Published on September 25th, 2020 | by Adrian Gunning
Larian reveals the depths of Baldur’s Gate 3’s romance & companionship mechanics in Early Access
As Baldur’s Gate 3 approaches its Early Access launch date of October 6th, Larian reveals in a new video how party dynamics work in their upcoming RPG. Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game with a world that reacts to your choices. The decisions you make in dialogue, and also in combat, or when exploring the world, have consequences in both the long and short term, shaping your unique story.
The same is true for your party. Each of your companions have their own personalities, goals, and motivations. Bound by the shared problem of an Illithid tadpole buried in their head, they will join your party but you’ll all have to put your differences aside if you want to survive. The exact relationship you have with your companions, already marred by differences, will be shaped by who you are, what you do, who you side with, and what you say in conversation with them.
Larian have created reactive systems all throughout the journey of a relationship; from the time of meeting a companion, to the potential romance with them, there are hundreds of permutations that define where a relationship heads, if anywhere at all. These systems have been designed to create the most intimate, authentic, reactive relationships ever seen in a Larian RPG.
In Baldur’s Gate 3, a 5e D&D game, creating a custom character will immerse you in the story just as much as playing as one of the Origin Characters. For example, playing as a Drow Wizard will give you different dialogue options than playing as a Githyanki Warlock. These differences will also be present in your relationship dialogues. As you play the game, and you begin to make choices in combat, exploration, and conversation, you’ll be presented with situations and scenarios that are unique to your playthrough. Not too long into Early Access, you will be having an adventure so specific to your character, that no other player is going to see the exact same content.
The sum of a character is determined by many factors, and continues to be shaped by your actions and reactions to the world, and the party you journey with. Frictions may test the party’s resolve, and romances might test the party dynamic. Not only will characters have opinions about you, but also about each other, and other factions in the game. Will you pursue love with one companion to the detriment of another? Or will you side with a faction a companion detests, putting feelings to the side to achieve your strategic goals? As with life, many decisions will have to be made, not all of them easy, and not every outcome obvious.
After a long day’s journey, you will end the day at your camp, Though you can interact with your companions at any time, it’s at the camp where a lot of the most intimate thoughts and feelings come into play. It’s where the party lays down their weapons, and talk at their most vulnerable, all through cinematic dialogues. Through a mix of systems design, narrative writing, and cinematics, Larian is aiming to create three-dimensional relationships that feel as authentic as possible.
“At the end of the day this remains a D&D game and the most important character in a game of D&D is you.”, explains Sarah Baylus, lead writer at Larian Studios.
Each companion has been created to feel authentic, with clear motivations, differences, and views on the world around them. For example, Lae’zel, a Githyanki warrior who trained her entire life to fight Mind Flayers, will approach intimacy very differently than Asterion, a vampire spawn who lured and seduced victims for his master.
Baylus explains “It really comes down to each individual character, there is no overarching design about how a character should react. It’s really organic and about what makes sense for them.”
“We are trying to make these relationships feel real and feel like the relationships you have in the real world. You will meet some people who you have nothing in common with, some will be useful to work together but that is going to be the extent of it. But there could be situations where you get on really well, you share similar goals and you love travelling together.”
“We want these relationships to feel like they would in the real world, like you are falling in love with someone or you are falling in like with someone, or you just feel attracted to someone. That should all feel real and authentic.
We made it this far without saying sex, but we know you want to know. So yes, you can have sex in the game. Of course.
Today the team also announced that the release date of Baldur’s Gate 3’s Early Access moved to October 6th. More information on the delay can be found here: https://twitter.com/larianstudios
Baldur’s Gate 3 releases into Early Access on October 6th, and has officially been rated M by the ESRB for Windows PC and Stadia: https://www.esrb.org/ratings/36876/Baldurs+Gate+3/
For more information, turn to the Community Update #7 – Romance & Companionship, which also features a lengthy community Q&A: https://store.steampowered.com/newshub/app/1086940/view/2781493125012891159