Extra Punctuation: Why No Couples in Games?

Canadamus Prime

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Jun 17, 2009
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You know what? Now that you mention it, I've noticed a distinct lack of relationships in video games. Even in Pokemon the Player Characters' father is always mysteriously absent, except for Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald where your character's dad is the one Gym Leader.
 

Bostur

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Mar 14, 2011
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Happy couples don't risk their lives to save the world, they stay home to make risotto and erh.. watch the cartoon network. It's not interesting as a plot device, there is no McGuffin. The perfect story relationship is one of deep love obstructed by outside forces. Thats why Mario needs to rescue the princess all the time, and...

Small TW2 spoiler
thats why Geralt spends so much time looking for the kidnapped Triss.
 

noble cookie

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Aug 6, 2010
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Final Fantasy VIII had the whole Squall-Rinoa thing, what about that?

All though I suppose it's stupid how Squall goes from not giving a shit about anyone but himself to loving this girl he's just met, I don't get that.

But I mean, they really loved each other.
 

Haenf

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Dec 31, 2009
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Zhukov said:
Also, dare I mention the ME2 DLC Lair of the Shadow Broker? I found the ongoing Shepard-and-Liara relationship in that surprisingly endearing.
Was just about to write the same thing until I saw your post. The relationship between Shepard and Liara is brilliantly done and, in my opinion, superior to all the other relationship possibilities in ME2. The dialogue of a couple trying to pick up where they were years before is superb.
 

Princess Rose

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Jul 10, 2011
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By the gods, this is so true.

I was just complaining in another thread about the lack of real relationships in games. Catherine took several bold steps in the right direction, but I want to see more of that - preferably with a female protagonist (but then, I've talked about the need for more of those in several threads before this).

One reason I spend so much time playing Bioware games is because Bioware actually lets you have a relationship - and even then, the relationships are often kind of shallow. No matter what other faults one might have with it, Dragon Age 2 actually does a really good job of establishing and developing a relationship between Hawke and whomever the player ends up with. You might not like the choice in characters, but if you do, then that relationship is well developed.

Of course, everyone still wears their insane, uncomfortable, overly complex underpants to bed. But at least it's trying.
 

Truly-A-Lie

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Nov 14, 2009
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It's times like these I sit back and say God Bless, Persona 4. Granted the protagonist is supernaturally likeable and people are drawn to him almost against their will, but if I was hanging around with him as he carried out his mission in that game, I'd probably fall in love with him too.

I've also found Nathan Drake and Elena's romantic build up over the two Uncharted games really effective.
 

maninahat

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Squilookle said:
What about Mafia? Wasn't that a proper relationship done right? Sure it didn't exist at the start of the game, but not only was the blossoming romance believable, but the woman doesn't even die at ANY point in the game!
I suppose, but she is hardly a significant character. In fact, I can't remember for the life of me what her name is, and I've played through it at least 4 times. Julia? Sarah? It's nearly always a Sarah. Whatever it is, she only appears in an escourt mission and a couple of cutscenes. Not much to go on in terms of presenting a developed and blossoming relationship.

I was just having this discussiion about married couples hardly ever being in movies. It is even worse in games! I guess the reason is that all stories are about overcoming an obstacle to get to a goal. If it is a romantic plot, a pre-married character has aready achieved their goal, and lacks teh obstacles a guy in love at first sight/rescuing the princess faces.

What we need is a Sam and Max style set up, in which the two are around each other consistently, with a secure and knowing familiarity with one another. They can exchange witticisms, alternate play styles, and an affection for each other from the start.
 

burningdragoon

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Jul 27, 2009
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Worgen said:
hmm, there is only one couple I can think of in a game that starts out a couple and ends a couple and that was Rosa and Cecil in final fantasy 2 (I think its like 3 in japan) they start our married and she doesnt die to provide him motivation or anything, sure they dont really do married stuff but its still a big improvement from the spouse who only exists to act as motivation

Actualy I do remember them hugging and the place they lived had the only double bed in the game and I think I remember a scene with them sleeping together in it... I guess Rydia could also have been like an adopted daughter to them too... hmm, I wonder how much of that games plot I missed because I was playing it when I was like 10 or something
I don't think they are technically married until the end but yeah. They even had a special sprite animation for them hugging. She is the central plot point a couple times but it's not "murder everyone in the way".

On that note, Yang is married as well, if that counts for anything
 

Dorkmaster Flek

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Mar 13, 2008
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Truly-A-Lie said:
I've also found Nathan Drake and Elena's romantic build up over the two Uncharted games really effective.
I was thinking about that too, but that's just another example of the "female tagging along until she becomes the protagonist's girlfriend" scenario. It is well done and I love Elana as a character, don't get me wrong, but it's been done a thousand times in games already. Hopefully the fact that Catherine actually did extremely well for Atlus in sales indicates that there is indeed an audience for this sort of story, even if you do have to go through an obnoxiously difficult puzzle game to get to it.
 

