September 23, 2020

Community Update #7 - Romance & Companionship

It's a helluva year to talk about romance, but a great one to talk about companionship. We're all going through our own journeys, and each one is different to the next. We've all got our differences, but it's our differences that make us interesting, and unique. And though sometimes differences cause friction, they also lead to friendship, and often love. Foundationally, companionship is the lifeboat that shields us from the elements.

D&D has always been about bringing people together. The table at which you sit is the canvas for adventure, and as the DM carves a tapestry of adventure in wood and writing, your inter-connected imaginations take you to a faraway land, in your kitchen, or your game room, or around the converted pool table.

Who you journey with is as important as the journey itself. It shapes you, as you shape each other. Malleable, ever-expanding soft-shell adventure sponges brimming with potential, often mired by the enormity of what surrounds you. But that's what friends are for! To tug us out of the bog, and free us from the dizziness of quick-sand.

Baldur's Gate 3 aims to take all that binds us together, and offer authentic, reactive relationships from the moment you meet, to whatever eventuality. The road least travelled is best travelled with friends.

"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, in today's new video.

Four "you's" is a party of "you's", and a party of "you's" is interesting because not all of them are you. In fact, the only one who's you is you. (Hello, you). You are all the most important people in your adventure, whether playing alone or with friends. The ways in which you shape each other, as you shape the story, are tangible and varied. Let's dig in.

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.

We've tried to create reactive systems all throughout the journey of a relationship; from the time of meeting a companion, to the potential romance with them. (Romance is a polite word we're using for sex. But we're not quite there yet, more on that in a moment.)

Differences breed interesting party dynamics

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 as you.

Just as in real life, the sum of 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.

Campfires are where people are at their most vulnerable

Catch Gale at the campfire and you might find a lot of his bravado has been disarmed. Disarmed bravado is an opportunity for Astarion, a vampire. All of this sitting around may be a waste of time for Lae'zel. For you, it's an opportunity to talk and interact with your party and followers on a more intimate level. But the conversation you have in the camp will also be a reaction to the day's events, and what you've been up to in the world.

Through a mix of systems design, narrative writing, and cinematics, Larian is aiming to create three-dimensional relationships that feel as authentic as possible.

How intimate a character will be with you relies heavily on who they are, and who you become on your adventure. There are factions in the game you may side with, or revolt against. Your party will have opinions about that, and 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!

The point is, 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.

On a totally unrelated note, Baldur's Gate 3 has been officially rated M for Mature by ESRB, and that's probably for the best.


If I buy the game on GOG can I play with my friend who owns the game on Steam? How about if I play on PC and my friend plays on Stadia?

"Direct Connect" (yes) is possible between platforms - but all players must be on the same patch number in order for it to work. Note that in the first few weeks of Early Access there may be some minor version discrepancy between platforms as we move to fix and address issues rapidly, and in these cases you won't be able to play between 'stores'. Ultimately, you will.

Are there any plans for a physical Collector's Edition release?

Last time we admitted we had plans for something (cough: DOS2 on Switch) everyone took it as a 100% confirmation that it was about to shoot out of the void, so we wouldn't say plans as such. What we will say is that we're looking into a few cool ideas, but this isn't for EA.

If I purchase the game in Early Access, do I have to pay again when 1.0 comes out?

Absolutely not, and we massively appreciate you joining our Early Access journey. Note: a purchase is linked to your account, and linked to that platform. So if you buy it on Steam, you get the Steam version. Stadia, Stadia version. GoG, GoG version, etc.

I noticed in the gameplay shown in Panel of Hell that the units of measurement for distance were in ft, but the gameplay at D&D live was in meters. Will I have the option to choose between the silly pathetic imperial system and the glorious and only metric system?

Yes, you will have the option. There's a toggle in the options menu that lets you switch between imperial and metric units, so if you get pulled over by the cops you can't use that as an excuse.

Will companions be interchangeable during long rest?

Yes, at the start of your adventure your recruited companions will be at camp when not in the adventuring party, and can be swapped in and out at camp. Just like friends in real life! After the first act however you are going to have to commit, also just like in real life.

What's the DEAL with camp and camp followers?

Camp plays an important role in the game. It is where your party rests and recovers and where you can engage in dialogue with your companions, building your relationships with them. You'll also find NPCs on your adventure who join the camp temporarily or on a more permanent basis, becoming camp followers. Some will offer services, others have a narrative function. We don't want to give too much more away, as we want you to experience these things for yourself as you play.

Can I solve all of my problems in-game with fire magic?

You could even solve your relationship problems with fire magic, if you want. Fire tends to solve a lot of things, but Baldur's Gate 3 doesn't have the same approach to surfaces as DOS2. For example, you will likely kill less of your allies by accident. Still, when in doubt, fire the spout.

D&D lore says if you put a bag of holding into a bag of holding it causes a black hole. Will this happen in game?

Thankfully, there are no Bags of Holding in Early Access. We do feel like testing this theory may set the game, and the universe back, a few dozen millenia.

Can I play it without knowing anything about the franchise?

Baldur's Gate 3 is a new story, and a new adventure, with new characters. We don't want to spoil too much, but when you explore the world for the first time, you'll enjoy the story from a fresh perspective, but if you've played the previous games, you'll quickly start to join many dots. But those dots aren't required to enjoy your own personal adventure in the Forgotten Realms.

How will stats be determined? Will they be rolled, Point Buy, Standard Array? Will we be able to choose which method we want?

In Early Access we're using Point Buy as the main way to determine stats in Character Creation, but we've heard that there are big fans of rolling stats out there. We will be showcasing more about character creation and the options available for you in our next update. One of the great things about Early Access is that we can test these things out, and talk to you guys about them.

Will there be romance in Baldur's Gate 3?

DIDN'T YOU READ THE UPDATE? :D (c'mon guys).

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