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Baldur's Gate 3 Players Are Speedrunning Companion Romances

Developer Larian Studios hired an intimacy coordinator to ensure the game's romance scenes were top-notch.


Part of what makes Baldur's Gate 3 such a compelling game is developer Larian Studios' commitment to player freedom and choice. Players can approach everything from combat and puzzles to character development in a multitude of ways. Naturally, speedrunners are getting in on the action, but in a rather hilarious turn of events, they aren't just speedrunning dungeons and boss fights--they're speedrunning companion romances, too.

Baldur's Gate 3 features a number of well-written companions with a great deal of character depth. Similar to other RPGs, the romanceable companions in Baldur's gate each have their own companion quest, which will boost a companion's affinity for the player upon completion. But a companion quest doesn't have to be completed in order for the player to get some action, and now, Baldur's Gate 3 speedrunners are dedicating some serious time to bedding companions in record time.

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The current record-holder, a player who goes by Mae, told Wired that the speedrunning category began as more of a joke than anything else.

​​"I didn’t really feel any pressure to do well or anything," Mae told the publication. "It was to be funny and put it out there that, 'Hey, by the way, you can bang in like, eight minutes.'"

In August, Mae posted a YouTube video in which they set the world record for romancing Lae'zel, managing to lure the fierce githyanki fighter into their bedroll in a grand total of 4 minutes and 12 seconds. A month ago, Mae slashed that record in half, charming Lae'zel in only 1 minute and 58 seconds.

Of course, some companions are easier to romance than others. Gale, the party's resident wizard, had such a low approval threshold at launch that he would effectively attempt to jump the player's bones at the earliest opportunity. This was patched in September. Lae'zel was also patched to require more than simply high approval to trigger her romance, and Baldur's Gate 3 romance speedruns now have two categories: pre-patch #4 and post-patch #4.

"In romance runs especially, I think it goes against the cliché of some dude assembling a harem of brainless women," Mae said. "Especially in a game like this where, frankly, the companions have so much more emotional depth than anything we’ve seen previously in video games."

Part of the reason for that emotional depth--and some players' desire to speedrun romances--may be due to an unorthodox choice Larian made during the game's development: hiring an intimacy coordinator. Intimacy coordinators are typically only used in film and television, and function as a sort of advocate for actors filming risque scenes, making sure the actors involved are comfortable both with each other and with the desires of the production staff. Ultimately, they exist to ensure the wellbeing of the actors involved in the scene, as actors who feel comfortable in intimate scenes are more likely to give a believable, high-quality performance. The hiring of an intimacy coordinator speaks to Larian's dedication regarding both the creation of lifelike companions and the preservation of the health and happiness of the actors who play them.

When it comes to more difficult companions to romance, like Astarion (who can be quite a challenge for good-aligned player-characters to charm), some players have begun posting their own speedrun guides on how to skip first, second, and third base and head straight for a home run. But given the amount of detail in Baldur's Gate 3, it might be worth it to take your time. If you're hoping to take things with your in-game partner a bit slower than speedrunners, check out our Baldur's Gate 3 romance guides:

Baldur's Gate 3 is available on PC and PlayStation 5. It's coming to Xbox Series X|S in December.

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