Baldur's Gate 3 writer labels Halsin's iconic bear romance scene a "watershed moment in game history," reveals the "Druid daddy" wasn't originally a romance option

A bear smiling at the camera in BG3
(Image credit: Larian)

A Baldur's Gate 3 senior developer has labeled Halsin's bear romance scene a "watershed moment in game history," because it invites in fanfiction writers with open arms.

By now, you're surely familiar with the big bear romance scene in Baldur's Gate 3. It was played out pre-launch by developer Larian during a livestream which grabbed headlines and attention the world over, and generally felt like a moment where Larian was showing off just what its new RPG was capable of. In the interest of romance, at least.

Now, speaking during Develop: Brighton 2024, Baldur's Gate 3 senior narrative designer Baudelaire Welch delved deep into Larian's approach to romance. "Romance is one of the longest-tail parts of a fandom you can create," Welch said during their presentation. "People will write about a good romance in fan fiction for years to come. The character analysis in those debates will continue for a very long time."

"Take the bear scene in Baldur's Gate 3. Why did it make such an impact on people?" the former Larian developer posited. "This is what it meant to me when I was involved in Baldur's Gate 3. This scene feels like a watershed moment in game history, where the fanfiction community feels like they're not a subculture, but are the majority audience being catered to in a scene and in the game as a whole," Welch continued. 

The developer then revealed they were well aware of all the joking players had been doing for years about what they wanted to do to "Druid daddy Halsin" while Baldur's Gate 3 was in early access. It turns out, at this point in development, Halsin wasn't actually a romance option for players, but Larian changed course on this when it saw just how much interest among players Halsin had generated.

"And so in order to reach out to that part of the community, Larian gave them an incredibly silly scene which takes an identity and moniker from the gay community literally - the gay bear becomes the gay bear, if anyone actually made the connection before," Welch continued, referencing the livestream where Halsin's bear form was romanced by Astarion. 

The 'gay bear' Welch is pointing to there is, if you didn't already know, gay slang for a "large, hairy queer man who self-identifies with the 'bear' label," as described on the LGBTQIA Wiki. "Being a bear combines gender expression, gender identity, and sexuality; a large, hairy straight man would not be a bear. They are generally masculine-presenting men over the age of 30 whose build may include a big belly, legs, and/or butt," the description continues.

"And that feels like it's giving players something from the tradition of crackfic, or just something from your Discord shitposting hole, and present it as a mainstream feature. That feels like all the time you've spent joking with your friends is validated, seen, and how many games have made you feel that way before?" Welch concluded on the matter.

This isn't the first time the bear scene has been addressed by a Baldur's Gate 3 developer. Earlier this year, Larian performance director Greg Lidstone revealed than an intimacy co-ordinator was used for the bear romance scene so that all actors involved in the scene felt comfortable, and that there would be someone who would stand up to the director if he was making the "wrong decision."

Baldur's Gate 3 leads gather at the same place they considered how to finish the RPG 2 years ago to discuss "lift-off" for what's next: "Spirits are high."

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.