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Organic characters (Denying intimacy)


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Hello people, maybe you don't remember but love threads were quite popular when the kickstarter campaign was, well, kicking. Despite the endless threads, it pretty much was fruitless though. Only one consensus was reached. Obsidian should deal with the matter how they see fit, depending of the demographics they want their game to appeal for or just depending of what the writers want.

 

That was pretty much the best solution, considering how people heated up on the issue. Pro-romance vs anti-romance battles were quite nasty. Still, I was wondering, if Obs tried a different approach, maybe went for the best of the both worlds, how would it be like?

 

To begin, I'll say I realized the characters who were the most popular always were the ones the players couldn't get. It is the forbidden fruit tale all over again. You desire what you can't have. When you see games like NWN2, people were actually more interested by Neeshka than Elanee, in part because the romance was (thankfully) scrapped and players had to make do with some teasing and their own imagination.

There are other reasons, like Elanee being a stalker, but let's ignore that for now.

 

Denying love make the player longing and expecting more. Because there is still mystery in the character, because they doesn't laid it all bare, these players actually want to see them more, so they can catch a glimpse of what they truly are.

 

It brings me to my point. Characters, even when the relationship has been maxed, should always keep a "secret garden", as we tell in french, or if you prefer, the ultimate intimacy they will never reveal to anyone, so the players can speculate (LOTS OF SPECULATION FOR EVERYONE :deadhorse:  ), wonder and talk together about what they saw and interpreted.

 

NPCs in previous Obsidian games always have been very honest in the past, except for one of them: Kreia. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I do believe she was popular, or at least, considered as very well-written. Years later, people still wondered about her real identity. I realize how hard it is to make such characters believable and organic but at the end of the day, it's them and only them we remember.

 

And who knows? Maybe some love can be hinted too.

 

P.S: Damn, the Obs forums are clanky. They ate my message. Thank the pantheon for Copy&Paste.

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I think KotOR did this well enough; it felt like your character was someone who other members of the company may have had little interest in being around if not for what was on the line. Though in medieval fantasy settings it seems people tend to be more concerned with playing the super likeable leader type of role. For me what would be more interesting than romances between PCs and NPCs is romances that develop between NPC party members, but that's another discussion.

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Damn and blast Mr Auxilius! Thought this was a thread on green cannibalism, i'm now slightly miffed.

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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You speak of truth and I'd say Torment's romances are the best examples of that kind, but me (oddly enough) I'm all for more traditional romances too. Not sure if I'd ever try them, but extra content never hurts. Thing is that as long as they're optional and not forced on your character they're fine to me. I'm a firm believer that a good RPG should offer something for everyone.

 

Also I'd too love to see more NPC romances within your party. It's sadly really unexplored terroritory.

Edited by GrumpyOldschooler
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I think KotOR did this well enough; it felt like your character was someone who other members of the company may have had little interest in being around if not for what was on the line. Though in medieval fantasy settings it seems people tend to be more concerned with playing the super likeable leader type of role. For me what would be more interesting than romances between PCs and NPCs is romances that develop between NPC party members, but that's another discussion.

I agree, actually. The fact that all of the romanceable characters are after me and me alone is always tremendously grating. I feel like I'm letting them down if I don't pursue a romance, which then turns spending time with characters organically into a tedious game of "Who do I want to be the happiest?" At least actual dating sims have characters with lives outside of you.

 

This was one of the things that Dragon Age 2 got right (well, for Dragon Age 2, anyway). The romance between Aveline and Donnic, while presented as a very obvious "Okay, how can we get the player to watch this NPC fall in love with another NPC without doing it in a cutscene?" trick, was at least an attempt to give Aveline a life outside of your character. I also loved that you could try and fail to romance her. There should be more of that, no matter what the lunatics on Bioware Social say.

 

I'd also like to see stats tie into romance. Everyone has a "type" they're into in real life, but no matter what your stats are in a game with romance, you just have to pick the right dialogue options and you're golden. I'd rather see a game where your low-INT character can't please a girl who's into intelligent guys, but a high-INT character would have a chance.

