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July 18th, 2014, 10:34
Bioware released a new audio only video today from the GaymerX2 2014 panel.

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Building a Better Romance: A discussion of how romances came to be in BioWare games. Why are they done as they are? What purpose do they serve in the overall game? What issues exist, and is there a better way to make them that isn't simply "add additional content?"
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July 18th, 2014, 10:34
OMG…
So Bioware *still* thinks that romance was/is an integral part of the Bioware RPG experience.

Mind you, I am an avid naysayer to romances in games, because it never will be as good as the real thing. Since the real thing is fairly easy to obtain (just get out of your lair, and get a life, g*ddamit!), the whole awkward courting dialogs and sex scenes are ruining the experience big time.
Case in point: being Commander Shepherd, fearless hero of the Galaxy, I started a buddy-buddy-wink-wink chit-chat to a crewmate before entering a supposedly hard mission — and out of nowhere, I ended up in bed, having a very lame gay affair. All I wanted to is boosting the morale of my men, but I think I got a wee bit over the top here… (literally!)

So, dear Bioware: What will come next? The world's first soap opera RPG?
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July 18th, 2014, 11:58
Originally Posted by duerer View Post
Mind you, I am an avid naysayer to romances in games, because it never will be as good as the real thing.
I could name a few more features in video games that will never be as good as the real thing.

Crafting: Ever crafted something in real life? It's really great. You can feel the surface of the used materials, smell the wood, stare at perfect geometrical figures, feel great satisfaction when you finally managed to GET THAT GODDAMN THING IN THAT OTHER GODDAMN THING, DAMNIT!
And in video games? You put A, B and C together with 6 mouse clicks and get D by another mouseclick. Wow.

Fist fighting: Ever had a fist fight in real life? It's not so great most times. But it's an extraordinary experience as well. Getting hit in the face and drop to the floor really gets adrenaline going. Not to speak of finally beating something.
And in video games? Tap A… wait… tap E… and now (WOHOOOO!) tap A & W together. *yawn*

Features like this may of course be designed in a much more interesting way. But again I can't or don't want to experience these actions in real life for good reasons.
I don't want to fistfight, don't want to lose money on bets, don't want to have a love affair with a hot pirate girl. And actually I don't even want to craft in real life. I don't have enough time and I'm not very good at it.

So why exactly should there be crafting and fist fighting in video games and not pursuing romances?

Well sure, you could argue that crafted items may be of use in combat, which with no doubt is a central aspect of CRPGs. Well, my riposte is that romances (or social relationships in general) my be of use in the plot or in immersion, which for some gamers is a central aspect of RPGs as well.

Sure, if a feature is badly designed, it should be left out. But as stated, I don't think romances are designed worse than a lot of others which are well accepted.

———

And on topic again: I'd really like to have a script of this talk. Anyone knows where to find one?
Last edited by Morrandir; July 18th, 2014 at 13:29.
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July 18th, 2014, 12:58
Since the real thing is fairly easy to obtain (just get out of your lair, and get a life, g*ddamit!)
This is not true at all. I can't find a sexy elven chick if I leave my lair and get a life! Also I can't find the next best thing as well, not many women want to dress up as sexy elven chick as well

If you want an interesting world and NPCs then you have to have romances and sex in it, after all our real world goes around mainly due to sex!
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July 18th, 2014, 13:31
Japanese do. You can even pay to cuddle. Strange people, heard they are the only ones where the population decreases. But I digress
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July 18th, 2014, 13:38
The thing is, BioWare makes games that are mainly story driven. Virtually every good story over the years has had some sort of romance, because it's such an important part of human nature. Emotions are a part of us, whether we like or not.

That said, most of their attempts have been rubbish, but not all. Bastila and Ashley Williams are fairly interesting characters, as are Garrus and Thane for female Shepards. Leliana and Morrigan were half decent as well.

Originally Posted by ilm View Post
Japanese do. You can even pay to cuddle. Strange people, heard they are the only ones where the population decreases. But I digress
They are, but that's because they have virtually no immigration. Quite a few countries in Europe have decreasing populations before you take immigration into account, but immigration solves the problem. The lack of immigration in Japan is going to cause massive problems in a few years when their current population is too old to work. It really is a potential disaster economically.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:23
Originally Posted by Morrandir View Post
I could name a few more features in video games that will never be as good as the real thing.

Crafting: Ever crafted something in real life? It's really great. You can feel the surface of the used materials, smell the wood, stare at perfect geometrical figures, feel great satisfaction when you finally managed to GET THAT GODDAMN THING IN THAT OTHER GODDAMN THING, DAMNIT!
And in video games? You put A, B and C together with 6 mouse clicks and get D by another mouseclick. Wow.

