Poll: Canonical/Pre-set Significant Other

How do you feel about games with a pre-set significant other for the PC? Think like Clarence/Clarissa for Hero Unmasked or Arthur for Guenevere. Assume that, like in these games, it has some sort of plot relevance.

  • I prefer it
  • I don’t mind it
  • Okay only if I can pick the SO’s gender
  • Okay only if I can choose how the PC actually feels about the SO
  • Okay only if the PC can end up with someone else
  • Okay only if I can customize multiple aspects of the relationship
  • I don’t like it, but I might still play the game
  • I don’t like it, and I probably wouldn’t play the game
  • Your pathetic romance subplots mean nothing to me, puny mortal

0 voters

Please elaborate in the comments if you can!


ah bother, didn’t see the
‘if I can customize multiple aspects’ option at first Dx (maybe reword it to directly state ‘if I can customize gender, relationship etc’ or something if possible?)

And yeah, I don’t mind having this as long as I have a say in it AND if it makes a difference to the story.


I tried to edit to your suggestion but apparently I need to contact a mod to do that for a poll D:

well, i was able to recast the vote oddly enough D=

Oh, good! I always think it’s weird when polls don’t allow changes.

The preset SO was pretty much the main thing I disliked about Hero Unmasked. I’m very much a fan of romance in games, but I really need to actually like the character in question, and in that case, I just didn’t. (If it had been somebody I’d liked, it might have been different… :thinking:) I would definitely need to be able to pick the character’s gender, too.

Maybe if several potential SOs were available to choose from, I’d be better with it. :thinking: I know Tokyo Wizard does something like this (although I don’t think you have to choose any of them), and I was fine with that (even if he was a little bland).

EDIT: Actually, reading the replies, “customise multiple aspects” might fit how I feel better…


Ah man :frowning: can you change your poll choice? I know @MeltingPenguins was able to

Yeah, you just have to click “Hide results” and you can choose again.


@ParrotWatcher basically said everything I was thinking–although I did really like the Mayor romance in HU and I still didn’t like how it was implemented–both that the character was automatically in a relationship with them, but also that the player basically has to choose “how does your character feel about them/how good is your relationship” before you even really get to meet them, so if something like that is really necessary for a story (which … I’m inclined to feel like generally it probably isn’t, but I could be wrong) I think it’s best to let the player get a sense of the character before they establish anything about their past, or do like Tokyo Wizard and give the player a few options


I like how The Hero Unmasked handles it - choosing the Mayor’s gender and how the PC feels about the relationship early on makes it feel important, and helps flesh out the PC and their personality. Because you’re at a change point in the relationship (just engaged, as far as I remember) you can consider how the PC is dealing with all these shifts. I also enjoy that there are other viable romantic options so you’re not locked in to one romance.

Something I like in The Sea Eternal is the inclusion of an ex-partner - again, it fleshes out the PC and their emotions, and adds a different kind of relationship in the game. Being able to choose characters’ history together is a nice touch.


I think it adds a lot of potential for drama, angst, a unique story dynamic, interesting relationships from the beginning, etc. However, it’s also hard to implement because you usually have to establish what your relationship is/was and presumably care about this character before you really even get to meet them. And if that’s the case, it’s easy to go the opposite direction and take a dislike to them for that same reason.

But overall I don’t mind and it can be enjoyable as long as you get a say, and as long as it’s implemented well - which can be tricky to do.


Y’know I actually don’t really mind it. There was just enough personality to Clarence in The Hero Unmasked that I honestly preferred them as an RO to most anyone else in the game.

Now, the SO in a game like The Volunteer Firefighter that you have to customize/name and everything. I was not a fan of theirs. XD


I suppose I feel the same way about this as I do about games that are gender locked, character locked, ect. It all depends on the story. Generally, I’d prefer to be able to choose my character’s RO, but when written well, a game with a pre-set RO could be even better. :blush:

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I think what HeUn does right is the CR and the relationship ARE part of the story.
It not a case of “this is your SO, and they only exist because the author was daydreaming and assumed youd think them as great too”

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I picked the customise multiple aspects option, but not sure if that’s best for me :confused: . I don’t like it when npcs gender and what not can be changed. I have previously played gueneveire and divided we fall with set ros(though in divided we fall if I remember correctly you don’t have to be in a relationship, but only have one option if you do, but don’t quote me on that, has been ages since I played it).

In both those games I don’t like as such the RO. In divided we fall he’s aligned with one of the fascist wings(sorry my knowledge of the Spanish civil war is limited and yeah haven’t played it in ages :stuck_out_tongue: ) and in Guen Arthur is nice…too nice, so I don’t dislike him, but he’s a million miles from my mc :stuck_out_tongue: . But in both those games the RO is well fleshed out and interesting. So I think it’s important that even if you don’t like the RO as such that their character is interesting and well developed.

But also yeah having multiple options of how the mc can feel about the RO is important too, and you should be able to romance other characters later on, or there should be a good reason why you can’t. For example in divided we fall you play different set characters, but the mc who can go with the fascist has little opportunity for romance due to the war and her role in it, and in guen you can romance other npcs, but have to stay with Arthur(I think) at least officially to remain queen.

I think also having a set RO has one of the same advantages as having set mcs or interactive novels rather than game books in that you can explore the set RO in more depth than if they were just one of several other ROs. Of course that can be a disadvantage too I guess, as since they are more prominent there is more pressure for them to be interesting and well written, but if their presence is significantly more prominent than the other ROs presence then that is true even more so.

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Generally I always prefer more choice over less, but I’m okay with a pre- existing or even an unavoidable romance.

I would probably prefer to be able to customize some aspects of that relationship, but i like the idea of having a romantic subplot that focuses on more than just the beginning of the relationship.

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I actually like it, obviously my SO needs to be female, and hopefully good to me. Hero Unmasked did it well, I was happy with Clarissa and the whole game looked forward to our wedding. I enjoy being in a relationship far more than I like the games before it

I don’t prefer it, because the few times I’ve played games where it was the case, I’ve felt very much as if I were playing a character written as very vibrantly non-asexual and non-aromantic, and that’s already awkward enough for me in most games.

I’m not really comfortable in a ChoiceScript game that feels even more like it’s built for an non-ace/aro world than the usual, and it’s much worse when I’m pre-assigned an SO—especially if the only ace/aro friendly option is something like ‘well I’m dating them for their money’, and that also doesn’t happen to suit my character.


I definitely dont like it as it might get annoying after a bit. There are a lot of different people with different likings so neither choosing aspects nor gender would make a difference in SO’s personality.

For example i liked my SO in Twin Flames and it was a dangerous move since all of it was about that, but there might be others who didn’t like it.

I would love to see some stories with pre-set SOs. It could allow for more detailed family dynamics, and if done well, could be more compelling than the typical “you meet so-and-so in the story and romance them.” Having some existing romantic history with a character would be a nice change.

And I realize that some folks will prefer the standard approach, but all I can say is that “If none of us try to write anything that pushes existing boundaries, we’ll only get stories that stay within those existing boundaries.”

And that’s no fun!

PS. I am sorta afraid that this poll, the poll I started yesterday, and others like them, might actually discourage writers here from pushing boundaries since there will always be a certain number of people who prefer stories without the “new” approach, including possible pre-set SO.