Necessity of a Romantic Interest


#1

This is a general question and not exactly crucial to anything, but I’d like some input.

It seems like most every game, either hosted or under the CoG title, has romantic options and sub-plots. Some are well-done and feel as if they flow naturally with the general story (I could name several examples). Others feel like the inclusion of a romantic sub-plot was something more done out of a percieved necessity to include one rather than because it was something which would flow well with the story.

So do you feel that a romantic sub-plot is necessary to make available when dealing with the consumers of CoG and hosted games? Is it something that instead should be limited by the nature of the story?

I ask because I am currently writing a story where I can’t really see how a romantic plot of any nature ties in. You are playing a secret agent in the Cold War and have been ‘burned’ in a sense of the word. I don’t imagine any sort of sexual attractions featuring in the story and if they do then you’re a well-trained spy. So you’re essentially a chameleon in that department if anything else. Yet regardless I don’t feel it would help the plot more than hinder it. At best it would be a tack-on scene near the end given the scale of the plot (nuclear war).

So what are your thoughts and opinions? Do you feel that such an option for the player is necessary potentially regardless of the story? If so then why, and if not then the same.


#2

There are a couple CoGs I can think of where there aren’t any romances.

Something to bear in mind is that a good percentage of the CoG general audience really like romances, especially if well done. So, if you are wanting to reach a wider audience, you might consider including romances.

On a personal level:
I am one of those who like romances, but as long as it doesn’t feel tacked on for just a paragraph or two.

However, I’m also one of those who will give most CoGs/HGs a try, so romance isn’t a deal breaker for me.


#3

I’ll put it to you this way because of the plot of your game. Has it ever been absolutely necessary for James Bond to seduce a love interest while on a mission? Probably not. Has this feature of his character- the ability to do so frequently and easily I mean- made him more endearing to his audience? Absolutely. From there I’m sure you can probably do the math.


#4

A lot of people enjoy romance. A lot of people will play a game specifically for a romance, even if that’s not the main focus. A lot of people won’t play a game if there isn’t any.

That in mind, I would say that if you truly don’t want to include it, don’t feel pressured. A poor romance is often worse than no romance because people playing the game for that aspect alone will be disappointed if it’s tacked on like an afterthought, and you will have a lot of extra work for something you don’t feel inspired to do.

Write for your targeted audience and all that. If you feel you can pull it off well, it would add to the story, and wouldn’t have a problem with it, I would encourage it. If not, I would say don’t worry about including it and focus on the elements that you want. Target your game for people who would enjoy those things and you’ll have a good time. Good luck, your game sounds very interesting!


#5

I don’t think you have to include a RO option, but it does add flavor to a story. That said I believe a romance is better when it ties into the story, or at least doesn’t feel forced. I have three stories in the work as of now. One has heavy romance as your in high school and feels like it can naturally occur there, the next has romance but on a lower scale, as I feel to much will force the story out of view, and lastly I started on a battle royale kind of story that will have no romance(maybe sex) but no real romance. So I think it’s preference but people do enjoy being able to romance the various characters they meet.


#6

I’d just like to say this . If you give me romantic options (and it’s not a gender locked male game in which case I’m a little jaded) I’m going to choose the option that is the most interesting. For example.

Heroes Rise: Prodigal
The haunted house game: The Non Binary Amnesiac
Guenevere: Morgana
Community college hero: Dirty Girl/ Stoic/ maybe in book 3 Hi Jinx
Tin Star: my drunken lady hartigan deputy
Trying to remember any others. But nothing pops.

If it’s a game where I’m here against my will like Lord’s of Aswick or the two games involving space slavery. I don’t need romance.

Oh and if your character is trying to seduce me like how Black Magic " looks like your real life crush" or the versus Goddess with lust pheromones I will immediately hate them.


#7

Write the story that you think will be the best story. If that means no romance, then leave it out. Is romance fun? Sure. But only if it actually enhances the story, which it may very well not. You seem to feel that putting a romance into your plot will actively detract from the story you’re trying to tell. That’s a pretty good sign that you should leave it out.

Will that cut back on your potential audience? Probably. But I know that I’d far rather play a tight, well-constructed thriller without a romance than one with romantic options that feel forced or that pulled me out of the plot.


#8

Oohhhhhhhh like Mecha Ace. My character was a brutal loyalist who refused to break even under torture. Never once considered a romance in it.


#9

I have to agree in some part but for me, it was an icing on the cake that I could somewhat romance Hawkins. I love the MCxHawkins dynamic. =D

But overall, I prefer to have some romance in CoG/HG. My CoG/HG library have romance to them but if it feels like it will not serve your plot, like the others have said, better leave it out.


#10

*waves, mine is one that had no RO’s. I can tell you that it is likely there will likely be complaints if the story does not contain any if you don’t specify it in the description as it’s come to be almost expected and it probably will cut back your audience somewhat.

Personally I think there are stories out there that would have been better off without the romance option as it feels rushed or tacked on because the author probably thought they needed to be put in there, so very open to romanceless stories, but that’s my personal opinion.


