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Romance in RPGs

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Yeah I know. How would you go about doing this? My first thought was to be like you meet this chick early on in the game and that''s also one way to branch it into an unlinear story like it''s either, she starts to like you and you fall in love and whatever, or she absolutely hates you but follows you around nevertheless.

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I''m not into romance in RPGs. If I wanted love stories, I would watch a soap opera.

FF7 did it well; it was low-key and subtle. FF8 did it poorly.

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quote:
Original post by LoneStranger
Romance in RPGs is a great way to advance the storyline. It gives a character a reason to do things. Love is a powerful motivator.





I tend to agree, however, if done wrong, there are 101 ways that love can mess up a great overall story.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Baldur''s Gate 2 did romances really well, when meeting certain bosses they interact with the character your character has fallen in love with, in one case you have to trek all over the countryside to resurect them

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Does the player have a choice about falling in love? What happens if the NPC falls in love with the player, but the player doesn''t respond?

JSwing

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Does the player have a choice about falling in love? What happens if the NPC falls in love with the player, but the player doesn''t respond?
JSwing


What about if the player falls in love with the NPC? Now, it''s the NPC who does not respond.
First meeting: "Hello"
Second meeting: "It''s good to see you"
Third meeting: "Howdy"
Fourt meeting: "It''s good to see you"
Fifth meeting: "It''s good to see you"






My compiler generates one error message: "does not compile."

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Low key is the way to go.

Don't turn on the sappy music and TELL the player that he is falling in love. If the woman is attractive, interesting and mysterious, doesn't say really, really obvious crap, and doesn't have an annoying voice--you got a shot. Ahem...Sexy is a plus.

The fact is that guys all have different tastes in women makes pleasing everyone impossible, as any fan of anime can tell you. But you can't let that from creating a character that a lot of guys would like. And like respectfully, please.

I would prefer it to be something that goes unsaid throughout the game. It just shows up through conversational bits, odd silences, and steering around subjects--just after they stumbled into them.

It is the FALLING in love part that is attractive and exciting. Don't establish a relationship early on, and force the player to maintain it. Haha... that could be a cruel, cruel game.

Good luck !

CDV

[edited by - Warsong02 on August 17, 2002 3:47:57 AM]

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I agree with Warsong02.

Let me give you my opinion about love in games, since everybody has different opinions:

Do not make the handsome guy fall in love with the pretty lady!! I''m just sick looking at it, it''s very common in every game (especially Japanese RPG), where the main hero (the only chosen person, the prophet, whatever) fall in love with the only lady in the party.

Anyway, this kind of pattern can almost be seen in almost any Japanese (and not Japanese) games:

1. Handsome, Chosen Hero
2. Beautiful Girl
3. Strong, muscular guy.
4. Funny, stupid kid
5. Arrogant, selfish guy, probably the rival of the Chosen Hero.
6. Wise old man, usually the "sensei" of both the Chosen and the Arrogant.
7. Tough (handsome) opponent, the last person you fight before the final boss.

Arrghhh, I''m just sick with those characters.


My compiler generates one error message: "does not compile."

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Tension might work well, too.

Imagine being on a spy mission where she makes certain comments during a battle that just endears you to her (or him, for female players) but you don't really get the chance to have any moments of intimacy or say how you really feel.

Lots of shows on TV had good runs because of the tension, and ruined themselves by allowing the main characters to actually get together.


[edited by - Waverider on August 17, 2002 7:26:11 AM]

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Let the player choose how she looks, like in Schwarzeneger (??) movie Recall (or something like that). I like them blonde

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I''m not sure what gameplay mechanic can be derived from this discussion, but I can give you some good tips on the narrative aspect.

1st. Storys thrive on conflict. A story without conflict is dull. That said, any romance going on is included as part of the story''s conflict.

2nd. Real life romances don''t just happen and stick. If they do, its a shallow thing that falls apart when they stop going to concerts together. In fact, real life romances are riddled with argument, misunderstood signals, controversy, pressure from outside influences (thats a major one considering most friends wouldn''t like you taking him/her away from them) and blown opportunities.

3rd. If done wrong, it wrecks the focus of the story. Example: FF8 and every hollywood movie not directed by an independant director. How to do it right, low-key is sometimes the best way to go. A group of characters focused on hunting down an antagonist or whatever else the primary story arc is, they don''t have the time to stop and get sappy with each other.

