About Love Interest

Hi guys, i just wanted to know your opinion of something in COG

(i’ts my first time posting something, so if this topic already exist, sorry! And my english still a little bad, so i hope you can understand me somehow…)

So… What do you guys think when you are in a route and the rest of the love interest get involved with somebody else?

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You mean, when the ROs that you didn’t romance get together, either one with another or with other NPCs, right?
To put it bluntly, I hate it :rofl:

It usually totally spoils these ROs for me. I already tend to romance only one character in these games, but if there’s something like that, I just WON’T try any other romances even if I like them, because I wouldn’t want to see any character I had romanced with any other character than my MC.
And since some people mentionned that - if there seems to be a huge chemistry between two characters to begin with, then I also dislike “breaking” what they have and I won’t even try their romances.

Now, if this is something that is optional (like, only happens if the MC helps it to happen), then I’m okay with it being in the game because I can avoid it.

EDIT: forgot to mention, but aside from not liking to see a character I had romanced with anyone else than the MC, there’s also the fact I like high stake romances. The ones were romancing a character basically “saves” them - be it literally, because for some some story reasons they would have died if their romantic path wasn’t followed by the player, or in a more symbolic way, from eternal loneliness or whatever.
If any other character or NPC can do exactly the same without going through the entire game and it’s trials and tribulations, then suddenly it makes the player’s and MC’s efforts pretty… well… senseless? If MC just lets them be and they’ll be fine on their own, then why bother, basically.
Though I tend to be okay with it if that romance between two characters ends badly / doesn’t end up “saving” the RO/s. That shows they have agency and stuff, but still makes the romance with the MC the “true” one, and the one that really can help the RO.

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Why not? It worked well in Bioware’s games. If I understood you correctly. ROs are supposed to have characters on their own, right?

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I’m personally fine with the idea. I like the idea of characters existing even when they’re off-page, doing things and forming relationships of all varieties independently of MC. That just makes them feel more real and interesting to me, rather than them just existing to serve some narrative purpose (I mean, technically they probably still do that but hopefully you get what I’m saying here :sweat_smile: )

On the other hand, I think pairing characters up in the end can feel arbitrary or forced. I think if there are characters that can get together, there should be some buildup to it. This can also help indicate to the reader that, “Hey, if I don’t romance this character they might have a love interest that isn’t me. How do I feel about that, and does that impact my willingness to romance them?” Besides that, forced romances just tend to be boring and can give off the suggestion that people are happiest/only can be happy in A Relationship, which has its own problems.

On the OTHER other hand, a lot of stories go for the “You save the RO from a serious personal disaster by romancing them” thing, and so I think one of the things about ROs potentially getting together with other people is that it takes that pressure off, sort of? I can just pursue the RO I want, instead of turning it into some weird trolley problem, like by choosing one RO, I’m not dooming the others to be Cold And Alone Forever, if that makes sense.

tldr it;s complicated but I think it’s fine and you should do what serves the story and characters. :slight_smile:

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Don’t care. As long as It feels natural and well written

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Same, I hate it too! I usually replay the game to read all of the romances, so seeing my ex or future ro with another annoys me hahaha

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You may hate this, @jender, but I specifically encourage authors to write these sorts of permutations. It gives the characters, IMO, more of a sense of agency.

Famously, you can get the rivals in Empyrean to hook up if you play your cards right (and you don’t hook up with either of them yourself).

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I don’t like it because it feels like they’re the “true pairing” and my MC is getting in the way of whatever they could’ve had. I’m usually really picky about which RO I choose so this will definitely leave a bad taste lol

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Out of interest, would it make a difference if you could start a poly relationship with both of them? :thinking: So instead of getting in the way of their true/canon romance, you’re joining it? :thinking:

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I’m not into poly relationships so this wouldn’t be an option for me personally.

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I think this is probably easier to pull off sucessfully :thinking: — if two characters are in an established relationship at the start of the game and the MC can join them and have a poly relationship (like Esme and Abdul in Relics of the Lost Age), some players might not go for that, but at least they won’t end up feeling “cheated” that their favourite RO is written to canonically prefer some other love interest and they only found out in a second playthrough.

