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Romances in NWN 2 and RPGs in general


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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?

 

Welcome to the catch-22. Assuming the creative writing of the romances does not improve, should a company please those that want romances of any kind and include them, or should the company please those that don't like the poorly written romances, and allocate their time and resources elsewhere?

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Well, not to put to fine a point on it, but I personally find all the "romances" I've ever seen in crpgs to be trivial insipid drivel. The lauding of the BG2 "romances" as some sort of high-point boggles my mind.

 

I'm not saying a story woven about the development of some sort of relationship between characters could not work in a crpg. It probably would and could be quite compelling. But I ain't never seen that yet. These "notches in the belt" things that comprise the "romances" in current crpgs are really a low point of current crpg design.

 

The only thing I choose to romance in current crpgs is my claymore.

 

No offense. :rolleyes:

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
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I'm not saying a story woven about the development of some sort of relationship between characters could not work in a crpg.  It probably would and could be quite compelling.  But I ain't never seen that yet.  These "notches in the belt" things that comprise the "romances" in current crpgs are really a low point of current crpg design.

 

The "sex as reward for romantic subquest Aerie pumps out a baby" type romances I can do without. I'd like something more subtle that changes how my allies feel about me and interact with each other and such.

 

The only thing I choose to romance in current crpgs is my claymore.

 

Sounds saucy. Pics plz.

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I also think that romance options for a very essential (storywise) NPC can be more trouble than it is worth because you might start thinking (whether true or not) that you have to pursue the romance to advance the main story.

 

I'm all about keeping it simple:

 

* don't link Influence with alignment (party management is the best way to deal with incompatible alignments).

 

* don't link romance with the "main story" or even create a whiff that this might be the case.

 

* yes, and no overt "sex conquest"....if there is some of that, I think it would be best if the NPC is the one who is the aggressive party and that fending the person off will get you kudos by the rest of the bunch...if you give in, everybody ribs you about it for the rest of the game.....if I want overt pandering, I will find a Japanese dating sim.

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The best romance ever was seen in Gothic 2: Enter brothel, pay 50 gold, follow the woman to her room, 20 second steamy cut-scene, BAM!, done.

 

Any more than that and I'm not interested.

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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? :aiee:

 

If you actually read my post and not 'skimmed' it you'd have seen that I'm asking for the exact opposite.

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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.

 

Good, who isn't? Then I ask again; what's stopping you guys (as a company), from hiring professional writers, who could make a difference?

 

 

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.

 

No they shouldn't. I think a healthy balance is the key for everything and taking the character's personality into account.

 

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.

 

Great. So I'm sure you agree in that case that eg. Casavir is a cardboard box? Even if you had nothing to do with his character, just asking your opinion.

 

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.

 

In that case my apologies are due.

 

You never said anything to my (or anyone else's question for that matter) about if you are going to address this on the official NWN2 board or not?

Edited by Zs00zsa
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Professional writers isn't the end-all solution. Writing for games is fairly different than for other mediums. Some of the games featuring actual novelists don't necessarily have better stories.

 

In any case, if any emphasis is to be put on writing, I'd rather it be focused on the bulk of the storytelling, rather than on a small portion of it that not everyone will even initiate in the first place.

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(Approved by Fio, so feel free to use it)

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Good, who isn't? Then I ask again; what's stopping you guys (as a company), from hiring professional writers, who could make a difference?

What you and I think constitutes good writing may be very different. And what constitutes a professional writer?

 

Great. So I'm sure you agree in that case that eg. Casavir is a cardboard box? Even if you had nothing to do with his character, just asking your opinion.

He's very underdeveloped, but that's mostly due to areas featuring his content being cut.

 

You never said anything to my (or anyone else's question for that matter) about if you are going to address this on the official NWN2 board or not?

I already posted about this in the OC forum several hours ago.

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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.

 

Good, who isn't? Then I ask again; what's stopping you guys (as a company), from hiring professional writers, who could make a difference?

 

Avellone kicks ass!

 

Sorry, had to say that :ph34r:

 

And as it's already said "professional writers" doesn't really make that much difference.

 

PS:T is in many ways better than average fantasy or other kind of book. In fantasy genre only few names like Martin publish better books than writing in that game.

 

Avellone is better writer than random author X IMO, and he knows how to write in games. It's different thing than writing novels, novellas etc.

