Necessity of a Romantic Interest

I personally would not read a story if it did not have a compelling romantic subplot + compelling ROs. Just my preference.

I understand that with some stories romance doesn’t really have a place, so if yours is like that, then don’t feel too pressured.

Stay true to your artistic calling, and the readers will follow.

TWC is not out yet but based from Sera’s vision for the series, I hope TWC will cover all those checkboxes above.

According to the author, the series will not only focus on the story but also the relationship between characters, platonic or otherwise.

@Lys really you addressed and repeated my point. Though I will say there’s a particular reason you can cite those women by name as examples. Because what they did was rare and exemplary for the time period (without going into gender politics of the era which had people seeming impressed at the idea that a woman could fight, kill, and die for a belief in open warfare). Not to mention that every example you gave would be agreeing with what I said that a gender-flipped character would need to have their changing gender accounted for based on what they do and the circumstances of their role.

Well, like many others said, it all depends on the story and the writer themselves.

If you think that the story will benefit from said romance and you’re willing to write it, then go for it. Otherwise, it would be wise not to put it in.

Besdies, games like XoR, Great Tournament and the Inifinity series have bare bones/no romance, but they still managed to be high quality stories which were extremely well received by the public. Romance doesn’t make or break a game.

And, little off topic note, but I’m in a similar situation with Eric. I really don’t get all the hype and excitement surrounding romance; it’s a nice feature, definitely, but it has always been the last thing I look at in any CoG game. Maybe it’s cuz I’ve never actually experienced romance in my life, or maybe it’s something else.

So yeah, I know the answer to the question is a copy paste of the answer that multiple other people gave you, but I figured I’d just put it out there.


I think that for me, usually my level of emotional involvement in a story is what makes it engaging. There are a couple ways that happens. If I feel like I’m building something or making a plan for future events, I value the narrative and my participation in it. The other way to engage me is to make me care about the characters.

Having gotten really involved in reading a interactive stories over the past couple years and working on a few ideas of my own, I’ve paid a lot of attention to what kind of characters engage me and why. I’ll say that Romance tends to be an easy hook.

What I’ve noticed a lot is that when I get thrust into an existing life of a character, I’m just informed of who my best friend is and if there’s a relative, I’m informed that I love them. Even if it’s a Choice about how close my relationship with my relative is, checking that one bubble doesn’t actually make an emotional impact.

When a relative or instant best friend needs something from me, that’s a good way to get me to care about that kind of character, because me as the reader has to actually do something, knowing I’m missing out on some other story thread if I go the route of investing in the relative/friend. I haven’t seen many examples of a solid plotline helping another character that actually impacts your relationship one way or another or affects the ending. Your lesbian buddy in the Heroes series is a really good example of that. I actually got twisted up over sacrificing my success to help her out.

Now, romantic relationships seem to be a really easy investment/reward incentive. As long as I have to actually pay attention a bit and make some choices with consequences to get myself entangled with an RO, you’ve got me engaged. As I’m investing some effort in accessing that side plot, I care if I get to see it or not. If the character is the default of the story and requires effort to avoid getting entangled with, no.

So, ROs done half-way decently are an easy way to get me engaged. Though, not what I go out looking for.


I agree; for me at least, other characters are a good way to get me invested in a story. I guess it might be because it’s easier to get invested in other people (even if they’re fictional) than it is to get invested in a plot that you’ll always be looking at as an outsider. (That’s probably why fish-out-of-water plots – like Keeper of the Sun and Moon – work so well, since the MC is just as much an outsider as the reader is.) That’s not to say that I don’t get invested in plots, but these will often take a while to get started, while characters can be there right from the beginning.

Going on to romance specifically, I’ve always seen it as something very important (which is not to say that it should be important for everyone, just that it is for me). It’s not so much a way that I can be more invested in the character I’m romancing (since I romance the characters I’m already invested in), but rather that it helps me to get invested in my MC, who’s often just a blank slate for me to project my own feelings onto. More precicely: if I can project my feelings about romance onto my MC (by having him fall in love with whichever character I’m most invested in), then it provides a connection with him, which helps me get invested in him. In fact, I often find that a compelling romance (or rather, a romance with a compelling character; the romance itself can be pretty basic) in an IF story will make up for a lacklustre plot (and will obviously enhance an already compelling plot).

This is one of the reasons I dislike dead boyfriends so much: it’s not just losing a character I’m invested in, it’s losing a connection to my MC, and I find myself caring far less about them and their plot going on. (This also applies to traitor boyfriends, and even just fake boyfriends like the shepherd from Champion of the Gods.)

EDIT: As for what gets me interested in boyfriends characters, I’m not entirely sure myself, but it generally helps if the game has several guys to choose from. This is one reason why I don’t really enjoy games with preset SOs: if I don’t like them, I’m far less invested in the romance, and thus my MC.

