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In an in-game romance, the artist isn't creating these two characters. They're creating one character who needs, at certain pre-set points if the player chooses the correct options, to pretend to be overwhelmed by the affection and charms of a total blank slate, and the audience is not invested in the tension of whether or not these two stars-aligned perfectly-matched individuals will find happiness together because one of the individuals is a puppet under their total control and because that NPC will always put out for anyone who chooses dialogue options ABBC and gives her a flower or rescues her once she's been kidnapped by the blue dragon, you can check it on GameFAQs. This sort of thing is never going to result in a genuinely, objectively great love story, because by the very token of being an interactive experience it has to be a (usually-dialogue based) predetermined challenge in which emotional attachment and even sex are presented as rewards for the correct forms of play. The paradigm's just inherently bust.

 

You think of your character in CRPGs as a total blank slate? That's interesting. I don't, and I suspect most people who play these games don't. The point of the protaganist being presented as a blank slate is that it allows you to fill in the details yourself. I'm sure you know that, but it bears repeating because your argument doesn't seem to acknowledge that point. And the game isn't being presented for an audience in the sense you seem to be describing, it's more a part of an ongoing conversation between the player and the developers. Really, you're describing CRPGs like a cold medium when they're a hot medium. The audience isn't passive, it's active and participatory.

 

Now, you also touch on an interesting point regarding affection being a reward for succeeding at gameplay. I think the presumption of the genre is that players will choose the option that is true to their character, rather than the option that produces the optimal outcome. The reality is somewhere in between those two poles, I'm sure. The point remains, however, if you simply follow the Gamefaqs prescribed route, you're missing a good chunk of what's supposed to be enjoyable about these games- the role-playing. It's no different than playing a puzzle game with a guide in front of you. Sure, you get the satisfaction of beating the game, but you're also missing out on the process of discovery that's part of the appeal for fans of the genre.

 

So, I don't think you can talk about CRPG romances the way you do purely literary ones. The point is that it's a subjective experience. The character of the protaganist is 90% in the players head. Someone watching you play the game won't have the same experience you will. And yes, the romanatic interest will always respond the same way to the same inputs, but I think that's a feature, not a bug. As you define your own character, so to do you define (in part) the romantic interest, since your actions tell you what it is they're attracted to.

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Not really what I meant, but I can see how you got there. I'd argue that the highlighted sentence is a bit problematic, though. Aren't RPGs essentially always a case of "the player is involved in a challenge in which the aim is to successfully [complete action] within [fictional context]?" In other words a PC trying to save the world involves the player in a situation where the aim is to successfully save the fake world; a PC bartering is aiming to successfully win a fake negotiation with a fictional character through a proxy; a PC fighting an orc is aiming to successfully win a fake fight with a fictional character; a PC trying to camp is aiming to successfully fake sleep through a fake night via a proxy.

 

Yup, totally - I'd just argue that all of these experiences are far less demeaned and corrupted by being made into a challenge, partly because in reality they're one-sided personal experiences and partly because in reality they are challenges. Winning a physical contest or a fight is a challenge. Getting a good price from a shop is a challenge. It's all about you overcoming the obstacle, and actually, the obstacle is nebulous, because it's all about you. Saving the world is every kid's self-centred fantasy, and again, it's a challenge, and it's all about you, it's ego-driven.

 

Placing a 'romance', in which two people are supposed to fall in love with one another, mutually, into the context of an interactive experience turns it into a one-sided challenge in which it's all about you getting a certain response out of that same 'other', overcoming the obstacles of their not displaying affection for you, and that's far more troubling, because love isn't meant to be like that, it's the sociopath or the narcissist or the plain creep's way of looking at love, with the other party and the other party's displays of affection quite explicitly as a prize to be won through the correct behaviours. A real love affair by definition involves two actors (or more. If you're very lucky); putting it into a game results in one actor (the player/PC) and one pre-programmed reactor - a passionate tale of one man and his database. It's turning a meaningful mutual experience into a solipsistic fantasy - turning sex into masturbation if you like - which is what makes it more concerning than your other basically harmless examples.

 

You think of your character in CRPGs as a total blank slate?

 

I meant a blank slate from the writer's point of view, sorry. As in they're not writing the character as falling in love with another character, they're writing the character as falling in love with a vague arbitrary blank space which the player's character can then step into when they boot up the game. Which is pretty awful, I think.

