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What do you think about the "romance" in RPG?

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I mean the "love part" in RPG.We know that in many RPG you can deepen personal relationships with partners; After reaching a certain degree, him / her will be your lover,then you will get some benefit,like unlock him / her hidden ability.I think JRPG is filled with a lot of romance, they make the lovely girl become a driving force to attract players to continue the process.I would hope that romance will lead to bigger plot changes.So, what are your suggestions for romance?

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Romance is ok, if it is incorporated properly into the gameplay and the relationship is well written and complements the story.

 

The bang simulator for furries, what Bioware calls romance. You can see better written plot in some Brazzers flicks...

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Games aren't really a good medium for...actually, most relationships of any kind, not just romances. The reality of friendships, romances, et. al., is that there is generally some form of communication. It's not always important (and in fact, isn't the majority of the time), nor is it always verbal (and indeed, for people that know and are comfortable around each other, it often isn't), and there are usually breaks as people settle into a routine with each other...but when you're actually around a person for long periods of time, there's usually some kind of communication occurring between the two of you unless you are pointedly ignoring each other's existence. Games consequently have difficulty conveying meaningful relationships: there is rarely room for any sort of normal communication or small talk that would be requisite of most functioning relationships, there is almost never any meaningful nonverbal communication, and really, only the most "important" bits of a relationship are actually mentioned inside of the game itself. Everything else that you'd expect of a normal relationship you usually kind of just have to imagine yourself.

 

This isn't necessarily the end of the world...but it does mean that gaming, as an interactive audiovisual medium, isn't really doing the job very well in of itself. It can also create odd and really annoying disconnects where the player intentions' don't match up with what the game thinks they are - in Mass Effect 1, for example, if you spend a little time to get to know your crew-mates/party members, with just the intention to learn more about them...the game will suddenly force a decision in regards to whom you want to romance. For a lot of players, this was perfectly fine (presumably because this is maybe something they had in mind, or at least were open to in the future), but for others, such as myself, who didn't even think they were flirting with those characters - never mind signalling clear romantic interest to the point where they're fighting over you - it feels like an utter farce. I literally just talked to them to get to know more of their story and personality: nowhere in the real world - besides maybe some kind of dating venue...and especially not a professional AND military setting like Mass Effect! - would this kind of conversation signal strong romantic interest. It felt like a joke, and I couldn't really ever take the game too seriously after. Another example is Metro: Last Light, where you meet a girl at the very beginning of the game for the first time, and all she does is repeatedly and condescendingly belittle you for like the ten, maybe fifteen minutes you're around her...and then you're separated from her for like half of the rest of the game. Finally, you meet up with her again...and she's madly in love with you. Uh, why? An even bigger joke than Mass Effect - especially because you have literally zero input on the matter - and it annoyed me so much that I just quit and have never returned.

 

So yeah, I don't have a lot of respect for romance in video games as of now. A few games might do it a little better than others, but on the whole, it is still in a very, very early and crude state in video games..and I don't really expect that to change anytime soon. I will remain just a little open to the idea, though, in the event that someone actually manages to do it in a semi-believable and tasteful way. It doesn't help that the vast majority of games that might have various character relationships and possible romances are games where the overall focus of the game is on a lot more important stuff, and so they have a tendency to just feel irrelevant and/or tacked on...Mass Effect, for example, suffered horribly from this...but more low-scale and believable settings you'll probably run into the difficulty of creating an otherwise compelling game. A game that is focused entirely on creating semi-believable relationships might be interesting in that particular facet of the game, but would probably end up being little more than a visual novel in reality. And since the visual novel genre is seemingly dominated entirely by juvenile anime dating-simulators, I think there'd have to be a pretty serious paradigm shift in the genre for something like that to ever happen.

 

(e): I've never played any of Telltale's games, but now that I think of it (and from what I've seen of a few of their games), their games might be kind of similar to what I'm thinking up here. Hmm. (e): And perhaps that Life Is Strange series? I've never played that either, but it might also be close to what I'm thinking of.

Edited by Bartimaeus
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More often than not romance in video games is really poorly implemented, usually as a kind of mini-game where you bring the person gifts, and/or make the "correct" dialogue choices.  The vast majority of the time it's a throwaway part of the game that's simply there to appease those wanting to live out their waifu fantasy within a game.

 

It's difficult enough to write good, nuanced relationships, even for movies or books where the story is completely set and if a focal point.  It's that much harder in a game where the player has at least some agency.  As the romance is practically never a truly integral part of the game's plot it's usually an afterthought, thrown in to check off a box on the gamebox for that subset of fans that demands it, like crappy tedious crafting or a useless stronghold building/management mini-game.  I wouldn't mind seeing a RPG where romance (and not just bang this person to create an offspring you will play as later) is a focal part of the plot to see if a company could pull it off well when they devote a good bit of time to it.

