When you play a choicescript game, what ways have authors managed to make you feel close to an RO? Is it through, conversations, working together, finding you have similar values?
I’m curious if the community has any thoughts to shares, or moments where an RO has managed to make you go, ‘Yup, I am romancing them’. And then what holds that romance together? Have you ever found yourself bored with them as the game goes on?
This is mostly about how they’re handled mechanically, but it kind of makes me go “ugh” when in order to romance anyone you basically have to interact with them and only them to continue the romance. Like in games where you’re allocated “free time” in between plot beats to hang out with a character of your choice and you have to spend it with whoever you’re choosing to romance for the romance to feel satisfying and this comes at the expense of getting to know any of the other characters aside from the 1/2 character traits they display in the mandatory story beats.
Another thing that turns me off about some cog romances is when you can never disagree with them, even when they’re in the wrong. Very few stories let you have a argument about something and then practice healthy conflict resolution afterwards. You either agree with them no matter what or its over.
The one thing that really sold me on a romance was (Spoilers Study in Steampunk) the Finch romance. That you were allowed to fight, to disagree, to tell them what they did to you was wrong and that you don’t treat someone you love like that. And then the MC is allowed to have some time to work out their feelings and decide whether to forgive them. I think its one of the few romances in CoG where you can fight with a RO, they admit that they’re wrong and the player (not the npc) chooses whether thats a deal breaker.
I’m a hopeless romantic kind of guy. What drives me closer is by doing things naturally but in a romantic way, even just a having a coffee while chatting makes me much more comfortable.
Like in a relationship, a consistent engagement will keep me going to pursue that romance. As long as the author keeps adding flavor, then I’m all up for it.
I do like the idea of building up your affection towards an RO, or enemies-lovers tropes, basically the idea of a blossoming romance is what best suits me.
For the main question: I think it’s best to take account both the MC and RO’s interest, what they share in common, and if they think that it will be fun. Imo, if both characters share the same passion, the bond will go a long way.
Shared goals, conversations, experiences - these are all important. A good way to hook me on an RO in one single “moment” is to create a scene with some intense, personal, one-on-one bonding. The cheap and easy way to do that is to set up a rescue romance, with the MC as either rescuer or rescuee (it seems to work for me either way). Crafting an emotionally laden scene based on the characters’ backgrounds and choices is much harder, but when done right it’s extremely memorable. Some of the Dragon Age writers were so, so good at it, wow…
As for losing interest partway through, that’s only happened for two reasons that I remember. First is not having much interest in any of the ROs to begin with, which leads to choosing one out of a sort of desperation and bailing when things don’t improve. Second is having an RO I chose and was interested in sent to the sidelines, with very little further opportunity for interaction or development; a relationship that basically no longer exists is not one that’ll hold my interest. In both cases I usually just stop playing the game entirely.
I really like when the game gives enough time for a relationship to develop organically, especially if the characters are strangers (and I’m a sucker for slow burn)
Also when the ROs themselves seem interested in the relationship, and generally if they have a good dynamic/chemistry with the MC
Not bored. But annoyed? Yes
It happens more often with the Flirty™ ones, to be exact. Sometimes they’re too forward to my liking, and not every game allows the player to call them out
A thing that makes me lose interest in trying the romantic routes is when the game keeps asking if a character is hot every time a new RO is introduced. I mean, it’s fun and all but it gets a little boring in the 5th consecutive time