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i have noting against romance in games as long as it isn't simply tacked on as some kind of plot placeholder. it actually needs depth & solid progression (and not a standalone minigame either)... so, not anything like skyrim. (though for skyrim it actually kind of works... don't ask me why)  

 

I suppose I agree with this to the extent that romances are something I can take or leave readily. If they're there, they should be fully fleshed out, if they aren't there, that's fine too. I can't speak to the Skyrim thing, I enjoyed the game, but never gave romance a go. Too busy adventuring, and modding my character and the game just so. Removing fast travel, requiring my character bundle up to not freeze to death, portable sleeping bags, the ability to make camp, the need to eat, drink, be careful of disease, massive visual updates to characters and environments, giving the magic College a large student body with complete schedules and classes, and all that, more my speed than romances I suppose.

 

Which I guess makes me a bad measure of what a good romance is. So I guess take it or leave it should be the extent of my input.

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I cannot forget the follies and vices of others so soon as I ought, nor their offenses against myself.


My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would


perhaps be called resentful. My good opinion once lost is lost forever.”


- Pride and Prejudice

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Best romance in a video game ever. Got everything. Courtship, getting laid, and matrimony.

I enjoyed more the Bishops' romances.Sleeping with the daughter (if you didn't, she would call the guards on you), then with the mother, she asking me if I had use protection with her daughter, realizing after that that I actually could buy profilactics... If that ain't love I don't know what is.

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I wonder if they'll handle it like in Tyranny, where you can make a pass at some of the companions but they turn you down :p

 

Actually, I think for romances to be realistically represented in these sort of games this is an important factor. Perhaps one of the things I dislike about romances in so many CRPGs is that you only have the option of initiating a romance with one of the romancable NPCs, and that so long as you select the right dialogue options they will reciprocate. Meanwhile, in the real world, I've been attracted to lots of people who never felt the same way towards me and vice versa.

 

In fact if a romance system is going to represent real life relationships, at the start of each game a random, hidden roll should be made determining which NPCs can be attracted to the main character, what sort of approach they find attractive and what sort of relationship they are looking for. Your female Watcher fancies Aloth? Too bad, the random roll determined him to be gay this time round. You want a deep committed relationship with Eder? Too bad, he's just looking for something casual.

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I wonder if they'll handle it like in Tyranny, where you can make a pass at some of the companions but they turn you down :p

 

Actually, I think for romances to be realistically represented in these sort of games this is an important factor. Perhaps one of the things I dislike about romances in so many CRPGs is that you only have the option of initiating a romance with one of the romancable NPCs, and that so long as you select the right dialogue options they will reciprocate. Meanwhile, in the real world, I've been attracted to lots of people who never felt the same way towards me and vice versa.

 

In fact if a romance system is going to represent real life relationships, at the start of each game a random, hidden roll should be made determining which NPCs can be attracted to the main character, what sort of approach they find attractive and what sort of relationship they are looking for. Your female Watcher fancies Aloth? Too bad, the random roll determined him to be gay this time round. You want a deep committed relationship with Eder? Too bad, he's just looking for something casual.

 

 

While I find the basic idea behind that interesting I have serveral issues with this suggestion. First, from a purely technical perspetive, this would require a massive amount of additional writing and scripting, building a whole range of different combinations that might occur due to the randomness of the system. It's highly unlikely that any developer will ever be able to deliver on such a promise in the context of a CRPG. Second, from a narrative perspective, randomness bears a lot of risks, first and foremost the risk of a broken consistency or lacking writing by design. It's almost impossibe to both deliver well developed and written characters and randomized character traits. It's actually the opposite approach to character development.

 

What I agree upon is the much too big focus on player agency in romantic elements. In most games which include something like that the whole course of relationship seems to be decided by the player. While I understand it from a design perspective (especially in an RPG) that you might want to give players as many agency as possible this bears the risk that it leads to a very one-sided and even immersion-breaking narrative. It's the typical RPG (and general video game) trope that the whole world depends on the character and obviously nobody can't live without the PC or decide stuff on their own. It's really hard to make that right since every compromise might disappoint somebody, either the people who feel that they had too little influence and that the agency was ripped from them or the people who feel that their PC is the center of a superficial, unbelievable narrative in which they can't be immersed. I don't know any golden path here but my personal suggestion would indeed be a compromise that includes a wide variety of different elements, some including short agency and short satisfaction (why not just a possible quicky at the campfire?), some including long time agency (more in the line of the typcial romance dominated by the PC), some including elements in which the PC can only react, some including elements (like relationships between NPCs) that the PC has no influence upon at all.

 

RPGs need a new and more mature way of included emotional and personal elements for creating meaningful relationships that go beyond and break the limitations of the typcial "Bioware romances". Randomness isn't the solution imo since it doesn't promise more depth and better writing or a higher satisfaction for and emotional engagement by the player. A new approach to this topic needs to be based on a broader vision for possible human interaction on an emotional level and it should include a bigger variety in both form and method to cover the issue.

