Simply put, how much grief do you think is acceptable to put players through?
If you were to, say, introduce a character early on, allow them to form a wonderful friendship over the course of the game, maybe even a romance, and overall just get players really attached to these people; would it be acceptable to suddenly kill this character off or have them befall a similar horrible fate from which they will never recover? Or would that make the story just completely unplayable, even if everything else is fine?
Of course, that’s just an example. Maybe that doesn’t apply to you. But I think the main question gets across; just how mean can you be without being too mean and ruining the game?
I’m interested in opinions from both sides. Both developers and players.