Rivals/Enemies to lovers - what do you look for?

There doesn’t really need to be much progression, but it certainly needs to make sense. The ones I prefer are essentially “I was conditioned to think you were my enemy but it turns out we agree for the most part.” That can literally just be one scene. They probably won’t become lovers immediately, but… they’re no longer enemies so it’s no longer enemies to lovers.


Omg yes, I adore the whole Prodigal romance!!! It’s one of my favs, if not my absolute fav out of all the CoG and HG stories!!! Especially since it doesn’t actually end in the first trilogy and she pulls a Lazarus to come back in the follow up games. The trilogies MCs’ face when she strolls up in her new android body, loool, I was crying and laughing at the same time. She’s just my poor damaged girl that life has been terrible to and I must protect her!!!


As an addendum to my earlier post:

There are obviously ways we can push the boundary on what’s possible. Weeks to years to heal from a wound in a science fiction setting (while definitely realistic and I can show you why… because it’s about the limits of the human body rather than technology) would make things narratively boring. But… for the sake of making a good game, we can definitely push those limits with some cool tech or some such.

Relationships are more difficult because you are dealing with something much more intricate than the body.

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Man, i am about to comment but since i read yours i am in lack of words, you said just everything. :grinning:

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The first step is that the villain needs to be hot. Now, with this I don’t mean they have to be typically attractive, but they need to have qualities that makes them fucking hot. It can be their assertiveness, their intelligence, their morals, etc etc, their looks of course matter too, tho that is a lot more subjective since it depends a lot on taste.

For me, there needs to be some real hate, it can be one sided or not, but like, I am here for visceral emotions you know what I mean? They need to feel attracted to one another, and if they hate themselves for it, the better. Then things need to move from there somehow, to a point where they can’t help themselves anymore and get together physically, maybe more regret after that cos I love angst, so yeah, lots of tension, hate and pain. But it needs to end up with them happily together tho :relaxed:


There needs to be a decent balance of real infuriating behaviour and UST. Most people shoot too far to one side or the other - more frequently towards the “romantic tension” side while being too nervous to make the character do anything truly aggravating or despicable, which ultimately just makes them come off as a tsundere, not enemy fodder. For examples of this see any of the watered down flavourless fanfic writing from people who would tweet “enemies to lovers is an abuse dynamic”!

But there’s also the possibility of making them too infuriating to romance - the player should be torn between wanting to kick or kiss them. Not planted firmly in the “someone kill this asshole” category. The line drawn here probably varies for people, but villain-likers are more likely to be fine with a whole lot as long as there’s a compelling reason. Can’t speak for everyone but I’d still be making googly eyes at a guy who blew up a city as long as nobody reminded me there would have been fictional kids in it (and he was hot).

Finally… I really recommend not fully “redeeming” an enemy during the romance, either. They have to remain at least a bit of a bastard or there’s no point. A soft, regretful, sad character is the opposite of the hateful, sexy villain a reader falls for.


I agree. Trauma or mental conditions are neither character development nor an excuse for unsufferable behavior. That was refreshing to read, thanks bunches :+1:


No trouble my dude. Just happy to help.

Thanks. I appreciate it. :slight_smile:

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As one who is a sucker for this trope, what usually has me going for it is such( and these have probably been said already but might as well hammer them home):

1)Don’t lose the dynamic and chemistry that they have with the protagonist-we liked them because of it so don’t force a radical change of what they are unless there is a very good justification for it.

2)Unless said route is meant as the villain route for the protagonist, there needs to be some nugget of goodness…or at least nobility that the player/protagonist can use to convert them to at least a strained team-up, if not the side of the the angels.

3)The “Forbidden Fruit” aspect- you know that said rival/enemy is bad news and trying for them might end horrendously…but they are so interesting and compelling( as antagonists usually are due to the boundaries they can cross that a heroic protagonist usually can’t) that the temptation to go for it is there nonetheless.

And to second this take-Freudian Excuses(trauma, environment, upbringing, etc.) are more to answer why a villain became what they are and the actions that they do rather than act as a blank check to excuse their actions. At a certain point, lines are crossed and it stops being a justification and more an excuse and having the rival/enemy be irredeemable usually leads to the redemptive aspect of these romances feeling very hollow unless done exceptionally well(though again, irrelevant if this is meant as a villain route for the hero).


Ensure villain has self immolation powers and a great personality, got it


just gonna throw some pointers of what I like/dislike for those dynamics

  • make the actual hate or dislike by the ro and the mc have sense, I like to read romance books and the amount of times I’ve seen “enemies” hating each other for dumb reasons makes me roll my eyes :roll_eyes: I need their dislike to be actually justified
  • let the ro and mc each have their own wins and loses, if the ro is the one who always wins an argument then I end up disliking them more, but it also looks bad if the mc were to be the only one coming up winning everytime, think this as: they are competing to one up each other and then at some point it can turn into a playful competition :relieved:
  • this one is probably a more me thing, but if it’s enemies to lovers then I don’t want any sexual tension between them at the start, I can understand it if it’s rivals to lovers, 'cause it’s not as serious, but I dislike when a character meets their enemy who has been very mean to them and bla blah and they still go “omg they’re so hot”, like c’monnn I want pure hate!!! Plus I like the slow realization that their enemy is actually attractive once they start to get along :smirk:

Enemies to lovers, especially if there is a clear good and evil conflict, requires one or the other to switch sides. Unless one of the possible endings to this love story is one of the lovers killing the other.

Rivals to lovers is a lot more tenable. However, it has to be made clear that there is no personal dispute between the two future lovers that are currently rivals. Or if there is, that needs to be resolved before a romance is on the table. Unless it’s an intrigue game–but those are hard.

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Well, there’s quite a few factors to consider.

If rivals, how much actual animosity is there, and why is it there? If the rival is too abrasive, I don’t really find them appealing most of the time. There needs to be a good reason for it. Like, you know Sasuke from Naruto? Not like him.

If you played the Life of a Starship Captain game that just came out, there’s an RO named Rachel that I feel did the rivalry right, since there’s a fair bit of animosity depending on your choices, but she grows out of her worst traits over the course of the arc. There’s also a pretty good reason for said traits.

Now if it’s a friendly rivalry, or maybe a professional one, you don’t really need to worry about that as much. Not sure where the line between rival and enemy is but friendly competition doesn’t need as much justification. The main conflict is how important winning is and what happens if one of us gets what the other wants.

For enemies, it’s a similar deal.

The main challenge is justifying why they’re on the other side. Are they misguided? It is more of an ideological thing? Maybe they don’t know what the higherups are planning. Or maybe they have a personal loyalty to the antagonist. Or maybe you’re just a bad guy in this case. These tend to make liking them from the start easier. On the other hand, if they are evil, why? What made them that way?

Really, it kind of boils down to how many lines they cross before they’re just assholes.