 

That's overly prescriptive, of course, but at least it isn't as creepily unreal as roleplaying a pheromone-emitting man-god.

 

EDIT: Oh, and I think more games should take after the Persona series and let you advance your interactions with a certain character to the maximum level without forcing you to romance them.

Edited by Ffordesoon
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^ Another expression of disbelief at another thread?! Seriously?!

 

:)

 

I don't mean this in a hostile manner, but if you don't feel like Romance needs to be discussed any more, then why not simply refrain from reading and/or posting in this completely 100% optional thread that someone else decided to make and other people decided to partake in discussion within?

 

*shrug*

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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-snip-

 

GO BACK TO BIOWARE YOU HOOLIGAN!

 

:bat:

 

seriously though....another romance thread?!

 

Well, nope, you're wrong. I tried to be clear on the matter so it wouldn't be interpreted like that (that's why I mentioned people had enough of those discussions) but I guess I failed. *Sigh*. It is hard to explain myself in another language.

 

Anyway, romances were just my prologue to the whole matter, because I needed a good example people knew well and could understand easily since it was featured in several games. Rostere, after you, defined it better I suppose: keeping parts vague and open to speculation, in order to, well, make the characters organic.

That's why I mainly talked about Kreia afterwards. Unless you're implying Kreia is love material of course.

 

To expend, let me give another example. And we'll keep going with Kotor 2. For that, let's tackle the relationship between the Exile and Revan. It was never defined clearly, as in "Revan hated/loved you" and I felt that was great (Until Karpyshyn ruined it with his horrible book that preluded SWTOR). There was an unclear relationship between two important characters that wasn't easy to summarize. By talking to Bao-Dur, Atris, Malak, HK-47 and others, you could get an idea but it was still very open to interpretation.

Still, it was very interesting to try to understand the situation. And when people crafted some theories about how both never got along or how Revan thought the Exile was the only liability in his plans, it gave a lot of depth to the lore and helped quite a lot the worldbuilding.

 

You can resume this in several words: "Show, don't tell" or if you prefer "Leave it to imagination".

Edited by Auxilius
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I think KotOR did this well enough; it felt like your character was someone who other members of the company may have had little interest in being around if not for what was on the line. Though in medieval fantasy settings it seems people tend to be more concerned with playing the super likeable leader type of role. For me what would be more interesting than romances between PCs and NPCs is romances that develop between NPC party members, but that's another discussion.

 

EDIT: Oh, and I think more games should take after the Persona series and let you advance your interactions with a certain character to the maximum level without forcing you to romance them.

 

Alpha Protocol is the game Obs should remember. No matter how you treated your characters and the bonds you formed with them, there was no setback.

It doesn't mean acting like a douchebag with the Dwarf because you're an Elf shouldn't be inconsequential. Just that roleplaying can be done according to your wishes and you don't have to suck up everyone to be sure the party works.

 

As it is, a party is a lot like a company. And a good leader isn't necessarily liked. It would actually be fun to balance efficiency and intimacy. After all, armies will never let lovers work together, because their love could go in the way of their duty. Soemthing that is constantly forgotten.

A Professional approach that is recognized as such along with the usual Suave and Aggressive ones you always see in RPGs (Plus Snarky in DA2 but it basically was a douchebag button) could add some depth and possibilities. Because, as it is, professional = bland.

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Romance and sex should be integrated into the story, not a goal in itself.

 

In my opinion most of Bioware's romances are contrived and grates at me, because everyone seems to be wanting my character, as if he or her is the center of the universe.

 

On the other hand, I felt a game like New Vegas was severely lacking in not having any romantic options what so ever.

 

NWN2 and DA:O spoilers below.

 

 

 

 

NWN2 had Bishop. One of the best evil characters ever written. A vile bastard to boot and at the same time a "romantic" option for a female shard-bearer. His story arc was interesting, because he couldn't be "saved". He remained a vile bastard, and in MotB, he paid a price so very steep for his choices. Brilliant character, brilliant writing and an ~interesting~ arc of romance that had something to add to the story.

 

Morrigan in Dragon Age: Origins and perhaps Jack in ME2 are just about the only romances Bioware has designed the past decade, that doesn't feel as if ripped out of an episode of Twilight or some other sappy teen-show. Morrigan is a great example on how to design a romance that not only fits in, but adds to the overall story. She has a plan and the plan involves her carrying the Warden's child. However, she might discover feelings along the way, she didn't suspect she would have, or even expect that she was capable of feeling. Unlike Bishop she might change, but even so, she also stick to her guns!

 

Love is a powerful feeling and a great motivator. I believe that a story-writer is doing him or her self a disservice by not employing it. But it should be an integrated part of the story, adding something to the overall plot. Not a sideshow merely placed there to act as a dating sim.

Edited by TMZuk
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I feel romances could be best handled as underlying feeling of affection rather than clear expressions of love. Or maybe it's thing from characters past, which he/she encounters again in some way during his/her travels, like in Planescape. Anyway I agree that some of the most interesting "romances" in movies or videogames were those without the big kiss in the end. (Nowdays it would be sex scene, which indicates they just fell in love) Chemistry between characters is all you need to make good romance. And if someone doesn't like the romance then no harm is done and they can imagine it as ordinary friendship or whatever they want.

 

But I don't hate Mass Effect romances either. Actually even if quality of those is debatable I still feel they were important part of those games' overall style and atmosphere as character oriented stories. In late medieval fantasy setting same style doesn't feel quite right, but if written for people past puberty I think these might also work if they just keep overall story in mind and don't rush or force them. I still might rather go for your suggestion though.

 

Leaving love completely untouched is in my opinion the worst option of all as it's anyway one of the biggest parts of anyones life and pretending it doesn't exist even in some fantasy setting is just that: Pretending. If Obsidian is trying to write believable story and world they can't go against natural order of things. It's like trying to write gravity as opposite. If they can link romances in your characters attributes, like Ffordesoon explained, it would be nice, but may be too much asked. I think well written predetermined romantic interest between characters is still very good option.

 

Maybe my second favorite option is the one I briefly explained in beginiing: Hopefully Obsidian is able to think way for main character to have some history before games events as it would leave his/her past as great way to have deep study of these themes without need to overcome any game mechanical limitations and awkwardness. That will be very hard to achieve though as there are too many different races and classes to make just one "universal" background story. They have tons of tanted writers working on PE though so I wouldn't be surprised if they are able to pull this off.

 

We'll see, but I sure hope Obsidian doesn't take the easiest way out and choose not to deal with love and affection in any way.

Edited by Haerski

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I think KotOR did this well enough; it felt like your character was someone who other members of the company may have had little interest in being around if not for what was on the line. Though in medieval fantasy settings it seems people tend to be more concerned with playing the super likeable leader type of role. For me what would be more interesting than romances between PCs and NPCs is romances that develop between NPC party members, but that's another discussion.

this is exactly what Alpha Protocol did right: you did not have to be liked by anyone. like or dislike were 2 sides of the same coin, and each had advantages depending on the situation.

same thing could be done here. the how, i leave to the pros

The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

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What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

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Leaving love completely untouched is in my opinion the worst option of all as it's anyway one of the biggest parts of anyones life and pretending it doesn't exist even in some fantasy setting is just that: Pretending. If Obsidian is trying to write believable story and world they can't go against natural order of things. It's like trying to write gravity as opposite. If they can link romances in your characters attributes, like Ffordesoon explained, it would be nice, but may be too much asked. I think well written predetermined romantic interest between characters is still very good option.

 

Eh, sometimes love is untouched because it doesn't fit a story. Or at least, the story doesn't care about it because it doesn't fit the main character or main quest. Excluding love from the setting is harder, but it can be done too: just look at Warhammer 40K. And it's a tabletop game, complete with a version with pen and paper roleplaying rules.

