Romancing Characters in the First Chapter on a CoG and an NPC asking the PC out


#1

The title is pretty self-explanatory, but I was wondering about your opinion.

My opinion(s):
First Chapter Romance: I don’t mind, as long as the character is well-introduced, and you are not forced to date them, then I would be fine with it. What I would classify as well-introduced would be a conversation and an appearance. In real life, by “real life” I mean on dating sights, that’s all we get, and no one seems to care that much. However, the first chapter must be more than just the RO.
NPC Driven Romance: I would say that as long as rejection is a option, it would be fine. Look up to see the “well introduced” rant I had, because that applies to this too. I would actually enjoy it, because I’m a terrible flirter in real life (and in games apparently), and it would be nice for the NPC to take control for once. The NPC asking out our character feels to me like he/she/they are a bigger part of our game.


#2

This is context sensitive - if the story calls for immediate relations then it should be clear by that context.

In the majority of cases, I’d say: no.

Edit: flirty is a characteristic and if written well, a flirty character can be lots of fun in a CoG title. Having the NPC take control is harder to write then the other way around. If an author can do it, they would be writing some good material.


#3

In terms of the first question, I guess it’s a question of how rushed does it feel. And might, by selecting that RO, you prevent yourself from romancing other characters you meet later? In a demo I did, you spent the entire first chapter chatting with 4 people and the last choice of the chapter was to ask one of them out if you wanted. They may well turn you down and the date wouldn’t be till the next chapter. But basically what I’m saying is fine so long as you don’t rush it.

The second question is a really interesting one, you don’t see it very often, if at all. It would be really cool if an NPC asking you out was the way the game determined your sexual preference (I’m constantly looking for ways to frame the “what gender are you”, “what sexual orientation are you” questions in more interesting, natural ways other than just the game straight up asking you). And its a great way to give an NPC agency as well. Top idea


#4

It’s totally a matter of execution and purpose.

It can serve as an excellent plot device or it can feel excessively forced depending on how it’s presented.

As long as it feels natural then it shouldn’t be an issue


#5

There is a fine and rather hazy line between assertively seductive and creepy stalkerish which can vary depending on whether or not the recipient of the attention is receptive or not. One person’s just right is a 2nd person’s boring, while the second person’s perfect, may be the first person’s sexual harassment. @Snoe is right, much depends on how it’s presented. Players should never feel forced, unless they want to, and divining whether they’re open to the approach in a smooth and graceful manner is key to both having it well received and making it feel natural.

@AlexClifford1994 Hey there. I’ve recently read your entry to last year’s CS Comp. I loved it! You should seriously consider expanding it into a complete game.


#6

Having a romance happen very early in the story more often than not means I probably won’t continue playing. Dating a character in the first chapter makes me think that the author is not interested in properly developing such relationships and since I’m mostly in it for the romance (not exclusively, but it’s the driving force), I usually see no reason to keep going unless the game is REALLY gripping.
That is not to say that romantic relationships can’t be devloped well even if they happen within five minutes of meeting the character, but I want to SEE these characters fall in love. I want that anticipation and that delicious slow burn.
In general: The slower the burn, the more rewarding a romance is.
(Which is why I like ROs like Jenny from Heroes Rise - they’ve known each other for years and there are only small hints until the end of the game. And then it takes ANOTHER game for them to really do anything about it. Absolutely glorious.)

Flirty and assertive NPCs are absolutely fine by me, but again, if they ask you out within five minutes of first meeting you, the relationship would be missing something for me to truly enjoy it.


#7

@AlexClifford1994 I just did as well and my goodness this is an amazing story please please SOMEONE continue!


#8

I absolutely loathe first chapter romance. If you’re going to go that route, I’d rather the character is actually a preestablished partner of the MC, maybe one that’s suffering relationship problems that you can either make or break with.

It feels unnatural when I, the reader, barely know a character and they’re already throwing themselves at the character I’ve customized as a protagonist. Even further if the tense is described with "you"s (don’t know the correct term for it), the reaction is immediate and creeped out, especially if I’m then forced to respond with how the relationship unfolds for the rest of the game.

Now, I’m totally fine on the other hand if the MC I’m playing as starts fawning over their crush or something, which that character is presented as, such as with Black Magic. But with Black Magic, you can start a relationship later after you’ve been given some time to either become disillusioned with the image the protagonist built them up to be or fond of as well.


