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Baldur’s Gate 3 feels tailor-made for its boisterous fandom

Why Baldur’s Gate 3 is still dominating fandom spaces

Jaheira, an aging woman who works as a druid with the Harpers, holds up a hand glowing with energy. She looks strict and slightly suspicious. Image: Larian Studios
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a finite game; after the player works their way through the massive campaign, there’s no battle pass, no ongoing challenges, and no bonus content. It’s a one-and-done game, and while the campaign is an enormous one with plenty of meat on the bone, you might expect fans to move on after they see the credits. Instead, people are returning for multiple playthroughs, creating fan art and animatics, and crafting in-depth character theories. Baldur’s Gate 3 has done an incredible job at building a fandom, and it’s leading to the game’s long-term success.

Single-player games often stay relevant due to one of two factors: either a great campaign that maintains a high level of quality throughout, or a high amount of replayability. Baldur’s Gate 3 excels on both metrics: The campaign is solid, and there are so many branching paths that it’s impossible to see everything. Then, there’s a major draw that many other games lack: a cast full of compelling companions with indulgent, sometimes ridiculous romances.

While Tav the adventurer is the star of the show in theory, Baldur’s Gate 3’s companions and characters have played a big part in drawing fans in. Many players may not have immediately been hooked by other pitches of the game, like “this is a CRPG from a studio proven in the genre” or “this is an epic tale of revenge against deadly mind flayers,” which are both true. But a gameplay clip of hanging out with an incredibly sassy Astarion, or hearing tales of Gale’s initial too-horny behavior? Getting to date a tiefling with big ol’ biceps and a flaming heart of gold? Now, that’s an elevator pitch.

And Tav doesn’t have to exist — players don’t even have to create their own character. Players can take the role of an Origin character, getting to play as Shadowheart, Lae’zel, other party members, and the mysterious Dark Urge. These playthroughs are a great way to experience the game, but they’re proving to be a popular way for superfans to experience Baldur’s Gate 3. Playing as a pre-existing character provides much more context on their past and internal conflicts, which also provides great moments for screenshotting and sharing on Tumblr.

Origin characters can even romance each other, which is a goldmine for shippers. For instance, you may be a Gale and Astarion fan who regularly browses the #bloodweave tag on social media to get all the best fan content. You can play either of these characters and romance the other, which makes perfect fodder to enjoy the dynamic in action. In the fandom, the Origin characters have as much agency and importance as Tav, and players write fanfic or draw comics exploring what-if scenarios.

It helps that the Baldur’s Gate 3 cast members are, in many ways, fun to dunk on. Each character is flawed in certain ways that are easy to joke about, and the voice actors are happy to lean in and play their roles in the service of a good joke. This has led to fantastic Baldur’s Gate 3 memes and conversations, which helps keep the hype going.

Baldur’s Gate 3 exceeded all expectations, and even months after release, it continues to dominate my social media feeds. This is a kind of fan frenzy that’s rare to see, but it occasionally manifests around games like the Dragon Age franchise or Fallout: New Vegas. These big, character-heavy RPGs can foster fandoms that keep the game relevant far past its campaign length, and Baldur’s Gate 3 has joined their ranks.

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