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Thoughts on Romance and Modding (official romance thread)


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Fair enough to ask for clarification on that point.

 

Isometric RPGs are more often then not, open world in one way or another. Main objectives are given and can be followed at the players discretion, leaving the main story beats and character developments pacing up to the player. When romances are written to activate or evolve slowly over the games course(bg2), one can never be sure the events will activate and the context and timing is usually horrible.

 

PC: "Just finished that dangerous drow ambush, time to enter a deadly dragons lair folks!" 

Aerie: "Sunsets and tears! I love you and miss my wings!"

PC: "Damnit Aerie!"

 

This is the my main reason for criticizing romances within the context of the format. Romances should not be a glossed over timed event. They need to be thematically tied into the main source material (main quest) or they dont work. To write 2-3 romances is quite a lot of time and money if you want to do it well.

 

I also worry that romances causes writers to railroad certain traits into an NPC just to make them compatible with romance. I would not want Sagani considerable for romance, they might not have written her a family. I dont want to romance GM, they might have made her less aloof or mysterious. I would not want Josh to write Pallegina as potential romantic partner because while she is passionate, she channels her passion into dedication to proving herself to her brotherhood and serving her country as best she can. No one who is a Bioware fan can deny that the success of the romance features altered the very way they plan and write their companions. So for me romance has become one of those features like 3D camera or full audio that seem like a natural evolution for the genre but ultimately undermined the quality of the products, leading us to dissatisfaction and the desire to fund Pillars of Eternity, a deliberate regressive exercise. Asking for romance is asking for a repeat in that history. 

 

So yeah, timing and the undermining of quality writing. I hope I expressed those correctly.

Thanks for responding, I appreciate the feedback

 
I know Romance isn't something that all people on this forum support or even think is relevant in a RPG ...we have had debates about this for ages and I am always interested in why people dont like Romance because all the reasons I have ever heard have never really convinced me ..which is fine as we all have our own RPG preferences 
 
In summary for me I always immerse myself in the RPG experience and imagine I'm the actual character or member of a party and if I was on some epic quest to save the world why wouldn't I also want Romance with someone like Isabela or FALL-from-Grace
 
So Romance is part of the overall immersive interation when I engage with my party members 
Edited by BruceVC
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"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"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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 I would not want Sagani considerable for romance, they might not have written her a family.

 

You might not but maybe the writer would. If for instance you wanted to say something like "Adultery can be an expression of true natural love and isn't always an affront to morality" then Sagani would be the perfect candidate for a romanceable NPC. That she has a family must of course remain an integral part of her character in this scenario where cuckoldery has divine mandate.

Similiarly with Grieving Mother. What is she? the cosmic mid-wife. Maybe you want to make a romance with her all about how we spend our lives chasing fruitless ambitions in a vain attempt to reaquire the unity we felt in the womb. Again, your fears that she would be forced to become more grounded and less mysterious in this scenario are unfounded.

 

Point is before you consider having romances you have to decide on what you're going to say about love. A lot of people criticize the Jaheira romance in BG2 because she doesn't grieve for Khalid for an appropriate amount of time I guess? Ignoring the fact that she never loved Khalid. She belittles and despises him and privately she's glad he's dead. So there's no inconsistencey in how rapidly she expresses romantic interest in the PC. Theme of her romance is 'don't waste your life grieving over losers you never loved because it's expected of you. Get on with your life.' Jaheira also isn't particularly nice either so without saying whether it's an interesting idea about romance or love, it is at least consistent.

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It's not really about anybody being 'against' romances, it's about how hard it is to do a video game romance that isn't utterly crap excuse for awful animated porn scenes and twelve year old fantasies. You have to decide whether to make a romance more central and dedicate a lot of time into making it good, settling for a stupid and boring love you long time romance like in most games, or just leaving it out. It's a decision similar to whether to insert a new game mode, an additional city or a new theme in your plot.

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It's not really about anybody being 'against' romances, it's about how hard it is to do a video game romance that isn't utterly crap excuse for awful animated porn scenes and twelve year old fantasies. You have to decide whether to make a romance more central and dedicate a lot of time into making it good, settling for a stupid and boring love you long time romance like in most games, or just leaving it out. It's a decision similar to whether to insert a new game mode, an additional city or a new theme in your plot.

No offense Tigranes but this post sounds like something you would read on the Codex....are people on the Codex supportive of Romance generally ?

