Baldur's Gate 3 cutscene with Astarion.

Baldur’s Gate 3: Nearly 250 Actors Recorded Mocap for Life-Like Characters

Baldur’s Gate 3 performance director Aliona Baranova credited the work of 248 actors for bringing the game’s characters to life.

Baranova detailed developer Larian Studios‘ extensive work with mocap actors in a Twitter/X thread. According to her, almost all of Baldur’s Gate 3’s extensive dialogue also included mocap to make the delivery appear life-like. “That means all 248 actors, ALL the NPCs and not just the companions put on a mocap suit and their movements, gestures, and physical choices were recorded and sent along with the audio files for the animators to use in game.”

How Baldur’s Gate 3 used mocap

The end result meant notable and even iconic mannerisms for Baldur’s Gate 3’s characters, which came organically from the actors’ performances. “Which means the iconic head wiggles Jen did as Shadowheart were Jen’s actual head wiggles,” Baranova said of actor Jennifer English. “The militaristic and alien like movements of Lae were Devora Wilde’s physical choices for the character. Neil Newbon’s theatrical flare as Astarion are all part of the actors choices.” To illustrate the point, Baranova included a video of English recording lines as Shadowheart, noting her recognizable expressions.

Baldur’s Gate 3 contains only a few exceptions, Baranova noted. These include times when actors couldn’t make it in due to injury or illness, certain additional dialogue moments (such as conversations while running through the world), and animals. However, those situations with the were rare.

As performance director, Baranova worked with the actors to ensure their physical performances lined up with their characters’ voices. Baranova aimed to make characters “look alive” and “be interesting to watch.” That said, she not only credits the actors for the game’s iconic characters, but also Larian’s animation department and the recording team at PitStop Productions.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is out now on PC. A PlayStation 5 edition hits shelves and digital on September 6. Versions for Xbox Series X and S are planned for the end of 2023.