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Romances in NWN 2 and RPGs in general


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The "faithful followers" know that I was only on the project for the last six months of development.  Having an understanding of how little course correction can be done in six months tends to cause most people to not act like I personally penned the story and all the dialogues for NWN2 over the course of two years.

I can understand that. The only thing that irked me with the NWN2 romance was that you could only "get" the druid. I was hoping to check out the tail on Neeshka a bit closer, if you know what I mean :)

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I think that that is part of the problem. If you offer a romance, you're going to get people disappointed (or downright frothing at the mouth, depending on who you talk to) that it was only person X, but not person Y.

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I don't know. BG2 had 3 possible romance options with a male character, which seemed fine to me (never really dug Nalia as a character much anyhow) and the female options were sorely lacking in comparison not only in choice (a romance with Yoshimo or maybe Haer'dalis would have been nice, and maybe a romance with Keldorn could have had some Viconia-esque character consequences) but in the fact that the female option was Anomen, who was possibly the most annoying character in the game, even if you didn't like Aerie's naivete act.

 

KOTOR2 continued that tradition, as I generally liked both the Handmaiden and Visas, but the less said about Disciple, the better.

 

I'd chalk up NWN2's restrictive romance options just to a tight CNPC pool. As bland as Casavir is, he's pretty much the only viable female romance option out of any of the male characters, what with the warlock being geriatric and the ranger being a creepy **** and the dwarf being... a dwarf.

 

As for Elanee, who else? Qara? Neeshka? A gith? No thank you. Please, please, no.

 

It's my opinion that what's really required for a good romance is good writing, characters with some semblance of depth and enough gametime to flesh out the process of, uh, RPG courtship in a way that doesn't feel forced or contrite. BG2 had all those things. At least in its current incarnation NWN2 had those things, but didn't focus on the romance aspect much at all. For all we know, if an expansion is released that continues the shard-bearer's story, they might flesh out the romance a bit more, but it'll be hard.

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I'm not sure it would really work in an Alien game...

 

*Facehugger* (Scuttling across the floor): "Come here and give us a hug and some french kissing you big hunk of a Marine... 'till death do us part" :wub:

 

*Sgt. Gorth*: "Eeek!" :ph34r:

 

Maybe if restricted to entirely human relationships.

Edited by Gorth

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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I wonder if they'll go for a romance in the Alien game, if Josh Sawyer is such a  :wub: -hating scrooge?

I don't hate love in game stories; I just hate reducing love to shallow, masturbatory fantasy indulgence. Maybe that's all love is to some people, but I think that's a pretty narrow view. Ego-stroking is very popular in CRPGs, which is one reason I don't feel comfortable doing CRPG writing anymore.

 

I appreciate that people wanted more romance options in NWN2, but sometimes I think that people want there to be romance "victory" conditions for all companions. I think that can diminish some characters. For instance, if Shandra and Qara had their own romance plots, I think some people would still want Neeshka to be "romance-able", regardless of how Neeshka's author felt about the character's place in the story.

 

That bugs me. I don't like the idea that you can "win" everything or get everyone on your side. I'm also not fond of the idea that romance always has to resolve with a "fade out" to implied coitus, but that's another issue.

 

I'll re-state what I wrote before: I want romance to receive either less or more attention in games. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, especially when it's something with so much emotional potential. But I certainly don't want to go the route of harem anime, which is total fantasy indulgence and gross pandering.

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That bugs me. I don't like the idea that you can "win" everything or get everyone on your side. I'm also not fond of the idea that romance always has to resolve with a "fade out" to implied coitus, but that's another issue.

 

I agree wholeheartedly.

 

Sometimes a character, like say Mira, just isn't a romancable option. And I don't think that that is a bad thing.

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I agree wholeheartedly.

 

Sometimes a character, like say Mira, just isn't a romancable option.  And I don't think that that is a bad thing.

I'll go even further and say that I think some characters can and should be "false" romance options as long as there is some sort of resolution to the plot line. That's why I really like the romance in Full Throttle: Mo and Ben can't be together, but they have a bittersweet resolution in the game's final moments.

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I wonder if they'll go for a romance in the Alien game, if Josh Sawyer is such a  :wub: -hating scrooge?

I don't hate love in game stories; I just hate reducing love to shallow, masturbatory fantasy indulgence. Maybe that's all love is to some people, but I think that's a pretty narrow view. Ego-stroking is very popular in CRPGs, which is one reason I don't feel comfortable doing CRPG writing anymore.

