The Non-Romanceable Characters

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The Non-Romanceable Characters

#1 Post by Evy » Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:56 pm

This is something I've been wondering about lately. In visual novels with romance options, there will still usually be supporting characters that are not romanceable, such as the protagonist's best friend. Something I've noticed recently is the methods creators have used to justify these characters not being accessible to the player: incompatible sexual/romantic orientation, already in a relationship with someone else, or the character in question is flat-out evil (though that doesn't stop everyone...) Other instances like relatives and large age gaps are totally understandable, but when you have to use the previously mentioned methods to rule out a character as a route option, the question mark starts to get better.

From my understanding it's because people will complain about said characters not being available otherwise. Maybe I'm biased, being unable to experience romantic attraction, but I don't see why it's such a big deal that, say, a straight girl can't be best friends with a straight guy without their relationship ever dipping into romantic or sexual territory.

I guess it's also a problem in that, when using orientations, more representation is always welcome... but when it's used solely to disqualify a potential love interest, it's kinda... questionable, imo. I'd love to see more aro/ace characters, but I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be with said characters identifying as such for the only purpose of not being accessible to the player.

idk, maybe it's just my "no romo" mindset despite my being a huge shipper. I guess I just can't relate. :y

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Re: The Non-Romanceable Characters

#2 Post by Valhalla » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:17 am

Well, maybe not intentionally, this seems somewhat reflective of society. That is the "a straight man and a straight woman could never be friends" mind set.
I guess it's not a necessity to say "these people will never be together because..." but if a reason is given then you don't have to spend forever telling your fans that you aren't going to write that route.
For example, the dev team for Mystic Messenger receives a lot of questions (At least three times I've seen) about romancing V and Unknown even though they've said several times they won't.

On the question of whether orientation should be used to disqualify love interests, maybe, maybe not. I think it's probably just the easiest way to say 'Nothing romantic will come of this'. Including characters of different orientations and having friendship routes for them seems like a nice way to include them more to me. The real problem is the 'token gay/aro friend' who is just their to pad the cast. As long as the character has meaningful interactions within the story, that's what is important.

Sorry I ranted a little! Haha...
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Re: The Non-Romanceable Characters

#3 Post by Sleepy » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:32 am

I don't think there's anything wrong with non-romanceable characters, if it fits the game and they're fleshed out as something more than just being there than being the token non-romance (aka, the token gay/ace character)? I remember playing Hakuoki and being so disappointed I couldn't just run off with Sen, since I thought it'd make a cool path where you could find out more about demon society, but given the emphasis is on the romances it doesn't come as a surprise they wouldn't include it.

One game I think actually did the whole gating romance path/player accessibility well is Dragon Age: Inquisition. Since some characters won't return your interests if they're of an incompatible orientation and one character will not only only romance you if you're female AND the right race but he'll also break up with you at the end of his path. A large part of why this works is, not only is their romance paths simply an extension of their character arcs than the only part of their character arc, and thus even if you can't romance someone they're still a fleshed out character with a role in the plot beyond being a potential love interest.



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Re: The Non-Romanceable Characters

#4 Post by Hazel » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:45 am

I totally see where you're coming from. I like games that have richer worlds and (if necessary) worldbuilding, and that involves the MC (and the love interests as well) having satellite characters that make their life seem more real. Not just parents or siblings, but friends and neighbors and co-workers/class-mates, just people in general. With the shorter games this is less of a problem. I can see why someone making a small game would justify not having to draw sprites for characters that the player has less reason for wanting to visualize. In general, though, I love to see games with a strong supporting cast. If I desperately want to romance some character and they're not romanceable... well, that's what fanfiction is for TBH.
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Re: The Non-Romanceable Characters

#5 Post by SundownKid » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:06 am

I agree, I don't see a reason for anyone to argue about this either. A character doesn't have to be asexual to not want to have romance. They could simply not feel like it even if they are single. Or the writer doesn't have to feel like writing a romance route. It's really the writer's choice on what they want to do. If someone doesn't buy the game because of it, it's their perogative.

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Re: The Non-Romanceable Characters

#6 Post by Godline » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:59 am

I think it's all a matter of preference. I respect a creators right to have non romanceable characters but personally, I prefer to have lots of options for romance and write accordingly.
People might not like that too. They might prefer that all the characters couldn't be romanced but as a creator, that's your creative right to do it your way.

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Re: The Non-Romanceable Characters

#7 Post by morrie » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:02 am

I personally prefer as many characters as possible to be romanceable, but that doesn't mean that everyone should start falling in love with each other at first sight. I think that's just bad writing..... a game with an entirely romanceable cast could still be very ace-spectrum friendly..... as long as you let the relationships with the characters develop and don't toss the player straight into romance without asking first.

I guess to me.... ideally the player could choose to be friendly with all the characters and not push flirting options, and reject any potential flirting towards them, and that's that, while if you wanted to flirt with the entire cast of characters, you could also do that.
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Re: The Non-Romanceable Characters

#8 Post by teagirlvn » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:06 pm

All my feeling about supportive characters was said in this episode: ... ght-656985

Admin edit: - I've changed the link to the official stream for this episode. - Ayu

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