Edited by grotbag
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So, I don't think you can talk about CRPG romances the way you do purely literary ones. The point is that it's a subjective experience. The character of the protaganist is 90% in the players head. Someone watching you play the game won't have the same experience you will. And yes, the romanatic interest will always respond the same way to the same inputs, but I think that's a feature, not a bug. As you define your own character, so to do you define (in part) the romantic interest, since your actions tell you what it is they're attracted to.

 

I think this is a very important point, at least for me. No matter what CRPG I played, with more or less background provided by the game for my character, in the end the romance, if one was possible, was fleshed out mostly in my head anyway, which was and still is far more fun anyway. So, if they do not really implement a true romace in PE than at least I hope that the different NPCs etc get enough Character and personality that I can relate to them enough to maybe make up a romance for my chars in my head...

 

And in a way I just realize that a game like PE might be even more suited for a truly interesting romance than the current Bioware-Games. Sure, PE will lack the *sigh* dry-humping-underwear-PG13-sex (I think the true reason why Wardens can't have children isn't the diseasing blight they are afflicted with...), but it will offer the players the chance for far more diverse answers and options during character-interactions. At least I hope that, though reading m post again I am not sure if I can get my point across...ah well, I'll add it anyway to increase my post-counter a little o:)

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Due to some of the earlier confusion, first post edited to try to better convey the original purpose of the topic. Hope it's a little better/more clear. I don't always get things right the first time. ;)

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Not really what I meant, but I can see how you got there. I'd argue that the highlighted sentence is a bit problematic, though. Aren't RPGs essentially always a case of "the player is involved in a challenge in which the aim is to successfully [complete action] within [fictional context]?" In other words a PC trying to save the world involves the player in a situation where the aim is to successfully save the fake world; a PC bartering is aiming to successfully win a fake negotiation with a fictional character through a proxy; a PC fighting an orc is aiming to successfully win a fake fight with a fictional character; a PC trying to camp is aiming to successfully fake sleep through a fake night via a proxy.

 

Yup, totally - I'd just argue that all of these experiences are far less demeaned and corrupted by being made into a challenge, partly because in reality they're one-sided personal experiences and partly because in reality they are challenges. Winning a physical contest or a fight is a challenge. Getting a good price from a shop is a challenge. It's all about you overcoming the obstacle, and actually, the obstacle is nebulous, because it's all about you. Saving the world is every kid's self-centred fantasy, and again, it's a challenge, and it's all about you, it's ego-driven.

 

Placing a 'romance', in which two people are supposed to fall in love with one another, mutually, into the context of an interactive experience turns it into a one-sided challenge in which it's all about you getting a certain response out of that same 'other', overcoming the obstacles of their not displaying affection for you, and that's far more troubling, because love isn't meant to be like that, it's the sociopath or the narcissist or the plain creep's way of looking at love, with the other party and the other party's displays of affection quite explicitly as a prize to be won through the correct behaviours. A real love affair by definition involves two actors (or more. If you're very lucky); putting it into a game results in one actor (the player/PC) and one pre-programmed reactor - a passionate tale of one man and his database. It's turning a meaningful mutual experience into a solipsistic fantasy - turning sex into masturbation if you like - which is what makes it more concerning than your other basically harmless examples.

 

Thanks for the clarification. I'd disagree with you on the distinction you make that there is a harmless/harmfull division between the fictional actions and that seems to be the crux of our differing views on whether romances should or shouldn't be in a game.

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Oh, and as a follow-up to my previous request, I'd like to add that romances either take the entire game to reach some sort of conclusion (acceptance or rejection) or that they continue on after consummation in the case of an earlier acceptance. Having the dialogue arbitrarily stop or become locked into the same conversation choices post-coitus is profoundly unsatisfying. Bedding the L.I. should start a new chapter, not end the experience. Furthermore, I wouldn't mind seeing a romance potentially stretch into the expansion pack to reach the point of acceptance or rejection. Should they be offered, please craft them with care.

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I tend to really dislike romances in RPGs. I've found them to be really annoying in most the Bioware style rpgs I've played (I mention Bioware just because that seems to be where they show up the most).