 

I can understand, though, why so many people are so adamant in repeating that no story can exist without love. There is some correlation between stories that have no place for love and stories with a downer/cynical tone, and some people dislike the latter so much they'd rather not think about them. I don't usually enjoy downers, either, so I get why some people tend to forget this other perspective.

 

Of course, even if I don't usually enjoy downer or cynical stories, I can like some of them. For example, look at Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. It had a dark cynical tone, the story didn't really have place for love, and the closest thing you had that resembled that feeling was not being a monster and limited expressions of empathy. Yet I never felt that my roleplaying was artificially constricted, and it was written in a way that I thoroughly enjoyed playing and replaying it. If I had restricted myself to think that a story has to have love to be believable, I would have never found a game that turned out to be one of my favorite cRPGs. So there's that, too :)

 

My point is that well done, believable stories without love are possible, and they can make for great experiences too. After all, the believability of a story comes down to how well it handles the willing suspension of disbelief, so if it does its job well, pretty much any premise can be believed and enjoyed (even the most unrealistic premises, like the existence of magic!). Therefore, I have to say that statements like yours, saying that not including love goes against the believability that sustains fictional worlds, are very narrow minded, and you're missing out if you continue thinking that.

 

 

 

Now that I feel I've included a bit of a different perspective in this discussion, don't worry: from what the developers have said, the story likely won't go in that direction, and if it does it will likely have a sense of humour about it (which helps a lot). But it is a valid direction, too, and I felt like defending it.

 

I also want to add that I think your expectations are misplaced. Some things you've said, like predetermined love interests or common background traits, necessarily make assumptions about what the player's character likes. From the updates on PE, it seems like the game has a big focus on giving freedom of roleplaying and customization, which goes directly against making assumptions like those. I'd rather have the focus on freedom than on romantic plots, myself.

 

It remains to be seen if romances will be in or not, but I sure hope they're not included just to fulfil a quota. As for love, if it's going to receive any kind of focus it should be because the narrative demands it, not because some people need its presence in order to be able to believe a story.

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I would post something long and well-thought out, but I'm very tired at the moment.

 

IMO, a story doesn't require any particular type of relationship to be good. What it does require is that all relationships not break the characters involved for it to make sense. If you have to write characters out of character to have a storyline or relationship work, you shouldn't use the character or storyline.

 

For example, In recent Spider-Man comics, Doc Ock has stolen Spider-Man's body(after killing him) and is impersonating him. To make this story work, the writer has had to write almost every character SpOck comes into contact with out of character and uncharacteristically oblivious and stupid. If they wanted to use this storyline, they should have adjusted the story so that the characters featured act normally, or adjusted the cast to fit the existing story.

 

I believe that relationships in cRPGs are similar. Forcing a morally bankrupt thief who is in it just for money to be a loyal friend should be avoided.

"To be fair, if I was married to Milla Jovovich, I would also be happy just making movies that show off her butt." - Hurlsnot

"You need to be careful, lest I write another ten page essay on mythology and how it relates to Sailor Moon." - majestic

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My favourite "romance" is with Visas, but that's mostly because of Kelly Hu's excellent voice acting. And that was all very subdued.

I swear if you could somehow bottle Kelly Hu's voice, you could sell it as liquid desire.

Edited by JFSOCC

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Leaving love completely untouched is in my opinion the worst option of all as it's anyway one of the biggest parts of anyones life and pretending it doesn't exist even in some fantasy setting is just that: Pretending. If Obsidian is trying to write believable story and world they can't go against natural order of things. It's like trying to write gravity as opposite. If they can link romances in your characters attributes, like Ffordesoon explained, it would be nice, but may be too much asked. I think well written predetermined romantic interest between characters is still very good option.

 

Eh, sometimes love is untouched because it doesn't fit a story. Or at least, the story doesn't care about it because it doesn't fit the main character or main quest. Excluding love from the setting is harder, but it can be done too: just look at Warhammer 40K. And it's a tabletop game, complete with a version with pen and paper roleplaying rules.