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Yeah, I wrote more above in my edits, and it covered some of what you wrote. Like you, I would at least be open to the idea of a game where the focal point is character writing and relationships and possibly romances...or not, if you choose. Well-written and interesting characters in video games are so rare that it would be certainly be at least worth trying out if a developer made a serious effort of it, and made a serious effort to have good and convincing voice-acting* (which is also sadly a bit of rarity in video games - even in AAA games, most of the time it's just passable with maybe just a couple of characters who are actually well-cast and well-voiced. I can think of only literally just a few games that I've played where the voice-acting was at least pretty good throughout, Broken Age being the most recent coming to mind, which was actually excellent throughout, the only game I can think of where that was the case).

 

*Bad voice-acting is something that is a personal annoyance of mine, and is so much worse than no voice-acting at all for me.

Edited by Bartimaeus

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Waste of time.

 

Much like it is in the real world. :p

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Don't we have like 10000000 of these threads already?

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I am fine with it, I even enjoy what Bioware does.

 

But it is not like I need it or anything. It is fluff.

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I'd prefer if romances had an affect on more than dialogue. Perhaps how they respond to you in battle. Spurned the female tank? Maybe she'll perform worse and let more blows through. Or she may want to teach you a lesson and let enemies get to you.

 

Companion is jealous of your relationship, said companion could turn on you randomly.

 

I do not mind romances but typically I feel they have little impact on play style.

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I agree with @prestidigitator. I adore romances that affect gameplay/and or dialogue choices. I'm also speaking solely as a western RPG player, I'm not a fan of JRPGs, so most of my "romance" content has come from Bioware. I'm still a fan of Bioware, however, my enthusiasm and support for them have greatly diminished after Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age Inquisition. Probably one of their best romances paths was Bastila in KOTOR because it legitimately altered the main story line and wasn't a collectible side quest (sadly it didn't apply to all of the KOTOR romances). Then Dragon Age Origins is still one of my favorite games ever and it applies to the romances as well. I greatly enjoy the progression of it. It wasn't *BOOM* we love each other now just cuz I said the right thing and talked to you a lot. You had to give gifts, take interest in subjects they liked and bring them to events that the player would think they'd enjoy. It felt natural and thrilling in the relationship's development: first it started out as admiration, then crushes, then love and each stage had unique dialogue. There also was this source of tension in DA:O (SPOILERS) because there was a chance you could die or a romanced SO would override your choice and your love would sacrifice themselves before you could.

 

I very much liked that idea of romance also being a detriment in games. If you get hurt in battle, your SO might become distracted OR fight even harder OR even become bloodthirsty and merciless OR become a little suicidal and charge in blindly causing them to have a permanent injury debuff for the rest of the game.  It'd be an interesting strategetic moment where you'd have to take in consideration who you should bring to the party because of relationships. Maybe you're trying to negotiate a sensitive alliance with a group that hates you and the leader insults the player thus triggering a unique event where your romanced companion will snap back at the group thus severing your parley with them. Or if you're going on a very dangerous mission your romanced companion will INSIST that they come with you or they might REFUSE because they don't want to be there if you die. Also little things are important maybe your SO tries to make you a gift and it comes out horribly or they tried to buy you something but it turns out they were conned and now your party has lost a lot of money. Of course, there'd be benfits to romancing someone but there should be cons too (just like irl relationships). And tbh I don't even need the sex scenes, gimme that fade to black and then humorous post coital pillow talk, my brain can fill in what happened in between. 

 

TL;DR: I'm all for/ want more romances in video games, but they definitely need to be refined and implemented better. However, I'm also aware it's a lot of work for developers to insert them and there's a lot of wires that can go wrong, plus the fact that the developers are working hard on a subplot that the player might not even trigger.

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I think romances are only as interesting as the the character you're romancing and the dynamics they offer. As with Bartimaeus I see communication and dialogue, not always verbal, as a key element to a believable romance or relationship, and I too agree that they are not often handled correctly but disagree that videogame isn't a good medium to work with these. On the contrary, I think it's a great medium provided the attention is on the right places. In a relationship I usually see two people with personal desires trying to convince the other part to be game for what they wish to do, or what they wish to see in the other. I think that interactivity allows authors to be able to play that tug-of-war with the audience that is usually involved with a relationship, where usually both sides have to compromise some of their wants for the sake of the other. In order to do so one has to create a love interest that has their own personality and wants and isn't quite so malleable to the player's whims, as otherwise all you get is a one-way pull that only satisfies the player's fantasies of "ideal partnership". I feel this is the issue with most love interests in videogames, that most characters lack the autonomy to go against what the player wants and in turn make romances feel only like player pandering.

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I'll be honest, all the romances I thought were done well or decent all effected and tied with the main story of a game. Also I can count the games on one hand.

 

Tbh I rather not deal with "romances" in games because alot of times I play video games to take a break from reality (usually main source is my love interest I'm trying to get away from for a Lil bit) without leaving.

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Weird that "romances" are held to some arbitrary made up level of quality even though no other parts of the game are scrutinized as closely. "I really need a deep and meaningful friendship from the party tank, coupled with lifelike situations and responses, or my verisimilitude will be ruined", said no one ever. :lol:


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they all suck

And then they go all the way.