Edited by LordCrash
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In some way denying romances is just as bad as forcing them imo. Just think about it. You make the PC be able to have a great impact on a characters life, yet the character can never develop any romantic feelings for the PC? That just sounds plain bad, as you ignore a whole bunch of emotions that your characters could develop and which are totally normal for humans. Also it's kinda unnatural, like you create (for example) a 30 year old character in your game, yet that character simply never thinks about choosing a mate or reproducing, which is biologically among the strongest human desires.

 

Personally, I'd prefer an approach similar to Planescape. The characters already have certain unique desires to which the PC can choose to respond or not. Whether that's just a kiss, a mere few lines that insinuate that there are romantic feelings, or a character totally falls in love with the protagonist to which he can respond either way.

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Difficulty with cRPG romance is that it's extremely hard not to turn it into a minigame where you push the right buttons/pick the right dialogue choices and are rewarded with a cute fade-to-black or whatever. For it to work, it would have to be deeply integrated into the story – like in Planescape: Torment – or have something else that breaks that dynamic. What if you had to sacrifice something to save your beloved? An eye (-5 Perception?) An arm (can only wield single-handed weapons?) An experience level?

 

If they do choose to work in romance, I hope they'll do it properly, not as harem anime like it's usually done.

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I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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As for more examples of good romances:

 

Mass Effect 2 Morint: connected to main quest, moral choices, infuence ending, very unexpected, shattering climax.

 

Witcher 3 Yen (Triss club is also ok)

  • good reason we are in it together (djini curse)
  • connected to main quest (she loves Ciri as oldie aunt)
  • hilarious dialogues
  • interesting character on its own (dark mage wishing for solace)
  • own agenda (this may be more important, since Trophy Girl is not a way)
  • liliac and gooseberry

It is not  that hard,

Edited by evilcat
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Witcher 3 Yen

  • connected to main quest (she loves Ciri as oldie MOTHER)
Corrected that for you.  :yes: 

 

 

As for Witcher's Yen the comparison is a bit unfair though since the character AND her relationship with Geralt were already pretty well established(in the novels). There is sadly no such luxury as a bunch of brilliant novels for Pillars to build upon. ;)

Edited by LordCrash
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As for ... good romances:

 

The only one I can think of was in Divinity: Original Sin where, if you had the perk that allowed you to talk to animals, you could help a cat in a bar to get things going with another cat. It was stuff like straight from some children's book, but it was kinda cute, very brief, and it didn't resort to awkwardly written and offputting seduction minigame shoved at the players face.

Edited by Undecaf
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Perkele, tiädäksää tuanoini!

"It's easier to tolerate idiots if you do not consider them as stupid people, but exceptionally gifted monkeys."

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Remember about romance with Viconia in BG2. I think one of the best romance ever.

I believe it's because they did good work by incorporating Viconia's character and backstory into the romance dialogues. Also, all the dialogue was well arranged to fit the story.

 

That being said, good romantic plotlines can be done and are not that impossible as people often assume.

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I know most of us prefer to be in control of our story, but what if during the interlude between PoE & PoEII our characters develops a relationship, or just gets married for political reasons depending on how we played the first game? This can be explored more through the like a series of letters or something that you revive throughout the game?

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I'd just like to jump in and say I enjoy romances, and I definitely think including it will help Obsidian sell more copies. Obsidian as far as I can tell is not really in healthy financial straits right now so they pretty much need all the help they can get.

 

People seem to have this wrong-headed idea that including romance = fan service. It doesn't even need to be a romance between the player and an NPC. It could be cross-NPC romance. It could be a romance that never gets consummated. It could be a series-spanning relationship that gradually evolves with romantic overtures. GET CREATIVE!

 

Basically speaking; romance sells. Sex sells. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on how you do it.

 

For the record I thought the story in POE was incredibly dull until the last part where you got to speak with the Gods.

So was BG & BG 2 for that matter had there not been romances in them.

 

The things that always attracted me to the DND universe were its Gods and larger-than-life characters, like Drizzt. These things are themselves arguably "romantic" aspects that lend interest to a world and allow someone to immerse themselves and become attached to the fantasy setting.

 

Histories and customs of fantasy nations do not interest me personally, and so no amount of exposition on what kind of pantaloons the nobles in Old Vailia wear will interest me. Give me a Hero(a named one), a God, an epic adventure with all the adjunct emotional colours which necessarily include love/bonding.

 

POE fell short on this regard. I was really interested in Eder's story and the story of the dead God who we will see in POE2, while all the other characters felt flat (Kana and dwarf chick were the worst offenders).

 

The 'oddball' characters like Grieving Mother and Durance had promise but got weighed down with cryptic and often wanky blathering that tried it's hardest to showcase originality instead of compelling character development.

