After three years in early access and six years in development, Baldur’s Gate 3 has finally, officially arrived. On PC and Steam Deck, at least. The PS5 launch won’t happen until September 6th, and the XBox launch won’t happen… for a while. Of course, longtime fans of the series are used to waiting. Developed by Larian Studios, Baldur’s Gate 3 is a Dungeons & Dragons RPG that originated in the 1990s and hasn’t had a proper sequel in over 20 years. A lot has changed since those early days, including the fact that Baldur’s Gate 3 — with its 174 hours of cut-scenes and 17,000 different possible endings — will now allow you to play as a gay and/or trans character, including being nonbinary and using they/them pronouns. There’s even gay sex scenes, like every good pen-and-paper D&D game.
Baldur’s Gate 3 takes place a century after the second game. The basic plot is that you’ve been kidnapped by mind flayers, who’ve invaded Faerûn and infected your brain with parasites called illithid tadpoles that will turn you into a mind flayer if you don’t do something to stop them. Luckily, you’ll find yourself freed, early on, during a battle with githyanki warriors and their red dragons, and you can begin your journey toward exorcising yourself. Joining you will be other survivors of the attack who also have the brain worms: human wizard Gale, half-elf cleric Shadowheart, high elf vampire rogue Astarion, human warlock Wyll, and githyanki fighter Lae’zel. Like actual D&D, your choices will be constantly subject to the whim of a dice-roll, which is both terrifying and thrilling.
As a lifelong nerd and gamer, this series was always sort of hanging out in the periphery of the video game compartment in my mind, but last December I read a Reddit thread called WHY IS EVERYONE GAY IN BALDUR’S GATE 3, and I haven’t stopped being excited since then. Essentially, all the characters in Baldur’s Gate 3 are “playersexual,” meaning that they will be attracted to the player, regardless of their gender or sexuality. Some gay gamers really hate this mechanic because they want to see fully developed NPCs with gay storylines, and I totally get that, but I also have been rejected by CLEARLY BISEXUAL Cassandra in Dragon Age too many times to thumb my nose at the idea that every woman in the game could be a possible romance option for me. Also, instead of having strictly gendered dialogue, you can choose a “neutral” gender, which will unlock they/them pronouns.
In terms of character creation, there are almost a dozen races to choose from, and each has their own unique appearances and physical permutations. Facial features, body types, and even genital options are customizable. Kotaku recently posted an 11-minute character-creation video to give you an idea of the myriad options available.
I cracked open the game last night and didn’t even get my character finished; there were just too many options to mess around with! But I can’t wait to finally get going. And, frankly, I don’t have much time to dilly-dally. The illithid tadpoles are already chomping away at my brain!