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As a concept I like it. Anything to make the story feel more alive is great! These characters have thoughts and feelings outside of the main character’s involvement, so it’s obvious that romances and/or sexual interest might form. We need to give characters more agency and initiative. The main character is important to the plot, but characters don’t just stand around waiting for them to do something in the reality of the story’s universe.

That being said…

When I see a romance option I really love fall for another character…it just makes me annoyed/disappointed. Even if I’m playing another romance option’s route that I really love, seeing that “betrayal” can sting a lot. Of course, when a romance option I don’t like/feel neutral toward falls for someone else…I don’t care…which makes me feel a little hypocritical. I never stop playing a game because of this situation, but I do cover my eyes and pretend I do not see it.

I think a potential option is to allow players to act as anti-cupid. For those who don’t want the romances to form, they can intervene (by having an option early on that stops feelings from even beginning to form–it would be a jerk move just before they start dating for the MC to step in and say ‘no thanks’). For those who want to see, or just don’t care, can do nothing and let nature take its course letting the romances form. This kind of flies in the face of what I talked about in the beginning of wanting more ‘character agency’, but it’s also nice to be able to customize the experience to be most enjoyable for yourself.

Ultimately it’s up to the creator. You should stay true to the story you want to make. Players will just need to deal with it (making headcanons is a thing for a reason), or play something else if it truly bothers them.

I think this is a good opportunity to include poly relationships (in different configurations not just the obvious triad, and only if it fits the characters), as more representation is great.

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I hate it when ROs hook up with other ROs or NPCs. Like @Jender, I tend to have different runs in a game, with different NPCs that end up fitting with certain ROs, so the last thing I want to see when I’m playing one RO’s path is the RO for another character hooking up/falling in love with someone else.

As much as it adds “depth” (I would argue that that’s not really the case or necessary for NPC depth, but whatever), it also gives the reader the impression that there is a preferred coupling/tripling/whatevering and that the MC is just some tagalong that ruined a true romance when they hook up with said RO. When I play these games, I create MCs for them and then roleplay them on my playthrough–but the other MCs for that world are also in my head and they get morose when they realize they aren’t the “one” for that RO and it makes me, as a reader, feel like I’ve screwed up what was meant to be with my obtrusive MC. In short, it pisses all over my parade.

I think part of the issue is that I’m one of those people who love the whole soulmate idea, especially in fiction, so I want to see that in the IF.

When I do see this kind of thing, I pick the most appealing RO’s path and create my MC geared for that one and don’t bother with any other path, which means I mostly like will not replay the game at all, so if I know this ahead of time, I’m not buying the game–I like replayability.

I do think that, if author’s go the route of having all the ROs fall in love with someone else if the MC doesn’t hook up with them, then I think they should put a big fat warning label on it so players know what they’re getting before they shell out money for it. That said, if they made it so that it’s a choice (“do you have a problem with ROs hooking up with someone other than the MC if the MC doesn’t end up with them?”) and adjusted the story to match that choice (i.e., any section referring to it would be skipped if the player wasn’t cool with it, much like sex scenes can be skipped for those who find them squicky), then it wouldn’t be a problem. But if there’s no way to escape it? No thanks.

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For me, I tend to agree with @rkgk on the first point. If I am playing a romance game and I choose to romance a character who has feelings for another character, and would have been in a relationship with them had I not intervened, it feels… Wrong. Like I am not considering the meanings of choices beyond a very surface level. Especially since, in most games, they don’t have interest in you unless you have interest in them.

Having said that, the option to engage in a polyamorous relationship with those characters does alleviate these feelings since it still gives the other characters agency.

For example, Creme de la Creme. There are two characters you can romance individually. If you do, they make it clear they also have feelings for the other person and ask if the MC is willing to be in a relationship with them too. I think that is how it goes anyway. If you choose not to romance either of them, it is implied (I think) that they get together. In cases like this, it would feel icky to romance only one of them, and the poly route is very organically inserted into the narrative such that it, for me, becomes the only reasonable option.

There are exceptions though. There are games with love triangles, or where interest might be implied but never talked about by the characters and it doesn’t bother me to romance one or the other because it doesn’t feel fleshed out in any real way.