 

I appreciate that people wanted more romance options in NWN2, but sometimes I think that people want there to be romance "victory" conditions for all companions. I think that can diminish some characters. For instance, if Shandra and Qara had their own romance plots, I think some people would still want Neeshka to be "romance-able", regardless of how Neeshka's author felt about the character's place in the story.

 

That bugs me. I don't like the idea that you can "win" everything or get everyone on your side. I'm also not fond of the idea that romance always has to resolve with a "fade out" to implied coitus, but that's another issue.

 

I'll re-state what I wrote before: I want romance to receive either less or more attention in games. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, especially when it's something with so much emotional potential. But I certainly don't want to go the route of harem anime, which is total fantasy indulgence and gross pandering.

I hope you realize I wasn't being serious :wub: and I agree with you. Romance quests have been pretty lackluster when it comes to recent RPGs. And romance would be the last thing I'd want or expect from an Alien game. It'd be a bad idea, especially with all the movie love interests dying.

 

But if I had to choose, I'd put more of an emphasis on romances in RPGs. I realize how often it devolves into fan service, but that aspect of a game really helps deepen it, if it's done right. The easiest and best way to give depth to a character that spends 90% of his / her time getting into fights is to have him / her show affection for another character. It doesn't always work, but when it does, it does.

 

*edit -

I'll go even further and say that I think some characters can and should be "false" romance options as long as there is some sort of resolution to the plot line. That's why I really like the romance in Full Throttle: Mo and Ben can't be together, but they have a bittersweet resolution in the game's final moments.

I liked the part where you hit that blind guy with a wooden board :cool:

Edited by Pop
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Josh, you should really post something on the official NWN 2 boards regarding your stance.  I think it'd do well to resolve alot of the hate you seem to be getting from romance-fans.

If they're bitching about it on the bioboards, they've made up their minds. Josh would only be stirring the pot. He might persuade a few people, but he'll piss off more. So what's the use? Just let him answer haters with his craft.

 

Besides, you might as well keep him here, where he gets his internets :(

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But I certainly don't want to go the route of harem anime, which is total fantasy indulgence and gross pandering.

 

Err, I guess this is probably a bad time to mention that I've enjoyed certain harem anime in the past... :">

 

But on the topic of pandering - do you see this is an artistic obligation you have towards games not to engage in excessive indulgence and pandering? I guess some might argue that since games are entertainment, developers are entertainers and therefore should pander to the audience's desires.

There are doors

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But on the topic of pandering - do you see this is an artistic obligation you have towards games not to engage in excessive indulgence and pandering? I guess some might argue that since games are entertainment, developers are entertainers and therefore should pander to the audience's desires.

I do not enjoy many of the stories, characters, and dialogue styles that are popular in CRPGs. Emulating them is unenjoyable and writing as I see fit isn't likely to be popular, so I don't do it anymore. I stick to mechanics and story suggestions; I reserve personal writing for personal time.

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And there are games that do cater to those particular desires. It would be simplistic to suggest that all games should pander to this particular subset's desires.

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Ah. Hmm, I must say you've piqued my interest as to how you'd write/design a game, as I tend to enjoy unconventional stuff, as well. I really hope you have some NWN 2 mods planned :(

Edited by Azarkon

There are doors

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Ah.  Hmm, I must say you've piqued my interest as to how you'd write/design a game, as I tend to enjoy unconventional stuff, as well.  I really hope you have some NWN 2 mods planned :(

I don't know if this counts, but Josh made this Fallout PnP adaptation which I use when I can, and it's amazing.

 

*edit - Well, I should say that it showcases Josh's skill with rule systems. These are all DM's tools.

Edited by Pop
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But on the topic of pandering - do you see this is an artistic obligation you have towards games not to engage in excessive indulgence and pandering? I guess some might argue that since games are entertainment, developers are entertainers and therefore should pander to the audience's desires.

I do not enjoy many of the stories, characters, and dialogue styles that are popular in CRPGs. Emulating them is unenjoyable and writing as I see fit isn't likely to be popular, so I don't do it anymore. I stick to mechanics and story suggestions; I reserve personal writing for personal time.

 

But people do grow tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. And now and then something new that used to be non-popular rises as the new popular thing.

Edited by kirottu

This post is not to be enjoyed, discussed, or referenced on company time.

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But on the topic of pandering - do you see this is an artistic obligation you have towards games not to engage in excessive indulgence and pandering? I guess some might argue that since games are entertainment, developers are entertainers and therefore should pander to the audience's desires.

I do not enjoy many of the stories, characters, and dialogue styles that are popular in CRPGs. Emulating them is unenjoyable and writing as I see fit isn't likely to be popular, so I don't do it anymore. I stick to mechanics and story suggestions; I reserve personal writing for personal time.

