When we talk about videogames taking cues from Hollywood, it’s normally a reference to bombastic cinematics or a stacked cameo cast, not really behind the scenes staff. That’s the case for Baldur’s Gate 3 though, which used intimacy coordinators—professional advocates for actors appearing in explicit scenes—to help manage production of its romances between characters.
As we’ve already seen, Baldur’s Gate 3 romances can get quite spicy, and Larian used motion capture with actors to create its cinematics, as seen in a cinematics explainer video from a couple years ago. There was lots of combat and conversation to capture, but also sex. Thus the professionals that Larian called in.
According to SAG-AFTRA, “an intimacy coordinator is an advocate, a liaison between actors and production, and a movement coach and/or choreographer in regards to nudity and simulated sex and other intimate and hyper-exposed scenes.”
Unlike movies and TV, mocap actors for videogames are suited up in gear rather than undressed for intimate scenes, but it definitely still involves representing all the many compromising positions a player can get into. Including the bear one.
(Image credit: Larian)
Larian’s use of professional coordinators came up in a recent BBC interview with two members of Baldur’s Gate 3’s cast: Jennifer English and Devora Wilde, who played Shadowheart and Lae’zel respectively.
As for the bear scene, BBS says that Wilde found it amusing, “It just shows you how crazy in the best possible way this game is.”
“I didn’t realize before starting this is how hard it is, creating this entire universe,” English said of the time it took to capture all of Shadowheart’s many iterative scenes. “It’s not like an everyday kitchen sink drama, there’s a lot going on. And you have to create that in your imagination on your own.”
In BBC’s words, English said there “was some weirdness during recording” related to sex scenes but that the story never went “too far.” In English’s own words: “I never felt ‘yuck’ in a recording session at all. And I’ve got quite a low ‘yuck’ threshold.”
According to BBC, Larian thinks it’s one of the first fully-rendered game productions to use intimacy coordinators, and hopes others will follow suit.