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Here’s how Baldur’s Gate 3 deals with relationships and sex

The Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game enters early access on Oct. 6

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

On Wednesday, Larian Studios released one of its final community updates for Baldur’s Gate 3 ahead of the role-playing game’s early access release. In the YouTube video, the team discusses how relationships and romance function as game mechanics. They also covered the topic of in-game sex.

Kicking off the presentation was Sarah Baylus, lead writer on Baldur’s Gate 3 (and also Divinity: Original Sin and its sequel). While the game will play very much like a more traditional isometric role-playing game, character interactions will be far more cinematic. Fans got to see several such interactions during the course of the video, each with multiple camera angles, elaborate animations, full voiceover, and lip sync. That same attention is being paid to the game’s romantic sequences as well.

On the subject of relationships, Baylus said that players should expect opportunities to present themselves in between encounters as the party sits at camp taking a long rest.

“In these kind of quiet moments are where the conflict comes to the top,” Baylus said. “You have a moment of silence and safety, and it’s going to bubble up there. Not only conflict, as well. You might have a relationship developing with someone that you’re traveling with.”

Baylus said, however, that the kinds of relationships that the player has the opportunity to explore depends on much more than just dialogue trees. Relationships are “not solely defined by the specific things you say to them in a one-on-one conversation,” but rather all of the decisions the player makes, including who they you choose to fight, to spare, and what kinds of decisions they make.

In an accompanying post on Steam, the team also said that Baldur’s Gate 3 multiplayer will also include romantic options — including between player characters. More specifically, Larian says, “in multiplayer — once Origin Avatars have joined Early Access (not day 1) — the systems will technically allow you to have intimate moments with your friends. Talk about party dynamics!”

Samples of storyboards from a YouTube video for Baldur’s Gate 3.
This final community update included a selection of story boards, which the team says is evidence that they’re taking in-game romance seriously.
Image: Larian Studios

Larian added that players will be able to explore relationships with other members of their party regardless of their in-game race or gender.

“The point is,” Larian wrote on Steam, “no matter which race or gender you are, or which class you are, the levels of intimacy party members share will be defined by extremely in-depth, life-like evaluation of everything you’ve been up to together. We’ve tried to create an authentic, reactive relationship system where characters act and react like people. For better, and for worse.”

They also showed off some fairly graphic story boards, and indicating that they had put effort into animating all the different combinations of size and body type available to them. From the looks of things, they’re going to great lengths to make sure that their art and animations hold up.

Following several delays, the early access release of Baldur’s Gate 3 is scheduled for Oct. 6 for Windows PC.

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