Realism and romance options

Right? No relationship is perfect, and it’s often the imperfections that make it interesting for me.

I liked what Dragon Age 2 tried to do with the rivalry routes. They kind of messed up by counting simple disagreements and outright hostility as the same thing, but I appreciate what they were trying to do anyway.


MadMinnie nailed the implications of what would happen if the RO rejected the MC based on appearance alone. I think it’s important, but slightly less than the implications themselves, to also consider the context during all RO rejection scenarios.

Let’s say an RO rejected my MC because she had brown eyes, but they’ve just met and are at the bar. Since I hardly know this RO, and thus don’t have any attachment to them, I would be slightly annoyed that that was the reason the RO rejected the MC. I think the manner in how an RO would reject the MC would matter more than why they rejected the MC, especially if this is the first time the characters are meeting and a physical feature is the reason why the RO is rejecting the MC.

Depends on where we are in the relationship, why we’re breaking, and how they’ve chosen to end it with the MC.


Hm seen another way round, would I want to date someone, who only cares if I have, lets say blond hair? Definetly not. I could understand that a romance might be easier, when you have a desired look, but someone who would reject you because of the Looks, well lets just say I am to old to mess with that sort of people.
To the realism part, I do not think that that is realistic. Sure you do not date people you find totally ugly, but that can not be realistic with one thing. Is there really anyone who would Tell me he/she/they never felt in love with a person, who did not match their ideal? I understand that some romances feel shallow, but a game can not be 100% realistic, so it would mostly every criteria to reject a MC must be a substitute for the real thing. So in my opinion, and there only, every of this questions is more about making a romance more challenging ( I do not like this), wouldn’t it be better to find was to make the romances more interesting?


It depends.

If a game let me fully customise my appearance (e.g. A mohawk, biker jacket, prison tattoos and a face full of piercings) then i could understand some RO being unavailable due to appearance alone.

But just for the reasons of eye colour, hair style or skin colour is a definite no. Everyone should have a chance to play a MC that represents them without being punished.

An exception to this rule is when physical appearance plays an important part of the story.

E.g. If there was a story about the underground railroad helping escaped slaves to flee, then skin colour would affect available RO. But the intent of such a story wouldnt be to punish the reader but to educate them.


I’m okay with RO’s rejecting me(my character). I think I’d even be okay with a character rejecting me for a physical trait. I’m a very tall woman, 6’-1" Other than that I’m pretty normal looking. Whatever that means. The point is if I was going to be rejected for a single physical trait that seems like the most likely one. I know I’ve been around some men who were uncomfortable with the idea of dating a woman who was significantly taller than them.

That’s by no means universal. Most men don’t bat an eyelash at how tall I am, and no woman has ever seemed uncomfortable.

I guess I was about to make the point that while it would be perfectly acceptable to me to have my character be rejected based on her appearance I don’t think it would be very realistic. Of course, as I read that I realize its an absolutely ridiculous thing to say. I’m sure I’ve been rejected based on my appearance dozens of times even if I was unaware of it, and if I’m honest I’m sure that I’ve rejected others based on the way they looked too.

I guess I’m saying go for it. There’s definitely something worth exploring there.


Please no. Others have covered why.

If it’s done in a reasonable way, I’d be fine with this? But I think it depends a lot on execution.

So, e.g., “main character makes a major decision abhorent to RO, prompting break up” would probably be fine, if the RO’s opinions were clearly telegraphed beforehand. “Main character has a series of small interactions that put the RO off, prompting at least a talk, maybe a breakup”: I’d probably also be okay with this, depending on how it’s written. “Main character hits 80% on sarcastic/sincere meter, prompting sudden breakup”: probably not great.

(I talked about basically this earlier in the other thread.)


On one hand- people do have attraction to certain characteristics so I could see, say, a RO being more flirtatious outright with someone with brown hair. But locking the path out because your character has red hair is when I think it’s crossing a line.

I think if anything, rather than locking it out it’s better as an obstacle, especially with personality traits. It’s not realistic for the sweet, angelic woman to be okay with someone who wreaks havoc and mayhem everywhere they go.

For the ROs having the ability to break up with the MC, it is something I’d like to see implemented, as long as it’s not just at random or due to things you absolutely have no idea are a problem. Like, they come and say, well you ignored the dwarf that was asking for help in the middle of the street and now he’s dead, we’re done.

Also, as much as I love Love at Elevation, one thing that really got under my skin was the forced drama. No matter what I did it was always ‘you’re a fake I don’t think we should be together’ when all i was, was playing a nice character and having to convince them to stay. It bugged the heck out of me. Food for thought.


I don’t have the exact statistics but I have a friend who uses dating sites and he occasionally told me about how some people put things like ‘no blondes’ or ‘don’t like men with braces’ on their profile so I didn’t know if it was common for many people to say that(because I don’t really have a preference) or not. (I have seen people like that on other websites with other physical traits but dating sites are more honest.)

For the breakup question, like for example if the main character and romance option were fighting (nothing physical or severe) and the romance option breaks up with the main character because of that or just break up with the main character because they want to be single again. (I forgot to put when I wrote the question)

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Dating sites probably aren’t the best example considering their purpose is exactly that, dating. In most stories that will never be the case, you’ll wind up interacting with people regardless of whether you seek them out or not so you won’t exactly have a choice if you fall for a guy with braces, as an example.