 

On topic: I agree with Sawyer and "followers". I liked romance with Handmaiden in K2. I don't call it undeveloped, it's just subtle. You even could screw it gaining too much influence with Visas when she becomes part of your crew

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I remember on the old BIS boards when people used to argue about how Viconia had the "best" romance because it had the implied sexual "fade to black" three whole times, instead of just the one at the end. It does seem to me that a decent romantic subplot would be wasted on a lot of the typical video game audience.

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This thread has given me new ideas and solidified old ideas for the NWN2 module I'm working on.

 

Overall, I think this thread highlights one of the big traps of professional game development. I like to think of games as an art form, however as a professional you are dependent upon it from your livelihood. You have to appeal to the consumers. So, while it may be artistically driven, there has to be significant consumer consideration that may interfere with that.

 

A lot of in-game romances are half-assed as it were. Maybe the developers aren't so much in to them, they don't give them a lot of attention, maybe they're not fitting for what is going on, but they're included because it's what the consumer wants.

 

Which is why it's awesome to be in my position as a very amateur module maker. I have nobody to please, not requiring this to live. I get the opportunity to be a complete and absolute jerk to my audience in what I develop. Because it's my vision.

 

I can't emphasize how much I agree with Sawyer. Not just for games, though. Players can go through a game, they can make capricious Drow women not only settle down, they can turn them good. They can make merciless mass murderers change their ways. But, at the end of the game, when the powerful highly intelligent villain tries to get you to join him, you're obviously above such petty influence. Nobody else is, just you.

 

This is why I want to see some realistic relationships. I also want to see more capable villains, but that's not part of this thread. I want to see relationships start off good, but then for no reason you can see, the female character leaves the PC for his friend. And then the PC is given the option to be really creepy about it. However, you can't do things like that for commercial games. You might alienate your players.

 

I want to see romance options where trying to pursue them at all makes other characters see you as creepy, even the intended romancee. In general, I want to see more "doomed to failure" romance options in games. Shallow romance options that result as shallow romances do. Romancing a character for 2-weeks and then pretending you're in-love and planning lives together demonstrating how ridiculous the concept really is.

 

People may ask why I want to see this kind of thing. To draw from popular fantasy, it was very exciting when Anakin Skywalker saved Luke and threw the Emperor down the shaft. But, it was also exciting when Gollum proved ultimately irredeemable. Things don't have to go the way the main character wants or expects in order to be interesting. And I think that's something that is lost in the minds of a lot of players, largely because it's so rarely experienced.

Edited by Tale
"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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Well, not to put to fine a point on it, but I personally find all the "romances" I've ever seen in crpgs to be trivial insipid drivel.  The lauding of the BG2 "romances" as some sort of high-point boggles my mind. 

 

I'm not saying a story woven about the development of some sort of relationship between characters could not work in a crpg.  It probably would and could be quite compelling.  But I ain't never seen that yet.  These "notches in the belt" things that comprise the "romances" in current crpgs are really a low point of current crpg design.

 

The only thing I choose to romance in current crpgs is my claymore.

 

No offense. :mellow:

 

They were the best of the bad. That did not make them good.

Get off my lawn!

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I have to agree with what some of the others posted. Romance is a small part of charachter development. If a charachter does not develop in a story but a romance is bolted on anyway, it really doesn't work well. I would rather have a group of well fleshed out believable characters than a romance option. Or both if it works for the story. The only RPG that hit all aspects IMHOP was Torment.

Get off my lawn!

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I have to agree with what some of the others posted. Romance is a small part of charachter development. If a charachter does not develop in a story but a romance is bolted on anyway, it really doesn't work well. I would rather have a group of well fleshed out believable characters than a romance option. Or both if it works for the story. The only RPG that hit all aspects IMHOP was Torment.

 

I pretty much agree with that. The idea, as I see it, is an organic, believable and dynamic economy between the party members.

 

I like the idea that, if you don't take the romance lines, there is always a chance that some other party member will. For instance, if your Exile latches on to Handmaiden, then Atton might start talking more with Visas. Atton will not move in on your girlfriend (he doesn't want to get kicked off the ship) but he might flirt with someone that you haven't shown interest in.

 

I know that all amounts to a lot more design work and all but that is the Holy Grail as I see it.

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...Romances be a total waste o' gamin' time if'n the characters theyselves ain't allowed ta be fleshed out more than jus' "Hey, I'm the whiny tree-huggin' puswa o' the forest in yer party (funny how both BG2 & NWN2 has one o' them, ain't it :)" ), so please, do me, studmuffin!!"...if'n ya wants proper romances, then ya has ta 'ave characters that actually has personalities an' histories an' feelin's an' all that other emotional gobbly-guk that makes up a complete bein'...otherwise, yer jus' gonna end up wit' a half-arse "Let's get BUSY!!" love-in that draws alot more away from the game than it adds ta it...the only half decent "romance" I's seen yet in a cRPG was the one that was only a memory an' a whisper, 'tween TNO an' Deionarra...an' nigh much since... <_<

 

 

...WHO LUVS YA, BABY!!...

