Baldur’s Gate 3 is out this week in Early Access. It includes a lot of great stuff (like a deep and vivid character creator) and some not so great things (like a Celestial Plane’s worth of bugs). Not everybody seems to enjoy the robust custom creation service that Divinity: Original Sin 2 developer Larian Studio has provided, however. According to the devs, the player base as a whole creates some awfully vanilla protagonists for an RPG where you can play interdimensional Cthulhu hunters and half-demon clerics.
The news comes from the studio’s latest patch notes page on Steam. Larian didn’t hold back at all, either, describing what the most popular character creation options had wrought on its diverse new game:
Congratulations, you’ve basically made the default Vault Dweller. What the hell guys. We gave you demon eyes, horns, and even tails. We are sorely disappointed. Go crazy. We worked hard on this!
The amalgam character shown in the post is… an awfully standard looking RPG protagonist. They’re a fit, white, human dude with dark hair and a humorless expression. And it was created using “the most popular choices in character creation” pulled from the (admittedly still very young) Early Access period. Apparently the end result was so boring and so predictable that Larian Studios couldn’t believe it. The company actually thought “the analytics system wasn’t working” when it saw the results.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with a character that looks like this, of course. The problem is just how overly recognizable it is. They look like the same sort of generic player character you’d see on box art for any post-Oblivion Xbox 360 RPG — the kind that marketing insists sells more copies of a game, even if you can make a custom character. It doesn’t stand out in the slightest from the pack.
What I really love about the response to this absolutely boring abomination, however, is the response from the developer. The team gave the players a well-deserved (but still pretty good-natured) ribbing over the bog standard creation. Get their asses, Larian!
Even ignoring things like gender presentation and skin tones, Baldur’s Gate 3 has creation tools for all kinds of Dungeons & Dragons fantasy races you can’t get anywhere else: like Tieflings and Githyanki. I myself made a Githyanki (one of the aforementioned Cthulhu hunters) thanks to their connection to the game’s main plot. And it’s been exciting to see how characters react differently to me as a result of Larian’s deep, unpredictable writing around player choice. I literally couldn’t get the first party member after the prologue to join me because she didn’t trust “Gith” enough. After which I was immediately murdered, alone, by the next combat encounter without a friend to aid me.
Obviously, it’s very early days for Baldur’s Gate 3. The game certainly feels early, as our own Natalie Flores (who also appreciated the variety of character creation tools) attests. And many, many players are no doubt waiting for this story-driven game to exit its development period and just be done. Perhaps things will shake up once more people get their hands on it.