 

I can understand, though, why so many people are so adamant in repeating that no story can exist without love. There is some correlation between stories that have no place for love and stories with a downer/cynical tone, and some people dislike the latter so much they'd rather not think about them. I don't usually enjoy downers, either, so I get why some people tend to forget this other perspective.

 

Of course, even if I don't usually enjoy downer or cynical stories, I can like some of them. For example, look at Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. It had a dark cynical tone, the story didn't really have place for love, and the closest thing you had that resembled that feeling was not being a monster and limited expressions of empathy. Yet I never felt that my roleplaying was artificially constricted, and it was written in a way that I thoroughly enjoyed playing and replaying it. If I had restricted myself to think that a story has to have love to be believable, I would have never found a game that turned out to be one of my favorite cRPGs. So there's that, too :)

 

My point is that well done, believable stories without love are possible, and they can make for great experiences too. After all, the believability of a story comes down to how well it handles the willing suspension of disbelief, so if it does its job well, pretty much any premise can be believed and enjoyed (even the most unrealistic premises, like the existence of magic!). Therefore, I have to say that statements like yours, saying that not including love goes against the believability that sustains fictional worlds, are very narrow minded, and you're missing out if you continue thinking that.

 

 

 

Now that I feel I've included a bit of a different perspective in this discussion, don't worry: from what the developers have said, the story likely won't go in that direction, and if it does it will likely have a sense of humour about it (which helps a lot). But it is a valid direction, too, and I felt like defending it.

 

I also want to add that I think your expectations are misplaced. Some things you've said, like predetermined love interests or common background traits, necessarily make assumptions about what the player's character likes. From the updates on PE, it seems like the game has a big focus on giving freedom of roleplaying and customization, which goes directly against making assumptions like those. I'd rather have the focus on freedom than on romantic plots, myself.

 

It remains to be seen if romances will be in or not, but I sure hope they're not included just to fulfil a quota. As for love, if it's going to receive any kind of focus it should be because the narrative demands it, not because some people need its presence in order to be able to believe a story.

 

 

Far out stories like Vampire Masquerade and really extreme characters are not what I was talking about. "If Obsidian is trying to write believable story and world..." By that I meant stories and worlds which present characters as relatively normal people like Song of Ice and Fire, The Lord of the Rings, etc., where characters mostly have same needs and same dilemmas as we in real life. If there is going to be men and women and some character study in PE so it tries to portray their life in realistic and "wholly" manner I will hold it against Obsidian if there is no interest or history between any of the characters. It may be they have different kind of story in mind hwere focus is not on characters and their doings, but then it's different kind of story and these arguments don't count anymore. I haven't played Warhammer 40K, but for me it appears it's more about world itself than individual characters so it hardly counts as case against these arguments. That's what I feel anyway and I'm not apologizing for it.

 

As for freedom of roleplaying, it always comes in cost of deepnes of story. It's impossible to create world where player can make free decisions when developers still have to create consecuences for each. It's ridiculous to claim love interests go against freedom of roleplaying because so goes everything else in the story. You will always be restricted by limits of the writing no matter what theme it's exploring. Otherwise you end up with usual blank character which doesn't seem to exist in the world besides the events in hand, which is not bad choice, but IMO inferior to well written, but more restricted characters. Some might say it's not freedom of roleplaying if you are not able to romance anyone, but which one is right?

 

I don't object to your last paragraph: Fitting of love as theme depends on story itself. If PE is just simple andventure piece revolving around some events in the world, then there is no need for love as theme, but if they have more ambition in character development, party relations, backgrounds and motivations (as I hope they have) like lets say Planescape: Torment or Mass Effect, then leaving it out would seem cheap.

 

By the way, Planescape: Torment had very cynical/downer story and it also had one of the most heart gripping love stories I have ever experienced in video game history and for me it was probably single best part of whole game so are you absolutely sure love doesn't "fit" in some stories or is it just matter of writing it well? Love story doesn't have to be sunshine and happiness to still be counted as love story, does it?

