Does Baldur’s Gate 3 have split-screen local co-op?

Check out all the Baldur’s Gate 3 split-screen details to find out how to play local couch co-op with your friends on PS5, Xbox, and PC in Larian's huge RPG.

Baldur's Gate 3 split-screen: A female elf holding a magical object.

Baldur’s Gate 3 split-screen is a feature that many hoped would be in Larian’s enormous, critically-acclaimed RPG so that they could jump into local couch co-op to explore the vivid world with friends. After all D&D is designed to be played with others. But does Baldur’s Gate 3 have split-screen local co-op? And if so, is it supported on all platforms? Well, we’ve got all the answers right here.

Baldur’s Gate 3 split-screen would be the perfect opportunity to explore what could easily be one of the best RPG games alongside your friends or family. With 12 Baldur’s Gate 3 classes and even more subclasses, there’s lots of variety in terms of playstyles and roles, letting you and your group make the best (or worst) party composition possible. However, there’s been a lot of chatter and controversy around split-screen in BG3 when it comes to certain platforms, so here’s all the info you need.

Does Baldur’s Gate 3 have split-screen?

Baldur’s Gate 3 split-screen is available on PC and PS5. When BG3 comes to Xbox Series X|S, it will initially only be available on the Series X, so those with the less-powerful Series S will not have access to split-screen and couch co-op. 

Baldur’s Gate 3 split-screen allows up to two players to play the entire game together in local couch co-op multiplayer. The remaining two party members will be filled by companions. However, both players must be using a controller.

Baldurs Gate 3 split screen: a man with a sword strapped to his back and long black hair looks up

While online multiplayer supports up to four players at once, making a full party, split-screen local co-op only allows for up to two players on the same device. This is likely due to technical limitations, but given how many complex systems are at play, having a single screen divided into up to four parts would make the experience quite difficult.

Nevertheless, split-screen local co-op has long been an important feature for Larian Studios, which also included split-screen support in Divinity Original Sin 2. We’re glad to see that even in the larger and more ambitious BG3, split-screen and local co-op is a top priority.

In fact, one of the reasons why the Baldur’s Gate 3 Xbox release date will arrive later than PC and PS5 is due to Larian having issues with split-screen working on the Series S. This was confirmed in an official blog post which detailed that the team “need to ensure that the game is performing without compromise across the entire Xbox X|S ecosystem, in multiplayer and with split-screen”. Microsoft expects developers that release games on the Xbox platform to have complete parity when it comes to modes and features between the Series S and X, with the exception of things like graphics, of course.

Baldurs Gate 3 split screen: A screenshot of a tweet announcing the news of split-screen for BG3 on Xbox Series X

However, at Gamescom 2023, a deal was struck between Larian and Xbox that would allow Baldur’s Gate 3 to have split-screen only on the Xbox Series X. This deal means that BG3 will hit Xbox consoles before the end of 2023, however, split-screen will only be on the Series X and will be absent from the Series S. This was confirmed in the above post by Larian founder and CEO, Swen Vincke.

The most important detail is that the entire game can be played in split-screen co-op, so there’s no need to change your plans just because you’re playing with your friend. From taking on side quests, main quests, or just exploring the diverse and intricate Baldur’s Gate 3 map, there’s a lot of fun to be found in the multiplayer experience. Playing with others – whether in split-screen local co-op or online multiplayer – can also impact the Baldur’s Gate 3 length, so it’s worth thinking about.

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With so much potential for character synergy and party composition, split-screen is a great addition. While players will assemble a team of companions in single-player, multiplayer allows players to create synergies with each other, such as one player serving as the tank and another as a damage dealer or support. Make sure to take a look at the DnD races to help decide which is the best fit for each of your team’s characters. This also comes in handy during exploration and questing, such as the Rogue and Bard which can open locked areas and chests, or Charisma scaling characters like the Paladin who are good in conversations. Yes, that means you can even create the best Baldur’s Gate 3 party with your friends.

If you regularly play DnD with your friends, you can even take inspiration from your DnD classes and DnD character builds to recreate them in-game. It’s a great way to experience the traditional game in the sprawling world Larian has faithfully built.

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How to play co-op split-screen in Baldur’s Gate 3

To play co-op split-screen in Baldur’s Gate 3, connect two controllers to the same device during gameplay. Most importantly, both players must use a controller input device. Split-screen does not currently function with mouse and keyboard.

Many players have run into issues setting up co-op split-screen in BG3, and this is most likely due to the fact that it is unavailable with a mouse and keyboard. Luckily, Baldur’s Gate 3 controller support is quite robust.

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Another confusing detail is that this doesn’t need to be selected from a menu; split-screen co-op is not a separate mode. Rather, it can be activated anytime during gameplay simply by setting up two controllers on the same device.

How well does split-screen run in Baldur’s Gate 3 on PS5?

Split-screen on PS5 in Baldur’s Gate 3 has a number of serious issues according to reports. These include a significant drop in frame rate to below 30 frames per second and other big performance hurdles when two players are in different areas or parts of a city.

These reports come from IGN who tested the game in their performance review.

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This is definitely disappointing to see as split-screen is one of the tentpole features of the RPG. It isn’t seen much these days and it’s great to see it here, although these issues may cause you to have second thoughts about playing it with a friend or partner.

There are performance issues with split-screen on every platform, however, especially in Act 3. So, this isn’t just exclusive to PS5. But it is disappointing to know the game can’t always stick to 30 frames-per-second on console.

That’s all you need to know about Baldur’s Gate 3 split-screen and local co-op. When you’re assembling your party, it’s a good idea to take a look at the best Baldur’s Gate 3 class before you do so. Now team up and get ready to explore what could be one of the best games of all time.