#9

I’d say its called second person, but I’m not amazing at grammar and English, so… :blush:

I’d say your points are interesting, and I’ll definitely keep that in mind. I was planning on the character having known the person before the player does, maybe have them be friends or something.


@blackrising

I’ll keep that in mind. :sweat_smile: The question I was more concerned about was the second one, and I’m glad you approve.


@P_Tigras
I would definitely give players a choice in the matter, one of my biggest pet peeves is when authors go against your choices, or forbid you to have a choice. No creepy-stalkerish ROs on my watch :wink:


@Snoe
I totally agree. Ever word. I just hope I can pull that off. :disappointed_relieved:


@AlexClifford1994
Wow. That’s something that I really should look into doing.

I want the PC to “know” the character, and am in no means going to restrict the ROs to one option (and you are allowed to be asexual), and I’m not trying to make this a HUGE part of the story. I get where you come from though. :smile:


@Zolataya

That’s something I’m going to have troubles with. Just to clarify, it’s not context sensitive, I just wanted to write some romance :heart_eyes:. I think I’m going to go with a flirty, but not crazy crazy.


#10

Yes. Keep in mind “flirty-fun” and not “stalker-flirty-weird” and I imagine you will do great.


#11

@Just_Because

Oh, don’t mind me too much. I’m a bit particular about the stuff I choose to play - I also don’t play games with male protagonists and immediatly lose all interest if the author decides to make the available romances gender-restricted. So rest assured that most people are much less focused on stuff like this than I am. :sweat_smile:


#12

@P_Tigras Where do you access the CS comp entries?


#13

It shouldn’t be too terribly difficult if you’re mindful of it. An early romance should have a specific ‘function’ in mind. The last thing you want is to have this romance in the first chapter ‘just because’. As long as you have a solid reasoning behind the event it will likely show in your writing. Then again that’s a solid rule for writing, everything should serve a purpose, if its there for ‘fluff’ than you don’t need it.

Looking at relationships in-general and the extreme emotions they cultivate, one of the better ones to employ ‘early’ in the story line is regret its a simple emotion that can come from alot of different places, is easy to empathize with and has the longest shelf-life. So that kind of reaction will stick with a character for a while and have the most impact, ‘love’ is oddly the worst option to aim for early on.

Here’s wishing you the best in you endeavors.


#14

http://www.choiceofbox.com/pages/CScomp.html


#15

This seems like a good place to check something about my story that I’m worried about. In it, there’s a (female) character obsessed with the main character, for reasons that are explained later, and I was wondering what the threshold was between creepy and TOO creepy
For clarity, if the main makes it repeatedly known that they aren’t interested, they would go from romantically obsessed to platonically obsessed. Is this a good balance or would it cross into that territory warned about?


#16

I would think a lot of ‘how creepy is too creepy’ would depend on the game and context. A game that already has a good deal of disturbing content - in whatever aspect - could handle a lot more of creepy-stalker-vibe than a game about a daisies and roses teacher of five-year-olds, for instance.

Also it seems like a lot of people are worried less about how creepy the other characters are. Rather, the concern is the MC’s ability to firmly, possibly violently, reject the creeper’s advances. Or, you know, perhaps call the local police force or its equivalent, or request a restraining order.


#17

As @Fiogan states - the control of the MC to react how he/she sees fit and have that choice matter is the real concern of most people.


#18

I don’t know how’d I feel if I just started playing a CoG and romance sprung up in the first chapter. I look at CoG romance to see how realistic it is and though I do see what you mean, I don’t feel like it’s really realistic at all. Though I will eat my words if the character is well introduced and it doesn’t feel too rushed.

If this is part of the story line then perhaps the creepy part is needed. I think as long as the MC can take measures against it and what not then it should be fine. I mean the creepiest you can get is something from The Perfect Guy or The Roommate.


#19

I think it depends on WHO that character is. Like, Prodigal in Heroes Rise was crazy obsessed with the MC, yet players have been clamoring for a romance with her since the first game. It worked for her because she wasn’t supposed to be a healthy, adjusted adult. She was a villain.

Now if we had a character we’re supposed to like (one the main character is forced to like, even) it might become more difficult. I can see it becoming annoying fast if it’s an important character, especially if we can’t shut it down properly.


#20

For both first-chapter romance and an NPC asking you out, a well-done example would be Choice of Robots’ Elly/Eiji. You have a pre-existing relationship with the character, albeit a stalled-out one. And they ask you out on a date in such a way as to emphasize your time constraints as well as to introduce themselves into the story.