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Baldur’s Gate 3 players want to smooch Shadowheart, avoid bear sex

Larian Studios published some telling Baldur’s Gate 3 stats

Shadowheart looks skeptical while standing in a cave in Baldur’s Gate 3. Image: Larian Studios via Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

More than 1.3 million people have played and completed Baldur’s Gate 3, according to developer Larian Studios. The majority of those players — 1.24 million, actually — got transformed into a sentient wheel of cheese at some point during their playthrough. That’s a lot of bouncing wheels of cheese! Baldur’s Gate 3 was released on Windows PC and Mac on Aug. 3, and Larian’s latest statistics tell the story of how many people played the wildly popular role-playing game set in Dungeons & Dragon’s fantasy world.

It’s probably no surprise that 94% of players created a custom character, and those players spent a “combined 8,196 years” perfecting their avatar. You can, however, choose to play Baldur’s Gate 3 as one of several characters, the most popular choice of which was Gale, followed by Astarion. Karlach and Shadowheart are nearly tied for third, followed by Wyll and Lae’zel. What’s more, both Karlach and Shadowheart — for people not playing as them — are among the top romantic interests. But Shadowheart is the clear leader there as the boo of 51.3% of players that reached the “final act of her romance arc.” Karlach and Lae’zel follow.

Speaking of romance, you may have heard of Baldur’s Gate 3’s bear sex. Halsin the druid is one of the game’s romanceable characters; part of his shtick is that he can transform into a bear. And yes, you can have sex with Halsin while he’s in his bear form. As it turns out, the majority of Halsin lovers choose not to “bear all,” as Larian put it, and seduce him in his human state.

In total, Baldur’s Gate 3 has been played for almost 51,662 years straight, or 452,556,984 hours. That’s a lot! On Nov. 30, Larian updated Baldur’s Gate 3 with a patch that added more ways to play: Custom Mode and Honour Mode. Custom mode lets players choose settings for how they’d like to play, and Honour Mode allows only a single save file — meaning there’s no save scumming. And in Honour Mode, you’ve got a single life. Basically, it’s the hardest way to play Baldur’s Gate 3, and players are rewarded with a golden d20. Since Larian added the mode in late November, only 464 parties have completed the game using that mode, while around 158,000 have started Honour Mode runs. More than 34,000 players have died during their attempts.

Stats like these are a fun way to visualize how people are playing a game like Baldur’s Gate 3, where choice is so important. The game’s got such a huge community, one that’s seemingly united by their time spent as a cheese wheel.

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