Romances are continually one of the most popular mechanics in modern video games, from classic roleplaying experiences to even tactical war games. Any RPG developer that wants to create a memorable experience for their players would be wise to include such mechanics in their work.
They would also be wise to play into romance “types,” as they have been proven time and again to be a hit with fans. Certain romanceable character archetypes seem to be popular tropes that games in a wide variety of genres like to explore. But what are the most common?
8 Dark Haired, Dark Hearted
Every fantasy game seems to feature this type of woman: the sort who puts up a front and isn’t afraid to be cruel in order to get what she wants. Yet if the player puts in the time to get to know her, they’ll learn she’s got more heart than most, and all she wants is to survive on her own terms.
Such women include the mysterious witch Morrigan, the powerful, badass sorceress Yennefer, and of course, the cagey cleric Shadowheart. All three women will try their best to give the player a run for their money…unless their intensely pragmatic goals are aligned.
7 Fiery Altruist
Dragon Age and The Witcher have a lot in common, most notably the similarities between some of their flagship characters. But two of their most iconic characters, Triss and Leliana, actually fit the same archetype: that of the redheaded, passionate altruist who seeks to change the world.
Triss seeks to influence her world’s fraught politics in a progressive way, and Leliana seeks to do much of the same, forwarding movements to benefit mages and elves. Granted, Leliana didn’t trick her best friend’s partner into falling in love with her, like Triss did – but Leliana did kill people for a living, so they both come with their own baggage.
6 Big, Sweet, And Dumb
Sometimes, folks just want a nice, simple guy to lean on, and thankfully, many games deliver on this. What do Ryan Lucan (as pictured above), Alistair Theirin, and Skyrim’s Farkas have in common? They’re incredibly sweet, very strong and able, and have not a brain cell to share between them.
Indeed, the allure of a himbo isn’t for everyone, but every good game has at least one himbo option available for players to choose from. Himbos give a game levity and charm, and in an industry dominated by mostly female love interest characters, they help balance out the ratio.
5 Broody Elf
If players had a nickel every time they could romance a sullen, white-haired elf, they would have exactly two nickels. Which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice.
Both Baldur’s Gate 3 and Dragon Age 2 feature romances that fit this niche: Astarion and Fenris, both of whom are considered to be the best companions in their respective games. Of course, these elves have their own reasons for their behavior and beliefs, but it’s still surprising (and a bit humorous) that this romance archetype has hit its particular niche so strongly. After all, players can’t seem to get enough of these two!
4 Older, War-Hardened Men
Not everyone is attracted to older men, but the players who do prefer their men older are very enthusiastic about their beaus. From the Blackwalls (Dragon Age) to the Ifan Ben-Mezds (Divinity Original Sin 2), there will always be a crowd of people who cheer for their grizzled mountain men.
Perhaps it is their maturity compared to the younger romance options, or perhaps their beards are just that attractive. Either way, among rosters of romances, game developers have caught on to the fact that fans would definitely complain if their mentor-esque companion wasn’t romanceable.
3 Misunderstood Flirt
Many games tend to write characters who fall into one-dimensional roles, with no rhyme or reason to their actions beyond comedic value. This tends to happen to a lot of “flirty” characters. But when game writers actually try to give their flirts some backstory, what happens is they end up creating some of the most memorable, heartwarming romances out there.
This is the case with Zevran Aranai (Dragon Age) and Sylvain Jose Gautier (Fire Emblem: Three Houses), both of whom put up a sleazy facade in order to mask their inner hurts, fears, and insecurities. Helping them unravel these patterns results in some very rewarding character arcs for players.
2 Smart, Sneaky Mage
It’s a common joke among fantasy RPG fans that the sneaky mage is never to be trusted, ever. Dragon Age is notorious for committing to this trope, with its most egregious offender being the ever-popular Inquisition romance, Solas. And in Baldur’s Gate 3, Gale is revealed to literally be a walking bomb that could go off at any moment.
What is it about these snarky, overly intellectual mages that makes them so dangerous? Perhaps they’re just too smart for their own good. Fortunately f0r them, many players tend to love this romance archetype, and constantly bemoan the fact that they fall for the same tricks every time they play a fantasy game.
1 Blue-Haired Rebel Girl
Every small town needs a blue-haired girl to shake things up a little, and many video games understand this quite well. Chloe Price took on the job to a T, becoming the unofficial mascot of Arcadia Bay (and Life is Strange as a series), while Stardew Valley’s Abigail consistently remains one of the most popular marriage candidates.
These girls are blunt, fun, and bring something new and real to settings that are otherwise quite slow and steady. They may be a bit difficult to deal with at times, but it cannot be denied that they are great partners to those who seek them out.
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