Since last March, when Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition was unveiled, the devs have been dropping several bits of information on the enhancements that can be expected. Be it via the official BG:EE website, their personal Twitter accounts, the official Beamdog forum, or these very boards, there have been more announcements than one would think.
The purpose of this thread is to gather and list all features, enhancements and new contents that have already been officially confirmed for BG:EE. Not only will this hopefully shed some light on the "enhancement" tag, especially in light of my recent post on the things that cannot be done, but it will also assist in directing feature requests toward things that haven't been already done.
I'll try to keep this post up-to-date, but by all means feel free to mention anything that may have been left out.
PLATFORM and DISTRIBUTION
BG:EE will run on Windows-based PCs, Apple Mac PCs, all generations of Apple iPad, and certain Android tablets, such as the Nexus 7. System requirements will be slightly higher, mainly on the OS for OpenGL support, but any video card released from 2004 on should be able to run the game smoothly. Full support for, and good performance on, first generation iPad are confirmed.
BG:EE will be available from Beamdog for Windows-based PCs, Apple's App Store for MacOS and iOS, and Google Play for Android tablets. The game will launch at $19.99 for Windows and MacOS, and $9.99 for iOS and Android. The pricing differences between platforms come down to the PC/Mac getting all the DLC content for free and iOS/Android having it as ingame purchases. Launch date is set to 28th November 2012 for the PC version. The MacOS, iOS and Android versions will tentatively launch day-and-date with the PC version, but that largely depends on the different approval requirements of each platform.
BG:EE will not require the Beamdog client to run. Whereas BG:EE may be downloaded through Beamdog's client, thus requiring no further action for it to be playable (the way the Beamdog client works makes it so that once a game has been downloaded, it is ready to go with no need to go through an installation process), it will also be possible to just download the installer from Beamdog's website and run it with no need to run their client as well. The DRM will be a minimal system that does a quick check to start the download; after that, BG:EE can be played completely offline if desired. Upon launching the game, the updater checks for updates: If there is none, it will launch the game directly and shut down; if there is an update, a GUI will pop up asking if you want to update now or just play the version you have.
BG:EE will be supported post-ship through several DLCs. There are plans for both free and paid-for DLCs, though free DLCs will be the majority. The new NPC Rasaad, and the new adventure The Black Pits, will be free for all platforms.
BG:EE will be multilingual form the get-go. BG:EE will ship with all available languages in a single build, and it will be possible to select the language of the text and the language of the voice independently.
Based on the Throne of Bhaal engine. BG:EE is based on the latest Throne of Bhaal code, which means it includes all features from Baldur's Gate: Shadows of Amn and Throne of Bhaal, as well as all bug fixes from those titles and their relative patches.
Rebuilt Threading Model. The threading model has been cleaned up and fixed, thus eliminating the no-ops that characterized the original and improving performance. Several "Windows-95isms" were removed to make the engine run smoother and increase new-OSs-friendlyness.
Rebuilt Renderer. The renderer was also cleaned up, and ported entirely to OpenGL for better performance. The graphics are now 100% hardware accelerated.
Fixed-up multiplayer. Baldur's Gate's buggy multiplayer support has been fixed up and improved, eliminating bugs and introducing cross-platform compatibility. It will be possible to play a multiplayer BG:EE game connecting a Windows based PC, an Apple Mac PC, an iPad and an Android tablet simultaneously.
ToBEx engine fixes. The Overhaul team is working with Ascension64, author of the mods Throne of Bhaal Extender (ToBEx) and Baldur's Gate Trilogy (BGT), to improve the engine and bring over all the major fixes from those packages.
Extensive bug fixing. BG:EE will feature a huge amount of bug fixes as suggested by the community, found by devs and beta testers, and found by modders throughout the years. Several bugs that currently require Baldurdash, Dudlyville, Tutufix, BG Fixpack or BG2 Fixpack - as well as a plethora of hardcoded bugs that require access to the source code to be fixed - will not exist in BG:EE. See here and here for a comprehensive list of bugs that have been squashed.
Native support for high resolutions. BG:EE natively supports high resolutions in 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10 format up to 2880x1800. All original art assets, including sprites and background art, will be upscaled in real time to adapt to the chosen screen resolution without incurring visual artifacts (e.g. shrinking, stretching, etc.). Cutmull-Rom Bicubic filtering will be used to ensure that all supported resolutions display sharp graphics.
Dynamic zoom in/out feature. It will be possible to zoom in and out of the battlefield dynamically during gameplay by scrolling the mouse wheel up and down, within generous limits. Since the art in the game is rendered from the source, it is possible to get a 1:1 pixel ratio when zooming out. Although new art and old art are treated in the same way on the engine level, the new stuff might have a better color range and be a little clearer.
