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The Case for Romance

 

First of all let me say that this is not a whiny thread by any means. The hope here is to have intellectual discussion and not a flame war. Anyways I will be building an unbiased case over the polarizing topic of romance in RPG’s. Some people love it, some people hate it. Through this topic I will be using nifty things like science and well thought points and counter points about this topic. Buckle up it will be quite a read. Mods feel free to shut the thread down if need be.

 

Romance is a good thing. Why? 

 

Let’s turn to science. What sorts of hormones are secreted in the brain during “love” as well as what they do.

 

Testosterone: Think Male hormone

 

Oestrogen:  Think Female hormone

 

Adrenaline:  The word adrenaline is used in common parlance to denote increased activation of the sympathetic system associated with the energy and excitement of the flight, fight and fright response, even though this is physiologically inaccurate. The influence of adrenaline is mainly limited to a metabolic effect and bronchodilator effect on organs devoid of direct sympathetic innervation.

 

Dopamine: The brain includes several distinct dopamine systems, one of which plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine in the brain, and a variety of addictive drugs, including stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine, act by amplifying the effects of dopamine.

 

Serotonin: It is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.

 

Oxytocin: Well, this hormone is what is called the “Bonding hormone”. It has quite a role in the neuroanatomy of intimacy. I won’t get too deep on this one but you are free to look it up!

 

Vasopressin: It plays a key role in homeostasis, by the regulation of water, glucose, and salts in the blood.

 

Now with that out of the way we need to ask the question, does any of that matter for a video game where the “love” is not “real”. Well perhaps we should examine ourselves first, do you not feel on edge during a horror movie? What about a horror game? Do you feel on edge when fighting an end boss that has been kicking the crap out of you? What sort of feelings do you have when you finally beat that boss? The answer to any of those ought to be yes. No matter how large or small the feeling is you are still feeling and secreting the hormones appropriately. That said NPC romances; while they may not be a “real” thing to some people they still feel the effects. We can most likely chalk up promancer attitude to Dopamine (reward-motivation).  

 

This brings up the next question, have romances in games been done right? Yes and no. I will get to that in counter-points though. Now I can offer up something I think would remedy this problem. Something like a romance subplot should not unravel in a mere 25 – 30 hours. They should take time to bloom and what that could mean is planting the seeds. Show the players that “hey, something could happen here but not yet.” Let the sub plot unfold over a series of games (assuming our characters are not dead) or in future expansion packs. This take on romance in games can be quite a new wind and might even solidify future sales. (Not necessarily a proven fact though). That said I do think that it can be taken with a different approach and not the normal approach we are used to.

 

Romance is bad. Why?

 

As we already know the developers have stated that PoE will not have romance in it. (Much to the promancer’s dismay). In the past game developers have often done a poor job in implementing romance to a story line. People seem to feel that it will detract from other aspects of characters and companions. The truth of the matter is that it very well may. I don’t know if people realize that each line spoken by a character, each choice in a decision tree costs money. PoE has a relatively small budget compared to most other titles made by a pedigree company. With an extremely tight budget something like romance might detract too much from a budget. Believe it or not this is just the cold hard truth.

 

What does not having romances allow? Well it can be quite a bit actually. What if the total cost for writing a romance is equivalent to an entirely new companion? Well it is completely possible though I would imagine that is a well written romance. Does it detract from the overall story or companion’s character? It can, like previously stated dialogue costs time and money which is something PoE just might not have right now. In terms of an NPC’s integrity it very well could take a well-rounded character and turn them into a mindless drooly for the Player-character.

 

Lastly we come to the Dev team itself. As we all know there are a couple of people in the Dev team that are outspokenly against romance. While they might be a minority among the team they are the ones that can make the difference. Let me ask you this, if you hate doing something, if it was not necessary to finishing a job would you do a good job on it if forced? More often than not the answer is no. As humans we want to do what we enjoy not bring in things we do not enjoy into that otherwise perfect mix.

 

In conclusion... 

 

There are plenty of reasons why to add and why not to add something like romance into a game. In all honesty we should view it as something as big as character classes. Most often game developers fail to implement well written romances into games and that could very well be a product of not planning for them ahead of writing a character or the main story. It might also be the fact that WRPGs and CRPGs are not the best medium to express that aspect of humanity. JRPGs can get away with easier since we are playing a story from the eyes of a pre-written character. WRPGs are the opposite, they tell the story from our eyes, as if we were there.

 

Any way that is all I have to say on this for now. I apologize for beating a dead horse now but this is something that has bothered me for some time. It feels nice to throw my thoughts on this out there. Please feel free to discuss and bring up opinions!!

Edited by NanoPaladin
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LOL

What does League of Legends have to do with this romance analysis? o_O

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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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TL;DR

 

Wait for mods or PoE 2, which if like BG2 will include romances because modders love making them almost as much as nude mods.

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TL;DR

 

Wait for mods or PoE 2, which if like BG2 will include romances because modders love making them almost as much as nude mods.

 

I don't think people understand the point of my thread here. I was not whining about there being no romance I was offering the point of view for each side to the opposing side... I guess all my effort there was for nothing really.

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My course of thought:

 

 will be using nifty things like science

To explain human relationships? Ooookay...

 

 

Romance is a good thing. Why? 

 

Let’s turn to science. What sorts of hormones are secreted in the brain during “love” as well as what they do.

[...]Testorone...Oestrogen...Oxytocin...

Oh boy...

 

Then, there was a wall of text.

 

Don't you think you're getting a little bit too much involved over a non-existent matter? I mean, turning to biology to explain a desire to see love relationships between 2 almost faceless bunch of pixels in a random video game, come on.