 

I want Obsidian to give us a character we can really bond with, and I consider Dakkon from PS:T the absolute pinnacle of character writing in a Bioware/Black Isle RPG. Dakkon wasn't even a romance option and yet I would consider his story "romantic". The bond you developed with him and his growth under your tutelage was profound and moving (and moved me to tears).

 

edit: TL;DR, I guess what I'm saying is that I want a story to MOVE me, and romance is one of the most straightforward options to make this happen. If a story doesn't emotionally affect me, then there's literally nothing to care about and so you are much less likely follow up on it/buy the next installment. 

 

There doesn't NEED to be a boy/girl romance in POE2, but there NEEDS to be deep and meaningful character INTERACTION in POE2 for me to give a **** about the character and remember their names.

Like I literally cannot remember Dwarf Chicks name right now but I remember her fox is itumaak

Edited by Idleray
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Romance could also be used as tool without love:

  • Player Character could optionally seduce bored noble to gain information or benefits which otherwise would take much longer
  • NPC could seduce player promising unspoken pleasures, but it will be just to push player to do some dirty job.
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Romance could also be used as tool without love:

  • Player Character could optionally seduce bored noble to gain information or benefits which otherwise would take much longer
  • NPC could seduce player promising unspoken pleasures, but it will be just to push player to do some dirty job.

 

 

That would just be sex/using sex appeal, which is rather mundane and not what makes romances compelling.

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I don't know if someone has mentioned this, but Pillars 1 had one romanceable character, namely Iovara. It is quite touching. You can even decide if it is a happy or unrequited romance. 

 

And it is completely un-noteworthy because the manner it was done was as a ret-connable choose-your-own-adventure backstory for a long-dead ghost which lasts for 5 minutes during the last legs of the game. She could be your sister, your lover, your senior that you looked up to, someone you betrayed etc.

 

This for me had no emotional impact.

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I don't know if someone has mentioned this, but Pillars 1 had one romanceable character, namely Iovara. It is quite touching. You can even decide if it is a happy or unrequited romance. 

 

And it is completely un-noteworthy because the manner it was done was as a ret-connable choose-your-own-adventure backstory for a long-dead ghost which lasts for 5 minutes during the last legs of the game. She could be your sister, your lover, your senior that you looked up to, someone you betrayed etc.

 

This for me had no emotional impact.

 

Uuuuuh ... isn't choice a good thing? You get to decide the connection that would be most meaningful to you. 

 

I get that it's short, but that did not ruin it for me. There are a lot of blanks to fill in. It reminds me of the romance in Torment, though the ghost lady is a very different character from Iovora.

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Romance could also be used as tool without love:

  • Player Character could optionally seduce bored noble to gain information or benefits which otherwise would take much longer
  • NPC could seduce player promising unspoken pleasures, but it will be just to push player to do some dirty job.

 

 

That would just be sex/using sex appeal, which is rather mundane and not what makes romances compelling.

 

 

But this is what make roleplaying compelling.

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Romance could also be used as tool without love:

  • Player Character could optionally seduce bored noble to gain information or benefits which otherwise would take much longer
  • NPC could seduce player promising unspoken pleasures, but it will be just to push player to do some dirty job.

 

 

That would just be sex/using sex appeal, which is rather mundane and not what makes romances compelling.

 

 

I think in a broader sense what evilcat may be getting at is the idea that the NPC could 'pursue' a romance with the PC with an agenda in mind or vice-versa.  If you're an evil character being able to create a plan that involves romancing an NPC over a large section of the game to further your aims does move away from the perception in RPGs that evil is defined by "kill everyone you meet".  And it'd be novel (if possibly hard to pull off) to have an NPC feign an interest in you, romance you through the game as part of a self-serving plan of their own.  I'm not sure how replayable such a thing would be, but it'd certainly be a kick in the pants if done well.

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As for Witcher's Yen the comparison is a bit unfair though since the character AND her relationship with Geralt were already pretty well established(in the novels). There is sadly no such luxury as a bunch of brilliant novels for Pillars to build upon. ;)

I don't think the novels were the crucial part - Yen and Triss (who was promoted to one of the primary love interests by the game, afaik) work quite well even if you did not read anything of Sapkowski before. (The overwhelming majority of players didn't, I'd guess.)

But the Witcher games have the advantages of having a very defined character as protagonist. Geralt isn't a blank slate like PoE's Watcher (or BG2's Charname), the writers can write really specific dialogue for him. (The Nameless One also tends more in that direction, even if he's a bit more open to player input.) Everything you need for the relationship with Yennefer is within the game itself, you don't need the novels for background (in fact, for Triss, they're probably more in the not-helpful department). But the game doesn't have to cater to a wide range of possible characters, back stories (in PoE, you can decide to be lots of things from all over the world), or motivations.

This makes it much harder to write compelling character relationships (including romances) for protagonists like PoE's.

Edited by Varana
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