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In real life, it is rarely true that the person we are happy with is the only person we ever could be happy with. I personally like when npc’s explore other relationships, and enjoy seeing how people are different in different relationships. I also don’t feel that either is the “canon” relationship, just an opportunity to explore different facets of characters. I guess I could kind of see it being like a, well I’m not gonna date them, so I guess I’ll “let you have them” for this playthrough" kind of thing at worst, but even that just seems like a stretch.

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I like it when characters have relationships outside the player character; it makes them feel like fuller, more developed, rounded characters. This includes romantic relationships as well as platonic ones. I like to feel like other characters will still have their own independent lives without me and can still find happiness—especially if there are multiple romance options whom I like, it’s nice to feel like I’m not letting them down forever by choosing someone else.

Also, I just enjoy reading about romance development in these sorts of stories, and that’s true even if my character isn’t involved. It’s sweet.

Granted, I like the poly possibilities even more, as that’s pretty underrepresented and also makes it easier if I’m indecisive :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: but I do understand that that takes extra writing and coding :sweat_smile:

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For me the problem is twofolds.

There is two approaches to this. One is that the writer have an already established relationship between the RO and the NPC beforehand. Often an relationship that teethers on something romantic, but not quite there yet. In this case I feel like many of the other here: That I am introduding and interferring with an relationship, which just makes me feel yucky. And it often makes the RO involved non RO for me. (There are expections, but more often than not that is the case). And no polyamory doesn´t help mere here, because I am just no interested in those routes.

The relationship between the RO and the non-MC character doesn´t exist untill the MC is well locked out of that RO´s route: That can work in series and long works, because both the relationship with the MC and the relationship between the RO and the NPC have times to be established, but in oneshot and/or shorter works in often feels like it comes out of nowhereoutside and feel like pairing the spares for the sake of pairing the spares.

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I will say as someone considering a specific poly option for my own cs game at a later date, I also tend to lean away from having the ROs get into unpreventable relationships with other characters. It wouldn’t ruin a story for me, and it can be a natural-seeming thing, but since choice games are inherently geared around the MC, I feel it can be hard not to come across as an ‘eh’ side-addition since the appropriate level of buildup for a romance to feel sweet and squee-inducing is just not achievable unless your MC is a fly on the wall for it u know? In my instance I plan to make it so that the characters don’t realise that they have any feelings for each other whatsoever unless the MC comes in to act as the catalyst and never will, since their relationship functions platonically as well as it would ever do romantically. There are many different types of love after all

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Idunno if that worked so well in Bioware games :joy: Sometimes it leads to awkward situations where the RO treats their RO (which isn’t the MC) better than the MC and then you wonder why you even bother.

  1. Blackwell brings Josephine flowers (DA:I) ( and doesn’t leave her naked in barn and tries to get himself executed )
  2. Bull does fall in love with Dorian (DA:I)
  3. Ferris never has ANY drama with Isabella (DA2)
  4. You practically have to fight Haer’daelis for Aerie and if you don’t pick the right dialogue options every time it’s a fight you’re going to lose (BG2)
  5. Tali doesn’t have to convince Garrus to date her (ME)

I know why that happens: they want to give the player an ‘interesting’ romance and simply imply something is going on between your companions but what it in practice leads to is a sense of: haha that sour guy I did on my last pt that put my MC through hell doesn’t seem so difficult when romancing my friend :slight_smile:

But otherwise, if both romances are treated equally I could see it working - though I personally prefer if RO’s find a LI that isn’t also a RO for MC. I would actually like to see more companion romance and agency that doesn’t revolve around the MC.

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Didn’t felt that way to me, I think it’s personal experience :slight_smile: for example I didn’t romance almost everyone from that list. So it’s hard for me to compare.

And it seems like problem is with MC romances, not that they have side romances? Yeah that should be treated carefully.

[quote=“Mango_Pirate, post:20, topic:99126”]
Bull does fall in love
[/quote] Wasn’t his romance with MC pretty sweet one? I’ve romanced him once and pretty long time ago tho.

Agreed!!

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