Well, I was into romance long before I met my (real life :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: ) boyfriend, and I’m still into it now that I’m with him, so I guess it’s probably just down to individual personalities. :man_shrugging:

EDIT again:

Because this was mentioned in a previous thread, I thought I should just clarify it here: I’m not really a fan of pure romance stories, either. (I know I’m difficult… :sweat_smile:) Partly because, as @Eric_Moser said, a true romance story will need conflict. Now, I’m not against this on principle – stories usually need conflict – but in “romantic” stories (even non-interactive ones) it often feels as though the conflict is there just so that the story can have conflict, and not as a natural result of the characters’ interactions. This would be magnified in IF, since even if separate conflicts were written for each RO, it would be very difficult to account for exactly how the player (and thus MC) would act, so injecting conflict (for the story) would feel even more unnatural. (And, of course, constraining the ROs and MC just makes it less likely that I’ll like, and thus be invested in, them.)


The reason I did address your point was that your statement implied it would be a lot of work to implement an instance for a woman to be in such a role at that time period. I would disagree; yes it would take some writing, but it is a text game. At best, it would only take a page or two, especially if you decide to focus on combat.

Would it make for a richer game if you did explore some of the areas with a female character? Yes, but it wouldn’t be necessary depending on what you focused.

With the ability to cite real world examples as well, that is where I said if the player’s suspension of disbelief won’t accept it happened in the real world, then that the player’s fault.


Ouch, sorry for assuming. XD

Made a bit of an a*s out of myself there. Lol.

What is romance? Intimacy.

There are many degrees of intimacy.

Intimacy comes from familiarity. How much familiarity do your characters have?

Anything that is [potentially] sexual intimacy arises from there, as your characters develop, to work without seeming artificially imposed.

So yes, you have to build familiarity of some compelling degree into any story for the romantic characters to work.

There’s a unfilled demand in the marked, for rpg games with high level of customization, that have both strong plot and interesting romance.
On one hand we have otome games, but they tend to lack in plot, and on the other we have rpg’s of both western and eastern origin, but the romance in those, if it is present at all, tend to be really thin.

I think that’s why we see so many people here being really invested in romances in the games. It’s pretty much the only place to fill that demand.

It’s probably also why so many people here have very strong opinions on Bioware.

Personally, I really like romance in games. Enough that I will bear over with a thin plot, or continue reading even if the story is kinda boring, if I know that I will at some point be able to romance a male character with my male PC. :blush:

I think this is due to two things:

  • I want my PC’s to have intimate connections with other characters, because that interests me.

  • I like to see my PC existing as a sexual being in the story. This can also be accomplished by having npc’s flirt with the PC, and allowing the PC to flirt with others.

Both of those can be accomplished without any romances present, and I would still enjoy that.


Agreed. The ability to play an openly gay superhero/chosen one/zombie slayer was what got me into these games in the first place, although I get the feeling that I’d be searching out romance in games even if I were straight… :sweat_smile: (It would just be a lot easier to find it… :sweat:)


Yeah. I don’t think there’s so great a difference between different genders that you couldn’t write a character with the same personality, doing the same things, expressing themself the same way, etc. I always have to wonder if there were a gender-flipping character with my personality, if people would say that the male version is unrealistic :grimacing:

That said, I’m not sure I personally could write my characters as gender-flipping because I do get rather attached to the way I envision certain characters… and if there’s some variety in orientation and gender conformity, that can still have some good representation :sweat_smile:

Well, it would mean it’d be a work in which the gender balance would be flipped, so there’d be more plot-important female characters than male ones… and that would be interesting to see!

This is a factor for me as well. I do tend more towards the model where the game world sort of exists independently, with the characters all being their own people, and the main character is just interacting within this world… rather than the player actually changing what the world is. But I can certainly enjoy things that take more of the “you actually choose stuff about the world” approach :man_shrugging:t2:

Well, I think when I look for a romance in a game, I’m not necessarily looking for something with all that arc anyway… not necessarily a romance story, but a story that contains romance. For something like that, the crisis doesn’t have to be in the relationship itself; it can be part of whatever other plot the story’s focusing on. A treatment where the MC and RO are spending time together, where there’s enough reference that it seems like they’re consistently considered a couple, even when there’s other things going on… I don’t really think that’s just surface level. It shows that romance and bonding are things going on in the characters’ lives and that can be important to them even when there are other things at stake. At least, that’s what I go for :man_shrugging:t2:

Same, really :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I agree, it’s a good thing to have a place where this is possible, however there does seem to be a high amount of pressure for authors include RO’s even if the story would stand alone (or be better) without it. One of the COG’s that I started out liking a lot, was completely ruined for me by the rushed, pushy “romance” section, close to the end, and I think we can all name another series where a character was shipped without the author apparently really having his heart in it. (Title is remaining nameless to try and prevent a complete derail of the topic into that.)

