Larian CEO's advice about origin characters has thrown my Baldur's Gate 3 playthrough plans into disarray

Astarion deep in thought in Baldur's Gate 3.
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

From my very first hands-off preview of Baldur's Gate 3, I knew I was going to pick Astarion for my first playthrough. Like Divinity: Original Sin 2, Baldur's Gate 3 not only lets you design a custom character, it also gives you a selection of origin characters with predefined histories and unique hooks, who otherwise serve as companions. It's one of the things I adored about Original Sin 2, and a system I was eager to see return. 

Astarion caught my eye because he's a sexy vampire spawn with quick wits, sharp fangs and a compulsion to drink the blood of his pals. Tragedy, sarcasm, blood—what more does one need? I also hoped this would allow me to sidestep the hours spent in the character creator. No more agonising decisions for me! But now Larian CEO Swen Vincke has thrown a spanner in the works and I'm second guessing myself. 

Vincke was chatting to the lads on Dropped Frames about origin characters, you see, and he had some advice for players: "We add these origin characters for replay value," he said. "I would always pick a custom, and discover my companions. I think the origins come into play when you replay it. That said, there's nothing wrong with picking an origin, it's just that the entire origin system is about where do you put the camera? In whose head do you put the camera?"

He thinks it works better if you meet these characters as companions first, see how they react to things, learn their secrets, and then play them in a future playthrough to see things from a different perspective. "They work better if you've played the game already once because then you see it through their eyes. What was Shadowheart thinking the first time she saw you? And now you know when you're in their head." It's an annoyingly good point that's making me reconsider my plans.  

I fully expect to play Baldur's Gate 3 more than once, but I suspect a lot of players will decide that they don't have the time to replay an RPG where the critical path alone will take 80+ hours to finish. In that case, it seems like an origin character would be the best choice, allowing you to experience things you wouldn't be able to with a regular custom character.

I could of course utterly ignore Vincke's advice and stick with my original choice. But I also love the idea of having someone as a companion and then getting to know them even better by playing them at a later stage. And custom characters offer a bit more flexibility at the cost of those unique origin hooks, like being a bloodsucker or listening to a creepy voice in your head. And we'll still be able to experience some of this if we recruit them as companions. Shit, I'm really torn here. This is too much for a Monday. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.