 

You see many  people who dont like Romance will use a variety of perspectives to undermine the overall appetite for Romance  , I have heard them all. For example its common for people to imply things like " Romance implementations are normally juvenile and cater for kids who want to have cheap thrills " ..I'm not sure if this is meant as a  veiled insult but it doesn't  make any difference to Promancers like me because we dont see Romance like that 

 

What game offers your ideal Romance just so I understand your benchmark? 

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"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"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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BruceVC, why do you talk about video game romances like someone who doesn't want a tacked on dating sim is against love? For the record, I liked the Geralt/Yennefer romance in the Witcher 3 because it grows organically out of the story (on the other hand Triss' sucked because you can't write two different romances to naturally occur in the same game).

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BruceVC, why do you talk about video game romances like someone who doesn't want a tacked on dating sim is against love? For the record, I liked the Geralt/Yennefer romance in the Witcher 3 because it grows organically out of the story (on the other hand Triss' sucked because you can't write two different romances to naturally occur in the same game).

Sorry dog I dont understand this sentence "why do you talk about video game romances like someone who doesn't want a tacked on dating sim is against love "

 

I want to have this debate with you so please clarify?

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"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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What game offers your ideal Romance just so I understand your benchmark? 

 

benchmark for Gromnir is ps:t, but is not the romance story o' the protagonist that we thought were fantastic in that game.  ravel's love for tno were distorted and hopeless and more genuine than any other crpg romance story we care to name.  best crpg romance were ravel's love for tno.  took most o' the game, were almost complete one-sided, had no sex scene, and concluded with mebbeth's wonderful post plane-hopping encounter. 

 

am not seeing how to do a decent tangential and optional side-quest romance.  go through an entire romance story arc in a half dozen dialogue encounters?  what a tragedy.  romance ain't necessary for a good story, but if you are gonna include romance, you better make it central to the game story.

 

 

game developers, understandable, wanna do multiple and optional romances in a crpg, 'cause choice is paramount.  result: doom.  

 

"but let me assure you, this like any story worth telling... is all about a girl. that girl. the girl next door. mary jane watson."
 
try and make a movie or game in which a romance with mary jane watson, gwen stacy and flash thompson is all possible 'til mid-point o' game (after which one is rushed into a predictable and puerile sex scene with said romance option) is not our notion o' good design or good romance.
 
the problem for Gromnir regarding crpg romances is not that we hate romance.  the problem is that we like romance.  optional and tangential crpg romances is, by their very nature, flawed.  fine.  keep 'em optional so we need not endure such.  you simple cannot give the requisite attention and depth to an optional and tangential side-quest romance to make it anything other than ridiculously rushed and immature.  so either don't do 'em at all, or keep 'em optional so we need not suffer.  nevertheless, the only way to do crpg romance any kinda justice, to have it worth exploring, is to make such romance integral and pivotal and essential.  can't do half measure romance.
 
solution: if you want decent crpg romance, the obvious way to include is to add such to games without making the game protagonist a romance protagonist.  you can have a well-written romance in just 'bout any crpg just so long as the player is not part o'  the romance.  
 
HA! Good Fun!
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What game offers your ideal Romance just so I understand your benchmark? 

 

benchmark for Gromnir is ps:t, but is not the romance story o' the protagonist that we thought were fantastic in that game.  ravel's love for tno were distorted and hopeless and more genuine than any other crpg romance story we care to name.  best crpg romance were ravel's love for tno.  took most o' the game, were almost complete one-sided, had no sex scene, and concluded with mebbeth's wonderful post plane-hopping encounter. 

 

am not seeing how to do a decent tangential and optional side-quest romance.  go through an entire romance story arc in a half dozen dialogue encounters?  what a tragedy.  romance ain't necessary for a good story, but if you are gonna include romance, you better make it central to the game story.

 

 

game developers, understandable, wanna do multiple and optional romances in a crpg, 'cause choice is paramount.  result: doom.  