Edited by Haerski
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My favourite "romance" is with Visas, but that's mostly because of Kelly Hu's excellent voice acting. And that was all very subdued.

I swear if you could somehow bottle Kelly Hu's voice, you could sell it as liquid desire.

 

I also enjoyed her voice acting and Menze drew a very awesome concept of her that was very closely replicated by the character artist.

 

Without these factors I don't think the character would have been anywhere near as enjoyable.

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My favourite "romance" is with Visas, but that's mostly because of Kelly Hu's excellent voice acting. And that was all very subdued.I swear if you could somehow bottle Kelly Hu's voice, you could sell it as liquid desire.

Kellyade? Hulixir?

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"To be fair, if I was married to Milla Jovovich, I would also be happy just making movies that show off her butt." - Hurlsnot

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"I won't say what just in case KaineParker is reading" - Bartimaeus

"Oh no! Is there super secret ending as well? I don’t care." - Wormerine

"Get some poor minorities, that keeps WASPs away easy." - Malcador

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I don't think that they should pretend there is no love in the PE universe. I just want to avoid the devs wasting time on something history has shown they will fail at. I just don't understand the idea of falling in love with a character in a written game. Even from the perspective that nobody has to be and you're just roleplaying different outcomes, I still think it's awful and that all computer game romances I've seen so far fail in two important ways: first, most of them feel contrived and unrealistic. Second, they often feel like they are really more about thinly veiled sexual fantasies than real love. The result is that romance is immersion- breaking, and instead of serving to draw you into the game, I keep thinking about the personal biases of writers, of the target audience who actually appreciates it, and so on.

 

So while I definitely think that themes of love belong in computer games (love being the motivation for NPCs, for example) I don't think the story should ever be dependent on the whether or not the PC has those feelings. Deionarra in Torment is an actual example - she was in love with the PC, but it's relatively irrelevant how the PC relates to this throughout the game. If romances are left to imagination or are explicit doesn't really matter.

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To begin, I'll say I realized the characters who were the most popular always were the ones the players couldn't get. It is the forbidden fruit tale all over again. You desire what you can't have. When you see games like NWN2, people were actually more interested by Neeshka than Elanee, in part because the romance was (thankfully) scrapped and players had to make do with some teasing and their own imagination.

There are other reasons, like Elanee being a stalker, but let's ignore that for now.

 

I liked Elanee.... I feel people have been taking things out of context and misrepresenting her character.

 

That said I don't care about romances in a RGP. They are a nice extra, but utterly and completely unnecessary IMHO.

 

Love is a big part of love, but there are many types/forms of love. Romantic love is only one of them.

 

Edited by TrashMan

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I'm a huge supporter of Romance\Sex in RPG's as I've mentioned on numerous occasions

 

I honestly believe they add depth and realism to the interaction you have with your party on an epic journey. I particularly like the concept of needing to do certain quests or make certain dialogue choices  in order to get closer to party members. Recently I played Planescape for the first time and it reminded me of how exciting it is as the game progresses and you get  emotionally closer to Annah, of course the game failed when it didn't allow you to have a "proper" relationship with her. I felt you just touched the surface. So my relationship with Viconia in BG2 was ideal.

 

For me if PE has this great  world, lore and quests but completely leaves out any Romance\Sex then something would be missing from my overall view of the game.

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Allow me to rearrange your post a little for better addressing your points, Haerski.

 

Planescape: Torment had very cynical/downer story and it also had one of the most heart gripping love stories I have ever experienced in video game history and for me it was probably single best part of whole game so are you absolutely sure love doesn't "fit" in some stories or is it just matter of writing it well? Love story doesn't have to be sunshine and happiness to still be counted as love story, does it?

 

Planescape: Torment had a cynical/downer story, but it had a good love story going because it was designed that way, in a way that it was relevant for its themes. If the story or setting had been different, it would have been a different case.

 

Can love not be a good fit in some stories? I gave you some examples earlier. I can expand them if you want.

