If I don't flirt with RO in our first interactions, can't romance them

Hi! I’m going to get straight to the point by saying something that bothers me when I play interactive novels and that is that (in some of them) I necessarily have to flirt with my RO at the beginning of the game because if I don’t do so then the novel is going to believe I just want friendship and will lock any future romantic interactions. Sometimes I just want to be friends at the beginning and after some time (maybe a complete book) start romancing them. Take things slow you know? No need of rushing. Did some of you think something similar to this? Or what’s your opinion? I would like to discuss about this ^^


I totally agree with you regarding how frustrating that is. It’s as if some authors never heard about getting to know a person first before jumping to the romantic stuff or about shy people who would rather wait for the other person to make the first move instead of being all flirty which is complately out of their element.


I agree. In my own games, I give players dozens of choices with an RO to let their relationship develop. Then, only towards the end of the game do I make a relationship stat check to see of their relationship is good enough for the RO to want to date the MC.


Exactly! And that seems so out of character and it kinda runs the personality of MC because if you say you are shy it’s incrogruent to be all flirty and stuff.

So do you base your romantic interactions on the stats? :0 that’s a very interesting concept, and also a good one.


I base the stat check solely off the relationship bar, but it naturally helps if the MC and RO have similar interests and personalities throughout the story. (Like swordfighting and charm, for example.)


It’s because it is difficult to know if the player isn’t picking the flirt options because it is too soon or because they just don’t want to flirt.

Also because it is annoying to constantly asked if you want to do the thing now. (Like in lost heir were, if you don’t take a non thieving vow, constantly get asked if you want to steal.)

Most writers tend to err on the side of asking the player permission for the character to approach first. Out of curtesy to those who don’t want to be flirted with.

Also there is always limited number of interactions, so ALL interactions (not just romantics, are compressed). Somebody has to write them. And the game has to, on a mechanical level, to have some kind of hint that you want the romance. A flag of some kind has to be triggered) It’s why a game like wayhaven, comes very close to the fourth wall and says. So which ro path do you want?

Early flirt options are basically a way for the game to know that ‘Hey, activate romance stuff for this character’.


I agree that it’s somewhat bothersome when you have to make the decision too quickly. To add to this: I’m also not a fan of games listing their RO’s after just one meeting and asking which one you like because to me it always feels like I’m locked into whichever I choose there when I don’t even know anything about them yet.

Or where you have to take every single flirt option or the arc ends like, oh you chose to talk to your friend who just lost her entire family in a fire rather than chat your RO up? Guess you weren’t interested after all. :yum:

Having said that, I do sympathize with authors as it can’t be easy to leave things more open and flexible while coding. So I may not be a fan of those things but I do understand that it’s difficult and sometimes even unavoidable. :slightly_smiling_face:


I appreciate when I can decide later that I like someone after being given a chance to get to know them as opposed to ticking off the “This character jolly’s my roger” the first time I meet them.


I think that type of interaction would only work on a romance-focus game. Most of the time, romance is only used as a subplot. So instead of writing dialouges for each choices and reactions, they instead just ask you at the start whether you want to romance a certain character or not therefore decreasing the time needed to finish the game. It’ll only extend the game’s deadline due to the extra dialouges, reactions, and choices which aren’t necessary for the story to progress.

But i also get your point and i would also like a much more realist RO. And like i said, what you point out would most likely work on a game that focuses on romance.

And if you ever do think of making a game like that i would love to try it out. :slight_smile:

Dragon Racer did this really well, as I accidentally missed the first romance prompt and another came up some time later, which gave me time to get to know the characters better.


I understand the frustration about having to consistently choose the “flirt” option with a potential RO every time it’s available, including the very first time you meet them. I’ve definitely played games where I felt like I had to make choices that were out of character for my character just to ensure I got the romance path that I wanted.

On the other side, I feel for the authors who not only have to write a good story with multiple paths to multiple endings, but they also have to include several different romantic subplots. Asking that there also be multiple paths through each of the different of the romantic subplots is asking for a lot.

I mean, if an author manages to do all that, and make each path exciting, or at least interesting I’d love it, but I understand that at some point I’m not always going to get it exactly the way I’d want it.


This is me, but yes that can be overtly frustrating, if I get the chance to flirt with them on the first interaction I would wait, because I want to know if they are a good person in the game, because I have my preferences


Well, yeah, but the point is not to be constantly asked tho. I would like a game when you are just friends at the beginning, like, you are just getting to know this person. After a while knowing them and being their friend you could start romancing them, if you want to.

That part was kind of weird. Not because they’re asking you to choose but because, for example, you have the option to romance Felix even tho he had never showed interest in MC. I mean, never, even when you already know him and had time as just friends. Idk if I’m explaining my point :confused:

Exactly! I read someone who said that is better for story’s who focus on romance. I kind of disagree. If you are having a romantic subplot in your game, why not develop it? Obviously, not forgetting what’s your main plot about.


