For me Author Confidence especially in Romance. Example
Whats your sexual interest?
Women: This love interest Is Daria Black the Space Pirate Queen always with a sassy Quip.
Men: This is Damian Black the Space Pirate King always with a sassy quip.
Good: This is Daria Black the Space Pirate Queen always with a sassy quip romance her or don’t.
Alternatively if you feel the need to do sexuality choices go the extra mile make Damian Black a radically different character than Daria Black so it’s a whole different experience.
Now for the SUPER confident. Not only Genderlock your ROs but Orientation Lock them. This can bite ya in the ass because like Dragon Age Inquisition some characters are appealing but you don’t want to put yourself in a narrow box for them. I’m not hoping for Super confident authors but I will respect them if i See them.
Additionally Evil / Domme romances and specifically If you fall for an ice queen she’s not all sweet and cuddly from the power of love. If anyone changes for love let it be the MC. Let them harden for a hard character. Dont redeem an evil love interest be corrupted to their side instead.
Personally, I want to see characters with more adult romance arcs. Fears they may be cheating, the realization that the mc and the character don’t really know each other as well as they thought, a realistic feel that goes against the seemingly over optimistic portrayal that there would never be any difficulties for the couple at all.
Give something that makes it feel like the characters are a bit more genuinely believable rather than just “We went on one date for almost twenty minutes. We’re practically already married.” If you want to go that route, it might even be worth portraying that kind of mentality as creepy and stalkerish since in reality people who form attachments from one interaction with a person, aren’t usually the most well adjusted types.
Is it because those things are good that I want to see them? No. It’s exactly because they’re negative that would make them add more depth to things.
On the subject of gender variant ROs: I’d like to see less “it’s dependent on your sexuality” and more asking if you would like to set all variant ROs to a specific gender, choose when you meet the character, or randomize. (I would also like to see less games ask me about my MC’s sexuality–because sexuality is fluid and the MC’s orientation may change sometime during the game.)
I’d also like to see more authors separate their pronouns from genders, especially in the case of NB MCs. In most games, if you choose a nonbinary MC, you get saddled with they/them, and this is really alienating for binary pronoun nonbinary people.
Huge seconded on both these points. I’m dying for more adult-oriented romance, not just sexually but tackling themes that aren’t just first love bliss. And I really can’t stand romance plots that boil down to “these characters have known each other for a week, but they’ve already professed their undying love and commitment.” I would love to see some more slow burn romances that tackle all the trials and tribulations that come with learning to be intimate with another person.
I used to be really vocal about genderlocking ROs a few years ago, then I realized that the “this is their gender, romance them if you like or don’t” doesn’t really work for everyone (it’s ok for us bi people, but what if you aren’t?)
I would love to see a game with twelve genderlocked Lis that have their own sexual orientation, but that’s a lot of work. Sometimes it’s better to have a small crew so you don’t burn out, and as much as I love romancing characters (that’s reason number 1 why I buy these games; if the story is cool and I want to kiss someone in it, then I’m sold), I want to see what happens next on the story too. Whenever I see a game with a long list of ROs I always fear the author won’t be able to finish it and that’s terrible because there’s a lot of talented people here.
So my unwanted advice would be: keep it simple, 4, 5 ROs is the magic number (genderlock some if you want, don’t genderlock them); if you have less than that make them genderflips. And create characters that you would like to date (also try to base them on real people, please; unpopular opinion here, but real people will always kick more ass than fictional people).
I’d love to see more stories about normal people struggling with normal stuff and what happens when they can’t anymore (then again I’ve always been a more Breaking Bad kind of person than I don’t know, Charmed). More weird concepts, stuff that I haven’t seen before.
Establishing the antagonist as a credible threat by allowing them to have victories over the protagonists. Instead of the Protagonist always getting out of the fight unscathed allow the protagonist to get the shit beat out of them, once in awhile to show they’re just as likely to be hurt or killed as their companions. True the likelihood of the MC being hurt in stories has increased but, I’d like to see it even more.
@Dragongodess Exactly, making the protagonist have to earn and fight for their victory after suffering humiliations, losses and defeats makes it actually meaningful instead of winning through the typical victory through plot armor and power of love and friendship.
