capricious magic while fleeing both her past mistakes and the merciless Red Wizards of Thay.
Dorn is a half-orc Blackguard whose otherworldly patron grants him terrible powers in the form of his black sword and unholy spells. Add him to your Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition and inflict evil to the last corpse. Dorn adds the following Enhancments to Baldur's Gate:

  • The Blackguard Dorn II-Khan, a new NPC to join your party
  • Up to four hours of additional gameplay
  • The Blackguard kit to create your own champion of evil

Betrayed by his former companions, the half-orc Dorn Il-Khan lusts for revenge and glory in equal measure.
Next up are a number of enahncements: an improved interface with native widescreen support, improved multiplayer complete with matchmaking functionality and cross-platform play, improvements to the game engine and "over 400" bug fixes, all of the rule changes, new classes, races and other improvements from Baldur's Gate II, new hand-painted cinematics replacing the old pre-rendered ones, and the promise of added DLC support and other updates.

Last, and perhaps most importantly, the release date and pricing: Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition is scheduled for a September 18th on the PC. Currently it can be pre-ordered from Beamdog for $17.99, a small discount on the final $19.99 USD price. The iPad, Android and OSX versions are still to be announced.

In the meantime, there are plenty of screenshots and other nuggets of information available on the game's updated official site.