About me and my perspective:
I have never played a computer-game before.
Not this kind of game, anyway. Battlefield 1942 a couple of times when I was 13 years old on a friend's computer, but that was it. I'm thirty now and games had existed only at the periphery of my life until I a couple of years ago was introduced to the tabletop roleplay-game Dungeons & Dragons 5e.
The game appealed to me as a storyteller, artist, writer, theatre-enthusiast and overall creative person for the roleplay aspect of it - and at the center of it, the collaborative storytelling.
So after a few years of weekly tabletop gaming, I decided to buy this new shiny videogame: Baldur's Gate 3. Needless to say the learning curve was rather steep (WASD doesn't move the character anymore! That took me a hot second to figure out.) but it's also been a lot of fun. Even if I died twice standing in fire not realizing it was burning me (What? Interactive environments?!)
But I am excited! It a whole new world! I spent a weekend messing around with it. Keep getting murdered by literally everything. Watch me click on traps in the sarcophagus-room fifty times and only getting a frustratingly unhelpful "I can't disarm this" from Astarion before I realized I could right-click and was given the option "Disarm"! Wow! (Astaion totally could disarm that. Ass.)
Game-mechanically, I should say, I can't give much input. I couldn't tell you anything about balance or combat-design or what have you. I have no experience.
But I do have some input about the storytelling and immersion. Specifically the importance of the visual design to support and enhance certain scenes. From a person who loves storytelling and getting immersed in the quests and plots, the non-player characters and their progress and relationships. And from a person who cares a lot for aesthetics (it is such a beautiful game!)So here is my suggestion:
The visual experience is extremely important.
The game is already beautifully designed. I love the companions. I love the main-character. (I'm sure we'll get more design options later for them! Maybe even a scaling-mechanism for their features like in The Sims! And outfit options! Exciting!)
But while we talk about outfits, I do have an actual thought-through suggestion for you, the developers of this amazing game, that directly ties into immersion and is plot-relevant.
There are several scenes in the game that take place in (1) the camp, and (2) dream sequences. Many of these scenes are powerful, exciting and emotional. They bring a lot to the game, push the plot forward and create a sense of community or belonging between the MC and the companions.
We're even given the very exciting option to romance companions. This far, I've only explored the option of romancing Astarion and can therefore just mention his scenes in my examples. I assume the other companions have similar scenes.
And the issue I take is very simple. It has to do with outfits and how it affects the immersion.
My suggestion is this: I would design a non-armored version of each armor (MC and companions) particularly for the camp- and dream-scenes. That is to say, a "shirt-and-trousers"-option where the armor on top is removed.
The reason for this, I will illustrate here:Example (1:1) Camp interactions: The vampire bite
There is a scene in the game where Astarion (in the camp) approaches the sleeping Main Character to draw blood from them. The MC wakes up and confronts Astarion in some way - and there is an option to allow him to take blood from them.
If you choose this option, the MC will lay down and Astarion will hold them carefully and bite their neck. It is an intense, exciting and erotic scene which made me hold my breath in anticipation (Would he kill me? Would it bring us closer? What would this lead to?)
An immersive and intense experience that was broken by the fact that my character was wearing full plate armor (visually and I'm sure due to early access glitches) poor Astarion can't physically really reach my MCs neck properly. It took me out of the moment a little. Felt awkward and out-of-place.
This scene would have benefited a lot from having the MC sleep in the shirt/trouser-combo they are wearing under their armor, instead of sleeping in the armor (which is generally not recommended.) Wearing only a shirt also makes them both look a lot more vulnerable and adds to the intimacy of the scene.Example (1:2) Camp interactions: Getting cute with Astarion
The same could be said for the first love scene. If you choose to romance Astarion (or another companion, but I have personally only played one round!) you will be given the option to see him in the forest and initiate a sexual relationship.
Now, I would definitely ask who on earth shows up to a date in full armor?
This scene is absolutely delightful and will be even better once the game is done! But it does suffer a lot from the presence armor. Astarion slinks out from behind a tree, approaches the Main Character, kisses them and you can choose to have a nice, soft scene or throw him to the ground and get wild.
But it is so, so awkward that they are both wearing armor. Full armor. Dagger on belt and all. It's strange. Immersion-breaking. And it ruins the mood of the scene. The characters should both wear plain clothes. Just like Astarion needs to be shirtless after to reveal his scars.Example (2:1) Dream sequences: MC
The Main Character wakes up in a dream to the voice of a mysterious individual dressed in soft, beautiful clothes, who seduces them and treats them like a lover. There are options that lead to a tender embrace, to being held and cared for. Very sweet. Very dangerous, too, I think. It definitely feels ominous.
And then there's that damn armor. Chunky, big, awkward armor breaking the immersion and making the scene strange and alien and silly. It is an intimate dream about a fantasy lover. Who wears armor in their sweetest dreams (or, again, sleeps in armor?)
Losing the armor and wearing only a shirt-and-trouser alternative that the MC would wear underneath it would do a lot to add to the sense of intimacy, and I think it would also heighten the sense of forboding you are definitely left with as this dream lover appears and attempts to seduce you.Example (2:2) Dream sequences: Astarion (spoilers!)
There is a glitchy, early-version of this scene up on the internet, which is why I'm aware of it. This is not a scene I've been able to access myself yet, as the companion-player options are not available. But since the dream sequence was so different from the dreams of the MC, I wanted to add my thoughts on this as well.
Astarion has a nightmare, not a sweet dream of a tender lover.
Cazador appears speaks to him, alone in the forest, tormenting him and reciting his rules to him. This later prompts Astarion to try to draw blood from a companion, as he needs to know that Cazador has not reclaimed control over him. It is all very dramatic and beautifully done, I'll say. Poor Astarion.
In the dream, Astarion is vulnerable, alone and (apparently) at the mercy of his old master. He is afraid and can choose to try to run or to bow to Cazador (from what I could see from the leaked footage.)
Having Astarion wear only a shirt and trousers would increase the feeling of being open to attack. It would heighten the sense of risk, of threat, and perhaps prompt a player (playing Astarion) to act accordingly. It adds to the dramatic feeling of it, I think. The idea that Cazador (apparently) has chosen to approach Astarion when he is most defenseless (armorless and alone.) makes narrative sense and builds more tension.Point illustrated with Mod that gives you a shirtless-option for men and an open shirt (and jewelry) for womenTLDR;
I think each armor outfit should have an accompanying casual outfit (basically the shirt/trousers they wear under the armor) and I think this outfit should be incorporated in the Camp-scenes and the Dream-sequences instead of the armor to add to the immersion and enhance the story.