How to play co-op - Baldur's Gate 3

Learn how to set up a co-op campaign, how multiplayer works, and what each player can and cannot do when playing together.

Larian Studios

Baldur’s Gate 3 takes players on a massive journey, and what better way to enjoy that journey than by experiencing it through co-op? The good news is that there are a lot of ways to play Baldur’s Gate 3 co-op including online, locally, and even through couch co-op. There are a few important things to remember when playing with others and we’ve collated all that critical info for you below.

How to play co-op

There are a few ways to play Baldur’s Gate 3 co-op. You can play online with players on different PCs, offline via a LAN connection with players on different PCs, and even splitscreen couch co-op on one computer using controllers!

The multiplayer lobby creation screen

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To set up a co-op campaign, select Multiplayer from the Main Menu. From here, you will be directed to a server screen where you can search for other multiplayer games. The tab at the top can be used to switch between Online and LAN games.

Either select a game to join or click the Create button to start a lobby. This lobby is where your friends can join you before you dive into the multiplayer experience. You can have up to three other players join your game. Select the plus sign to open up your friends list and then select whoever you want to invite.

After selecting Launch, you will all be taken to a screen where you can either use an Origin character or create a new hero. Take your time coordinating who will be playing what, as having a good coverage of skills and classes can be useful. Once everyone has confirmed their character and made a Guardian, the campaign will begin.

How to invite a friend

The Multiplayer lobby with the Invite Friends option highlighted

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There are multiple opportunities to invite a friend to a game in Baldur’s Gate 3. After selecting Multiplayer and Create, you can select the plus icon to invite a friend. Additionally, when you’re already in a game, select the Session option from the pause screen and then the plus icon to invite a friend.

How to load a co-op game

The load game screen in Baldur's Gate 3

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Loading a co-op Baldur’s Gate 3 game is as simple as navigating to the Main Menu and selecting Load Game. Choose the multiplayer character (you will need to remember what it’s called) and then click Load Saved Game to begin.

After you have loaded, use the Session button in the pause screen to invite your friends. This screen is where you can assign each player their characters. Speaking of co-op characters…

Setting up co-op characters

While each player will be able to create their own character to use in co-op, these characters are saved to the host machine. Any character your friends create will not be saved to their PCs and as such will not be available to them to level up outside of multiplayer.

Additionally, you can always start up your multiplayer save and play solo. All of your friends characters will be under your control, allowing you to use them in battle, gain XP, and everything else – but where’s the fun in that?

When you do get back to multiplayer and your friends join, you can assign them their characters.

How to assign characters in co-op

The character assignment screen in Baldur's Gate 3

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After you’ve loaded your multiplayer save and all your friends have joined, you can assign them their characters via the Session screen. Hit Escape and select Session. Here you can use the arrows beside each character’s face to move them between players. Note that you cannot reassign a character you are currently controlling, so make sure you are controlling your own character by double-clicking the profile picture.

Singleplayer characters into co-op?

Because multiplayer characters are saved to the host machine, it is not possible to bring your advanced singleplayer character into someone else’s co-op campaign. However, you can invite someone to your singleplayer campaign and have them create a character. This will effectively become a multiplayer game.

Inviting someone is exactly the same as before. Select the Session button from the pause menu and send the invite. Your friend will need to create a character. Note that this character will be in your party forever as they are considered a main character. Make sure your friend creates something you need.

Origin characters and multiplayer

The character creation screen showing an Origin character

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The other interesting thing about the characters in Baldur’s Gate 3 is the Origin characters. These are preset characters that appear in the main story. Players can opt to start a game as one of these characters and it will affect how some events transpire. For instance, if someone starts as Shadowheart, she will no longer be trapped in a pod aboard the Nautiloid.

If you are already in a campaign and another player joins via a Session invite, they will be directed to create a character but cannot use an Origin character. The reason for this is that the campaign has already started and said characters already exist.

How co-op works in Baldur’s Gate 3

Now that you’ve got the co-op setup and everyone has their characters, you no doubt have questions regarding how it all actually works. The good news is that players can more or less do their own thing when playing co-op in Baldur’s Gate 3.

Players can explore the area, engage in conversations, collect gear, and more without everyone else needing to be present. Additionally, if another player unlocks a potion or recipe, it will unlock for you too.

Sometimes moving between locations requires all players to accept an offer. This typically occurs when moving between major areas.

How split-screen works

Split-screen in Baldur's Gate 3 with both characters standing on the beach

Source: Shacknews

Baldur’s Gate 3 also features splitscreen co-op play. When playing locally on one PC, both players will need to use a controller in order to move their character. With the screen split vertically down the middle, one player will control the character on the left while the other controls the one on the right.

The split in the screen will disappear during major cutscenes or if both characters are involved in the same activity. One example of this is if you are talking to an NPC, you will have a close-up while the other player can move around and explore. If they decide to come and “Listen”, the screen will switch to fullscreen.

While co-op in Baldur’s Gate 3 is easy to setup and get going, players will no doubt have a lot of questions when it comes to the finer details of multiplayer. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment thread below! Take a moment to read over our Baldur’s Gate 3 strategy guide for more quest walkthroughs and solutions to other questions.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

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