Is this not enough to enjoy it when the writers want to do so and design the story accordingly? There are plenty alternate medium or even games to get your romance on. Why is nobody besieging CDProjekt or Eidos Montréal over this?

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Edited by Auxilius
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Josh Sawyer once said something like "romance should be given more or less attention", and I tend to agree. If a love story is done right, it should be a major part of the main story, not just some optional sidequest. I would be very interested in a game from Obsidian that's all about character interaction and possibly love stories, but from the beginning it was clear this wouldn't be a focus of Eternity.

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My course of thought:

 

 will be using nifty things like science

To explain human relationships? Ooookay...

 

 

Romance is a good thing. Why? 

 

Let’s turn to science. What sorts of hormones are secreted in the brain during “love” as well as what they do.

[...]Testorone...Oestrogen...Oxytocin...

Oh boy...

 

Then, there was a wall of text.

 

Don't you think you're getting a little bit too much involved over a non-existent matter? I mean, turning to biology to explain a desire to see love relationships between 2 almost faceless bunch of pixels in a random video game, come on.

Is this not enough to enjoy it when the writers want to do so and design the story accordingly? There are plenty alternate medium or even games to get your romance on. Why is nobody asieging CDProjekt or Eidos Montréal over this?

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The point of that was to show what the brain does. As they can be released under "simulated" events. Again I raised perfectly reasonable counter-points against adding romance into a game as well. 

 

That said, no I do not think I am getting too involved in this. I mostly wanted to bring up thought and debate over the subject. Not a roll of memes and initial flaming. At any rate I appreciate the input!

 

Josh Sawyer once said something like "romance should be given more or less attention", and I tend to agree. If a love story is done right, it should be a major part of the main story, not just some optional sidequest. I would be very interested in a game from Obsidian that's all about character interaction and possibly love stories, but from the beginning it was clear this wouldn't be a focus of Eternity.

 

Yeah thats respectably reasonable as well. I actually mentioned that later on saying they should be planned into the story line or characters and not just half assedly thrown in there at the end.

Edited by NanoPaladin
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Just a question; Any reason why this isn't in the "no romance confirmed", and an additional thread?

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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Let’s turn to science. What sorts of hormones are secreted in the brain during “love” as well as what they do.

 

 

You see, this is the problem. Romance in games is not actual love. 

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Let’s turn to science. What sorts of hormones are secreted in the brain during “love” as well as what they do.

 

 

You see, this is the problem. Romance in games is not actual love. 

 

 

I am aware of that. It is still a reward-consequence though which is why I even put that section up.

Just a question; Any reason why this isn't in the "no romance confirmed", and an additional thread?

 

No one would have read this there, then again I am not even sure if they read it all here. 

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The point of that was to show what the brain does. As they can be released under "simulated" events. Again I raised perfectly reasonable counter-points against adding romance into a game as well. 

 

That said, no I do not think I am getting too involved in this. I mostly wanted to bring up thought and debate over the subject. Not a roll of memes and initial flaming. At any rate I appreciate the input!

OK :(

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Let’s turn to science. What sorts of hormones are secreted in the brain during “love” as well as what they do.

You see, this is the problem. Romance in games is not actual love. 

 

I disagree that this is the problem. Adventure in games isn't 'actual adventure', but it's fun because it evokes adventure. 

 

RPGs are like novels, but where the player is writing one of the characters. It doesn't matter that the player can't actually fall in love, because the player *character* totally can.

 

If you ask me, the problem is that writing in games is generally awful and game systems rarely even try to model human relationships.

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But what if my character just wants to ****, can't we just skip the romance? 

Seriously though, if it adds nothing to the game then scrap it.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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I don't think people understand the point of my thread here. I was not whining about there being no romance I was offering the point of view for each side to the opposing side... I guess all my effort there was for nothing really.

The "problem," so to speak, at least on this forum, is that the topic of romance in PoE was beaten to death (and caused a lot of locked threads, heh) in the distant past, so it tends to be one of those touchy subjects for many, here, at this point.

 

I personally don't have any issue with there being one or two romance options in a game, as long as it's not a forced-issue (eg I don't have to romance to progress). But on the other side, I don't care if there aren't any specific romance options, either. I can't think of any game I've personally played where I liked the way a romance plotline was handled. Although I do often find the non-committal flirtation moments between non-player chrs. really amusing or something, like Atton's jealous bickering re: Disciple in Kotor2. :)

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I don't think people understand the point of my thread here. I was not whining about there being no romance I was offering the point of view for each side to the opposing side... I guess all my effort there was for nothing really.

The "problem," so to speak, at least on this forum, is that the topic of romance in PoE was beaten to death (and caused a lot of locked threads, heh) in the distant past, so it tends to be one of those touchy subjects for many, here, at this point.

 

I personally don't have any issue with there being one or two romance options in a game, as long as it's not a forced-issue (eg I don't have to romance to progress). But on the other side, I don't care if there aren't any specific romance options, either. I can't think of any game I've personally played where I liked the way a romance plotline was handled. Although I do often find the non-committal flirtation moments between non-player chrs. really amusing or something, like Atton's jealous bickering re: Disciple in Kotor2. :)

 

 

Of course, I know its a bit of a dead horse by now. I was intending to create a thread for actual debate on the topic and not just immature squandering on the subject. So far... mixed results. I think that this is "problem" that pops up in all up-coming RPG games forums.

 

Step back and look at it a moment. One thing that is almost always brought up by the community is the question of whether there will be romance in the game or not. Something is there...

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