There’s already a few games out here like this, but I do hope more authors here lose the fear of having MCs with strong, pre-defined personalities. I know it scares some readers off (especially since a lot of people love to self-insert), but I don’t see the point in being able to pick between, say, ten different dialogue choices if the game won’t acknowledge what kind of character I am playing. Some games will have interesting, funny interactions between ROs/NPCs and then struggle to include the MC, because it’s not tracking how they would react or who they are.
Pre-defined MCs are A) more interesting story-wise and B) easier to code, making the player feel like they’re actually playing a character that matters.
I think in an ideal world where we have a game catered to all sexualities that the writers try to have three options per sexuality, likely with the option of gender selection for some or all characters.
That said, maybe the idea of making characters be completely different depending on their gender to inspire replays? I considered this with my long gestation will it ever happen maybe I don’t know WW2 French Resistance game where a British character would be a downed RAF pilot if Male ala David Niven and a undercover SOE agent if Female ala Haley Atwell. So something like that.
More attention to making platonic friendships in games as interesting and engaging as possible romances.
More Historical stuff. More Sci Fi stuff. Maybe less supernatural stuff?
Gender is a spectrum – to have three options per “sexuality” you need an infinite number of Romantic Options.
Most authors of IF have trouble writing more than a “few” deep, engaging and lovable romantic characters per story… whether that means three, six or ten depends on the author.
I know a very good writer with multiple titles published here that tried making “enough” RO to satisfy his reader audience and came to the conclusion that unless the game was focused primarily on Romance, writing fewer RO actually turned out to be better because people got more “face-time” with each developed option and got to know them better.
My personal limit seems to be six and that is the most I will offer in my games for now.
The more content you want for each RO, the fewer that will be realistically viable to expect from the game’s developer to write.
I understand the desire to want more history based stories but, unless it’s historical events in an alternate reality, it’s not so easy to write/ create a history based game without having the proper background knowledge. Now as for games in the sci-fi genre, I have no idea why there aren’t that many.
Sci-fi is too wide of a genre that means different things to different people – I feel like there are quite a few sci-fi stories in all three categories here: Heart’s Choice included when compared to % of the catalog offered.
As long as the author is skilled enough to write characters that are identifiable with the readers, a strong, predefined personalitied MC will work.
It is my experience that, especially in series, this task is very hard to accomplish.
I find the idea of a strongly defined personality MC difficult to play. Like if you’re a door mat in real life it’s not easy to “be” the confident one who stands up for themself. If you’re an Introvert playing someone social, friendly, and popular is… Well you might as well not even customize a character because they aren’t “yours” That’s why i always appreciate some variety like… Wayhaven? The sparkly vampire cops game. The Writer clearly wants our Human Detective to warmly embrace the vampires give em noogies and hug laughing with their jokes. But they include more stoic options like smirking or eyebrow raises. Me personally i still feel put upon by tbe forced friendship but allowing me the opportunity to be a bit of a Daria. Helps me enjoy it.
While there aren’t many Steampunk video games, there are some Steampunk IFs and I’m happy with that. I want to see more Steampunk games tbh.
Actually, I would like to see more from 1700-1950 time period, whether it is realistic&historical or fantasy (although my personal preference is low fantasy), I don’t follow the forum and WiPs too much but I think there aren’t a lot CoGs or HGs set during an era that resembles Late Modern Period. ( And maybe Renaissance)
Personally, I’d really love to see one (or more!) of the Heart’s Choice games tackle some classic romance tropes in a positive way. Not a subversion (although those are fun) but actually leaning into them and dealing with the potentially problematic things that arise. MC is kidnapped by a villain and falls in love! MC has to make an arranged marriage to save their country/family/group! I love those sorts of stories, but then I get mad at myself and the author when they’re handled poorly.
Romances with villains with a legit redemption arc, not a handwave and everything is fine because I’ve got heart eyes for them.
I’m also always a big fan of nice characters who aren’t doormats. I’m not saying everyone should always be nice, but I appreciate when I don’t have to pick between playing a response I feel is nice and setting a healthy boundary.
a ramble about defined personalities that got away A Bit
I think the request for more defined personalities is really interesting. I wonder if there’s a pretty intrinsic divide among players between self-insert players and role-players?