Dating sites are also filled with shallow people, so :man_shrugging:


Everyone has their preferences I guess when it comes to appearances. But I think people can change their mind once they get to know someone. Going by your “no blondes” example I can’t imagine any of those people hating blonde haired people so much that they would reject them even when they find out that a blonde haired person is fun to talk to, they have a lot in common, even looks vise they are close to their type (except the hair color of course) etc.


Breaking up over one small fight doesn’t really make sense, instead maybe have them talk it out or something. Putting all that time into that RO and have them break up over something small would probably annoy some people.

Again it’ll make it seem like that whole RO was a waste of time. And what’s the point of having them as a RO if they just do this.


My friend , i am totally agree with you on this…

However, i do realise it is strange that when the situation is reverse , like when it was pre-determine we broke up with an ex over some small fight , we would be stone hearted to get away from our ex , even though our ex was trying their best to get back to us ( like Luisa of Love in Elevation and Bobby of Wayhaven ) we would be calling them annoying for their notable attempt to reconcile :slight_smile:

But when it is the MC case, where an RO broke up with us… MC will be the one citing unfair and trying their best to get back to than RO, could it be that the RO hated us more and annoying with MC the way MC annoy with Luisa and Bobby :wink: the saying is "what come around ., go around " :-):rofl:

Hence , for me generally, i do endorse to give MC a 2nd chance for any breakup with RO … However , sincerely i do hope MC would give any Ex a chance as well :wink:

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Tahts different we didn’t break up with them. The game already set we weren’t together.
Also Bobby is a manipulative asshole, but this isn’t the place to discuss it anyway.


But i thought it is about “Realism and Romance Option” ? :wink:

which i think when we really want a realism in romance relationship , we should consider it both ways instead of single person (MC) 's perspective , that’s why i gave example of reaction of readers previously … if we are only making a game that only want to make MC happy and only with their perspective in mind… i honestly don’t think that’s realism in any romance relationship at all :slight_smile:

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What we’re talking about is a RO breaking up with you and yes if the player can do it realistically the RO should to, but what you brought up was two examples were we, the player, didn’t have a choice in if we broke up with them or not. Those games started with our character no longer with them.


Sorry if this isn’t particularly helpful and just a repeat, but again… context and, in this case, content is important. To relate this back to the realism point, I think these potential breakups would have a lot more weight, or impact, if you included the option for the MC and RO to get back together based on if the player did X, Y, and Z, for instance.

So let’s say…

Inciting incident happens.
Characters fight.
RO breaks it off with MC.
MC’s given a few options: reach out, lash out, or ignore.
RO responds accordingly.

  • Depending on the severity of the fight i.e. topic, it’d probably be more appropriate for the RO to not jump instantly back into the MC’s arms.
  • Another option for realism is if the MC decides to lash out or ignore the RO, then it’d be harder for the MC to mend the bridge between them if the player is interested in getting back together.

So, what I’m trying to say is that there’s the potential to add realism into these breakups, especially if the MC, and thereby the player, chooses to be proactive and work it out like adults. If you did X, Y, and Z - let’s say… X = send them an apology, Y = give them some space, and Z = express interest to genuinely talk it through - then it’d increase your chances of getting back together with your RO during the make it or break it conversation.

I say increase your chances because the player’s not obligated to do X, Y, and Z and could get back together with the RO if they don’t do the following, but it’d be harder and the RO might not be as receptive to them when they get back together versus if the MC did all those things.

In a nutshell, there’s a whole lot of potential for ROs to become more realistic since breaking up based on A, B or C gives them autonomy that they normally wouldn’t have, thereby making them characters instead of just ROs that exist for the purpose of being a romance device. Additionally, it grows these relationships into being portrayed as more realistic and healthy!


I would establish deal breakers. For example, if a RO is honorable and values tradition, a deal breaker could be someone that lies a lot or commits crimes. Or if a RO is a brilliant professor, they might reject someone that can’t hold a conversation with them.

I would focus more on choices and values than personality itself, because people are unpredictable and that means we don’t know what sorts of stories the players can come up with. Maybe it makes no sense to you why a king would feel attracted to an incredibly ill-mannered woman, but who knows? That’s why by establishing those deal breakers we make our lives easier. Just pay attention not to force the player to play a certain way in order to romance a character. It’s a choice game and players must feel -and be - in control of the narrative.


Now that I think about it could be an interesting change if it’s written well to see the MC “fighting” their way to get back with RO who might be annoyed with the MC at first but with the right choices might change their mind about the MC.
This kinda reminds me of Always Sometimes Monsters where the game starts with the protagonist recieving an invitiation from their ex to their wedding and so the protagonist sets out to cross the USA spending the last of their savings on the trip just to get to the wedding in time where the player can choose if the protagonist tries to win back the ex or just lets them move on with their life without the protagonist.
Edit: What would worry me though with this is that it could easily just look like the MC is only a shallow person who refuses to let other people make their own choices.

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@Cari-san That is an interesting game … i will check it out , and it is a very intriguing soul reaching game, like for our case trying to give a last attempt to win back our ex, but would our ex consider us toxic or annoying? in the sense that they try every attempt to get rid of us ? :-):joy: That’s the main reason i usually am open mind with the interaction of my ex in the story… because i always consider will one day , i am far reaching like the ex in the story …and how would i feel to be in the bad receiving end …

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Do not mistake hair and eye color as being equivalent to skin color, in any way. They are absolutely not equivalent. If I read a CSG where an RO rejects the MC based on eye color, I would assume it’s meant to telegraph that the specific RO is shallow and immature, and write the character off. An MC getting rejected based on their skin color? No. That’s not the same at all. Absolutely 100% unacceptable.