 

"but let me assure you, this like any story worth telling... is all about a girl. that girl. the girl next door. mary jane watson."
 
try and make a movie or game in which a romance with mary jane watson, gwen stacy and flash thompson is all possible 'til mid-point o' game (after which one is rushed into a predictable and puerile sex scene with said romance option) is not our notion o' good design or good romance.
 
the problem for Gromnir regarding crpg romances is not that we hate romance.  the problem is that we like romance.  optional and tangential crpg romances is, by their very nature, flawed.  fine.  keep 'em optional so we need not endure such.  you simple cannot give the requisite attention and depth to an optional and tangential side-quest romance to make it anything other than ridiculously rushed and immature.  so either don't do 'em at all, or keep 'em optional so we need not suffer.  nevertheless, the only way to do crpg romance any kinda justice, to have it worth exploring, is to make such romance integral and pivotal and essential.  can't do half measure romance.
 
solution: if you want decent crpg romance, the obvious way to include is to add such to games without making the game protagonist a romance protagonist.  you can have a well-written romance in just 'bout any crpg just so long as the player is not part o'  the romance.  
 
HA! Good Fun!

 

Yes the whole PS:T Romance was interesting I agree but I cant imagine an RPG where Romance is the core objective? Romance is  suppose to be about party interaction and as you said a component or side quets , I enjoy movies like When Harry met Sally but despite what some people maintain an RPG without  a compelling narrative and places to explore and decent quests would be pointless for me

 

I only end up Romancing one person per RPG because I imagine the reality of being in a party and actually dating that person and to be honest Romance dialogue is interesting but never inspirational ....but its a RPG, not a novel so my expectations are reasonable 

 

So then you may ask " but why  do you  like Romance "....its about the RP experience the same as I consider my choices when they have real consequences. I always play a  " good guy " but I am interested in wealth

 

So in Witcher 3 which I'm playing now I generally ask for money when people ask me to kill monsters 

 

But for me if I'm not part of the Romance that would be pointless?

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"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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I mean what I said, no more and no less. Bruce, your take on it seems to have very little to do with what I said, and I don't consider the Codex or 'Promancers' or whatever particularly relevant... or interesting.

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I mean what I said, no more and no less. Bruce, your take on it seems to have very little to do with what I said, and I don't consider the Codex or 'Promancers' or whatever particularly relevant... or interesting.

Sorry it wasnt clear what you suggesting, thats why I asked whats your ideal Romance implementation because I have the feeling you are going to say " I dont like Romance "  

 

I know you are experienced in gaming and past history on this topic normally reveals the vast number of old school gamers dont like Romance 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"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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Oh no, wrong quote, I'm sorry ... carry on. 

Sorry I cant remove the "Like " ....I feel connected to you now ...forever  :lol:

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"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"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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I mean what I said, no more and no less. Bruce, your take on it seems to have very little to do with what I said, and I don't consider the Codex or 'Promancers' or whatever particularly relevant... or interesting.

Sorry it wasnt clear what you suggesting, thats why I asked whats your ideal Romance implementation because I have the feeling you are going to say " I dont like Romance "  

 

I know you are experienced in gaming and past history on this topic normally reveals the vast number of old school gamers dont like Romance 

 

 

Extensive dedication of writing resources, well integrated into the setting / plot / characterisation, makes sense for the romance to bloom in that situation, isn't just a 'push couple buttons and have super shallow beautiful women with far too big breasts croon over you like both of you left your brains behind', and isn't just 'solve these 3 dialogue puzzles to get SEXXXX'? 

 

None of the stupid "pick the obviously right option between calling her an idiot and saying I care about you long time"? None of the offensively stupid "give gifts, get sex" (Dragon Age: Origins)? None of the hilariously bad sex scenes (Mass Effects, Dragon Ages, etc)?

 

You'd think that's just common sense, but somehow it's not. 

 

I'll give you an example that's not so black and white: Final Fantasy VIII / IX / X. I'm not particularly thrilled about the romances in those titles. I find, for example, the male in VIII and X supremely annoying, and the female in IX and X kind of dull. Yet the fact that I am more or less forced to play one half of this romantic relationship throughout the entire game does not really annoy me, because it is clear that the romance is central to who these characters are and how they are changing, that is, the story and themes of the game as a whole. Their relationship proceeds in many small encounters with many different kinds of interactions, instead of "hi i like your hair" "oh um um *blush*" "sex time!". So even when I find the love interest character unattractive, and the romance is unavoidable and takes hours and hours, it is actually easier to appreciate the romance as part of the story, or even to look past it and enjoy the rest of the story. 

 

This is easier for me because I don't really enter into the idea that I am the PC. I'm playing to enjoy a story, and variously to empathise with the predicament of different characters. So it would be just fine, as a straight male, to play a character who is written all the way, for example, as a bisexual, a lesbian, whatever, and to experience different aspects of romantic struggles that character faces. What is not fine is the typical fare of putrid, patronising walking boobs lifted straight out of bad porn crooning over the player and asking me to fantasise - sexually and/or romantically - about my equivalent of topless prince come hither on a majestic horse.