4th. Fate is cruel. Not every infatuation turns into true-love. In fact, they most often don''t. All of that misunderstanding I was talking about usually ends up with a major fight that sends both sides packing. The whole true-love aspect comes into play when they both realize that they''re too entangled to just live the rest of their lives apart. So, girl meets boy, they get infatuated, they fight, they separate, they reuinte, they fight, they separate, they reuinte, and so on and so forth until they get too old for the running away part and just sit in different rooms until the scheduled reunite part happens.

5th. By putting a group of characters focused on a goal that incorerates some form of murder, you better the chances that you don''t get ditzes (i.e. shallow people), but you also weaken the chances of getting people with any emotional capability. If you have a romance playing out, first have the characters deal with the fact that they are in fact capable of emotion before they get around to dealing with each other.

Again, low key might be a better way to go about it. During cinematics or whatever, have the characters go sit alone or sit facing each other from across the room. Give it a second to emphasize that there is something there, and then skip out to the important main story arc''s events.

-> Will Bubel
-> Machine wash cold, tumble dry.

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I don''t think you can get the player to love someone, or have an npc love the character. What you can do however is have two NPC''s fall in love.

There was an absolutely amazing anime OAV called "Video Girl Ai". The story was essentially about this guy who loves this girl, but he''s to afraid to reveal his interest. Girl loves guy''s best friend, but since the protagonist is such a nice selfless guy, he tries to help the girl get with his friend. In comes this mythical "video girl" (apparently the Japanese have these videotapes of girls talking on videos...sort of like low-tech virtual GF''s or companions for the socially timid...) that comes to life and tries to help the protagnist.

I have to say, other than the incredible Kimagure Orange Road series, no other video I''ve seen has been more poignant in the love category of any medium I''ve seen. It''s sappy at times, but at other times very inspiring and heart-touching.

What draws the viewer in...in this case the player character...is to watch events unfold. I thought it would be interesting to take a setting of the best friend in the above example. Imagine that you had two NPC friends, one of them loves you, but you get to make up your mind....stab your NPC friend in the back, or break the heart of the other NPC. Or maybe...try to get the two together without making either people lose face.

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Farscape is the best series I know of for the tension between the different characters and their love interest...
the Crichton / Techie girl, then Crichton / Aeryn story is just amazing, even the Crichton / Chiana relationship is quite weird and hot, very ambiguous. Especially this weird episode where everybody gets totally horny onboard
In most episodes, the love between Crichton and Aeryn is mostly expressed by very subtle little things. An odd look, a silence to some specific question, some smile. Sometimes it''s more open like the jealousy of Aeryn towards the Techie girl and her constant bickering and denying her feelings.
Man, it''s just like real life

In Baldur''s gate I thought it was nicely done, with a similar approach of using little interventions by the love interests, and depending on the player answers, a furthering of the relation or not. The only thing I thought crap was the music : "Oh, here come the romantic sequence again..." That killed a bit the subtelty of the thing. But hey, some people just dont get a hint, I guess.

In the recent Jedi Knight 2 I was totally pleased at the way it''s done. there is nothing really, except the fact that Kyle is totally pissed off when he sees her friend die. (I didnt finish it yet so I dont know if it''s a "get the girl" ending, and I hope it''s not that lame). So really, you cant say it''s a love story, but it''s nice to see that your character has feelings. It gives the character depth (of character...) and it''s definitely a plus.

In some hentai games you have a nice approach to it too, the Three Sisters game is quite good, and True Love, Seasons of Sakura too (although of course you get to shag a lot of girls...)

It''s not romance where I see a real difficulty, it''s sex.
I mean, is there a way to have it happen without falling in adult territory ?
I liked the way Ultima VII allowed you to sleep with a prostitute (although the point of sleeping with her if you dont see anything and it doesnt bring you anything is beyond me !) without showing anything, you just had a fade to black and then it was the morning with you getting dressed.

Mmmmh. Anyway, romance is good, low key is better, but maybe some sort of closure at the end of the game (I find it very frustrating when nothing happens at all when it has been running all along the story). The way Farscape treated it was brilliant, but I am afraid it would be a major spoiler for someone who want to see the show (and you should )



Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

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i try to keep romance in as a slight motivator as opposed to having it run the whole story. It is true that romance can be a good motivator, but sometimes it can be a lttile cliche.