Fist fighting: Ever had a fist fight in real life? It's not so great most times. But it's an extraordinary experience as well. Getting hit in the face and drop to the floor really gets adrenaline going. Not to speak of finally beating something.
And in video games? Tap A… wait… tap E… and now (WOHOOOO!) tap A & W together. *yawn*

Features like this may of course be designed in a much more interesting way. But again I can't or don't want to experience these actions in real life for good reasons.
I don't want to fistfight, don't want to lose money on bets, don't want to have a love affair with a hot pirate girl. And actually I don't even want to craft in real life. I don't have enough time and I'm not very good at it.

So why exactly should there be crafting and fist fighting in video games and not pursuing romances?
I'm sorry, but that's just dumb.

You're comparing having a romantic relationship to fist fighting? Having a relationship is an integral part of most people's lives. Fist fighting is not. Not to mention that fighting someone in real life often ends up with someone getting injured and/or going to jail.

I definitely prefer to do things like that in a video game.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:28
I guess to feel satisfied with a romantic relationship in a game, the writing had better be extremely good.

As I believe we've been through countless times before, Bioware can't really write for shit when it comes to plausible human behavior and verisimilitude - so the focus on romance is a waste of effort, from where I'm sitting.

But, in principle, I'm fine with the option being available - just as long as it doesn't hurt the overall development of other features.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:28
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I'm sorry, but that's just dumb.

You're comparing having a romantic relationship to fist fighting?
This comparison was a direct answer to duerer's statement, that romances should not be included in RPGs "because it never will be as good as the real thing". By my comparison I've tried to counter this reasoning - because imho it just isn't valid.

The are of course other reasons for not wanting romances in RPGs which may indeed be perfectly justified.

Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Having a relationship is an integral part of most people's lives. Fist fighting is not. Not to mention that fighting someone in real life often ends up with someone getting injured and/or going to jail.
Well, if I pursue a romance in real life, I'll get injured as well (when my wife slaps me in the face). And I won't go to jail, but for sure will go to a new apartment.

I definitely prefer to do things like that in a video game.
You do. That's perfectly fine. There are things gamers like to do in RL and things they like in video games. But these aren't the same things for all end every gamer.

If you say, you don't like romances in video games (e.g. because you aren't satisfied with the quality or because the resources should go to gameplay instead), that's really ok. Can't argue about that, preferences and tastes differ.

Btw. I'm not doing romances in video games because I "can't" do them in RL. For me it's just roleplaying. And as Maylander said, emotions are an integral part of human life. So I just go for it if it fits, because this for me increases immersion.
Last edited by Morrandir; July 18th, 2014 at 14:42.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:34
duerer's post was dead on.

That's not to say it doesn't apply to other things as well, but of the aforementioned examples, romance is the one I would see cut first if I had to choose.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:39
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
duerer's post was dead on.
Well, we have quite different opinions here.

Perhaps it is indeed the case that for some reason gamers are more bothered by poorly designed romances than they are bothered by poorly designed other features.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:42
Originally Posted by Morrandir View Post
Well, we have quite different opinions here.

Perhaps it is indeed the case that for some reason gamers are more bothered by poorly designed romances than they are bothered by poorly designed other features.
Explain why pointing out the poor nature of one feature in response to an article means disliking it more than another poor feature.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:43
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
duerer's post was dead on.

That's not to say it doesn't apply to other things as well, but of the aforementioned examples, romance is the one I would see cut first if I had to choose.
How was he dead on?

If he said romances are crap in games since writers sucks so lets get rid them, then he will be correct. However he said that romances are crap since the real thing is better so lets get rid of them. This is a wrong argument since most things are better in real life than in games so his argument was stupid.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:44
Indeed my context isn't this thread alone but, the general discussion about romances.
I've often heard the reason to exclude romances because they aren't done well, but I've never heard about this reasoning for other features.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:49
Originally Posted by Morrandir View Post
I could name a few more features in video games that will never be as good as the real thing.
Hmm, I think you missed my point, so I will now commit the ultimate failure: trying to explain things over the internet

Your example, crafting, is a gameplay feature: I do not craft a +3 Axe Of Being Awesome to hump it (for any strange reason), I make this device to aid in my quest.

On the other hand, romances and sex in Bioware's games are gimmicks of the highest order:
Barebacking Garrus won't help me defeating the reapers — if only I could get the Illusive Man to my bed too!
Or, screwing Ashley won't do me any good in arguing with Maya, regardless how fully charged super stud I am.

From a different angle: are these scenes at least titillating?
Not quite, I'm afraid. If you want cybersex, you may find much better games - heck, Sexvilla even lets you screw an Elven lady of questionable morals!

