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Baldur's Gate 3's devs planned around you totally screwing everything up by killing everyone, but didn't expect people to "jump through the entire thing"

"You always have to assume that all the antagonists and protagonists will be killed by the player." Sounds about right.

Shadowheart in Baldur's Gate 3.
Image credit: VG247/Larian

Baldur's Gate 3's developers did a whole bunch of planning to ensure the player couldn't totally ruin the game's story if they randomly decided to murder every single NPC, but not even Swen Vincke predicted that speedrunners would literally bounce through the entire thing.

To be fair, did any of us? It feels like every time we've watched one of these madcap dashes through Larian's RPG, there's been a new and very weird strategy on display. From, the now infamous 'Shadowboxing' strategy to flying stealth bear one-shots, it's a shame we aren't going to get see what kinds of ways folks could have worked out to speed up the process of shagging a bear all over again, since Baldur's Gate 4 isn't going to be a thing.

Vincke, BG3's director, discussed how he's found watching people make a very entertaining mockery of his game in the name of pure speed during an interview with IGN that also saw him discuss why the studio elected to scrap some DLC for the game it'd started working on, before pivoting away from that idea. "No, no, I didn't expect them to do it that way," Vincke said of the folks who first cracked under the ten-minute mark speedrun wise by using Gale to bounce through the game way faster than you could ever run.

"The jumping surprised me because they jumped to really specific positions in the map, I was very impressed by how that was done," he continued, "I thought it was going to be haste all over, but I didn't think they were going to jump through the entire thing."

Sadly, he says he's only heard about 'Shadowboxing', the strategy that involves killing poor Shadowheart, putting her into a box, and tricking the game into flining it across the map in a way the really speeds up your progress through the main story, rather than having seen it for himself.

That said, he did offer an interesting explanation as to why Shadowheart's so damn tenacious about talking to you at the start of the game. It turns out she's the main representative of BG3's n+1 principle. What's that? Will it's a concept Larian introduced with Divinity: Original Sin to try and make the game's story still work no matter how much the player tries to mess things up. "So, basically you always have to assume that all the antagonists and protagonists will be killed by the player," Vincke explained, "You still have to have a way of telling the critical bits of the story, and that's the plus one solution. It's the fallback solution in case the player f***ed up everything, but they still need to know what they need to do."

He added that at least one point in development saw Shadowheart have something like "24 [different] versions of giving you [her Githyanki] artifact just so that you would not be hindered as you were walking through the game", depending on how thing were going.

So, maybe thank her next time, yeah? And if you're interested in discovering what could have been if Matt Mercer had ended up as one of Baldur's Gate 3's narrators, check this out.

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