Don Reba

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Jun 2, 2009
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Bostur said:
Happy couples don't risk their lives to save the world, they stay home to make risotto and erh.. watch the cartoon network. It's not interesting as a plot device, there is no McGuffin. The perfect story relationship is one of deep love obstructed by outside forces. Thats why Mario needs to rescue the princess all the time, and...

Small TW2 spoiler
thats why Geralt spends so much time looking for the kidnapped Triss.
Exactly right.
 

PlasticTree

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May 17, 2009
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KDR_11k said:
Speaking of which, didn't Red Dead Redemption feature a married guy whose family is still alive? That's a rarity right there. Meanwhile Relic takes it a bit further with a gruff dude who killed his wife (as well as everybody else on the planet) for heresy and believes he did the right thing.
Yeah, but for the main part of the game they only serve as a 'Princess Peach'. Although (spoiler alert) the last hour of the game obviously makes up for that to a certain extent. Then again, an ending like that pretty much makes up for every fault a game could possibly have, if you ask me.
 

Prof. Monkeypox

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Mar 17, 2010
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I had an idea for a game (which never got past the very early planning stages)- about a husband/wife mercenary team taking up odd jobs to make a nest egg to raise a family. They'd both use gun play, but one would be a fast gunslinger and the other would be a heavy weapons wielder- and the player would switch between the two styles by jumping between them as needed.

It's kind of a stupid idea- but the fact that I thought it was super original means I must have subconsciously noticed the absence of that kind of relationship too.


Also: Perhaps that's why all these macho warriors go on a killing rampage after wifey dies- they're pissed off because they haven't gotten laid in forever.
 

MissAshley

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Jul 20, 2009
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Your examples with Mario and Kratos help frame your argument, but they don't do much to substantiate it. Unless I missed something in God of War 3 (which I haven't played yet), Kratos's story was always blatantly about "counter[ing] a slight made against [him] personally." Each game had a different slight to counter, but not a one of them was the death of his wife. The first game, to me, made it very clear that Kratos cared less about the death of his family and more about Ares "tricking" him into killing them.

And Mario? To even begin to believe those games are meant to depict a relationship between him and Peach is to take the first steps into madness.
 

dangoball

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Jun 20, 2011
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Hm... Thinking of couples in games, Baldur's gate comes to mind. In BG(1) you practically start off with a married couple of Jaheira and Khalid which caries over to BG2 and by that time you have motivation to care for Khalid and understand Jaheiras need for revenge. And if you romance her, it actually carries over to ToB!
Other nice romance in BG2 was Anomen. At first I thought he's a douche and little in the head, but after romancing him I realized I kinda like the fella.
Oh and there are romances between NPCs even without Player interaction! Aerie - Haer'Dalis, and my favorite Edwin - Viconia :)
 

snowman6251

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Nov 9, 2009
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What about those incestuous dickheads from Assassin's Creed Brotherhood as villains with a relationship? It's even used to good effect in the game's plot.
 

ATmatey36

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Apr 12, 2011
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Yahtzee, if you need one NPC relationship that actually matters, here's one:

Anju and Kafei.

That is all.
 

Swifteye

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Apr 15, 2010
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I'd like to think that some of the dragon quest stories did relationships a lot better. The best part of hand of the heavenly bride for me was that you could really get a feel for one of the female characters and get to know her awhile before you even choose to marry her and if you didn't like her you have two other women you can choose from and you can spend the whole rest of the game getting to know them. I guess you can say mass effect did it pretty well too the sequel just kinda messed it up a bit the plot convenience that it was.
 

Thaluikhain

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Apr 4, 2020
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Well, there's the fact that relationships are complex and difficult to correctly depict.

And...nobody ever went broke assuming the target audience is the stereotypical basement dwelling male with, shall we say "issues" regarding the opposite sex.
 

rolandoftheeld

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Jun 17, 2010
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Kind of unfair to go after Kratos in that way - isn't that the point of his character? Of course he's going about his whole revenge-quest in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons; It's because the whole thing is his fault anyway but he can't admit that to himself. No, Mrs. Kratos doesn't want him to be a power-hungry murder machine (she flat-out tells him so), but his entire story is based around the fact that he's always been an asshole, and he hasn't learned from his mistakes. I thought it was refreshing to have a game where the main character never has that magical epiphany where he finally turns his life around.

Counterpoint: By this logic, why is Kane and Lynch so awful? Discussion for another time.

Anyway, on topic, there are no normal, healthy relationships in games because normal, healthy relationships are based on time. I can't develop a meaningful relationship with a digital person in the 10 hours it takes to complete a shooter, or even the 40 hours it takes to complete an RPG. I barely have time to get to know my own character, much less his love interest.