Baldur’s Gate 3 is a phenomenally deep, rich RPG game that promises a huge amount of player freedom and creativity in how you approach encounters. But listening to the Baldur’s Gate 3 lead developers at Larian Studios talk about it, you’d be forgiven for thinking they just want to bodily toss everyone around at the earliest opportunity. Discussing the various Baldur’s Gate 3 playable races, the Larian team talk about what each brings to the table.
Speaking to GameSpot, Larian head and Baldur’s Gate 3 game director Swen Vincke is joined by lead writer Adam Smith and lead systems designer Nick Pechenin as the trio talk a little about each race you can bring to the table. There are some great tidbits that we’ll dig into shortly, but I couldn’t help but be struck by one recurring theme – how throwable each of them is.
“A cool thing about being a Halfling Barbarian,” Pechenin explains, “is that if you have other friends who are Halfling Barbarians, you can throw each other like this ball of rage, because you have enough strength. It’s a ‘cannonball’ build that I really recommend.” “I always think of Lord of the Rings,” Vincke adds with a laugh.
Unlike the famous scene from The Two Towers, however, the squarish, stocky Dwarves of Baldur’s Gate 3 are not well-primed for tossing. “They’re heavier than they should be,” Vincke sighs, disappointment in his eyes, “when you’re not that strong and you try to throw them around, it doesn’t work.” Gnomes, on the other hand? “Very throwable.”
That’s not all the video reveals, as the team also notes that Elves and Half-Elves have been the most-picked races through early access, with Tieflings close behind. Being rather long-lived, Smith explains, Elves tend to reflect on things with much more far-sightedness, while the Humans are comparatively short-lived compared to other races and their views tend to reflect that.
Half-Elves, then, make a rather fitting blend between the pair, with Vincke chuckling, “They’re probably even more popular than the elves.” Pechenin says, “Players find it easy to connect to the Half-Elf: it’s a bit of fantasy, but it’s also relatable enough that you see yourself being a bit of a Half-Elf.” It probably doesn’t hurt that they have some fantastic stats at their disposal, especially if Baldur’s Gate 3 racial bonuses let you reassign them as previews have suggested.
Interestingly, Smith picks out the Tieflings and Gnomes as very central to the plot. “A lot of Tieflings are fleeing, they’re some of the first refugees because of the events that have already happened in the world – they’re outsiders, outcasts even.” He points to popular origin character Karlach as one great example. The Gnomes, meanwhile, also play a key role, with the natural inventors spread across several distinct factions.
The team also discusses the reactive ways NPCs will respond to your chosen character type – races such as Drow and Dragonborn are likely to elicit more negative or cautious reactions, for example. “Nobody’s aghast to see [a Dragonborn],” Smith remarks, “but people do find you unusual; they’re not the most common race.” He’s certainly won over though: “You just have to look at them, they’re the most gorgeous race I’ve ever seen in a videogame – they’re incredible.”
The introduction of the Half-Orcs is great news for all players, whether you’re interested in being one or not. That’s because, as Pechenin explains, “The Half-Orcs really incentivized us to include these strong body types – I think if we hadn’t had Half-Orcs we might not have shipped it [with these], but now thanks to Half-Orcs everybody can be buff – as buff as you want.” Smith also confirms that beards aren’t restricted to the likes of Dwarves – even the Elves can have them.
With so many great options on the table, what’s the game’s lead planning to start with? While Vincke ponders that the Githyanki are “my favorites, most likely, because they’re the ‘aliens’ of this world” – with some even having access to the Astral Plane, where they hunt the tentacle-faced Mindflayers – his actual answer is different.
It’s those gorgeous Dragonborn again. “Definitely what I’m going to play. They’re the most badass characters that we have. They’re just really, really cool. A Sorcerer Dragonborn with Dragon Blood has this special sheen of his ancestors inside of him – it’s fantastic,” he closes with a smile. Now you know.
Once you’ve decided on a race, you’ll want to study all the Baldur’s Gate 3 classes to round out your character sheet. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve checked in with the Baldur’s Gate 3 system requirements, and that you’ve cleared out your calendar – if you haven’t yet asked about the whopping Baldur’s Gate 3 length, you should probably take note.