Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear Interview

Game industry-oriented website Develop has interviewed the CEO of Beamdog Trent Oster, who was asked about the recent controversy surrounding Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Thankfully, though, the interview doesn't just focus on social media politics, which I have to confess I've grown a bit tired of by now, but also delves into the studio's own culture and processes. A couple of interesting snippets:

([The revelation that she is transgender] is what we consider three dialogue nodes deep,) Oster explains. (We put an arbitrary limit on our writers for our support characters of just three nodes deep, just to control wordcount. Siege of Dragonspear is over 500,000 words of dialogue, so we had to put limits on writers so they didn't create more.


(Obviously we wanted to explore her story in a broader, deeper way, but the three-line limitation cut it off. If anyone was going to get to the fact that this character is transgender, they had to do it pretty fast. Upon my review of the character, I think that within three lines it's actually quite well done.)

As such, despite calls to have Mizhena or her backstory removed from the game completely, Beamdog is dropping its three-line limit in this case in order to better present this revelation. Oster promises that the writers will be revisiting this character and finding a way for players to (develop a relationship) with her before she discloses this highly personal information.


(The fact is, there are refugees in the world,) he says. (Anywhere where there is a horrible conflict, there will be refugees. It fits with the story we're telling: there's an army forming in the north, forcing people into the ranks and displacing others that generates refugees.

(We needed an instigating event to get you our of Baldur's Gate otherwise your character just sits there, getting fat. That instigating event is the pressure caused by people fleeing the army in the north.

(Even given the reality of today with Syrian refugees, I don't think we'd go back and change it because it's part of our story. To use the usual disclaimer: any resemblance to actual events, persons living or dead. and so on.)