 

The reason I dislike them is that they never really feel like actual conversations with people so much as they do fan service. I think its really a problem with the medium more than anything else, developers just don't have time to write in enough dialog to make it feel realistic at all. It always struck me as odd in games when I'd talk to someone maybe 2-3 times and suddenly they are completely in love with my character. I've heard some people make the argument that if you are fighting together and whatnot you'd form a bond, which is fair enough, but many of these characters I don't take in my party. Many times its literally the 3rd time or so my character has ever even acknowledged them that they decide he is the most amazing man they have ever met. I also found it strange how all the members of the opposite sex are super attracted to my character, but completely ignore all other NPCs.

 

Again, I can't really blame the writers or developers for it being strange though. They have to try to pack a romance into the game, and with budget and time constraints they are basically told they get around 5 short conversations in order to do it. Trying to write anything where characters fall in love after talking for 25 or so minutes is going to come off as odd.

 

An area where I could see a successful romance being written is between NPC companions. In that case, you can assume they are spending time together when you aren't around, so if they start growing closer together it really wouldn't seem all that surprising. I just can't figure out a good way that a game can have a romance between the player and an NPC without devoting a ton of resources to it.

Edited by Thingdo
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i would prefer bg2 style romances, along with friendship path.

 

that would mean- 30+ talks that give TIME for any relationship to have actual depth. no mostly plot-related talks, or only-in-camp comments. i loved how npc's slowly developed over time, throuh many talks and additional mini plots. of course, i assume a more mature handling of the matter, above 12yo mark (no sex being the point of it all, no constant psychotherapy for companions etc.). on the similar note, i would prefer if romance would not be important for any bigger event, only showing few minor consequences, like bg2.

people love flaming romance threads, but like it or not sex (desire) and love (emotional connection) are integral feelings for any average human being, and since this is RPG, such matters are not beneath inclusion in videogame, quite contrary.

 

i cannot imagine adventuring through hells and world shattering experience with a set of companions, without any need to at least find temporary comfort in situation where you don't know if next fight will leave you dead. emotions tend to run high at times like that and people tend to connect because of similar experience and interests. i'm not saying it's impossible not having sex or romantic relationship, but that's why you decline it.

 

it makes no sense to me to remove the option to have romanceable companion if people want it, because some don't care for it. if obsidian decides to include such content, i hope they show some balls- no excessive carefull approaching the player, highlighted romance options and similar bull****. in real world you also dont have the luxury to direct others emotions, you only react to them. so if NPC's start talking, perhaps showing their attentions clearly or perhaps just getting to know you better, before revealing their feelings. at that point you get to decide if you shut them up, remain friends or develop relatonship. just like you can make the same choice of fihting or not, siding with one faction or the other.

 

edit- i noticed it is being talked about bisexuality. i support bisexual and gay content fully. romance is good or bad because of writing not because of "unrealistic game flag that decide if NPC is gay or bisexual based on PC gender", as seen already in DA2. romances there were bad because of lazy and sleazy writing, and nothing else.

I tend to really dislike romances in RPGs. I've found them to be really annoying in most the Bioware style rpgs I've played (I mention Bioware just because that seems to be where they show up the most).

 

The reason I dislike them is that they never really feel like actual conversations with people so much as they do fan service. I think its really a problem with the medium more than anything else, developers just don't have time to write in enough dialog to make it feel realistic at all. It always struck me as odd in games when I'd talk to someone maybe 2-3 times and suddenly they are completely in love with my character. I've heard some people make the argument that if you are fighting together and whatnot you'd form a bond, which is fair enough, but many of these characters I don't take in my party. Many times its literally the 3rd time or so my character has ever even acknowledged them that they decide he is the most amazing man they have ever met. I also found it strange how all the members of the opposite sex are super attracted to my character, but completely ignore all other NPCs.

 

Again, I can't really blame the writers or developers for it being strange though. They have to try to pack a romance into the game, and with budget and time constraints they are basically told they get around 5 short conversations in order to do it. Trying to write anything where characters fall in love after talking for 25 or so minutes is going to come off as odd.

 

An area where I could see a successful romance being written is between NPC companions. In that case, you can assume they are spending time together when you aren't around, so if they start growing closer together it really wouldn't seem all that surprising. I just can't figure out a good way that a game can have a romance between the player and an NPC without devoting a ton of resources to it.

 

And this is why romance threads never, ever end.

