Poll: Canonical/Pre-set Significant Other

I’m not a fan of “forced feelings” in games with choices.
So basically I don’t like starting a game with my character already in a relationship, expecially if the game force me to care for this “nobody-who-I-should-adore-because-reasons”.
Exception to the rules are: fake relationships (if the other one is actually you collegue and you are two undercover agent that have to play the part of being a couple) or is a forced marriage, or even the protagonist is amnesiac and doesn’t have memory of the patner. Basically, any excuse to have the MC and RO start a journey to became an actual couple.
Because one of the thing I enjoy the most is see the relationship grow during the story, so I can learn, with the MC, to know the RO and see them build a relationship.
With a pre-made relationship I don’t have the build up to care about it. Plus, if I end up not liking the RO, I would ask myself for the entire game “why did I even entered in a relationship with, you? Remind me, please!” :sweat_smile:

The most important thing is that, owever, these RO have a solid personality, and are writter first as characters than RO. But even than, I know I would prefer choosing the gender, since I favourite playng straight female and romance man.

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I fall under “only if I can choose how my PC feels about the relationship,” with a side order of “this had damn well better be good.” One of my standard pieces of advice to any CoG writer is “never push a love interest,” both because love interests should be able to stand on their own, and because if the player is not interested in the pushed love interest, the narrative will fall jarringly flat.

I’m cool with Guenevere. The preset marriage to Arthur, aside from being…well, necessary to the myth…is a relationship where you have full agency in how you feel about it and react to it, and you have other romance options. Other arranged marriage scenarios, if they are necessary to the plot, are fine by me, and I don’t consider them in the same light as I consider a romance. It’s a situation for the PC to deal with.

Taylor from Psy High or Breden from Choice of Rebels, on the other hand, tell me that I’m attracted to them. I don’t like either character, so the whole thing falls flat.

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I was thinking the same, especially with the influence of Creatures Such As We and that idea of readers forcing their own ideal world and romance options in IF.
Then i came across Curious Cousine (WIP) by @MeltingPenguins . It’s perfectly done in there and you can see how the effort is put into the context.
Give it a try, you won’t regret :smirk:

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Oh no. I was looking forward to playing that game! Was the push as blalant as the other examples given?

@Ramidel and others can share their perspectives, but I’ll just note that from the author’s perspective, Breden is a physically attractive person (so yes, you don’t have a choice about noticing that fact, as the first thing when you see them) but as soon as you start getting to know them, you’re 100% free to decide they’re unattractive on a personality basis. Unless you choose a personality for yourself that Breden doesn’t like, they will also start off attracted to you…but again, they’ll take no for an answer. It’s not Black Magic, or not meant to be, anyway…

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@Havenstone pretty much summed it up. There is still that statement of attraction if you’re not asexual, and if you’re not an arrogant aristocrat, you have to affirmatively reject Breden to keep them out of your bed.

It didn’t destroy the game for me, but it still made Breden feel a bit obnoxious and is probably a factor in why they get a mace to the face in most of my games. (Well that, and because my current meta leans toward ruthlessness.)

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An unsurprising reaction, and one the game text hopefully allows you to express adequately by means more subtle than clubbing them to death.

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As the others said, if you’re not ace in the story you’re forced to acknowledge them as physically attractive (also the other love interest is automatically male if Breden is female, so you technically need to be bisexual to date LI #2)

Both Breden and Kala/Kalt are vaguely aggressive in pursuing you, but I think you can shut both of them pretty hard*. I don’t think Simone(?)/Simon ever pursued my PC and I never pursued them so I’m not sure there.

*You dont actually need to murder them to do this

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@Havenstone @Ramidel @leo Thank you for the answers! I guess I have to see it for myself.

When I ask my question I certainly wasn’t expecting that murder will be the recommended solution to fixing it, haha!

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You can solve a surprising number of problems in CoR by killing them lol

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Simon/Suzane isn’t the sort to pursue aggressively, they’re more likely to mope about how their love is either unrequited or dishonorable.

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(Oh right their other name is Suzane)

Is that why they’re so depressed before the main battle??? I’ve never gotten them to open up about it

For De Firiac, if I got the whole “they were very upset that you were going into the Xaos lands and not taking them with you” then I figured I probably did the romance route right.

That said, would it be better to leave them behind or take them with you? I don’t really want to be responsible for their safety. And who knows? Knowing my track record I might just end up getting them killed, which I do not want.

EDIT: Off topic response, I know. Sorry!

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I think it’s best to take Breden actually. I mean if she is really the traitor it would not be wise to let her ruin your rebellion. You can try to never be suspicous of her, and later kill her in the Xaos land (she wouldn’t expect it). You could later tell people she died in a storm or something, fooling both the people who liked her (like Elery) and the other spies. If she isn’t the traitor or she was but she loves the MC more than her duty then it will be her time to show her loyalty to you.

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One of these days I’m going to make an NPC that fits all the other markers of a typical gender-swappable COG RO, including gratuitous amounts of description for both genders and a relationship bar, and they will end up not only being a villain, but will end up never having been in love with you (although a high relationship may end up making them respect you).

I will do this… glances at to-do list some time between eventually and never.

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Well there is already a game doing kind of exactly that, and yeah it’s exactly as fun as you described

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You hit the nail for me. I want a story. Like, I wouldn’t even mind starting married if the marriage is on the rocks, because that is the start of a story. Either I can work to repair my marriage and remember why we fell in love initially or I can let the marriage fail (or actively try to kill it). There is a story to enjoy and explore there.

I want ROs to come with story.

I also get very frustrated when a RO is just–yeah, you flirted a couple times and now you’re together. The romantic subplots deserve conflict and resolution, too.

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Yep, exaclty. I’m reading/playng a story, and the romance should feel part of the story/a story too :smiley:

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I’ve found that most games I’ve played that either had preset LIs (the Grim and I demo comes to mind) or locked-in objects of affection (Heroes Rise, Psy High) were fine as long as I had the option to limit my interaction with them. (I.E I don’t care if I break their hearts, I’m immediately breaking up with them if possible, or at least making them hate my guts enough to leave me alone. Shoo.) For example: in a fairly recent game, Rent-A-Vice, you play as a divorced MC with a customizable relationship status to your selected gender ex and an adopted or biological child. Both are required. Throughout the game you have the option to improve your relationships or let then corrode, but you always have the option to not to get back together with the ex. And I didn’t, because I didn’t like them. We were friendly but permanently divorced and that was my good ending.
I don’t go after relationship achievements and I don’t personally relate to the romantic aspect of CoGs whatsoever, but I can still find my own ways to enjoy them regardless of presets as long as they’re fair. I’ll just appreciate it if authors never make a non-romance-centered game unwinable/unfun if the LIs hate my MC. I feel like there should always be more to these games than who the MC ends up with if it’s not the main theme.

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Honestly I like the way Hero Unmasked did it. You can be in love or just more or less forced in this romance. Hero Rise Prodigy whas okay to do so too. There whas more the problem of the charakterchange in the sequel. What I do really do not accept is if the romance would actually set my oriantation too (Yes I am looking at you sorcery is for saps). If there is a romance where the other has a fixed gender and you have to love him it will be a nogo if that is in way with how I personal feel.