Jennifer English, the voice of Shadowheart the brooding Cleric in hit fantasy RPG Baldur's Gate 3 has shed more light on her performance, stating that the character's arc is a "trans allegory."
In an interview with TRG, English revealed that she approached the performance from a queer perspective. "There's been talk a lot about the trans allegory of Shadowheart which I was certainly aware of in recording. I wanted to honor that."
When it comes to approaching the character from an LGBTQ+ perspective, English went on to say that "it's something that, perhaps, I can't not infuse from the beginning - whether I consciously thought about it or not. [...] It's not something I shoehorned in."
The explicit framing of Shadowheart's arc as a queer coming-out story marks a new step for the character. Shadowheart's willingness to forsake her past and attempt to embrace a future that's more her own resonates with many queer fans, myself included.
For those not in the know, in addition to being attracted to the player character regardless of their gender, Shadowheart has a mysterious hand injury that flares up throughout the game - a vulnerability that makes her all the more relatable as a character.
As a queer woman herself, English is well placed to offer this kind of performance and to provide the kind of nuance that LGBTQ+ people deserve from queer characters in video games.
English went on to discuss other aspects of the character that echo with fans from marginalized groups. "There are a lot of people that resonate with [Shadowheart's] religious trauma. There’s a huge amount of that. And, obviously, the queerness and also things like PTSD [... and] chronic pain.”
"I certainly resonate with [these themes] and wanted to be really careful around [them]," concluded English.
In other news, Baldur's Gate 3's latest patch dropped yesterday (November 30) bringing with it brand new epilogue scenes, as well as promises from developer Larian Studios that it would improve animations across all of the game's romances.
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Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.
Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure.
Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.