Another angle: are these scenes at least humourous?
Again, nix. Fallout, Arcanum and Fable at least made fun of themselves for a good comedy. The only laugh in Bioware's scenes is how awkward they are.

But wait, is there any drama in these relationships?
Absolutely not. Witcher at least tried to make you a bit more human with these sex scenes (while yourself being a mutant abomination in the brink of a bloody war). Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy) depicted everlasting love with that sole sex scene. Mind you, these games were still lame here, but they wanted to tell you something with sex.
In ME the only reason to get laid is getting an achievement for not using a condom in deep space. Congratulations.


Romances (the real ones!) are very complex inter-personal actions, defying any awkward simulation attempt in any game. I am in a relationship for 10+ years and my gal still able to surprise me (as much as I am her occasionally, heh-heh).

So…
I think Bioware should concentrate on refining their broken RPG mechanics instead of adding such hopeless stuff.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:49
And to clarify what I'm actually talking about: For me a "romance" in a video game isn't the presentation of an explicit sex scene, but the development of a social relationship to a "love relationship".
So e.g. the actions Geralt performs in The Witcher 1 where you get romance cards for banging hookers aren't romances by my definition.
The consecutive dialogs you go through in Baldur's Gate where you never have any explicit visual presentation for me are indeed romances.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:52
Originally Posted by Morrandir View Post
Indeed my context isn't this thread alone but, the general discussion about romances.
I've often heard the reason to exclude romances because they aren't done well, but I've never heard about this reasoning for other features.
Ehm, then you haven't been listening

Certainly, I've been talking about poor writing in general - and I've been talking about the awful streamlining of stuff like inventory, loot, character mechanics - and so on. I've done that a LOT, actually.

I've also gone into quite a bit of detail about how I think Bioware games have devolved from NWN and onwards, with KotOR being their last masterpiece, from where I'm sitting.

I know I'm not the only one.

The thing about romances is that it's a constant news item, and these news items are posted on the Watch almost daily (or so it seems) - which is why you're seeing to many negative responses about it.

Trust me, there are many people on the Watch who care more about other things in Bioware games.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:54
Originally Posted by lostforever View Post
How was he dead on?

If he said romances are crap in games since writers sucks so lets get rid them, then he will be correct. However he said that romances are crap since the real thing is better so lets get rid of them. This is a wrong argument since most things are better in real life than in games so his argument was stupid.
Wow, what a brilliant retort. His argument was "stupid".

Most gamers play games to escape from reality. You can't fly a spaceship or slay a dragon in real life. You can have a fist fight yes, but usually not without severe negative consequences. Saying that most things are better in real life is a false generalization.
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July 18th, 2014, 14:58
Romances in a game? Sure, why not.
Bad romances in a game, books, movies, series, elsewhere? No.

Can it be more simpler than that?

What durer described above was a case of bad romance system. I've also mentioned before that it's not done well in ME. Created an utterly ugly Shepard, played him as an unlikable moron, yet every single possible NPC in the game wanted to get sex with him. Basically in ME Shepard is love interest of everyone. Okay, I admit, only Udina didn't jump in the wagon.
That's not real and as such is a crap system.

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July 18th, 2014, 14:59
Originally Posted by duerer View Post
Hmm, I think you missed my point, so I will now commit the ultimate failure: trying to explain things over the internet
For this alone I raise my hat.

Your example, crafting, is a gameplay feature: I do not craft a +3 Axe Of Being Awesome to hump it (for any strange reason), I make this device to aid in my quest.
I've tried to counter this in my first post. My point is that what you call gameplay for some people isn't the most important thing in a video game.
Some people have fun by just playing a certain role in a way the character's behaviour is most consistent with this role - just for the fun of it. For some people this is the main purpose of role playing games. You of course can never achieve the same deepness as you perhaps will in a P&P game, but nevertheless they like it.
And of course you can say that "gameplay" (which I suppuse is a generlization of combat, questing, leveling, exploring etc.) for you is more important than roleplaying by forming social relationships. That's fine. You just have to see that there are other gamers as well.

Romances (the real ones!) are very complex inter-personal actions, defying any awkward simulation attempt in any game. I am in a relationship for 10+ years and my gal still able to surprise me (as much as I am her occasionally, heh-heh).
Grats!
I can indeed (soon) double the time span and know what you're talking about.

So…
I think Bioware should concentrate on refining their broken RPG mechanics instead of adding such hopeless stuff.
The a perfectly valid suggestion and I won't argue it… apart from the "hopeless" thing. I think romances can be done in a satisfying manner.
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