You and me could have a bear romance
Baldur’s Gate 3 is just under a month away, at this point, and today Larian Studios hosted a Panel From Hell to celebrate the impending launch on PC. It featured a new Origin character with a unique playstyle, tons of gameplay details, and one very fraught scene with a Druid.
One of the big reveals of the Panel was the new Origin character, teased in its online mystery game, who is more like an Origin archetype: the Dark Urge. Much like Larian’s work on Divinity, Baldur’s Gate 3 will have the option to play as either a created character or one of the Origin characters who would otherwise be party members, like Shadowheart or Astarion.
The Dark Urge is a fully customizable Origin. Though they default to an alabaster dragonborn, you can play them as anyone. The Dark Urge is more about what resides in your character: an insatiable need for blood and carnage. While others deal with normal concerns, the Urge’s battle is all about ignoring or indulging their impulses. They’ll be guided by a vile servant named Sceleritas Fel, voiced by Divinity: Original Sin 2‘s narrator Brian Bowles.
Additionally, Larian added a little more voice talent to the lineup today. Maggie Robertson, who voiced Lady Dimitrescu in Resident Evil Village, is playing the third central antagonist of Baldur’s Gate 3: a shapeshifter named Orin the Red. Alongside Jason Isaacs’ Lord Enver Gortash and J.K. Simmons’ General Ketheric Thorm, that’s a star-studded rogues gallery.
The wait is un-bear-able
Of course, there was one moment of today’s Panel From Hell that lit up social media. Larian showed off some of the romantic scenes in Baldur’s Gate 3, which are an obvious draw for any weary, impatient BioWare fans. The first was a sweet, innocent scene with Karlach, the newly announced Barbarian character, as they go on a date with a created character.
The next scene was not quite so innocent. The player, as Astarion, met with the druid Halsin in the woods for a romantic rendezvous. And when Halsin wild-shaped into his literal bear form, things… escalated. I’ll let Larian’s own spokesperson take it from here:
“Have you ever considered the joys and pleasures of sexual congress with a wildshaped Druid?” said lead writer Adam Smith in a press release. “Because at Larian, we have, and ultimately landed on the side of giving the people what they want: tender, consensual romance with a man temporarily transformed into a grizzly bear.”
As Larian founder and creative director Swen Vincke noted, the bear scene was steamy enough to get the studio banned on TikTok. The news was met with uproarious cheers from the live studio audience.
Thoughts on wild, wild-shaped romance aside, it does at least show Larian is doing the due diligence of recreating a tabletop experience. I can count the times I’ve played Dungeons & Dragons on one hand, but know enough about tabletop pals to know there’s no way this exact topic hasn’t come up before, amid suppressed giggles, at some table, somewhere. And it seems like Larian’s light-hearted about the matter, too; in an interview with IGN, Vincke characterized the scene as “hilarious.” Indeed, the cut-away to the squirrel got a good laugh out of me.
So if the goal is to take the infinite possibility of a tabletop game and its theater of the imagination, and try to capture it so that a virtual, prepared campaign could recreate the same possibility space, nothing says Larian’s making it happen quite like comically raucous Druid romance.
For all that and more, Baldur’s Gate 3 arrives for PC on August 3. PS5 players will get their own shot at love on September 6.