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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So, what are your suggestions for romance?

 

Look to mythology for some interesting variants.


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Romance in JRPGs is .. non-existent. The player doesn't have any agency - if the devs think that there must be a romance, the player will have to watch and cringe, regardless of what they want.

Romance in RPGs is rarely well-written (usually it's one path, where you get laid at the end). On the other hand, when it's integrated well into the main story-line, it might work. Abilities, bound to the relationship status, might be a good reason to game the system, picking the most useful LI. Though, I think, it is a valid motivation for choosing.

 

@Gfted1 ""I really need a deep and meaningful friendship from the party tank, coupled with lifelike situations and responses, or my verisimilitude will be ruined", said no one ever."

The player might get attached to a useful and capable character, they spend a lot of time with (a healer or a tank is the most obvious candidate).

E.g. pawns in Dragon's Dogma were player-made and the relationship with them was important for the plot.

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Don't we have like 10000000 of these threads already?

 

 It's the first I've seen in C&C, at least in a long time. This isn't Bioware. :p

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Romance in JRPGs is .. non-existent. The player doesn't have any agency - if the devs think that there must be a romance, the player will have to watch and cringe, regardless of what they want.

Romance in RPGs is rarely well-written (usually it's one path, where you get laid at the end). On the other hand, when it's integrated well into the main story-line, it might work. Abilities, bound to the relationship status, might be a good reason to game the system, picking the most useful LI. Though, I think, it is a valid motivation for choosing.

 

@Gfted1 ""I really need a deep and meaningful friendship from the party tank, coupled with lifelike situations and responses, or my verisimilitude will be ruined", said no one ever."

The player might get attached to a useful and capable character, they spend a lot of time with (a healer or a tank is the most obvious candidate).

E.g. pawns in Dragon's Dogma were player-made and the relationship with them was important for the plot.

By your logic a book is poorly written because of its linearity. I'd say that romance works best in JRPGs because of lack of agency on the story.

 

What you describe is a BW game.

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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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So, what are your suggestions for romance?

 

Look to mythology for some interesting variants.

 

Lots of incest, bestiality, castration, and death by snu snu. Yeah, that'd spice things up.

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I think romances are only as interesting as the the character you're romancing and the dynamics they offer. As with Bartimaeus I see communication and dialogue, not always verbal, as a key element to a believable romance or relationship, and I too agree that they are not often handled correctly but disagree that videogame isn't a good medium to work with these. On the contrary, I think it's a great medium provided the attention is on the right places. In a relationship I usually see two people with personal desires trying to convince the other part to be game for what they wish to do, or what they wish to see in the other. I think that interactivity allows authors to be able to play that tug-of-war with the audience that is usually involved with a relationship, where usually both sides have to compromise some of their wants for the sake of the other. In order to do so one has to create a love interest that has their own personality and wants and isn't quite so malleable to the player's whims, as otherwise all you get is a one-way pull that only satisfies the player's fantasies of "ideal partnership". I feel this is the issue with most love interests in videogames, that most characters lack the autonomy to go against what the player wants and in turn make romances feel only like player pandering.

 

Yeah, I realize what I said may have been confusing, but I was trying to get across that character relationships in video games are currently pretty crude, not that they would always be. Keyrock said above that even books and movies/TV often struggle with character writing and relationships, and that's certainly true. There's nothing inherently different about video games, I don't think, that makes character writing and relationships more difficult than other mediums: it's just that the reality of the industry as well as customer expectations are in a pretty bad state even compared to those other mediums, and it sadly shows. Now, as Gfted1 so helpfully pointed out (as opposed to, I don't know, creating a straw-man in a troll-like manner like he could've done so easily), no-one ever said that character relationships had to be perfectly realistic. They certainly aren't in books and movies/TV, but are usually more like...somewhat abridged versions of how you might expect relationships to develop between characters - movies/TV more-so than books. However, books have the benefit of occurring in your head where believability will at least partially be supported/depend on your own imagination, and in movies and TV, characters are performed by actual human beings, which is a huge benefit vs. what are generally stiff/janky and non-stimuli-reactive body and face animations. Furthermore, since books and movies/TV are very often character-driven experiences (if not sold entirely on exactly that), a lot more attention is paid to them than in games, where gameplay generally comes first. There's nothing wrong with that for a lot of games, but it does create a focus and quality issue (which can lead to player experience issues) when a particular game is nominally character-driven (such as Mass Effect) and yet just doesn't quite have the stuff to back it up like a work in those other mediums might.

Edited by Bartimaeus
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However, books have the benefit of occurring in your head where believability will at least partially be supported/depend on your own imagination,

 

Quite so, quite so. I find romance works better when things happen in your head or in the background. For example: Two attractive individuals travel together, so you would assume that they bond and develop affection for each other. It mostly unfolds in your head, perhaps supported by a few good moments onscreen.

 

But when you try to force that whole relationship / process onscreen into a text-tree conversation? Cringe ensures.

Edited by Heijoushin
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