For myself, I like defined personalities when they match how I want to play but am quite challenged when they don’t. I generally don’t like to be sarcastic or forward, so MCs who have that as part of their defining personality really grate on my nerves.
Sometimes I can move past that and create a character that works in the setting, but not always. That’s just an example from me, being picky. I know other players are literally the exact opposite and having a defined personality that I would like is everything they hate. (I love reading posts from them! It’s so counter intuitive to me, but I usually learn something.)
I think that’s why a lot of people try to go for a less predefined MC, to allow both someone like me and someone who has very different tastes to have an MC they like.
I’m not arguing that all stories should do this, or that all stories should cater to me. I know I’m picky and I’m generally okay with (or at least able to quietly be sad about) passing on ideas that aren’t my cup of tea. But for authors who are trying to appeal to the largest possible audience, I totally get it.
Sometimes predefined MCs that aren’t how I would normally play work for me. But I couldn’t tell you how. It’s wizardry. I think I’m not adept enough at literary analysis to nail down what makes a character I’d normally not like to play work for me.
I would like it if this was widely accepted to be part of a WIP blurb though! “MC in this game has a partially defined personality” or similar? Seven days in purgatory did a great job with this, clearly telling us upfront that the MC’s past isn’t under our control. Expectation management is real. If I don’t have time to get an idea of my sweet dumb MC firmly entrenched, I’m more likely to be open to a different archetype.
While, I love the fantasy genre, it would be nice to see it implemented in time periods outside of medieval. Like you said it would be refreshing to see a 1950’s based fantasy, maybe make it fantastic noir so you have murder mystery with magic.
I don’t disagree with you that it’s probably easier, and I would definitely like more nuanced fewer ROs to loads of generic ones but a game with just one RO per sexual preference (that term probably works better - it’s not so much about what gender you specifically are rather than what kinds of genders you prefer I think) is not going to be overly replayed unless there’s other stuff to bring themselves back for a second time.
But as you say it’s up to the author and whether they’re doing a game with a specific romance focus or not. Six is great if you can have two or more characters gender swappable - that would mean at least four characters to romance if they are all bisexual or player sexual.
That is true. There’s a reason why Fallen Hero is so big, after all! If it had shoddy writing, it’d be tough to pass off playing as such a difficult character as Sidestep. Similarly, though, I believe that it takes skill (and time!) to write a bunch of different personalities for the MC, and make them all equally rewarding to the player. It works on Wayhaven, but you can tell it’s a loooot of work.
Besides all that, like @Jeruspi alluded to and @furyleika said, there’s a lot of self-insert players (I think more than role-players, but that’s just a guess). I like pre-defined MCs because I play so I can experience something I’ll never experience in real life, like, for example, being a perverted ronin living in “Japan” in the past. I have no interest in playing as myself, because I already know what that’s like lmao So I’d say it just comes down to taste; nothing to really argue about there.
When I made my initial post, what I meant was that I hope more authors care less about appealing to the biggest possible audience, and more about giving their players an interesting experience. (Of course, there’s always the issue of money, so I’m really not shaming anyone who takes the first option).
The appeal of alternate history games are of course the fact you get to ignore or downplay the less pleasant aspects and ensure that a non white or female character and player has as much stake as their counterparts, so I am totally for more of those. But even so I still love to see more purely historical games when they work. But it definitely requires some solid research if you want a good experience. Jazz Age is actually better as a 1920’s experience than as a pure romance if I am honest.
There’s been some great Sci fi games in recent times, though I am still waiting for Star Captain by Lucid so I can live out my Star Trek experiences! And ideally something Star Wars or Doctor Who’ish without stepping on copyright!
Talk to Felicity_Banks. She’s HGs most prolific steampunk writer
Spaceship style or hard sci fi often doesn’t seem to do as well as its fantasy counterparts for some reason. It often seems to have to lean into a second popular genre like romance or fantasy to get attention. (I’m not sure why either. You could do some really interesting things with space exploration and other futuristic senarios)