What Writing Trend do you want to see in 2020?

Are you perhaps refering to ciri from witcher 3?

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Characters that are as much engaging as allies and friends as love interests definitely makes them more three dimensional.

With supernatural romance stuff, more characters who aren’t always vampires, werewolves or ghosts? I think it’s nice having characters with more distinctive supernatural origins.


I think highly customizable MC doesn’t necessarily mean they become less interesting (or shouldn’t). It can be done well like in ZE:SH, it’s just that authors rarely go through that much extra mile to add specific texts/options related to all offered backgrounds/talents/whatever else we can customize. Or Choice of Rebels is another great example where the author even went through the trouble of writing almost two different games just bc of one background choice.
But once again I see how that’s a lot of extra work so I think a preset background and interesting preset abilities while we get to customize the MCs personality (I think this is what writers most often go with), can be done really well and it’s a nicely working middle ground between “borrowing the authors character” and “playing our own”.


I’m sure I’ve said this before but, I would love it if the MC’s companions would be more involved in coming up with plans to deal with the antagonist especially if they’re part of a team. It doesn’t make sense that the MC is the one who usually gets to decide the plan of attack all the time especially if they’re some rookie who has no experience what so ever.

I’d also like to see the MC and supporting characters, disagree on choices the MC makes possibly causing tension and damage to their relationship. Friends and co-workers get into arguments it doesn’t make sense to me that everyone on the MC’s side just agrees with their actions or plans all the time.

Last but not least, if the MC is infiltrating the antagonist’s organization, I’d like to see the MC actually do something deplorable to earn their place/ maintain their cover. I’ve never understood why (or more importantly how) the MC fools the minions and big bad by doing virtually nothing outside of pretending to be evil. I’d think it would be interesting to see the MC actually have to do things that cause the death of innocents in order to prove to the villain that they can be trusted.
Which could also provide the opportunity to have the MC deal with the consequences of saving the world through morally questionable actions and having to deal with their own guilt and how the world looks at them now.


6 posts were merged into an existing topic: How Acceptable Are Pre-Determined Gender Protagonists?

Too often do I see the same tropes repeated in interactive fiction. Especially with romance. I don’t want to see characters who conform to the player, I want to see characters. There’s a sort of grittiness to character interaction that’s missing in these types of stories. There’s no fights or arguments or disagreements, something all too common in natural relationships. It’s how the player would choose to move past these that would make romances feel much more lifelike and fleshed out.

I’m all for representation in stories, but I feel sometimes it’s overdone for the sake of inclusion. If the quality of the characters or the story is compromised because of such, don’t. The story should always come first.


I moved the genderlocking conversation to the appropriate thread.


@rvd249 I agree with you. I feel there’s so many stories that once when you’re in a relationship with your RO, there’s nothing more. They live happily, no fights, no conflict (between them) and I know some authors do this so they can focus on the central plot but it just doesn’t feel realistic.

Also, I think I’m the only one who thinks this but, I feel like in some games the customization of the MC is useless. For example, let’s say I’m playing as a straight male who is very awkward and shy. So, later in the game, they show me an option for my MC to wear dresses in public or having an open relationship or romancing other men… Then, what’s the point of me customizing him? It’s like I never selected anything.

Ohh! I know almost nobody mentions this but: world building. Sometimes, I just feel like my characters can do whatever they want without the rest of their society disagreeing)? Like “Sure, after you destroyed our city fighting the villain we all are gonna be happy about it because yey”. And also, sometimes less is more. Please don’t write unnecessary information just because you want to make your world richer, I understand why you would want to make your world as complicated as possible but why would I need to know magical frogs turn pink in winter if it doesn’t do anything for the plot?



World building is always good, but if it’s just there for the sake of being there and doesn’t serve the plot, then it becomes unnecessary.

Customization is a tricky one. You can either decide everything early on and lock the other options behind variables, or you can build the character as the choices come along. What you seem to be describing is just a story that has an error, not as much of a design choice.

My biggest goal with writing characters, and I think this should go for everyone, is to make them real people. Any character who exists to service the plot has failed. They should have their own motives and they should make choices that don’t contradict their character. If the MC commits a genocide and their romance option is someone with a soft personality, this should create obstacles that the player would have to overcome; how others will react to your poor decisions.

Too often do I see characters just nod and smile so they don’t stray too far from being the written out, meant-for-the-plot characters they are. It makes all romances easily obtainable and the same. It is much more complicated than that.

I hope to see more challenging romance in the future. Personalities need to conflict, and saying the wrong things need to mean something. Otherwise, is it really interactive fiction?


