Baudelaire Welch

Baudelaire Welch

Larian Studios

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I am currently working full time at Larian Studios as a Senior Narrative Designer. There I am the feature lead for companion characters and romances. I am the screenwriter for the Dark Urge Origin and work in an associate capacity screenwriting for the other origin characters. Previously at Paradox Interactive I was a Game Designer on Crusader Kings III. I have additionally published a solo cyberpunk interactive fiction work Don't Wake Me Up with Choice of Games.

Baudelaire Welch is speaking at the following session/s

Romance Storytelling in Games

4:00pm - 4:45pm
Room 4

Drawing not only from the experiences of being design feature lead for romance and companions on Baldur's Gate 3, but also a lifetime of growing up having crushes on fictional characters, I will present an analysis of how we craft interactive relationships which create real parasocial affection in players. This will be part history of romance features in video games, part analysis of why we crave this feature in the first place, and part suggestions for improving on past designs.

Session Takeaway

  • This talk will establish some genre definitions and taxonomise types of romance design within gaming history.
  • Simulation of romance in video games has historically led so many questioning LGBT+ individuals to have a safe environment with which to run experiments testing their sexuality.
  • We are very good at showing escapist visions of relationships in video games, but we are not particularly good at showing the 'ugly'. I will analyse some of my work trying to depict arguments, drifting apart, power imbalances, and sexual trauma within video game relationships - and what those themes mean to players.
  • The talk will overall try to provide insight into more realistic ways to think about relationship design - we aren't collecting 'sex' cards like in Witcher 1 any more.

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