 

That's perfectly fine for me, you have grown tired of some of the things that make up CRPG's, I can even understand that. But in that case, may I please ask you, BEG you not to ruin the experience for those who still enjoy everything that these games are about?

 

Referring to one of your earlier posts about 'either no romance or more romance in rpg's' (correct me if I'm wrong, but that roughly summarize it?) and that they have been getting worse and worse lately; is the solution really to exclude them entirely? Basically, let me break it down a bit; the romantic elements in crpg's have started a revolution with BG2 opening a whole lot of new possibilities in ROLE playing. I see no reason why such options should not be exploited, especially when the community has been desperately waiting and asking for it and when role playing is about having options.

I might even agree with you that certain characters should not be romancable because it simply wouldn't feel right, but let's say, in NWN2 we are talking about 10+ characters, only 2 of them 'available'.

Oh and one more thing, again please correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall you saying that a lot of these romance options just cheap excuses for getting some shallow 'faded-out' sex scenes. Only in the case this statement was correct I dare to say... since WHEN do said scenes have to be cheap? Sex is (for most of us) a healthy part of a relationship and there is no reason why it couldn't be done right in games, without the 'virtual nookie' feeling, as someone referred to it. I might go as far as to say hiring screenplay writers and real novelists wouldn't be a bad idea either, because these scenarios CAN be done right.

But most of us gamers really only want character depths, great dialogs and if possible, romances that are IN TUNE with the character's personality. Take Bishop for example, such a passionate ranger with an enticing background who when asked you if you wanted to run away with him and leave Neverwinter to rot, you could answer the same 'no' in three different ways. Why did you (not you personally, but whoever was responsible for that decision) even include his question if the only thing you could achieve with the player is to get him/her frustrated if they actually wanted to say yes. I somewhat gathered from all the things you said, that you probably thought Bishop should not have been romancable and from your point of view this I'm sure even made sense. I wish though If you asked someone from the opposite gender as well, and you'd have been definitely surprised and taken back by the answers. Contrary to belief, us, female players are less and less minority nowdays and would be really happy to see some options for ourselves as well (although the male players had it just as bad in NWN2).

 

As for you only being on the production for 6 months, I did know that, I don't think I even mentioned anything different. The discussion was about WHO had the final word on cutting some of the material from NWN2 (eg. romances)? If you say you had absolutely no word in it, I sincerely apologize.

 

To that particular someone who thought we on the Bioware forum already made up our minds; no we haven't. But due to the lack of responses from OE we had to come to sad, perhaps incorrect, conclusions. Thus I most definitely encourage JE Sawyer to address the fans on that board as well and maybe clear up some things.

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is the solution really to exclude them entirely?

 

When did he say that?

 

'either no romance or more romance in rpg's'

 

rofl tofl?

 

Frankly I skimmed most of your post because we seem to have gone back to where we were 5-6 posts ago. Josh didn't condemn romances in all RPGs, past present and future, he just said he didn't like what romances there were in recent CRPGs because of such tendencies. He was calling the shots as he saw them at the moment, not making some sort of all-encompassing prophetic statement about romances. So I think this is just a non-issue, and you have just misunderstood.

 

I mean, going with Josh's line of thinking, if he ever decides to implement romances he's going to try and make them more fleshed out, more complex, without the silly "U WIN ROMANCE" style endings as he sees them, etc. Isn't that exactly what you are asking? Plus implicit comments about responsibility to the community and so forth? :rolleyes:

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That's perfectly fine for me, you have grown tired of some of the things that make up CRPG's

No, I've always been annoyed by bad writing.

 

Referring to one of your earlier posts about 'either no romance or more romance in rpg's' (correct me if I'm wrong, but that roughly summarize it?) and that they have been getting worse and worse lately; is the solution really to exclude them entirely?

No.

 

Oh and one more thing, again please correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall you saying that a lot of these romance options just cheap excuses for getting some shallow 'faded-out' sex scenes. Only in the case this statement was correct I dare to say... since WHEN do said scenes have to be cheap? Sex is (for most of us) a healthy part of a relationship

But it isn't for all relationships, and I don't think romantic relationships should always culminate in sex.

 

But most of us gamers really only want character depths, great dialogs and if possible, romances that are IN TUNE with the character's personality.

And I am one of those people.

 

As for you only being on the production for 6 months, I did know that, I don't think I even mentioned anything different. The discussion was about WHO had the final word on cutting some of the material from NWN2 (eg. romances)? If you say you had absolutely no word in it, I sincerely apologize.

I'm pretty sure Avellone and/or Ferret cut the romances down to what shipped in the game. I really had almost nothing to do with the companions, for good or ill.

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