Is the romance and story in Baldur’s Gate 3 more than a romance simulation?

Reading Time: 2 minutes “Baldur’s Gate 3” has become an internet sensation! One reason is the possibility for intimate scenes with NPCs and playable party members. But the game is a lot more than a romance simulator.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The sensation around Larian Studios’ newest game, “Baldur’s Gate 3” (BG3) has been widespread, with 51,662 years of gameplay being logged since its release in August 2023! One detail that has increased the game’s sensation online is its dynamic romance options. You may have heard that you can seduce a bear, which is (mostly) true. That can lead people to wonder if people are playing just for the sensation around the romances, or if there is something more to the game. 

While the fact you can have intimate scenes with other characters in the game is groundbreaking, that is not likely what people are sticking around for. BG3 is a role-playing game, with a mix of combat and dialogue. Even the highest difficult option still has essential dialogue between characters with the option to develop their relationships. BG3 may initially attract people to the game using the sensationalism of its content, but the game keeps people playing with its gripping dialogue and storytelling. 

The game does have optional sexual content and intimate scenes with characters from your party. Larian Studios has three settings for romance scenes: the option to turn off sexual content in the game, limit it to PG-13 content, or leave it uncensored. If they felt the scenes were necessary to the game, they would not have offered the option to take it out. Their focus is on building an authentic story, and you can choose if that story has romance in it. 

It is clear when players are about to romance someone in their party, and it can be avoided easily if they’re not interested. Friendships, which grow through approval ratings, are as impactful to the story as any potential romance. They allow players to have unique scenes and storylines with the characters they befriend! 

Each character has a backstory players can learn about. The characters, even the ones that are non-human races, are racially and culturally diverse. Perhaps one of the reasons this game has been so wildly popular is because everyone can see themselves in either the character they create or the characters they interact with. The character creation options also offer racially diverse options, as well as options for a non-binary character. 

Many characters that players interact with, especially Astarian and Gale, have histories of sexual abuse and PTSD, giving a gripping and fairly destigmatized approach to mental health. Both characters identify as male, which further destigmatizes mental health issues in their male audience. As players get closer to each character, they open up about their struggles and dreams. 

BG3 is also groundbreaking for more than just well-animated romance scenes. The game is attracting a lot of people who are not typical ‘gamers,’ or who have played games with little to no combat, like “Animal Crossing.” This is likely because of the rich story as well as how easy it is to learn and play. This game can be a great gateway game to other role-playing games (RPGs), which makes it a significant addition to the gaming community.  

If players do decide to embrace the romance options in Baldur’s Gate 3, they are very inclusive. There are options for polyamory, and whether the characters in a party are available for friendship or dating does not change based on the playable character’s gender or race. So, while the bear scene can be an exciting part of the game, that is not why Larian Studios created the game. The game is intended to be an RPG with a party’s story at its heart.