I kind of agree with @Eric_Moser on this one, many of the titles really don’t seem to have a compelling romance arc to them. They often seem very surface level in nature to me. (Again not trying to criticizing anyone’s work, it just seems to be the formula that is worked with for many games. I’m theorizing it’s probably because there’s a primary story happening, with an option to have a RO in there which can kind of water down the importance of it to the plot, unless a lot of extra writing goes into making each RO vary the story considerably due to their interactions with you.)

I’m kind of hoping that the new romance label may be able to fill that niche for people who want romance focused stories. In the mean time, there’s a definite push for authors to have to include RO’s at the risk of bad reviews or people simply refusing to read them if they don’t. Sometimes that seems to do more harm than good to the storyline as the author’s putting something in there they didn’t necessarily want.

Instead of jumping straight to romance level interactions, sometimes it would be nice if you worked your way into a close friendship and then decided where to jump from that point onwards. You can have bonding and emotional investment in the form of friends, comrades, pets, family members etc, but it seems to be the RO’s that get the lion’s share of the limelight for this in choice games. So yep, I’d actually really like to see some games where most/all characters are not RO’s at all to focus on other types of interactions just for variety from time to time, or just for the atmosphere (ie a really dark game, where you really are on your own and can’t trust anyone completely let alone end up in a romantic situation with them, like you could do with a spy game.)

Anyway, that’s just my opinion (I know I’m probably in the minority :sweat_smile: )


I think the biggest thing about romantic arcs is that, unless the rest of the story is tailored with them in mind, there tends to be a good deal of detatchment between the way the romance progresses and the way the plot progresses. I will freely admit I love Bioware (although said love is beginning to wane lately), but their romantic arcs tend to be hit-and-miss (with Inquisition being the biggest “hit” I can think of, and the biggest “miss” being more than a few romances in the Mass Effect series, most notably Jacob). Likewise, there are many COGs I love where I could tell the romance arcs were either put in for the sake of obligation, or are otherwise vestigal compared to the rest of the game. I am even admitting to not putting too much emphasis on the ROs in one of my projects (but for The Imperial Shadow at least, I’m trying to make the fact that you have befriended or romanced any of the ROs a huge wrench thrown in the plot).

At the same time, sometimes a game simply does not work with romance. If you are (looking at @anon49824592’s WIP) a fleshy, inhuman monstrosity ripped straight out of Clive Barker’s nightmares, romance wouldn’t exactly fit.


And yet he has it. :blush:

Ahh Jacob the best of romances, High risk, but the prize :roll_eyes:

I’m surprised that people don’t complain about Bioware and race more around here.

Whenever I play a game around here I feel like I’m actively missing out on something when I don’t want to go after anyone just because of how much people are bugged about it.

1 Like

Devour has romance? I did not know that. Monster of Rome at least seems obvious enough to include some romance, since you are still human in mind, even if you can end up looking like a horrific maggot monstrosity

I guess Jacob’s romance highlights something realistic in life: sometimes, you end up dating scumbags. I would have preferred the only black character in the series until Liam to not be a scumbag, though.

1 Like

He said so in his 2nd or so post and in his new update introduced two of them.

I mean if it was from Me:1 to 2 I wouldn’t have blamed anyone, 2 to 3 though was just unreasonable, and there was Undina, Trayner(?), and Cortez too, because you know we always go for twofer minorities. So just the only black guy of the main cast.

1 Like

The Priiiiiiiize, Jacob! (Or cheat on FemShep. That’s good too. )

@lovinglydull Did you mention me in the same sentence as Clive Barker? I’m flattered.

Personally, I think romances in bizarre situations can be sweet if written well (you need to be kind and compassionate when accepting that your partner is, say, a Deep One from round Innsmouth). This is part of why I have romance in my own monstrosity-centered stories.

The problem, of course, is that I’m a bitter potato to whom romance does not come naturally.


You too, huh? ._.

(20 motherfucking characters)

1 Like

One day I’ll learn how to read.

Also Anderson. Either way I misspoke. The only playable black character until Andromeda, and the only romanceable one until 3. But, Bioware and race is for another thread.

You definitely have a talent for bringing out the grotesque, if Devour and Monster of Rome are any indication. And you do make a good point on romance in bizarre or horrific situations. That’s why I’m planning romances for Eyes of Night. The Imperial Shadow’s romances are also there, partly because the game would be a tad too bleak without them, and partly because I plan on using them to put the screws to my players.

As for not having romance come naturally: I found out a while ago I simply do not feel romantic attachment. So I basically have to use my ~imagination~ to describe what it would be like.

1 Like