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Rusty_Ham
06-25-2018, 11:23 AM
Since one of the big selling points of Odyssey is the option to have romantic relationships, I have to ask, are there only going to be three options? We know Kyra and Thaletas are options, and I have to guess that you can choose to not romance anyone. So a question for the team- are there going to be any more romanceable persons?

For the community however, there is another question. Is this really needed?
This is the first AC game with romance options, so we should expect to see it appear again in the future, and they might flesh it out more in the future, with more options, etc.
Imo, more options is not needed if done right. Witcher 3, one of the most succesful modern RPGs only had 2 real romance options (although you could engage in certain activities with other people). The thing that made that work, was that the options were with you for more or less the extent of the game, and you really got to "know" them.
So if Kyra and Thaletas are with the player during large parts of the game, it could easily work.
What do you, lovely people, think? I really think it works as it is, but more choice never hurts.

Swailing
06-25-2018, 11:45 AM
I quite like sex-related options in games.

They were iffy at first because of the framing of a game environment, shining an unpleasant light on the whole idea of romance and seduction and presenting the icky idea of "pull lever A, press button B, get prize". But as games have become more sophisticated, so have the relationships.

What we're still missing is a really intricate social world. At the moment, the romance options tend to be a lot more impactful than the non-sexual socialising. You don't necessarily need to be as careful about navigating quotidian social relationships; in fact, you might even have a stat like Axii that un-greys instant 'wins' for you, or the offer of money can be a shortcut to 'success'. I can also see a big argument against that; just as there are people with colour-blindness who can be left behind by game design that doesn't consider their needs, a truly complex social game world could present a problem to people who find these decisions hard in the real world, and just want to enjoy the game. I can see an argument for just making the rarest relationships be the ones that require a certain social ability, and thus don't block off the main experience if the player doesn't navigate them perfectly.

As you say, I think a large number of potential partners is good for realism. As brilliant as The Witcher 3 is, Geralt's sexual universe can feel very claustrophobic when his long-term partner options boil down to "her, her, or nobody at all". It would feel very bare if not for Keira, Jutta, Sasha, Shani and Syrana, and those are only brief romantic options. Dragon Age: Inquisition managed to produce a fair list of characters but only a couple of options were open to you depending on your sexuality, none of whom I liked. It felt like the game was forcing me towards forming a relationship with someone (anyone!) so out of desperation I tried Cassandra, and she turned out not to be into women. And the one character with whom I would have liked to see my Inquisitor pursue a romance turned out not to be an option (damn it, you know it was Lace Harding) — all in all, a worse situation for me than if the game included no romance options at all.*

So, yes, I think a world (especially a massive open world) needs as many romance-able characters as they can possibly write, sculpt, animate and voice. But that amount of data, not least all those voice lines, is a huge data commitment for material that even the completionist might never see.

[edit] * On this point, there's good and bad about this (the Inquisition romances). On one hand, I was annoyed that there were so few options, and I felt like I was being railroaded into picking one of them. I was only going for Cassandra as the least objectionable open option, after Vivienne quickly proved to be un-romanceable. But what if I had felt genuinely invested in following things with her? I would have been disappointed with the way it ended. If it was really well done, maybe there'd even be a twinge of sorrow about that. This would be a valid and interesting story to have experienced, if I'd experienced it with the correct motivations, and could potentially be the most affecting and resonant storyline in a game.

So, if there really were plenty of fish in the sea, and plenty of game time in which to seek them, maybe there would be a downside to being guaranteed a partnered outcome. Sometimes, in a game with sexual relationships, there's an upside in a serious risk of failure.

MnemonicSyntax
06-26-2018, 01:09 AM
I'm always down for more choices. But I probably won't have an interest in them.