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Default BioWare - Patrick Weekes on Romances

November 11th, 2008, 08:22
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
I agree with "good romances, or no romances". Examples:
Good romance: Viconia
Ugh. I liked Viconia well enough — except the romance bit. IMO there's nothing romantic about someone running hot and cold, it's just childish and irritating. I thought the Viconia romance was a prime example of everything that's wrong with Bioware's romantic writing.

Bad romance: Elanee
Well, yeah, compared to Elanee, maybe Viconia was good. Elanee was definitely cringe-inducing; Viconia was just irritating.

Difference: There's a lot of "back and forth" with Viconia. A good romance is not a one way street - there has to be flirting, discussions, maybe even arguments.
Way too much back and forth if you ask me. OK, not really — it's the quality of the back and forth that matters, and the Viconia thing was just like dating the high-school psycho queen bitch.

For a somewhat better example of this (also from Bioware), consider Silk Fox from Jade Empire.

When it's well done, it certainly has a place in heroic tales.
I agree. It's just that it's done well so very very rarely.
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November 11th, 2008, 08:27
I think I'll shut up about this now since Essaliad seems to have said everything that needs to be said on the topic.
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November 11th, 2008, 12:13
Originally Posted by Yeesh View Post
Or do you cleverly make your characters cliched archetypes who spout formulaic BS? That would actually completely defeat my argument right there. Take that, me!
Actually, that suits me just fine when playing JRPGs.
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November 11th, 2008, 16:20
Originally Posted by Yeesh View Post
Hey, you do your thing, dawwwwg. But just because you add in a "meta-" layer doesn't change the fact that shallow, artificial romances break immersion by offering your character a chance to spew drivel which means nothing to you (or to him, in your case). If YOU personally care enough about your character to imbue him with his own separate personality that has nothing to do with your own, then shouldn't it be all the more annoying to you to read a bunch of generic and flowery dialogue that doesn't at all fit with the personality you've so carefully constructed?

Or do you cleverly make your characters cliched archetypes who spout formulaic BS? That would actually completely defeat my argument right there. Take that, me!
I just apply some fuzzy logic and select the option that closest resemble what my character would say. Some times there's no such option, and I hate it when that happens, but most of the times there's at least an option that my character would say.
Also, the personality I assign for my character is not that 'carefully constructed'. It's a basic good/neutral/evil, law/neutral/chaos type of thing. Comes from my D&D roots
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November 12th, 2008, 00:03
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
I have a story about one of the romances in BG2…

So I am playing a MP game with my daughter who is running the main character. That dreary Cleric guy Anomen is her "romance". We just laughed about it because it was so sappy and he blathered on and on at the most inopportune moments. As soon as his theme music started we'd just sigh. The ultimate happened when we were in some hell place just having dispatched a bunch of demons and suddenly one of his dialogs kicks in about finding some flowers on the ground nearby and how beautiful everything was. "Anomen's flowers" will still sart us both laughing if one of us mentions it.
HEY! I like Anomen romance!!! I think it's really well-written!! After playing so many other mods romances, I still prefer Anomen romance over anything else!

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BG2: Eowyn & Anomen
IWD: Orhlanna & Korin
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November 12th, 2008, 03:47
I guess the bottom line for me is that my objectives and my character's objectives can line up more easily when romance is left out of it. And I feel that choices in CRPGs are only worth a damn when those objectives are implicated.

For example, I'm a nice guy. But I also like kicking ass. So if you give me a choice between saving a cartful of orphans, or letting them plunge to their deaths in exchange for the mighty sword of legend; well that's a choice that makes me think. Hmmmm.

HOWEVER, give me a choice between holding true to a sacred oath my character theoreticaly swore when he was 13 not to open the sacred pantry door of mythos, or just opening the stupid door and getting the mighty sword of legend that I know is inside; well that's a no-brainer. Because the oath you're telling me my character cares about means nothing to me, but kicking ass does. See? We overlap on ass kicking, but not on arbitrary oaths.

Romance is always going to be like the arbitrary oath. It'll always, or nearly always, be something that's supposed to have a tremendous meaning to my character, but means nothing to me. All the text in the world can't convince me to care, and if I, the player, don't care, then why put it in the game at all? Better to spend devs' time, money, and creativity on things I can relate to.

NOW if it's a JRPG-type deal where I have no control and can just watch, then go ahead and show me a cool story. Like a book or a movie, I'm happy to watch. But if I'm supposed to be in the driver's seat, I just don't feel romances are worth it.
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November 12th, 2008, 13:09
Originally Posted by Essaliad View Post
But to answer: to begin with, you're mistaking "mature" for "sexually explicit."
No, I didn't. That was YOUR interpretation.

I just wrote about taste.

And that teenagers might play this game, too.

There are far more possibilities to write romances than to concentrate on sex.
And several worse ones; I think I've read enough real-life stories from people in the forums I'm mostly active in (not this one here) to know that really, really bad examples of "romances" can happen …

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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November 12th, 2008, 14:45
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
No, I didn't. That was YOUR interpretation.

I just wrote about taste.

And that teenagers might play this game, too.
Uh, no, you said:

- how do you do that without going into the directions of "not appropriate towards teens" and even worse bad taste ?
What the hell, exactly, do you consider "not appropriate for teens"? Emotional maturity? Intelligent writing? Three-dimensional characters? Because those are what I, for one, want to see in RPG romances if there must be any—and I doubt any of it is inappropriate for anyone, or that wanting such things discounts teenage user base. Nor have you answered my other points: do you think all game content should be dumbed down to the level that'll appeal to thirteen-year-olds who think Harry Potter is the epitome of literature and that Pokemon is the height of culture? Are you advocating pandering to the lowest common denominator?

If I'm misinterpreting you, it's because your language is oblique.
Last edited by Essaliad; November 12th, 2008 at 14:54.
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November 13th, 2008, 00:23
Is it your hobby to object everyone's opinion?

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IWD: Orhlanna & Korin
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November 13th, 2008, 08:28
I don't know, should I tell you "stfu thanx"? That'll sure teach you, won't it?
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November 13th, 2008, 19:09
Reading this forum thread kinda takes the punch out of the argument for more mature romance writing in consideration of a more mature gaming audience
Last edited by coyote; November 13th, 2008 at 19:20.
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November 13th, 2008, 21:35
I thought the BG2 romances were pretty good (I romanced Viconia, Aerie, and Jaheria on different go throughs). NWN2's were pretty bad though (granted that wasn't Bioware).
If you didn't like BG2, or just don't like romances in general, I can see how they would be annoying, but I thought they were well thought out and fairly realistic (well maybe not Jaheria moving on from Kahlid so quickly).

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November 13th, 2008, 23:22
Originally Posted by Essaliad View Post
Planescape: Torment and NWN2: MotB handled romances pretty well, the latter more than the former. It's not even a little sexually explicit, it doesn't force the player into sickening sweet-talk, and the characters lose neither their brains nor their maturity. Compare Fall-from-Grace to Bastila or Liara. Even the Witcher does it all right, discounting the sex cards. Shani and Triss retain their personal goals, personal wants, without centering them around Geralt (Triss, if anything, uses him to further the Lodge of the Sorceresses' political ambition).
I pretty much agree here. The reason why I think Planescape: Torment and NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer romances are better is that they are based on solid character development. For example, even if the players don't take it as a "romance," how to deal with "teenager" Annah inevitably reminds them of protagonist's past with Deionarra, which is tied to guilt, one of the possible themes in PS:T. I think the Witcher is decent…except that cards, of course…but it may simply mean that there are not so many well-written works in games.
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