 

We spend pages and pages arguing and going back and forth discussing several topics without really agreeing, and when we manage to start seeing eye to eye more civilly and compromising on a few things that most everyone is okay with, someone new sees the thread, barges in without reading previous posts and unwittingly pushes the hot topic buttons without knowing the context at all, starting the whole process again.

 

We are so easy to troll, aren't we?

 

For the new people, if you bother to read this: here is a list of commonly brought up "must haves". And here is something you must take into account if you don't want to disrupt the conversation. First guy pushed the buttons of "close relationship = romance" and "romances as a separate feature", just to start, and Second guy pushed the button of "but we're not asking for Bioware-style romances at all!", just to start.

 

Seriously, we need to start gathering links to well liked posts, and ask for them to be put in the OP. Hopefully this way we won't have to repeat ourselves so much.

Edited by Lurky
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Seriously, we need to start gathering links to well liked posts, and ask for them to be put in the OP. Hopefully this way we won't have to repeat ourselves so much.

 

Since all the points have been made across the entire spectrum already, a topic ban with pointers to all existing locked threads would be best. IMO. :p As a sticky post.

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Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

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Comedy is part of life. Of course I was exaggerating with a cliche there.

I love comedy in general, but what you described trivialised the issue of consent when drunk and reinforced a gender double standard that says that guys don't really mind "surprise sex."

Unless one gets surprise-intoxicated, then as long as Party A is capable of response when teh secks is initiated by Party B, there is no issue of consent while intoxicated.Obviously that assumes Party A doesn't respond in the negative.

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Seriously, we need to start gathering links to well liked posts, and ask for them to be put in the OP. Hopefully this way we won't have to repeat ourselves so much.
You don't have to repeat yourself anyway. It is okay if someone doesn't understand you.

 

I say this not as a moderator, but as a guy who has seen way too many forums and posts. It is okay to just say your piece and move on. We don't need to agree. We don't need to compromise. We don't need to understand. There is not a single thread anywhere else on this forum where everyone is on the same page or sees eye-to-eye. It's just nice to express your opinion, get what understandings you can, then just kind of move on. There are too many people with too many variable interests to even play at consensus.

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Seriously, we need to start gathering links to well liked posts, and ask for them to be put in the OP. Hopefully this way we won't have to repeat ourselves so much.

 

Since all the points have been made across the entire spectrum already, a topic ban with pointers to all existing locked threads would be best. IMO. :p As a sticky post.

 

But there are new people joining the forums everyday, and it should be limited just to those who posted in the past. New people should be allowed to express their views as well.

 

I have tried to just take to pointing at my posts in previous threads - and only engaging on new points.

 

I do agree someone repeatedly saying the same thing, over and over again, does get tiring for everyone. But just because it's been said before doesn't mean new people shouldn't be allowed to say it, too.

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Perhaps people should just continue to post in the thread for as long as they like. Then, when the thread gets too long, you close it. Done.

 

This thread is fairly pointless, anyways. Devs probably already have their minds made up on this stuff. Avellone has stated he likes romances that end badly. Sawyer hates them from what I hear. Cain... heck, he's had hookers in his games, I guess.

 

Chances are if people want to really want to exploit some innocent whiny Elf girl (Aerie), manipulate a griveing widow (Jaheira), bed a loose skank (Viconia), or if they want to see softporn sex scenes reflecting various sexual preferences (DA, ME, etc), they may need to look elsewhere. Just install BG2 again if you must have more romance. There are so many mods out there. You can have sex with your sister or make it so you can have sexual relations with multiple party members. However, since these mods are so popular, perhaps PE should include the same plot devices in its game, right?

Edited by Shevek
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exploit some innocent whiny Elf girl (Aerie), manipulate a griveing widow (Jaheira), bed a loose skank (Viconia),

 

But none of that happened. It's like you didn't even play the game.

Edited by Ruka
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I havent mentionned anything about it before. For me, as long as it is done cleverly, with a bit of spunk and taste, I in. I'm not into pixelated porn. ;p

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If they keep them within the bounds of those in BG2, fine. Anything further (like seems to be so popular these days) and it's too far and is just a useless distraction for a, eh, certain types of people. If there's a danger of going there, then I think it'd be best if Obsidian dropped the whole idea of romances like a flaming, burning, smoking, boiling, hot potato. People have just about every movie that ever comes out these days to get their taste of all that, so, please, keep it out of a game!

