One of my concepts for a Heart’s Choice game features the MC’s spouse and is part of the story. I am just curious how much control over said spouse would you like? As said spouse is important to the story, they need to be attractive to the player (although they can have fun with others, the spouse is still an important part).
Currently, the idea is to give the player a choice of four preset occupations for their spouse [Blacksmith, Apothecary, Ranch hand and Head Guard] and allow them to pick their spouse’s gender and set their personality early on.
However, while working on writing the concept, I’m starting to wonder whether it would work better to have the four potential spouses be more set (i.e set gender and personalities) and prior to picking the spouse have a scene where they get to meet them all so they can still make an informed choice.
Either way, the ones not picked would become NPCs in the village and would be available for a little fun.
First, the concept sounds really cool. As for your question…
The writer in me is of the opinion that the four should be more set–with the gender and personality being set for each of them, and their occupation set as well. However, the player in me wants the option to choose because, inevitably, whenever the characters are set, it seems all the males end up being feminine. And I don’t like that.
I’m personally okay with starting the player in a relationship with a love interest. A WIP that I’m betaing (@RFKramer ’s The People’s House) starts the PC as married, and also allows the player to decide why the PC married their spouse, and also their first name and gender (they always have a set maiden name and background, and they always take PC’s surname), but they definitely have a distinct personality (that is somewhat tied to the reason why PC married them). I’d recommend a similar approach in your game for your established-relationship love interest (their name, gender, occupation (from the choices you listed) is in the hands of the player, their personality is set by you the author).
I’d probably have the game open at a party in a tavern, the player dances and drinks interacting with the four potential spouses then they choose who they eventually kiss/go home with. Or something like that.
Personally I only care about setting the gender (at least, them being a woman or a bit nonbinary, but I know it’s better to just allow that to be chosen than asking for no men), but I know that there’s others who care about things like appearance. Since it’s something you’re thinking on, I like the idea of more set characters overall with a choice of which you’d want, kinda acting like locking in an RO from the get-go. It sounds like the best option to me, allowing some player choice in what type of person the spouse is without being so open-ended that there’s no realistic way to make them an actual character. You know, like them ending up as a blank slate that just fulfills the role of “spouse character” and nothing more.
I think having varied occupations and genders is cool! I think having varied personalities is also cool from a player perspective, and I think you will probably hear that from most players.
But: by creating four “full characters” who could fulfil that role you’re setting yourself up to write four different branches every time you want to write a conversation with the spouse. The scope-concerned person in me has a lot of… well, concern about the amount of work added by doing that. The spouse will already take a lot of work and consideration because of the nature of being in some sort of close relationship with the PC (whether emotional, a marriage of convenience, etc). I would advise caution, and if you haven’t already, figuring out how much scope you want to allocate to the other love interests first before loading more work into yourself.
Yeah. I need to decide on what I want to do. At the moment it’s just a concept but I need to be able to show who the love interests are and just saying, the hardy blacksmith or the studious apothecary sounded a bit plain.
One of my OCs is a 5’1" female blacksmith, the only one available on one planet that is able to work with a specific type of metal (extremely rare and hard to obtain). She loves it when people see her and assume she can’t do her job. She’d happily kneecap them with her big magical hammer.
Having their personalities be set, but giving the player the choice of their gender sound like the best way to go imo. With their personalities set you can can write more with their relationship to the player instead of having to write for every possible personality you’d have available for each scene which would tire anyone out.
That’s a very good suggestion and I’ll think about that.
Anything that increases chances of the player connecting with their spouse is a good thing regardless of if the connection is positive or negative.
Edit: just to explain why the spouse is important is the General concept revolves around the MC being the human servant of a vampire and trying to do their duties alongside their daily life with their spouse all the while trying to make sure your vampire master doesn’t take a liking to your spouse and finding them suitable prey.
Good lore. My advice as an evil roleplayer.
*Allow player to choose the other way around based on motivation if you add them
Example I married because I had a immense debt I receive from my deceased father. I dont want my spouse, I want their net patrimony. I can plot to make vampire kill my spouse so I can get my richies and bang a vampire in th eprocess or a vampire hunter or both, lol.
Coming from someone not interested in marriage; why did the MC even marry someone under those circumstances? That just sounds really irresponsible and like they are inadvertently, or otherwise, trying to feed their spouse to a vampire? They literally work for a man-eating vampire master why would they marry a human who would just get eaten???
I feel like it would be better is it was under the circumstances the Mara already suggested and/or if the spouse was decidedly NOT human.
In short I’m in agreement with Mara, I feel like motive is going to have to be sold to us readers first before the marriage candidates.
Many people found the idea of marriage outdated or just dont want to be forced to be in that situation in a romance game, where you relly want top choose many are aro or monogamic so will feel forced to be with only that person we are ball on chained from the start.
As a choice game You have to give clear freedom of choice about WHY and present choices that allow a big array of sensibilities feel the game not intrusive.
Let love and save the spouse a reason, maybe the spouse is a friend we value as another reason but I think to the game not feel railroad towards one character only it has place most of plot presentstion there.
Even if marriage is plot driven fixed people dont feel railroad if have a very diverse array to feel towards the plot and different goals to follow those motivations.
I found your plot very intriguing and with great potentil but it is also risky and prone to feel railroad if not handle with care.
But take what I say with graint of salt I am a nobody,
And I wouldn’t worry too much over “railroading” and finding a motive that suits everyone. Some people are going to complain no matter what you do.
The character is married. Players can choose who the MC married from the list of ROs you have. Give a limited list of how they ended up married–got drunk and flew to Vegas or some other spur of the moment decision, insta-love/soul mates (maybe even platonic soulmates to give aces a bone), fell in love slowly, or they don’t even remember why–and leave it at that.
Just put a note at the top of the demo page stating the MC is married because it’s central to the plot and that won’t change. Accepting that is really no different than accepting that Sidestep is a villain now–that’s who the character is and we were allowed to pick from a list of reasons for that happening. If people find that so offensive, they can go play something else.
Personally, I love your idea. And it’d be a blast to start a game already with the RO instead of being forced through a bunch of tweeny angsty bullshit and never get to the good part.
If you cant choose how or why you are romancing something in a Choice of romance game, there is no choice so the game has no merit. Hi, you have to bang this dude and deal with it is not a foward thinking in a game about choices focused on romances.
Edit This is factual my opinion and it is not targeting against a particular person think is against the rules. I gave my piece so I will restrain to escalate the confrontation further.