It dawned on me recently that relationship stats can, like other things, be made invisible. The question is, would this work well in a game?
I have a sci-fi game in the works but I don’t have enough content to provide some kind of open beta to discuss this issue. I trust this is the right place for that.
So far, there are 8 main characters in the plot and the player can form a relationship with each of them. While designing the stats page, I chose to do text-based relationship stats that would be unique for all the characters. It seemed like a nice change from the percentages I’ve grown used to seeing.
Near the beginning of the game, there is a possible romantic interaction between the player and an NPC. The part that is ambiguous is the NPC’s response. Now, I think the scene works because it creates tension between the player and the NPC (which can be addressed later). However, all one would have to do is just run along to see the text stats and they would find it either improved or worsened.
That, for me, defeats the purpose of that little scene. For example, whenever an NPC says they don’t know what to feel for the player, said player can just go to the stats page and the answer would be presented there. It’s an immersion breaker when this is the case.
I’m hoping to start a conversation about whether relationship stats (text based, percentage or integer form) should be made invisible for greater immersion.
Just to be clear, if these stats are hidden I don’t plan to intentionally confuse the player. Rather to provide more realistic interactions that aren’t so black and white.