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Romances that serve some greater purpose by adding some relevant new layer or POV to the story are okay. Think of Morrigan in DA:O. This bitch had her own agenda and reasons for wanting to hump you silly. Reasons that would eventually intersect with game's main storyline. I could never be against something like this as long as it is written cleverly.

 

....But then,there is this vast creepy oozy wasteland of terrible completely unnecessary fan service romances that exist for sole purpose of generating them sexi times and Roswellian teen drama. You know, """"!! MATURE CONTENT"!!!" In context average horny teenager has for the term. Add one, just ONE romance like this to any of your games ever and your forum will, for rest of the eternity, have this small, loud subcommunity of creepy people who write 100 page fan fiction stories about Shepard's oily barrels.

Edited by LTD

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---what type of dynamic, complex character relationships are important to your gaming experience, if any?

I have played many games where the romance was terrible, a few where it was not bad, but none where it felt genuine. I'm sick of "fall in love, do quest, watch stupid sex cutscene " Not only is it unrealistic and unsatisfying, but it creates the false notion that romance is a prize, a goal which is achieved, rather than an adventure in itself. Don't care much whether the romantic subplots are predetermined or Mass Effect-style multi choice so long as the writing is believable and adequately solid, with witty banter, intrigue maybe a battle of wits, and where the love interest isn't there just for the sake of being the love interest waiting to bed the hero but is a useful and clever asset and companion with her own story and rich background, someone reliable you don't have to baby sit.

 

---if you enjoy romances in games, what type of plots do you enjoy or dislike (tragic, happy ending, marriage/family)?

A friendship and attractiveness that grows in love, without all the drama and emotionally cripple characters usually thrown at us in RPG, I'm a fighter not a psychiatrist Jim! The romance doesn't have to end on the get-together, how the couple plays out should be part of the story, so one can roleplay not go through a chore.

 

---what romance or relationship arcs from other games did you personally enjoy that can serve as examples?

Morrigan in Dragon Age have clever banters and a complex character. Fall-From-Grace in Planescape: Torment, for a succubus, she have pretty human personality. Vampire The Masqurade Redemption had an impossible and memorable romance. Also liked The Witcher series where Geralt of Rivia fooled around a lot but his soul belong to Triss Merigold.

 

---do you have any particular, preferred game mechanics for romance/relationships that you'd like to see included (optional questlines, dialogue, cutscenes)?

Quests are always good but romance shouldn't be dependent on accomplishing a quest, "Yay you did my quest, I love you, take me now" don't cut it for me, and having a hero fight for the girl that he loves tends to get overused, the romance must add something to the game, like in comparison a certain skill type or some special items. Otherwise its unnecessary like a third fighter in the party.

Maybe important plot scenes check if you have a romance, and change slightly to fit, flowery and cartoonish themes/settings are a no/no. Don't even get me started on pixelated porn.

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Personally, I like romances in a game - as long as they are not as heavy-handed as the Bioware ones. A well written romance can and does enhance a game considerably, and I don't think the whole sex scene thing is necessary. My single caveat though, is that both hetro and homosexual relationships SHOULD be catered for - fair is fair, after all.

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Personally, I like romances in a game - as long as they are not as heavy-handed as the Bioware ones. A well written romance can and does enhance a game considerably, and I don't think the whole sex scene thing is necessary. My single caveat though, is that both hetro and homosexual relationships SHOULD be catered for - fair is fair, after all.

 

This is a big reason why romances do not work. Equity. Soon, all npcs must be bangable because the player must have equitable choices. Frankly, I hope OE avoids this pitfall entirely. If not, the entire slate of npcs will be little more than contestants on some fantasy dating game show.

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I was reading the old thread that got closed due to too many posts, and someone mentioned romances for female characters in BG2, and lack of choice.

 

I actually would've found it amusing to be able to romance Edwin. There could've been many, many lulz when he screwed up the Nether Scroll... ;)

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I think that I have come up with a magnanimous compromise. The main story of the game should be to get your character as well as all your companions married. That way romances won't get in the way of the main story, they will be it.

 

For people who say romances are too easy, they should be made really hard. For example, the character who you are trying to romance will have really bad breath, so trying to kiss them will result in a fortitude check not to pass out.

 

I am not forgetting people who want sex in the game. As there was a D&D 3rd edition book that had rules for sex, the rules for your character having sex just need to be expanded upon.

Edited by HeedlessHorseman
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