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Zoodbourgh

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  1. That doesn't really compare though. Sure, plenty more people will see the beginning of the game than the end. On the other hand, it's conceptually impossible to not have an end to the game (even if you'd want to). Romances are entirely optional, however. As for the conditional dialogue options, those will indeed be seen by only a subset of players. But these are very minor, they generally add flavour and maybe a small change in gameplay (you resolve a confrontation peacefully instead of fighting, you get an item) but not much else; they're mostly very self-contained, different branches of dialogue will quickly converge back onto a finite set of outcomes. The choices you made in this regard usually have no impact on the rest of the game (except through generic mechanisms like dispositions and reputation and such). This makes them attractive from a development point of view, because the investment is typically just a couple of lines of dialogue being added, some differences in the quest log and whatnot. There will be exceptions to some degree, NPC-specific quests are inherently an example of that as well, but the degree to which such kind of content is included definitely has to be weighed against its cost. And given the sketchy track-record of romances in RPGs and games in general and the fact that its appeal is rather more limited than general NPC quests and content, there are plenty of good arguments against including them. As for player choice, I don't really see how romances in themselves really add to that. They offer the choice of pursuing the romance or not, but then again that applies to any content; I can choose to do the NPC quests or not, I can choose to do any of the optional side-quests or not. It gets you stuff and experience points, but by themselves they can still be entirely linear. Romances in games generally are fairly as well, so in that regard they don't offer a clear added value above more general optional (NPC-specific or otherwise) quests. And of course you can make a more branching romance, but the same applies to any other quest or content as well. They don't have to be about money and business sense alone, in my experience it works out better if the people making it can be creative and put something of themselves into it. But money is the bottom line, it's what makes it possible to make the game in the first place. And in a more general sense, money and successful games are what makes it possible for a compaby to continue to make games. This equation doesn't change because of Kickstarter backing, there is still a finite amount of money which can be converted into a finite amount of game content. It will tend to result in backers influencing that content, but that should only go so far; it's not a democracy, it's up to the developers to make the decisions and try to make it a good game. Besides, I'm not so sure such a large proportion of backers would consider romances all that crucial anyway. Moreover, the equation still doesn't change when a game is being developed by a single individual. It still takes time and money to do so, and it's hardly guaranteed to result in a better game if there's one person making all the decisions for it. It's no different from any other creative medium, most of the things people create are mediocre at best; because it takes talent and imagination and practice and a lot of work to make something that's actually good. A random dude making a game in his spare time having all those qualities... the odds are fairly bleak on that. And even if he does manage to pull it of, what makes you think that game *will* contain extensively branching content (it won't) or romances? I'm also not sure what you're basing the notion on that the dislike of, or opposition to, romances in games/RPGs is due to a prejudice to specific elements of human nature like romance. There are lots of other aspects of human nature that don't get much attention in games either. You don't see a lot of pooing in games either, and I'd say that's far more fundamental to human existence than romance (and far more relevant to warfare as well). Mostly, these are things that are just not very central to the reasons people play the game in the first place, and including them would be more effort than it's worth. I agree that games take imagination, time, and dedication. However, there are tons of games made by people in their free time with branching paths--or, at the least, with choices and consequences: http://www.gamesradar.com/10-games-developed-entirely-one-person/ , https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-games-designed-and-built-by-only-one-person I'm basing "the notion [ . . . ] that the dislike of, or opposition to, romances in games/RPGs is due to a prejudice to specific elements of human nature like romance" on posts like the one Nonek made, but I realize now that I was being hasty. Hatred for romance topics on forums seems more-so to be a dislike for people like me, rather than for a specific aspect of human nature. It makes sense that a lot of aspects of human nature don't get talked about in video games. But there are games about cancer (http://www.thatdragoncancer.com/#home), games about feces (http://store.steampowered.com/app/449540/), and games that aren't scripted in a traditional, linear manner (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoUKgEuskMs). I think it's a bit unfair to say that "these are things that are just not very central to the reasons people play the game in the first place," because there seems to be a demand for these games; they seem to be filling a void in story-telling and/or interaction that couldn't be achieved through a novel or some other medium. But if you're talking specifically about PoE, then I see your point and have to agree that people have myriad other reasons to play the game than the reasons I've talked about. In fact, I'm a bit anxious that my original post might not have been on-topic for this section of the forum because I think I'm more-so talking about games in general rather than PoE specifically. Well that escalated quickly :-P Yes, it's true, many RPGs, PoE including, are built on the premise of content changing and adjusting based on player choice. Most of the time however, content can be reused and reshuffled as needed in order to maximize feeling of player impact while minimizing work necessary to achieve such end. If you wrote a fully fledged romance however, we're basically talking a huge dead branch of vastly different content which can't really be used anywhere else - I'd prefer that effort going into fleshing out the non-romance aspects of a companion. I'm sorry about that. I meant to use the question as a rhetorical device, but now I see that my response was heavy-handed and extremely rude. I'll try to be more careful.
