Dungeon Masters across the lands have been fighting against Necromancers for years, specifically due to their ability to speak with dead bodies. Sure, it’s a taboo to actually drag someone back from the afterlife just for a short chat, but that doesn’t stop the more chaotic D&D players from going full gremlin and resurrecting whoever they can. It’s a bit of a nuisance for DMs to have to take into account every dead person that can be talked to, but it’s next to impossible to properly implement in a video game.
That’s why if you’ve ever been on a merry stroll in Baldur’s Gate 3 and come across some dead bodies that have been decapitated, it’s because developer Larian Studios probably didn’t want you talking to them. In a new interview with Wizard of the Coast’s Todd Kenreck, Baldur’s Gate 3 creative director Swen Vincke talked about the challenges of making sure options in the game such as Speak with Dead were properly fleshed out, revealing some of the tricks that were used to make ambitious options like those managable for the team.
For the Speak with Dead spell, one of the tricks that Larian used was to make sure players couldn’t speak to any dead bodies that had been decapitated. It’s pretty hard to speak to someone who doesn’t have a head. Doing this gave Larian a little bit more control over their players’ actions, as they could simply decpitate anyone who might have some potentially game breaking info tucked away in their cranium.
“I learned a long time ago that our first games were very ambitious but we didn’t really manage to fulfill the ambitions within the game, because we didn’t really fully support the features,” says Vincke.
“From the criticisms on those games, I learned that it’s really important that if you put a feature in there, you have to go full monty, which means you can speak with animals, you can speak with every animal. You can speak with dead, you can speak with, well, the trick that we use is any dead that still has their head. You will see a lot of decapitated people in the game, but that’s literally how we solved that.”
You can forgive Larian for decapitating a few people to lighten the load a little bit, especially given how creative the Baldur’s Gate 3 fanbase is. They’re always coming up with bizarre ways to skip content, whether it be Matt Mercer building a tower of boxes to scale a fortress, or planting 15,000 gold on a boss character so they could later one shot them. If Larian needs to lop the heads off a few people to curb some of these shenanigans, I say get chopping.
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