 

VtM:B is a game where the main character is a recently created vampire in a cutthroat society, manipulated by various factions that don't care about your interests at all while you follow orders and make a place for yourself. Additionally, vampires in this setting are undead predators who struggle to keep their humanity; the very setting says that these vampires cannot experience mortal love. I'm not sure how I can ilustrate the point better without giving spoilers of the story, but as you can imagine, not the best place for love.

 

The setting of Warhammer 40K is even more extreme. The tagline is "in the grim darkness of the far future there is only war. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods", so you can imagine how the place must be. There is such totalitarian repression and rampant inhumanity that those who haven't renounced sex tend to go to the other extreme and turn to Slaanesh, who, well, just google him.

 

So, in the former example the PC can't feel love, and in the latter all the focus is on murder. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that love doesn't fit some stories.

 

Now you might think "why would anyone want to play there?" to which I'll give you the answer: humor and good execution. VtMB is a very atmosferic and immersive game, and the dialogue is great and funny, which makes the game quite enjoyable. And WH40K is so extreme that it has a certain campy sort of charm. Nobody takes it too seriously, which lets people enjoy the setting for what it is.

 

Regarding your last question, I am aware that love isn't all about sunshine and happiness. But are you honestly telling me that the people who want love and romance to be included in their stories would be happy if it was represented only in the form of soul crushing tragedies? Because that doesn't match my own experience. Most people pushing for the presence of love and romance do so because it's something they enjoy, not because it's something they want to make them miserable.

 

Far out stories like Vampire Masquerade and really extreme characters are not what I was talking about. "If Obsidian is trying to write believable story and world..." By that I meant stories and worlds which present characters as relatively normal people like Song of Ice and Fire, The Lord of the Rings, etc., where characters mostly have same needs and same dilemmas as we in real life. If there is going to be men and women and some character study in PE so it tries to portray their life in realistic and "wholly" manner I will hold it against Obsidian if there is no interest or history between any of the characters. It may be they have different kind of story in mind hwere focus is not on characters and their doings, but then it's different kind of story and these arguments don't count anymore. I haven't played Warhammer 40K, but for me it appears it's more about world itself than individual characters so it hardly counts as case against these arguments. That's what I feel anyway and I'm not apologizing for it.

 

You were talking about stories and their believability, in general. You did not talk about their realism or normalcy, which means that the extremes can be included. PE is aiming for both believability and realism, but in general terms they are not synonyms, and the former can exist without the latter. Settings like WoD or W40K and their stories can attest to that.

 

Sure, the examples I gave are more extreme than LotR or ASoIaF, but they still meet the criteria: they're well-crafted settings, they have good stories (or the potential for good stories) on them, they are good for roleplaying (even WH40K, which is indeed not focused on characters, still has books for roleplaying), and they're still designed in a way that love doesn't really have much of a place there. You can't say that they don't count just because they're not your thing.

 

I know that PE is not going to be in the style of WoD or WH40K. I'm aware of that. But when I see people making blanket statements saying that love has to exist in a believable story, sometimes it grinds my gears, and I feel the need to speak up. And I'm not apologizing for defending my stance, either. If you feel you can say what counts as a believable story or not, I can feel like interrupting you and correcting your assumptions.

 

And by the way, people like the main characters of the works you said aren't that normal, either. The characters of LotR are various forms of fantastic archetypes, and you'd be hard pressed to find a normal, well-adjusted character in ASoIaF. That's the point. Fictional characters need to have a little more going for them than "normal", because normal people are boring. Settings like WoD/WH40K have substantially less normal in their premise than LotR/ASoIaF, but it's still a matter of degrees; as stories and as settings where stories happen, both styles are valid.

 

As for freedom of roleplaying, it always comes in cost of deepnes of story. It's impossible to create world where player can make free decisions when developers still have to create consecuences for each. It's ridiculous to claim love interests go against freedom of roleplaying because so goes everything else in the story. You will always be restricted by limits of the writing no matter what theme it's exploring. Otherwise you end up with usual blank character which doesn't seem to exist in the world besides the events in hand, which is not bad choice, but IMO inferior to well written, but more restricted characters. Some might say it's not freedom of roleplaying if you are not able to romance anyone, but which one is right?

