Neil Newbon, who portrays Astarion in Baldur’s Gate 3, was unaware this model would be used in the controversial “bear scene”.
Without a doubt, Baldur’s Gate 3 can easily be considered one of the best RPGs in recent memory, and that’s due in part to the amount of freedom provided to the player. Freedoms that many titles in the genre wouldn’t normally execute, such as the ability to engage in after-dark activities with a man who can shapeshift into a brown bear.
The now infamous “bear scene” was revealed during the game’s Panel From Hell, but it was only in a recent interview with sister-site PC Gamer that all the behind-the-scenes info came out about it. Newbon explains, “I got to direct Dave Jones in that bear scene” and “I did not know they were gonna use Astarion as the model. So I was the director in his scene, doing that stuff, and then saw it later with my character”.
The optional sex scene sees Astarion, the High-Elf Rogue, engage with Halsin, a Druid that has the ability to morph. What starts as a fairly conventional engagement quickly takes a turn for the bizarre as the elf’s partner transforms into a bear, and the act continues. The character’s surprised facial expression really says it all.
All the proper steps were taken to ensure the direction was handled well: “Larian has been great to include intimacy directors very early on, And also, whenever an actor wanted them”, Newbon says. “They flagged every [intimate] session: ‘This is this kind of stuff; do you require an intimacy director?’ … They’re so incredibly good at keeping a safe space for the actors, as well as the crew, because the crew gets affected by stuff too”.
During the panel itself, a development team member says, “It’s all about choice and consequences,” and that’s certainly on the money. Now that the game is out, you’re able to get out into the world and give these romance options a try for yourself.