I liked ff7''s romance story, because it was subtle, like munkie said. It wasnt a huge motivator for the characters, but it did help the plot advance in key areas.

I more enjoy a romance story in an rpg where something is going on behind the scenes, that the player can take notice of if he wants to

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Planescape: Torment is another good example of well implemented romance. The player doesn''t have to fall in love, he can fall in love with several npc''s, and the npc''s tend to get jealous. They mirror pretty well the situations in real life, where noone dares to just speak out loud, but keeps hinting


--
MFC is sorta like the swedish police... It''''s full of crap, and nothing can communicate with anything else.

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quote:
Original post by ahw
It''s not romance where I see a real difficulty, it''s sex.
I mean, is there a way to have it happen without falling in adult territory ?



In Squaresoft''s Xenogears the main character and the female have sex. The player doesn''t realize it until after the fact. There''s a brief animation in which the two kiss, then the next scene takes place the next morning. The main character is out of bed with only pajama pants on, and the female sits up in bed with nothing but a sheet around her. When I saw that, I nearly shit.

"If people are good only because they fear punishment and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed." - Albert Einstein

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In this misguided computer game called Omikron, you get to have sex with your possessed dudes wife early on in the game. Not a very good game, but that part is interesting. And your coming in and seeing from that characters perspective the love story that had happened: as a player you dont actually have any feelings for her just as your character doesn''t. That game did some really clever things with the making you feel like your character thing, because he IS you.

I think there is always a place for romance in games, just as long as it''s not shoved down your throat. Harvest moon handled it in a humorous way: talk to the girl every day, and bring her lots of presents and she will like you! If you have two characters who are in love (preferably npc''s, although it can work with pc''s) there are a lot of things you can do with the story besides FOCUSING on their romance. Certain things like in ff4 I believe when one of the characters has to leave his girl for the adventure, and that adds tension.

So it can be done, and it can be done right, and when right, it adds a lot. Just as long as it''s not to cliche or in your face.

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quote:

It''s not romance where I see a real difficulty, it''s sex.
I mean, is there a way to have it happen without falling in adult territory ?


One could always try the Golgo 13 approach that was used for the Famicom(Nintendo) Game. It basically said, at the right moment, "If you are an adult, please sit tight, if you are a minor, please press the B button." How well such a tactic would hold today is unknown.

As for Romance in RPGs, one idea might be "post-mortem romance." By this, I mean that the main character realizes he was in love with the girl after she passes away. Like most of the previous posters stated, put subtle hints into the game that would point to a developing relationship. But, just as the romance is about to take off, have her die. If you prefer simple plots, she could be killed right in front of you by the last boss. This should give the player enough motivation to seek revenge.

Now, if you are into non-linear stories, you might make it so that you can save the girl before she dies or you can somehow bring her back to life at the very end, depending on how you play the game. Think Aeris from FF and Chrono from Chrono Trigger.

Hope this helps a little.

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Well, I was thinking that maybe there would be more than one person you could fall in love with or could fall in love with you. One of them could be your sort of sidekick througout the game that you meet early on, and then in the middle of the game you meet this chick who falls in love with you and you start to gain interest in, and the entire storyline can branch off completely because of the jealousy arising between the two girls. There could also be a way to branch it back if you find out that the second girl has been playing you the entire time and was informing the lead boss of your every move. If you never find out the second girl was a spy then the branch would go on as normal and just be another way to meet the boss, except that you might meet him earlier.

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One of the great things about the romance with Jahaira in Baldurs Gate II was very interesting. It wasn''t just the whole Idea of the "romance" music or anything like that. She was a genuinely interesting character. Her recent partner had died and she was truly an emotional wreck... Half the fun was calming her down from totally abusing you to giving you little hints... And Aerie! WOW! She really did get bitchy at me when I chose Jahaira...

Its definitely the little things like that that made the game

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - The future of RPGs GPA Thanks to all the goblins in the GDCorner niche

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Guest Anonymous Poster
To prevent any misfortune, follow the same trees or similar to the romances that BGII did. You cant go wrong using the same equations as almighty bioware. One thing I would like to see though is something unpredictable... like if you go after one girl in it then she doesnt like you but one morning you 2 wake up in the same bed with beers all over the night stand and wonder what you just did then have a whole drama spout from that. Anyways I am just rambling.

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