Whilst we’re on the subject of ROs and complicating them, very few games really go beyond the start of the relationship, since the objective of most games does seem at times to be ‘can I get them to like me/kiss me/have woo yoo with me’, especially if romance isn’t really the core theme of the game (and to be fair that’s not a criticism since I suspect a lot of writers put romance into games because we expect it, lol).

So it would be nice to see a game or two try the wider thing of letting you play out an entire relationship, not just the start of it. If we think of some of the best romances in fiction we all know they’re varied and complex and occasionally toxic or one sided, but we all have our favorites. So a game which can let you pair off and deal with the ups and downs of that relationship would be awesome. And imagine if that could be explored in a number of different genres - how do these romances survive in a fantasy world or a sci fi world or a historical setting or a supernatural setting as much as in the modern day? Stuff like that.


Instead of having the MC be at odds with a clearly defined villain, maybe just have them face off with an antagonist who isn’t necessarily evil but just so happens to have goals that oppose the MC’s. Or maybe make the antagonist have the same goal as the MC but is part of an opposing faction or government.

Don’t get me wrong I love villains but it would be nice to mix up the narrative and maybe not always use the formula of MC= good antagonist=evil.

Also, if there’s an option to initiate a romance with a villain, could we please have a relationship more complicated/nuanced than MC lectures villain about the good they can do and how awesome it is to be a hero and villain is magically compelled to agree?

Maybe we could see a glimpse into how the relationship possibly damages the MC’s PR due to the fact that most civilians probably wouldn’t approve of the MC dating someone who terrorised the world and or city not to mention possible mass murder and attempted world domination.
Or see how the MC’s companions feel about the relationship instead of grudgingly accept it maybe have them distance themselves from the MC or sever ties all together as a consequence. Last but not least show the villains perspective on the romance with their former and or current arch enemy as well the affects of it on their life.


the problem I see is that if tge antagonist is too understandable many people would want to join them which could result in two different games

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How I feel in most games especially when the good guys are either sickeningly sweet or just overconfident assholes. Like I never asked for a bunch of sparkly vampires on my police force jeez.


I understand that but going off the idea of the antagonist and MC being part of 2 opposing governments or factions, I could come up with a couple of scenarios that would make that difficult for the player to achieve their turncoat wish-fulfilment. One make the protagonist/ player deal with life threatening consequences of being a turncoat to the point that they’re actively being hunted down by their former employees and or companions and their civilian loved ones are now in the crossfire.
Two create an in-game reason right off the bat to shut down players who want that. For example, have the opposing faction be responsible for the death of the MC’s family member. Or cause the opposing faction to reject the MC due to the fact that both factions value Loyalty and don’t tolerate traitors.


But those are often scenarios which aren’t always possible. Also who says it even cares the reader if a family member died. That’s not a minor point but an essiential part of character building. Did the MC had a happy childhood or not? are they attached to dead or revenge? Surely you could force the player in a direction but sometimes you don’t want to. Of course you will always have those who want to join the antagonist unless they are REALLY REALLY evil and go around and rape everyone. Hell I could see that some people would even join someone who kills children. So in the end it’s really a matter setting the right stakes and personal preference


Another Trend I’d like to see. Threats instead of villains. Where you really feel if you and the antagonist sat down and talked you could actually come to a peaceful mutually beneficial relationship. But you don’t have that option because your side refuses to negotiate/ You can’t actually communicate with the other side/ etc ( not that they just want to kill you on sight. That makes them a villain in most cases


Good unique stories


Another writing trend I want self destructive endings. Like if the Wayhavens last book said “Warning if you don’t romance someone you will die to the final boss or end up a crazy cat lady but this is the final book so you won’t miss out on future content” I’d willingly not romance anyone because it’s my choice. If I am playing a character whose been shit on and knocked arpund by the world dying to achieve my goals or destroying a universe that i need to exist because i live in it. Are options I want. If I fall in love with someone who actually wants to kill me ( and isn’t possessed by a ghost) then they can do it. The point of choices is that if your game allows characters to choose they should be able to choose poorly and not just “if your stats were higher you totally would have succeeded.”


I’ve got a good one of these (I think) planned for Rebels Game IV. That may end up being more of a 2030 writing trend, though…


With Choice of Rebels I’m probably going to go insane after all the horrors my MC has witnessed and embrace the destruction of the world.

And another thing on the subject of Trends i want to start.

King: Well i killed your parents, enslaved you, and if Choice of Games would have allowed it in the terms of service i would have had you raped so thank them you weren’t but its like 90 years later so we’re besties right?
MC: Chops his head off and urinates down the neck hole

I get Stockholm syndrome is a thing but if its OUR character we should decide if we’re effected. If you imprison my MC she’s gonna kill you or show the world a god king can bleed.