Baldur’s Gate 3 actor on why it’s vital to ‘normalise’ queer characters in games

A split image, on the left is Neil Newbon, wearing a grey t-shirt and smiling, looking directly at the camera. On the right is a screenshot of Astarion from Baldur's Gate 3. He is shirtless and looking down at something.

Baldur’s Gate 3, the magical role-playing game (RPG), developed by Larian Studios and based on Dungeons & Dragons, has taken the gaming world by storm, receiving eight nominations – including a nod for game of the year – at tonight’s (7 December) Game Awards.

With its large amount of ​​LGBTQ+-friendly and sex-positive content, queer gamers welcomed Baldur’s Gate 3 into their libraries. 

In an interview with The Gamer, actor Neil Newbon, the voice of fan-favourite Astarion, said the support from the community was “amazing, humbling and something I wasn’t prepared for, but I love it”. 

He went on to say: “I get a lot of trans men coming up to me, which is amazing, not just for Astarion, but [for Resident Evil Village‘s] Heisenberg as well.

“I’m really blown away by that, and I feel humbled by it. I have had a lot of young kids talk to me about comfort characters, and it’s meant a lot to people.”

Astarion from Baldur's Gate 3. He is stood outside, bowing slightly, with his arms spread out beside him.
Neil Newbon says it’s important that Astarion is pansexual. (Baldur’s Gate 3)

‘Keep pushing the message: you should love who you want to love, that shouldn’t be an issue and nobody should judge you for it

Doubling down on his support for the LGBTQ community, Newbon said: “The big thing for me identifying with Astarion is that he’s pansexual… he’s attracted to anybody he’s attracted to, and he loves anybody who he will love.

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“I think that’s a beautiful message, especially these days when we’ve seen great strides in the LGBTQ+ community.

“It’s important to keep pushing the message forward that you should love who you want to love, and that shouldn’t be an issue, and nobody should judge you for it.”

Newbon’s support for the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t end there. He has stood up for the asexual and aromantic people as well, who are frequently left out of these discussions. 

He took the time to remind players that: “You don’t have to pursue romance, you can be [Astarion’s] friend, and a very close one at that.

“It’s important to normalise those things in games, media, film and TV, to mark an evolution of our society to what it should be: which is you live your life how you want, we support you and we love you”.

There’s no doubt that fans got it right by dubbing the RPG the “queerest game of all time”. Apart from the incredible support from the cast, which includes transgender YouTube star Abigail Thorn, Larian Studios have been widely praised for their work creating trans-inclusive options within the character customisation screens.

Smashing the gender binary, Baldur’s Gate 3 gives players the choice of four “body types” rather than presenting typical binary gender options. What’s more, the game allows you to customise your character right down to their genitals – even offering a range of pubic hair styles – and their pronouns. 

Despite the game’s resounding success, the LGBTQ+ references are clearly a problem for some right-wing gamers, who have begun using a homophobic and transphobic mod that removes all queer references in the game.  

For more LGBTQ+ and inclusive gaming content, follow our page Gaymeo.

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