Image displays Shadowheart, a companion in Baldur's Gate 3.
Image via Larian Studios

All 248 characters used motion captured performances in Baldur’s Gate 3

The passion shines through.

Perhaps you’ve noticed there’s something extra spicy about the characters in Baldur’s Gate 3. It isn’t just amazing voice acting and amazing graphics, there’s something more; the characters are simply more alive than we’re used to seeing.

Recommended Videos

It crossed my mind that the main characters were almost certainly using motion capture data to enhance the animation—this is not at all uncommon today. Games like God of War, Jedi: Fallen Order, and The Last of Us all employed this technology.

What is extremely uncommon, so much so that I thought it impossible, is for 248 characters to all use motion capture data. I was wrong.

It started out as an innocent and hilarious tweet, in which Aliona Baranova, an actress and performance director, stated she might be crushing on Shadowheart more than her actual girlfriend. Why does this matter? Because her actual girlfriend just so happens to be Jennifer English, who voices Shadowheart.

The tweet was, of course, a joke in which Baranova was coyly complimenting her girlfriend’s performance on Baldur’s Gate 3, but after fans took an interest, she went on to explain a bit about the process. In a thread of responses to the original tweet, Baranova revealed “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, which is why the performances feel so *alive*.”

Baranova has spilled all on BG3’s voice acting work. Screenshot by Dot Esports

Baranova is clearly passionate about her work as a performance director, and if we’re going off of what the end product is in Baldur’s Gate 3, she’s damn good at it too.

Curious about just how much of the actors’ physical performance actually makes it into the game? A ton. Baranova confirmed the “iconic head wiggles” of Shadowheart are a direct product of Jennifer English’s performance, and she even shared a behind-the-scenes clip in which English can be seen being Shadowheart.

Related: All Baldur’s Gate 3 voice actors

Baranova also confirmed Lae’zel’s “militaristic and alien” movements can be attributed to Devora Wilde‘s physical choices while voicing the character and Astarion’s “theatrical flare” came straight from Neil Newbon.

Screenshot via Twitter

The shocking part of all of this is the fact such tremendous effort went into 248 characters. I mentioned above that games have been doing motion capture for some time now, however, no other game has come anywhere near this magnitude—as in, not even half this amount. Maybe not even a quarter.


Dot Esports is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Baldur’s Gate 3: Mind archive interface in BG3 explained
A Mind Flayer with an ominous gaze in Baldur's Gate 3.
Read Article Baldur’s Gate 3: Best Shadowheart build in BG3
Shadowheart in Baldur's Gate 3 casts a spell, with her hands and eyes glowing.
Read Article Baldur’s Gate 3: How to get the Gloves of Soul Catching in BG3
Hope from House of Hope in Bg3
Related Content
Read Article Baldur’s Gate 3: Mind archive interface in BG3 explained
A Mind Flayer with an ominous gaze in Baldur's Gate 3.
Read Article Baldur’s Gate 3: Best Shadowheart build in BG3
Shadowheart in Baldur's Gate 3 casts a spell, with her hands and eyes glowing.
Read Article Baldur’s Gate 3: How to get the Gloves of Soul Catching in BG3
Hope from House of Hope in Bg3
Author
Pierce Bunch
Freelance writer and jack-of-all-games.