Baldur's Gate 3's sex scenes are a "massive step forward for games"

baldur's gate 3, shadowheart in camp
Baldur's Gate 3 sex scenes a 'huge step forward'Larian Studios (via Digital Spy)

Baldur's Gate 3 launched to universal acclaim earlier this year, praised for breaking ground in multiple different ways.

While it's easy to heap praise on the storytelling and the companions, a smaller aspect — and one that could also have a wider impact on games — is the way the game handles sex scenes and romances.

Larian Studios used intimacy coordinators — a role more commonly associated with film or TV production — to ensure that the actors felt safe when motion capturing the game's intimate scenes.

baldur's gate 3, shadowheart in camp
Larian Studios (via Digital Spy)

In addition, the way that romances play out in Baldur's Gate 3 has been given a considerable amount of thought and care. There are several different companions the player character can romance, yet each one has a unique narrative that emphasises that companion's development and journey.

Without delving into spoilers, Shadowheart's intimate scenes are low-key but carry emotion as she comes to grapple with the revelations about her religion, identity, and past.

On the other hand, the romance with Lae'zel starts off as something that is just physical, but a softer side of the githyanki develops as the events of the game unfold, including involving the fate of her people. It leads to a genuine connection to potentially form between the player character and Lae'zel.

Despite the narrative possibilities with gaming, it's been rare for a game to make the sex scenes a meaningful and emotional part of the storytelling. Often, sex scenes are added as some sort of 'reward' for the player.

baldur's gate 3, a close up of lae'zel wielding a sword
Larian Studios

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Jennifer English and Devora Wilde, who play Shadowheart and Lae'zel respectively, told Digital Spy that they believe that Baldur's Gate 3's approach represents a major step forward in gaming.

"I love how the romance narratives are completely individual to each other," English explained. "There's no 'one size fits all' approach. It moves beyond superficial depictions and invests in meaningful connections between characters, often with far-reaching consequences for the story.

"I think this approach is a massive step forward for games. Of course there's a tonne of fun to be had, but it's also an integral part of the overall storytelling experience. It's beautiful."

Meanwhile, Wilde praised the decision to hire intimacy coordinators, saying that it "really made the experience feel safe for us all".

baldur's gate 3 party, lae'zel, shadowheart, wyll, and gale
Larian Studios

She continued: "Secondly, what I think differentiates the Baldur's Gate 3 romance options from other games is that the 'romance' is a journey in itself. It's not just sex for the sake of sex or sex with the character as a 'win state'.

"Each character has a unique romance path that's layered with intimacy, vulnerability, connection, and companionship, just like in the real world.

"The way you romance on character won't be the same for another, and so the romance feels like a natural part of the game and all its beautifully complex characters and storytelling, rather than just a gratuitous add-on."

Elsewhere, Wilde and English discussed other topics about the game including the passionate fan reaction and comparisons to The Sims. You can read that here.

Baldur's Gate 3 is out now on PC, PS5, and Mac. An Xbox Series X/S release is expected later this year.

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