New, high-resolution cinematics. The original, low resolution 3D cinematics will be replaced with new, never before seen high resolution 2D animations drawn by BG:EE's Art Director Nat Jones.
New, high-resolution GUI. The Graphic User Interface (GUI) has been completely unhardcoded, thus making it possible to overcome its inherent limitations in terms of resolution. Beamdog / Overhaul Games are currently working on a brand new, high resolution GUI drawn by BG:EE's Art Director Nat Jones and fellow artist Madoline Bee, which will be customizable / moddable to a generous extent (some limits still apply due to the original BG code's resilience to Cameron Tofer's attacks; hopefully, Cameron will manage to find a silver-coated machete with which to treat the old code post-ship, further expanding the GUI's customizability).
One Pixel Production (1PP). Erephine has agreed to include the 1PP work into BG:EE. The devs are currently trying to make it play nice with the BG:EE setup. Share your opinion on which components would suit BG:EE better here!
Flipbook animation transparency and Alpha blending. As per this thread, BG:EE will feature flipbook animation transparency and alpha blending for BAM files. However, this is only going to happen post-ship as it requires the creation of a new subsystem and tools (and probably a new BAM format) to enable the devs to work with the images and keep them 32 bit through the asset pipeline. Currently, spells are upconverted to 32 bit at load time to feature one-layer alpha blending (as a result of the mod 1PP having been integrated).
Full 24-bit tiled rendering for new area art. While the original game rendered 64x64 pixel tiles with a maximum of 256 colors (8 bit), new area art has no limitation in terms of colors per tile. Hence, each tile will display the full 24-bit spectrum of 16,8 million colors. However, due to the vast array of hardware on the PC and the risk of breaking older cards which may not support the feature, this won't be brought to the PC for launch; instead, it will likely come post-ship as the developers want to be sure people can continue to enjoy BG:EE on the PC without having to upgrade to the latest hardware.
OpenAL-based audio engine. The audio engine has been completely ported to OpenAL, thus ditching the now obsolete DirectSound API, and bringing back environmental audio support for newer OSs.
OGG Vorbis support with backward compatibility. As announced by resident audio guy/guru @Nathanhere, BG:EE natively supports music, voice-overs and SFX in OGG Vorbis format at any sampling rate (up to 96 Khz and beyond). With a simple file renaming trick, backward compatibility with .WAVC and .ACM content is guaranteed (see the aforementioned thread for details).
High-quality music. BG:EE will feature the original Baldur's Gate soundtrack by Michael Hoeing in its full CD-quality glory: 16 bit, 44.1 Khz OGG Vorbis files encoded directly from the OST CD, courtesy of @Nathan in collaboration with @Erephine. A separate download with Q10 OGG Vorbis files (the best quality attainable with the format) is being considered for the most hardened audiophiles among us (such as me ). New music for the new content will of course match this quality.
New music by Sam Hulick. Sam Hulick, the composer who scored the soundtrack to Mass Effect 3, will write new music to go with the new contents in BG:EE. He is an admittedly huge fan of Michael Hoeing's work, and is trying his best to remain faithful to its spirit and atmosphere.
New, high-resolution world map. A brand new world map will be drawn for BG:EE to take new areas into account and fit them in with old favorites. The new map will match the new GUI's resolution.
New, three-part PDF manual. BG:EE will come with a brand new manual in PDF format, comprising three different books: — Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate — Manual the First, a guide to the lore of the Sword Coast, its locales, and the most notable people and creatures you may encounter on your way through it; Volo's Manual for All Things Magical — Manual the Second, a guide to the AD&D rules that govern the game, as well as to the spells and magic items you may find while adventuring; Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition — A User's Guide, by Volo, a comprehensive in-depth guide to the Graphic User Interface and gameplay of BG:EE. Just like the original Baldur's Gate's manual, these books, too, feature quotes from Volothamp Geddarm and Elminster scattered throughout their pages.
One new playable kit. BG:EE will feature one new playable Paladin kit never before been seen in an IE game: the Blackguard.
Three new joinable NPCs. BG:EE will feature three new joinable NPCs: Rasaad, a human male Monk voiced by Mark Meer; Neera, a half-elven female Wild Mage voiced by Nicola Elbro; Dorn, a half-orc male Blackguard voiced by Gord Marriott.
Their dialogues, romances and interjetions will be written by fantasy novelist Dave Gross, alongside Phillip Daigle. All three characters will be romanceable.
One new adventure. BG:EE will feature one new adventure with dedicated, newly developed area art and "nasty AI". The Black Pits (codename: Adventure X) is a standalone arena mini-campaign consisting of 15 fights and taking place in the Underdark. New and old NPCs will react to the new content with interjections.
Several new items. The devs are adding a number of new items to BG:EE to even the item spread out a bit for the classes and the new kits.