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I think the greatest romance story in a CRPB was Viconia from BG 2. Especially if your character was a good character. You really had to work at it, put up with massive mood swings, and recieved a bitter-sweet ending.

 

Unfortunatly, I'd have to say the worste romance I've experienced was NWN 2. I very rarely took Elanee along in the party and gained few influence with her. Then suddenly, I'm on a castle wall and Elanee wants my character now. :dancing: The only part in the game where I started rolling my eyes, sighing, and quickly skimming text to get by a scene.

 

Frankly, I would have rather seen no romance at all if the only option is to be jumped by a character you invested very little time with or emotional attachment.

 

I personally prefer the 'tragic romance', that is either doomed to failure, or requires actual commitment for it to work.

 

Ooo, and the suggested romance between Sly Boots and his holographic secretary in Anachronox was pretty good too. :D

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I think the greatest romance story in a CRPB was Viconia from BG 2. Especially if your character was a good character. You really had to work at it, put up with massive mood swings, and recieved a bitter-sweet ending.

 

Unfortunatly, I'd have to say the worste romance I've experienced was NWN 2. I very rarely took Elanee along in the party and gained few influence with her. Then suddenly, I'm on a castle wall and Elanee wants my character now.  :dancing: The only part in the game where I started rolling my eyes, sighing, and quickly skimming text to get by a scene.

 

Frankly, I would have rather seen no romance at all if the only option is to be jumped by a character you invested very little time with or emotional attachment.

 

I personally prefer the 'tragic romance', that is either doomed to failure, or requires actual commitment for it to work.

 

Ooo, and the suggested romance between Sly Boots and his holographic secretary in Anachronox was pretty good too.  :D

 

That idiot Sly got her killed

!

 

Great game though.

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I wonder if they'll go for a romance in the Alien game, if Josh Sawyer is such a  :dancing: -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.

 

Wow.

 

Brilliantly put.

Boss: You're fired.

Me: Ummm will you let me have my job if I dance for you?

Boss: No, I don't think so-

Me: JUST LET ME DANCE

*Dances*

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Indeed; still, I'm curious as to why the NWN 2 romances weren't all that well developed. While blaming JE for it was obviously assinine, Obsidian did sort of drop the ball here, assuming that romances were planned at all as part of the game's feature set. Without pointing fingers, I wonder if it was simply the fact that even the original designers didn't feel that romances were all that important? I mean, even KOTOR 2 had better romances and I just can't see how we could've went from the memorable "if you ever think your alone, play pazaak in your head because when you do, you'll be playing pazaak with me" to one-night-stands in NWN 2.

There are doors

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I wonder if there's more to the cutlist.

 

Sounds like Casavir's is kind of bland because of some missing parts of his plotline.

Also because he's a paladin, and paladins usually lack those negative personality traits that spice up interesting characters. Some people didn't like Keldorn for that reason. You've got, what, zealotry, or arrogance, or pride. Anomen had all three of those, and nobody liked him. I guess Casavir had some doubt in him, but I was never able to explore that in my games. Probably because of the cut content, but it might be because I wasn't dogged enough in my pursuit.

 

And I think Josh mentioned parts of Casavir's plotline having been cut. I wonder if some prospective Unfinished Business mod could put some of that back in, somwhere down the line.

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Also because he's a paladin, and paladins usually lack those negative personality traits that spice up interesting characters.

 

Which is part of the reason why I feel Casavir could have been a very interesting character. Paladins are stereotyped (both by players in the in game world) as being beacons of righteousness. But there's nothing saying that they have to be.

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Also because he's a paladin, and paladins usually lack those negative personality traits that spice up interesting characters.

 

Which is part of the reason why I feel Casavir could have been a very interesting character. Paladins are stereotyped (both by players in the in game world) as being beacons of righteousness. But there's nothing saying that they have to be.

 

Not to go off topic, but I'd like to point out that Paladins are usually played as psychotically and socially inept mass murderers of anything they view even remotely as 'evil'. I've very rarely seen paladins represented well by players.

Boss: You're fired.

Me: Ummm will you let me have my job if I dance for you?

Boss: No, I don't think so-

Me: JUST LET ME DANCE

*Dances*

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