Baldur’s Gate 3’s performances are so good because all 248 voice actors also did the motion capture Leave a comment

If you weren’t impressed by Baldur’s Gate 3 enough already, it turns out that motion capture from 248 actors was used across its many NPCs.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is wowing players for a whole host of reasons, with the big cast of characters and their performances, whether they’re a major part of the story or not, being a big part of that. And the big reason the game’s performances are so strong is because all 248 actors that recorded dialogue also did motion capture for their characters. Baldur Gate 3’s performance director Aliona Baranova shared this in a Twitter thread earlier this week, where she went into all the effort that went into getting these performances.

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“Firstly: for almost all the dialogue we recorded we also captured the actors mocap data,” Baranova wrote. “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 & sent along with the audio files for the animators to use in game. Which is why the performances feel so alive.”

Baranova noted that the exception to the rule was only when voice actors were recording lines for voiced animals, additional dialogue like “when you see a birds eye view of a character running while speaking,” cinematic cutscenes, and the odd occasion where an actor was injured or unable to record motion capture and do voice only.

“Which means the iconic head wiggles [Jennifer English] did as Shadowheart were Jen’s actual head wiggles,” Baranova continued. “The militaristic & alien-like movements of Lae were Devora Wilde’s physical choices for the character. Neil Newbon’s theatrical flair as Astarion are all part of the actors choices.”

The full thread is well worth a read, as it gives a good insight into what that side of game development is like, as well as what it’s like to be a performance director.

Larian Studios recently confirmed that it will be able to release Baldur’s Gate 3 on Xbox Series X/S this year, though it will come at the cost of not having split-screen on Series S.

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