I think you are way. WAY. underestimating how much that take. Scope creep happens really fast with things like this. Developing one RO path is difficult, beginning to develop what is essentially more paths in one path take focus really, really quick. We all like it. I do too, but it is not a small thing to ask for and getting huffy that most writers just doesn’t have the scope to do so is unfair.

For example I am working on a point system in mine and when you reach X point (I had to see what is fair, later) you get the first scene. But the mere fact that I have to check how far along we are in the story already makes it complicated. I also have to check for personality + other major story breaks. It balloons quickly.

Also if you want a long build up, with a good slow burn you actually still have to find a way to set that flag early. Or else it is Friendship, friendship - Romance out of nowhere.

And some people are really, really oblivious and/or does not have English as a first langue. The super obvious “HEY THIS WILL SET A ROMANCE FLAG” is something many who has tried to be ninjamanced appriciate. Sublte sound nice and good until you realise that you have no idea how to be a friend to an NPC without triggering the romance. (Still has nightmares about Kaidan and Liara from Mass Effect.)


I went a little more subtle, slowly building the romance with Jolon in Werewolves: Haven Rising (he’s the only RO character who won’t jump into bed quickly), and that resulted in almost nobody getting that romance. The main in-your-face relationship (Dena) is the one most people took. So, I mean, authors don’t want to spend dozens of hours writing a really fun romance subplot only to have almost nobody read it because it took too much work for the reader and wasn’t super obvious. And even then, Jolon wasn’t too confusing to romance. I imagine if I made it genuinely subtle, only 1% or less would even see it.


I like @Cataphrak Dragoon Saga method romance where it take where from two to three books to see marriage or relationships then next book is handling said relationship.

Yes, this bothers me too! Sometimes I don’t like the first impressions the RO gives me so I immediately pick the friendship option because I haven’t gotten attached to the character quite yet. But later on I get to know more about this character and I suddenly want to romance them but there’s no more opportunities to do so. First of all, first impression options can be both good and bad. It’s bad if we get stuck with the option we chose for the rest of the game. Plus, we haven’t even developed a real relationship or gotten to know the character yet, so how am I supposed to know if that character is romance material when we’ve only seen them in one or two scenes? One or two scenes can’t capture their entire personality!

However, a good example of how relationships with characters can develop over time is Keeper of the Sun and Moon by @daydreamsincolor. If you reject the RO or friendzone them the first time they ask you out, there’ll be another opportunity to get in a relationship with them later on in the game. Which I think is great because we get to bond with the characters and get to know them and their personalities so that we can truly determine if they are worth romancing or not. And in Keeper of the Sun and Moon’s sequel you will have another chance to pursue the ROs (if you friendzoned or rejected them once before) and get back with the characters you’ve broken up with in the first game. I think that it’s amazing that the game gives multiple chances to pursue characters that the player once weren’t interested in.

I am not aware of other games that give this opportunity to the players. If anyone has a game like this or a good example please enlighten me. It’s great when an author gives the player so many choices and opportunities.


I just don’t like how a lot of games the romance is available so early. Like even if the most ridiculous situations are going on “Hey, I like your eyes”.

Slow burn and what not.

I like how Wayhaven did this, you can be friends with the ROs and choose different people for different activities, like how I would hang out with one guy half the time for friendship and this other girl the other half and only sometimes do romantic options with her.

Was nice.

Went from acquaintance to friend to lover.
Natural progression.

Instead of “Person I saw once” -> Sex
Drunk in a night club progression.


Oh, I didn’t mean to sound inconsiderate, you’re right, I don’t know how hard it is to writers because I’ve never written a book with a style like these ones (choice of games) are, at least not yet.

But It would be awesome to have a more realistic approach to RO tho, so it doesn’t feel odd, maybe there’s a way to do it without complicating things so much)?


I don’t enjoy the early flirting/romance lockouts at the beginning either, especially since I go the roleplaying route – usually at the beginning of the game I might not even know what my MC’s personality is like yet, so when a game asks about a romance I brush it to the side for later.

I don’t mind the friendship, friendship, romance out of nowhere style to be honest. Some of my favorite romances come from Tin Star, Tally Ho, and Choice of Kung Fu because the flags don’t have to be/can’t be set at the beginning. I feel that allows the characters and their friendship with the MC to develop without any forced romance narrative so that when the romance flag does pop up, however how suddenly, it makes sense as to why a particular RO is the one I would choose for my MC.

I think more CoG/HG games should have super obvious flags because they don’t often have save points/checkpoints, and it can make a playthrough much less fun when you accidentally triggered a romance, failed to romance, or locked yourself out of a romance completely and are forced to start from the beginning. (I still haven’t romanced the angel in Tower Behind the Moon! :sweat_smile:)