 

So, the point is, as I already said in very clear terms: just like Pillars should have not done a stronghold when it could not dedicate resources to do it properly, games should not do romances unless they can really do an extensive and well written one.

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Quite a few people seem to focus on the "big breasted women admiring the player" aspect of the bioware romances when they have been pretty good about keeping things equal and cater to both sexes and lately even orientations, even if people don't enjoy their romances (I personally like them), I think they at least deserve some credit for being progresive and inclusive.

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I mean what I said, no more and no less. Bruce, your take on it seems to have very little to do with what I said, and I don't consider the Codex or 'Promancers' or whatever particularly relevant... or interesting.

Sorry it wasnt clear what you suggesting, thats why I asked whats your ideal Romance implementation because I have the feeling you are going to say " I dont like Romance "  

 

I know you are experienced in gaming and past history on this topic normally reveals the vast number of old school gamers dont like Romance 

 

 

Extensive dedication of writing resources, well integrated into the setting / plot / characterisation, makes sense for the romance to bloom in that situation, isn't just a 'push couple buttons and have super shallow beautiful women with far too big breasts croon over you like both of you left your brains behind', and isn't just 'solve these 3 dialogue puzzles to get SEXXXX'? 

 

None of the stupid "pick the obviously right option between calling her an idiot and saying I care about you long time"? None of the offensively stupid "give gifts, get sex" (Dragon Age: Origins)? None of the hilariously bad sex scenes (Mass Effects, Dragon Ages, etc)?

 

You'd think that's just common sense, but somehow it's not. 

 

I'll give you an example that's not so black and white: Final Fantasy VIII / IX / X. I'm not particularly thrilled about the romances in those titles. I find, for example, the male in VIII and X supremely annoying, and the female in IX and X kind of dull. Yet the fact that I am more or less forced to play one half of this romantic relationship throughout the entire game does not really annoy me, because it is clear that the romance is central to who these characters are and how they are changing, that is, the story and themes of the game as a whole. Their relationship proceeds in many small encounters with many different kinds of interactions, instead of "hi i like your hair" "oh um um *blush*" "sex time!". So even when I find the love interest character unattractive, and the romance is unavoidable and takes hours and hours, it is actually easier to appreciate the romance as part of the story, or even to look past it and enjoy the rest of the story. 

 

This is easier for me because I don't really enter into the idea that I am the PC. I'm playing to enjoy a story, and variously to empathise with the predicament of different characters. So it would be just fine, as a straight male, to play a character who is written all the way, for example, as a bisexual, a lesbian, whatever, and to experience different aspects of romantic struggles that character faces. What is not fine is the typical fare of putrid, patronising walking boobs lifted straight out of bad porn crooning over the player and asking me to fantasise - sexually and/or romantically - about my equivalent of topless prince come hither on a majestic horse.

 

So, the point is, as I already said in very clear terms: just like Pillars should have not done a stronghold when it could not dedicate resources to do it properly, games should not do romances unless they can really do an extensive and well written one.

 

Thanks  for  responding in such detail, this post was very interesting

 

You proved me completely wrong as I really thought you were going to say " Romance is stupid " ....I made an assumption about what you were alluding to, my bad  :thumbsup: You have some real exposure to Romance concepts 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"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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Quite a few people seem to focus on the "big breasted women admiring the player" aspect of the bioware romances when they have been pretty good about keeping things equal and cater to both sexes and lately even orientations, even if people don't enjoy their romances (I personally like them), I think they at least deserve some credit for being progresive and inclusive.

There is nothing wrong with liking Romance, its  a personal choice ...dont let anyone define your RPG journey 

 

Tens of thousands of people on BSN like Romance so we not alone. Yes its not popular on these forums but why should that change our views?

 

Now I like big breasted women but there must a  personal connection with the character in the game, like Isabela in DA2, or I wont follow the Romance arc 

 

Yes and I expect same sex options...  its important to cater for all fans and not just heterosexual males 

Edited by BruceVC
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"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"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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There was no point to refute. It was lies and propaganda.

As I said having played and completed Torment i didnt even know there was romances.

To say its then shoved down you throat is nothing short of PURE LIES. 

Edited by Tigranes
Probably just a little bit of rhetoric overload
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