#11

I suppose it would be more accurate to say that in this story, I can’t imagine the character having the time to romance somebody. You are in a state where you can’t trust anybody. You can’t even trust the stability of your own mind or memory of your actions. James Bond was just lucky that every villain he faced either put an attractive woman in harm’s way or had an attractive turn-coat lieutenant. Your character is a more “realistic” agent in a more grounded and less fantastical Cold War (no moons being blown up here).

Nah my story isn’t gender locked. I’ll admit I’m not programming to account for every single possible set of preferred pronouns which one might enjoy, but that’s partly because those sorts of things wouldn’t work in the universe in question (Europe, more specifically the Soviet Union, in the height of the Cold War).

I can definitely feel you there.

My biggest fear is more or less wasting my time and putting my name on a story that isn’t well-recieved by those who might purchase and play through the story. Its just that the biggest hurdle I face with including that sort of thing is that the nature of the story moves very quickly for the scale of events and the environment you are in, and one of the main points of the story is the mental confusion and distrust you have to view both others and yourself with as the story goes on.


#12

You could always start writing it without romance, and if you see readers really interested in a romance with one of the other characters, or it feels to you like it would flow after all, you could then work it in at that point… or not, if that doesn’t work out.


#13

Before you add a romantic interest or subplot to the story, ask yourself this:

Does the romantic subplot contribute to the player’s connection to the story and world, or detract from it? This is a question you will need a third party to answer for you, but any addition to the story – whether it is worldbuilding or romantic subplots – should further engage the reader, and not bring them out of the narrative.

Are the circumstances in the world conducive to romance? For instance, picking on Bioware a bit (ME2 spoilers) if you find out a bunch of insects are liquifying people to feed the Reapers, that makes the notion of romance or even completing sidequests while these dire circumstances unfold kind of… well, horrific. Especially if you go directly from a horrific scene detailing all that is at stake directly into an optional sexual encounter with the RO in question.

Do the characters contribute to the story if they are not romanced? If you make characters for the sole purpose of smooches, that’s an inherently weaker portion of the whole. The ROs don’t necessarily have to be the focus, but they must be actors within the fabric of the story. Otherwise, you have redundant bits that are disjointed from the whole, and people will notice.


#14

Well, honey traps and femme fatales are part of the spy genre for a reason, they could be expected by readers and help with the atmosphere of mistrust etc. Or maybe your protagonist has a sweetheart back home and that’s enough for them. If there’s good enough writing and action it probably won’t matter. You’ll have enough cake you won’t need the icing of Romance.


#15

Romance is a large part of the game experience for me (because I’m a huge sap) but I’d still say that you should either do it well, or don’t do it at all. If it doesn’t fit your story and you don’t like the idea of adding it, then you really shouldn’t. A couple of tacked on paragraphs about a love interest aren’t worth compromising more important aspects of the game.


#16

I view games as I view life, without romance it’s pointless…There are games with fantastic stories, but if they don’t have a girl for my heroine to settle down with then they just feel empty.


#17

I’m in the same boat.

I have a game that I want to write, but I don’t necessarily want the focus to be on romance and because I don’t believe I could pull off a “good romance” and offer everyone someone of interest to them. Since I’m still a newb at coding and putting too much into it might derail the thing. Whoops.

Great, if it’s put into the game and put in well. It’s not a huge loss if there’s no romance.

I don’t play Highlands, Deep Waters to get into a romance with someone. I play it because I want to solve a murder-mystery-turned H.P Lovecraftian. And even the smallest romance with Captain Olivia is just enough for me to enjoy it because she shows up later and mourns the first MC.

As an ace, I go for the romances because they offer a branching path and extra details to the storyline and/or epilogue that I wouldn’t normally get if I didn’t romance them.

Example: Choice of the Deathless: City’s Thirst. After packing my bags, I had the option of sending a note to one of the NPC who I had a high relationship. My reward was this solemn moment with them that I really, really enjoyed. After all this backstabbing is all said and done and it turns out that nothing’s going to change, you and your love interest have a quite moment of reflection that was much more meaningful than the epilogue where you relax at a getaway resort.

I haven’t tried the pack your bags end without a romance option, but I feel that having your love interest show up at the end to see you off, or go with you (I can’t remember), is a nice little touch~

I don’t feel that it’s necessary. If you as an author can pull it off and you want to put it in, go on ahead. If you don’t want to or you don’t think you have the skills to pull it off, then don’t do it and instead focus on improving the storyline you have to offer.

Like some people have said, having a romance does broaden the audience you want to reach, but having a poorly written story with a romance hastily attached onto it would lose a lot more than you’d gain.


#18

This is a legitimate concern for any creative endeavor, and most creators I know have suffered this at various points. It can be a little scary, and any time I work on something, I have the same fear. And this doesn’t include people who may be just trolling if they review something etc.

If it helps, you might try to get a group of testers. If more of them like it than don’t, then you are off to a good start.

That said, as others have posted in this thread, while romance is nice, for most it isn’t a deal breaker. And for those it is, that is a perfectly fine stance as well…different things appeal to different people and all that.


#19

Lesbian protagonists FTW!


#20

The only protagonist I will play :wink: