Well, I went and searched for information on this mod and I found this:
So, your example of a "good starting point for a romance done well" is:
1) A character from a mod. Mods have a bunch of crucial departures from the rest of the game: they do not draw from the budget of the game, and they are optional in the purest sense of the word, for example. I do not find this to be a fair comparison. Especially considering that PE will likely not let you disable parts of the character outside of the game, like the mod allows you to do.
2) A character that was not originally designed as a romance option. In fact, it took three extra versions to include that at all. You said in an earlier page that romances are not a lot of work to do if they're planned from the beginning, but this example goes completely against that.
3) A character that has been developed for over four years. With the help of a professional writer from the beginning. Holy crap. You have read this post, right? You expect a writer to be able to match that in a sixteenth part of that time? You do realize that Obsidian cannot dedicate that many resources to the exclusive development of a companion, right?
I just... seriously, is that the best example you have? A mod? Because if mods already have that quality, why do you care if PE has romances or not? Modders will make romances regardless of game content, and considering your example, they'll do a better job anyway!
1. I was showing what I believe is a good example of a well written romance.
2. You're right it didn't originally include a romance - but that's part of the point wanted to make, whole levels of depth have been added to the character since the romance was added - the romance element hasn't detracted from the character at all, it has enhanced the entire project. It also shows that Romance can be added later - this doesn't invalidate my earlier point because IT IS easier (and much LESS work) to incorporate the romance in the beginning. I never said it couldn't be added later, just that you are making your life harder for yourself by doing so.
3. The mod itself has been in development for 4 years not the romance aspect of it. These people are not professionals, they have day jobs/lives/loves etc. And they didn't have help of a professional writer from the beginning - Mr Pratchett played the mod from version 1, his advice and pointers started from Version 2 onwards. It's also taken four years because the modders chose to continue developing it, taking it from one game to another. I don't expect Obsidian match that at all (well ... perhaps if some of the NPCs make it into the sequels, but that's a different kettle of fish); I wanted to show it can be done and to see if there are aspects that could be applied to other romances. I also wanted to see if other people deemed it a good romance and if not, why not? You know, promoting a discussion about romances rather than the attacking/defending that is the current status quo in this topic.
4. Seriously? A Mod? Yes. - Does matter if amateurs (with help) wrote the mod? Good is good, no matter who writes it. Is it the best I can do? I wasn't really putting it out there as some sort of challenge. Foolishly, I thought the point was to show that romances can be well written. Why do I care about P:E if mods are a that level quality? Because all mods unfortunately are not at that level of quality. Also, although Oblivion and Skyrim can be fun games, they are very shallow; I want something with a little more depth and better writing, something which Obsidian is famous for.
5. Maybe modders will make romances, maybe they will be better than any 'Official' one, maybe they won't. Besides, I don't about you, but I love Obsidians writing and I would really like to see their take on it - especially Mr. Avellones ideas for a doomed romance.