Larian for having listened to the fanbase and taking measures to change this.
You cannot plan this emotional response at the start of a game story writing. You got no data to base feedback on likeabitlity and where random people connect to.
the party has already been through a lot.
Not in terms if Baldurs gate storylines. You barely did the prequel.
The thing about Shadowheart shying away from the kiss pre-patch and shying away from intimate relations were quite offputting, the way it was addressed and executed made it seem like such childish behavior.
So you didn't care for her backstory at all and did go in form the tits all out right away? Sound like moronic sexdrive rather than romance to me. Correct me if I'm wrong but this wasn't in the game description.
BG3 isn't as creepy moronic as The Witcher where you unlock the ingame XXX scenes as rewards.
BG series has loads female players that pay for it and want to enjoy the storyline as well. They don't want to be looted like treasure as the mainly male The Witchers fans crave to do. Larian does on of the very few select titles that do attract a lot more of female players than hack and slay titles.
some kind of warped inferiority fetish
Interesting leap in context you make young Padawan. Revealing. Revealing this is.
the main character to get the respect of anyone who accompanies him throughout the act.
Each of their affiliations is mutually exclusive to yours for all but 1 companion by you player character choice. Who will jump ship first seems tio be the better question.
There's one thing that bothered me though, was the introduction with the (Archdevil?) Raphael. In that interaction is a shameless ' illusion of choice' no matter what you pick he answers the same way and even worse, you end up with the same result. If my decision won't matter, then just give Raphael a monologue. Don't give me false-belief that I have the power to make a decision where I can't, it's frustrating. I wanted to accept the deal and see what happens, but he answers exactly the same things and disappears. I understand that in terms of balance or plot they don't want us introduced to some kind of power granted by him at the start of Act 1, but then again if you introduce a character and implement a choice dialogue, follow up with it. Otherwise, bring him when the story is ready for us to accept his offer the first time he arrives. It can certainly be a long-lasting back and forth dance with him over several meetings, but should provide the choice to take him up on the offer immediately with meaningful consequences as well - as of now, that interaction is shameless and choice-wise meaningless.
Seceral people detect you very early and show questionable interest in your progress.
You simply assume wrongly there isn't any dire consquences in hidden stats by your camp. It's not +1 /-1 love heart on the romance scale.
The only thing you know it had no immediate negative effect in the visible stats that you checked. Each companion has strongly different opinions what types of evil are more manageable than others. This guy is part of the prequel and he challenges you to shop around. That's exactly what you do - compare prices for a cure around the bloc.
Also you believe a devil that he truly is the hidden power that keeps you running around with a tadpole longer? Maybe yes, maybe no. In the Blood War setting not unexpected that a devil apppears. I found troves of hidden clues on all corners I'm not going to spoiler. In my eyes the scene did serve it's purpose on you well introducing him. Depending on the context of clues the perception of it differs vastly.
His terms is subject to the Pact Primeval any devil is bound by. He just can't cut such a simple deal to trade your soul without corrupting you first. You need to approach him for it and propose it by your own choice. That's the lawful evil legal requirement for him to make a valid claim to your soul post mortem. That's what he wants in exchange for his help. The rest is bargaining.
It's a safe bet you bargain among competing devils and see some angry demons appear closer to Elturel area. You are in a landing zone or staging area of the next big battle.
All their usual gangland allies gather for a invitation only GB party in Baldurs gate next weekend around you. The sign is on the wall or in the stars. Did you really expect anything else in a BG number 3? After BG 1 % 2, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale or Divinity: Original Sin titles? They stay true to their trusted concept for good her at Larian.