 

Not what I meant. I wasn't talking about love interests in general, I was talking against specific examples.

 

For example, using backgrounds in order to explore themes of love does indeed make assumptions about the player. Depending on what is being assumed, some character concepts will not be viable, just for the sake of story reasons I might not care about. That's the kind of freedom I was talking about. What you can do in the game will always be restricted, you're right about that, but the characters you can make before starting to play, well, that's a different story. My apologies if I wasn't clear in this distinction.

 

Now, I've reread what you said and I see that I misunderstood some of it. You were in favor of a romance between NPCs without involving the PC, and for some reason I understood you were in favor of predetermined love interests for the PC, like, say, Triss in TW2. That was what I was against. NPC romances don't have the same complexity as romances involving an extremely variable PC, so as long as I'm not forced to care or go along with them, I'm not against NPCs being in love, in principle.

 

I don't object to your last paragraph: Fitting of love as theme depends on story itself. If PE is just simple andventure piece revolving around some events in the world, then there is no need for love as theme, but if they have more ambition in character development, party relations, backgrounds and motivations (as I hope they have) like lets say Planescape: Torment or Mass Effect, then leaving it out would seem cheap.

 

I think it would all depend on how it's done. If they do their job well, it won't feel cheap, because whatever character development happens will feel natural and appropiate. You won't even care that no romance took place in the story.

 

I also want to say, again, that you expectations are rather curious. You think the Obisidian developers could somehow be able to pull off a "universal" background for characters of 11 different classes of 11 different ethnicities of 5 diferent races (plus possible godlike versions of any of them) that can come from any place of the world, and that they'd be able to make it so that this background could fit them all well. But you think that character development and party relationships without romance would seem cheap, that it can't be pulled off believably? How so? Where's your trust in them?

 

 

 

 

 

This has ended up as a very long post, and I really don't feel like repeating the arguments I said other times, so I'll state my stance and leave it there.

 

I'm not saying that romances should be excluded on principle. I merely object to the line of thinking that says that they should be included on principle because how could they not. The "how could they not" is what I'm answering to. I'm also highly skeptical that player romances could be pulled off in a satisfactory manner for most people, considering how varied both the players and the player character can be, but that's another topic of dicussion.

 

I don't really have a problem with people who want romances because they like them and make them feel good, either. But I've seen too many people in these threads trying to mask what they really want in the way that they feel will get them most support, and that's not helpful for anyone. At least be honest about your intentions.

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I know some peopel are saying that romances are part of real life. They are. But romances have their time and place.

 

The game will cover a period of several months unless I'm mistaken. Does the PC have to experience romance during those few months? Life is long, there's a lot of things to do and love talks while you're running for your life from Eldritch horrors really feels out of place.

 

Dunno. It can be doen good, it can be done bad, but if there wasn't any I certanly wouldn't feel like the game world was missing something. It's not like love doesn't exist in the world - it's just thath the PC or party NPC's have other things on their mind in that specific time frame.

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

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I know some peopel are saying that romances are part of real life. They are. But romances have their time and place.

 

The game will cover a period of several months unless I'm mistaken. Does the PC have to experience romance during those few months? Life is long, there's a lot of things to do and love talks while you're running for your life from Eldritch horrors really feels out of place.

 

Dunno. It can be doen good, it can be done bad, but if there wasn't any I certanly wouldn't feel like the game world was missing something. It's not like love doesn't exist in the world - it's just thath the PC or party NPC's have other things on their mind in that specific time frame.

 

I hear what you are saying but for me Romance\Sex should be part of the overall game design. This becomes very subjective because for some the RPG experience is really about questing, exploring and being able to make certain choices. I understand thats what they want and expect but me I want deeper party interaction

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

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"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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