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Romances in video games. Interesting topic it is. Sometimes spark some heated discussions like 1st time Bioware showed some blured blue buttcheaks in ME1 (the horror), or Overwatch Tracer showed off her glutes, not to mention PoE tombstone with joke about transsex in world full of general prejudice. Players seems to be more exited about making war not love, at least in virtual fiction. So what do You think about romances in video games, more specific crpg? As for memorable examples: Mario and Zelda (or is it Link?) the first example of using sex drive to motivate players to smash head against the walls or abuse maschrooms. Witcher 2 or Deus EX HR, we was on quest to rescue our princess. There was probably some world domination plot also, not sure. Witcher 3, rescue the world yadda yadda, also some father-daughter relationship, this game is mosty about spending time with your daughters before great white cold gets us all. Also this game sometimes punish player if he playes to much with women hearts. Thumbs up for hilarious dialogues and love interest being own being not just token. Baldurs Gate 2, numerous instances, like party members fighting for MC affecion, or Hydralisc Scoundrel wooing Aerie out of party, or being able to turn Dark Drow a bit less dark. Dragon Age Origins: we could perform demonic abortion which changes ending and future of the world. ME123 FF7 (and more) as soon as we know each other she will die in most horrible way. Dragon Age Inqusition, Dorian and Iron Bull are romance interest, gay, and complex characters. KOTOR1 with a power of love we could cure dark side. Persona jRPG... that is some different way to play, but some people like it. Mass Effect 123 if we romance Liara it makes much more sense why she spends so much resources on saving commandor Shepard. On the other hand there are examples of showing sex in the very casual way like Witcher 1. Probably not that bad (it is not like you are forced to do it). However need to decide if we show romance as serious plot element or joke (sex jokes always good). Some thoughts: Spending all time together in enviroment full of threat and adventure leads to bonding and affection. Ignoring that is another game simplification (nothing bad). Romances could lead to greater immersion into story or be just other field of roleplay. Is my character romantic or more casual or prude? We could use romance interest for something, drive the main plot or start sidequest. Could allow advanced interaction with CNPC, like manipulate to dark side or something Allow more emotional exposition (most characters will not open too much even to their trusty leader) which some people enjoy. Dont need to be consumed before boss battle. Could carry on for whole game never having final declaration. Romances are interactive, which is abit better than lore stream of usual companion conversation. How to do good: Unless main quest drive should be optional. Needs more dialogue options about love interest being our favorite companion since Garrus or dreaming about future. Love interest will probably be jealious for our "side quests" Possibility of screwing our romance over if we hooing too much, or make other major mistakes. Love interest dont need to approve all our action. Having moody but extreme loyal companion... that is something. Love interest needs to be interesting as character on its own, even as bro Not all lovers need to be punchy, cute, soft and have dramatic trauma from the past. Need option to end at any given time, magic is gone and i feel nothing. Had PoE1 romance potencial? Well, Eder was already very dedicated almost worshiping watcher, also he is a simple man who probably couldnt resist magic girl who can literally touch his soul. But that would require more dialogue text, probably some sidequest to show us affection, and some scene under the stars talking about future in the stronghold with mini zoo full of soft creatures. Pallegina, that would be another story, probably not consumed in any way, since she is bond by her duty and order. Diplomatic immunity does not protect against charm. That would be interesting if we tried, and she even wanted, but cant since duty. Real knighty story. Aloth, it will be Aloth in the streets, Iselmyr in the sheets. Romances generally increase production cost, since more text, and also it probably be better if we have companion quest to interact with choosen one, and we need skilled copywritter which is resource on its own. Not easy stuff. Some ideas?
I haven't started writting this post with a "Dear Obsidian" because I don't want the tone of the text to be confused with cynicism or sarcasm. With the writing of this text I am just trying to voice out my honest concerns towards a game that I've backed, and as such, this post should be read only as that, although I still would really like to be answered by at least one of the members of the Obsidian crew, if anything else. First of all, I do think the game looks amazing so far. Well, with that out of the way, my concerns started when I read in a virtual magazine that "Pillars of Eternity" will not include romance options. As a backer, I wasn't aware of this as I've always assumed that a game that was aiming to be a spiritual successor of "Baldur's Gate 2" and "Planescape: Torment" will at least try to create deep relationships with companions and or NPCs in the same way those games did. I was somewhat confused and dissapointed with this news, so I just went back to the original pitch and I read it again: "Project Eternity will take the central hero, memorable companions and the epic exploration of Baldur's Gate, add in the fun intense combat and dungeon diving of Icewind Dale, and tie it all together with the emotional writing and mature thematic exploration of Planescape: Torment" The first time I read the pitch back when the kickstarter campaign started, I was thrilled at the oportunity of playing one game that will mix together the deep and richness of writing of both the "Baldur's Gate saga" and "Planescape: Torment". I have to admit that I was never very fond of the "Icewind Dale" series because while good games, they always felt to me much less alive due to the lack of companions or roleplaying options. Still, the combat in those games were pretty good and that was exactly what Obsidian was aiming to bring back from them, according to the pitch, so everything was good. But now, after these news, it feels to me that we are getting more "Icewind Dale" than "Baldur's Gate" or "Planescape: Torment", although I would really like to be wrong about this once the game is out on the street. The thing is I remember that one of the stretch goals for the game was centered on unlocking levels and more levels of a megadungeon. At the time, my first thought was "Cool", "neat" and " I am really looking forward to explore that", but that was before this news, because I would take roleplaying options over endless dungeons anyday. I know the game is gonna have interactions with companions seen as friendships or hateships but, somehow these interactions won't feel as deep as the ones in "Baldur's Gate" and "Planescape: Torment" because those had friendships + romances...and wasn't the whole point of the project to bring back that same level of deep interaction? And yes, I consider that a game without romances (understood either as they were offered in Baldur's Gate 2 or as they were developed in Planescape: Torment) will fundamentally offer less roleplaying options for the players. A game where your character emotional romantic connections are essentially nullified during the whole journey, without options for the player for those relationships to happen, feels as limited as a game with forced relationships only. I am not saying this game will be a bad game because of this decision, but I do think it somehow failed already to be as deep as Baldur's Gate 2 or Planescape: Torment concerning the roleplaying posibilities. Because in BG2 you could chose to pursue romances or not, and that simple detail is always better that not having the option of doing so. Likewise in Planescape: Torment, we believed the relationships between the Nameless One and Deionarra, Annah, Fall-From-Grace or even Ravel because there were so many roleplaying options given through dialogue where you could chose how to behave with these characters, all of which obviously felt something for our Nameless fella. To me, the game felt much more real and believable thanks to those interactions because the creators weren't ruling out roleplaying posibilities and options, so each player had the chance to make the story of the game their own thanks to the answers they were deciding to give. If in "Pillars of Eternity" options like these are simply ruled out, every player will feel that their main character is either asexual, a psychopath or somebody that simply is no interested in any of their companions or the NPCs in the world in any romantic way whatsoever, which can be possible but it's unlikely and force the player down a certain kind of character. While the decision to rule out romances is great for players that want to roleplay their characters in that particular fashion, the rest of the players will be left frustrated with a character that they will not feel their own partly because of these restrictions. At this point, in case it wasn't clear, I would like to add that I understand romances in some different ways and I feel that at least the options given by both "Baldur's Gate 2" and "Planescape: Torment" were not only valid, but very interesting.To those putting romance and waifu in the same bag...I really don't think they are the same thing, they don't even play in the same league. And really, who really wants waifu stuff in their Obsidian RPG, anyway? Is somebody crazy enough to think Obsidian is going to write that kind of thing? No, I am obviously talking about something else when I talk about romances, for example, to those saying that "Planescape: Torment" didn't have romances, well, I simply don't feel that's true. Actually, my favourite approach to romances was Planescape's were those relationships were subtly played throughout the whole game, slowly building the connections with your companions. Fall-From-Grace is, for example, the epitome of a doomed romance, damning both of the characters in the process. Another person in another forum commented this about the Planescape's romances and I totally agree with him/her: "All of the romances in PS:T are there to underline the way in which TNO is bringing torment and suffering to all those close to him. The romances for Annah, FFG and Deionarrah serve the same purpose as Dakkon's enslavement and Morte's fate following you for eternity. Deinorrah needs no explanation, but Ravel makes it pretty clear that Annah falling in love with you is a 'very bad thing' (which can lead directly to her death - and even without that, puts her in a doomed devotion to someone whose fated to hell). FFG is the final part of the curse of torment - notice how when you encounter Ravel, she expertly picks apart every companion's weakness and points out just how TNO is bringing suffering upon them (Annah's love, Dakkon's slavery, Nordrom in a hopeless struggle against his own nature, and most of all, the one time in the whole game where Morte's joking facade gets broken, with Ravel revealing the bitter desparation beneath his humour)....but when she comes to addressing FFG she doesn't really have anything to say - in fact, while all the other characters are being taken apart, FFG is described as carefully sizing Ravel up for weaknesses. Then you get to the end of the game, with TNO on his way to hell...and finally FFG's torment becomes clear when she swears that she's go back to the very place that she had once escaped from, making a vow to rescue TNO that can't possibly be fulfilled and serves only to doom her to the same fate as TNO." So, in closing, we had thematically relevant romances in "Planescape:Torment" but also regular romances in "Baldur's Gate 2" where your companions developed feeling towards your characters only because they were given the chance to travel with him in first place, and from that point, things evolve according to player decisions. I don't think that's a bad option either. I think both games did a great job with their respective roleplaying options and that is why I find it weird that Obsidian is deciding to restrict the roleplaying capabilities of a game that claims to be a spiritual successor of those two classic RPGs. Modding the romances in is also not an option. At least for me. In first place, they won't be cannon and they will not ever be as intertwined with the story as one written by Obsidian. For those talking about this option...would they accept the other way around? Meaning, oficial game with romances and then some extra dungeons modded in by the community? Yep, I didn't think so. Josh Sawyer said in this very forum that the team didn't have the time or other resources to implement romances. But basically romances are more dialogue and reaction to it that adds roleplaying options to the player. Why then, if we assume roleplaying options are relevant in a CRPG, not give the backers the opportunity to have a say in this decision? Why not reaching a compromise? If the team doesn't have money or time for both let's say 40 dungeons and romances, why not ask the backers what would they rather have? And no, I don't mean cutting some levels from the megadungeon because what's promised is promised but maybe cutting some other dungeons instead. Inxile set up polls for decisions as important as deciding if the game were gonna be turn based or action with pause. Why not give the Pillars of Eternity backers the option to give their opinion? To know if they want the maximum amount of dungeons no matter what or if they would rather have less of them so that time and money would go to open more roleplaying options. I really would like something like this to happen. There are 73.986 backers only in the Kickstarter main page. 73.986. Do their opinions not matter? I know Obsidian has the last say but... is it not possible to even offer that option to the backers? To ask them what would they rather have via email/poll? Thank you for those patient enough to read the whole thing. As I said, this letter is addressed mainly to Obsidian, but dialogue is welcomed. Thanks again.