A villain in Baldur’s Gate 3 was originally guaranteed to kidnap whoever you romanced, ‘which wasn’t very popular’

In my first playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3, not long after making it to the city that makes up the massive RPG’s final act, one of the villains kidnapped Lae’zel. And while I didn’t put off rescuing her for too long, I also didn’t rush it. Don’t look at me like that, this was in-character—I was playing Shadowheart.

If my romance partner Gale was the one who got abducted, however, I might have got a wriggle on. In a recent interview with IGN, Larian’s director Swen Vincke explained that was how it was first planned to play out. “Originally it was always your romantic partner,” he said, “which wasn’t very popular.”

During act three, the shapeshifter Orin the Red becomes a real pain in the butt, to put it lightly. As well as tormenting you by impersonating random NPCs you meet, only to reveal her identity when otherwise innocuous conversations become oddly visceral, she abducts one of your companions and takes them to the Bhaal Temple to be sacrificed. The way it works now, she’ll kidnap either Lae’zel, Gale, Halsin, or Minthara if you leave them at camp, prioritizing whoever has the lowest approval rating. (She takes the NPC Yenna if none of those characters are alive and at your camp.) So it is apparently possible for her to abduct your romance partner.

“It can happen still,” said lead writer Adam Smith, “which usually send[s] you on a beeline to the Bhaal Temple, which has its own problems then because you’re rushing toward a very high-level area, maybe a little bit too early.”

Vincke described this element of the quest, kidnapping a major NPC, as a “creative risk”, saying, “Once you do it, and you don’t go after them right away, you lose a whole bunch of story depending on how you’re going to take it. But at the same time, we needed something where the stakes were high. So that’s why we did it that way, and we had a lot of rules that changed over time.”

The current version of those rules, which restricts the kidnapping to companions left behind at camp, means that for a lot of players Halsin is the one who gets taken. There are good story reasons for leaving him behind, since his plotline wraps up in act two and he’s really just hanging around for moral support at that point, and good mechanical reasons, because he’s a druid and you’ve also got Jaheira filling the same role. 

Not that there’s much call for druids in the big city. “If he doesn’t get kidnapped,” Smith said, “he wanders around Baldur’s Gate being like, ‘I hate urban spaces, they’re horrible.'”

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