  2. Aren't you talking about character development at its worst, though? A mechanic that is a "massive waste of resources, woefully underdeveloped or forced" could be improved into something that is "developed," and "forced" could be improved into something that is "natural." We keep talking about the past of video games and how certain aspects of character development are money pits, but doesn't that make us reiterate "It didn't work before, so let's stop trying"? Why should we give up? Further, almost every aspect of an RPG is something that only a "minor % of playerbase" is ever going to see. A lot of people who played PoE never finished the game. There are some mechanics in the game that have eluded people, including myself, and there are toooons of dialogue options that you can't choose unless you decide to be of certain race or background at the beginning of the game. PoE is a game all about choices and consequences, and because people make different choices, they're going to experience the story in certain ways and miss things that other people saw. For example, if your character has high Might, you can intimidate people. If your character doesn't have high Might, then, of course, that option will not be open to you. There are so many choices in the game that only show up to a "minor % of playerbase," so saying that another mechanic that follows in the same vein should not be implemented would therefore mean NOTHING should be left up to player choice. If you really think that's the case, why do you play RPGs? That's an interesting point, if a little disheartening. I don't see why games have to only be about business sense; though I do understand that money is important to a lot of people, and big games with branching paths and complicated systems cannot be made without it, unless of course the writers and programmers were willing to work for free (highly unlikely ). Also, there is the argument that PoE was only possible because of all the Kickstarter Backers who supported the project. It's understandable that the project should be what the Backers want. However, there are games that are made by one person, and this freedom allows for a story and gameplay not constrained by what the investors and the audience want. Because of this, I don't think all games are merely "commercial ventures," nor do I think they have to be in order to be successful. I agree that video games are not usually a "platform for budding writers"; yet on the other hand, I don't see why they can't be. A story also doesn't have to be told by a writer; gameplay is just as strong a force for narrative. In my original post, I didn't mean to say that the design of the game should be up to individual writers--I only meant that it would be cool if people did away with strong prejudices toward certain elements of human nature, like romance. Thanks I agree! I think maturity is a huge factor, as well. It seems that a lot of RPGs take "mature" to mean "sexual," and I don't think those two things are remotely related
  3. It seems that a lot of people have a great dislike toward romance in RPGs, and in the other topic I was reading (http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/86950-pillars-of-eternity-2-wish-list-and-suggestions/) it was voiced that romance is not welcome in PoE II. To me, saying "Don't put romance in the game" is similar to saying "I want all the characters in PoE II to act in a way that I approve of." Should we really limit the writers by telling them "We don't want you to have the freedom to write the characters you want to write"? As someone who enjoys writing, when I write a character I try to understand what the character really wants. If a character has no interest in romance, either because of the character's nature or what the character has been through, then so be it; but I don't want to place an artificial limit on my character's development by restricting his or her attachment to other characters in the story. Who am I to say he or she cannot develop romantic attachments to others? It's not my job to limit my characters; it's my job to write them as they are--to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. It just seems unfair to ask for "no romances," because if we want interesting, gritty, moving, or deep characters, then why would we want to restrict and simplify potential outcomes of their character development? Don't we want more freedom to roleplay whomever we wish? Why shouldn't we extend that same freedom to the other characters in the story--to let them be whomever they want to be? Now, I'm not asking that every character be a love interest; I hope I haven't conveyed that. I'm just trying to get at the fact that writers oftentimes need freedom from outside prejudice to fully develop a character--whether that prejudice be of race, creed, or romance options (or lack thereof). If a writer is limited by what his or her readers are prejudiced against, then the character will suffer for it. That is not to say a writer shouldn't make a prejudiced character ; on the contrary, freedom from outside forces allows the writer to make controversial characters. By this I mean that artistic freedom allows deep characters to made, such as characters with controversial pasts or outlooks. The writer had to be open-minded enough to write that racist or rude character, and the audience has to in turn be open-minded enough to interact with that character. Honestly, to me, saying that we don't want romances hints at a deeper problem, and not just that we've had a history of bad romances in video games: a suggestion like "No romances!" shows just how consumer-centered video games are. How can we expect good writing or meaningful choices in games when we demand what characters should or should do, when we demand that artistic freedom be taken away? If we treat video games like burgers--"I'll take a double patty with extra sauce, no onions."--then we won't help video games become more than just a product to be consumed and thrown away. If you've read this entire spiel, thank you so much.
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