Do Romantic Choices Influence Your Decision to Buy?By: Lushy posted at Jun 13, 2012 12:56 pm
Romantic options have been in games for quite sometime. Of course, most stories in RPGs usually have the main hero falling for some captured princess in one way or another, but games like Star Ocean actually gave you an option to choose how and who you wanted to end the game with. The series even offered 'friendship' same-sex pairing at the end of Star Ocean 2 and 3 if you preferred not to end the game with a love interest in mind. Harvest Moon also allowed for romantic pairings, ending in marriage, kids, friendship, and even helping other NPCs pair off and form their own families.
With games now and days like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Skyrim, The Witcher, and more allow for several romantic choices, although there has been a bit more drama added to the storytelling. Oh, and of course a lot more sexual innuendo. More games are opting to include romantic same-sex pairings, both male and female, full of courting, love, lust, and maybe a few dragons just to spice things up. While it's considered progressive, there has also been plenty of hate and backlash from the choices that can be made.
I was actually sad to hear that Star Wars: The Old Republic wouldn't be adding any same-sex relationships anytime soon, as one of the writers explained that it would be, "An insult to the characters to flip the gender switch to neutral."
I almost laughed, but considered the point of view as a writer. Once considered, I then laughed pretty hard. To say that the writers are so inflexible to their characters that they couldn't consider changing the attitude to fit the customization of the player is, well, cheap. If ever a game allows for the player to stray from the beaten path to create a personalized experience for themselves, the NPCs should also have alternative paths, especially if romance is involved.
One of the most intelligent arguments I heard is that the romanced companions should not be based on sexuality, but should be considered 'Star Struck'. Be the player creating a good or evil, rich or poor, male or female, and of whatever race, the romance options should remain intact if persuaded. I also consider that single-player campaigns have no direct effect on other players, even in an MMORPG, so what does it matter?
Still, I consider myself a crazy liberal who doesn't mind a bit of boob-on-boob action if I choose to go that route. The option of it being in a game doesn't offend me and if I don't want to see it, I won't go in that direction. My standpoint has always been if you want to put romance in your game with customizable characters, then make it open to both sides of the fence.
Not saying that every game created with set characters has to have a bit of dandy in them. On the contrary, if a game is made to have a pre-made character that follows a pre-made story without much room to go one way or another and includes pre-destined romances, then fair enough. I don't expect Mario to stop chasing after Princess Peach and start hitting on Toad. Awkward.
But I do hope that games that allow you to be 'yourself' actually do so in the future and not be bogged down with excuses like, 'offending the made-up characters'.
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