Dragon Age Lead Writer David Gaider took to his blog over the weekend to discuss the issue of romance in games, and in BioWare games in particular. And if your question is “I can haz moar sex in mah vidya games?” his answer is pretty straightforward:
“If we had more resources, I suppose I wouldn’t mind allowing the player to try romancing every follower, but to allow them to successfully do so? No, I can’t say that appeals to me very much.”
His primary two reasons are that romances, particularly BioWare romances, which are generally done with some modicum of taste, are supposed to be side options, and not a major part of the game, and that oversexualizing characters tends to objectify them, as if they’re nothing more than inventory items for a libidinous player to collect – especially since these kind of options are typically meant to appeal to males.
If the option existed, Gaider would like to see different outcomes – including the possibility of failure – and different character types to romance: some shy, some aggressive, some tragic possibilities, and even some who cheat on your character.
All of which makes good storytelling, but does it distract from the main reason for buying the game – i.e., to play it? To save the kingdom/galaxy/princess/etc.? And would an overabundance of romantic options reduce a game to something of a laughingstock? “Sure, I saved the world, but I spent more time getting horizontal with all of my party members.”
What do you think? Do you want to see more or less romance in your RPGs? Or do the current titles get the mix just about right?