8 most popular romantic archetypes in video games
Romances are continually one of the most popular mechanics in modern video games, from classic role-playing experiences to tactical war games. Any RPG developer who 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 star in romance “types” as they have proven time and time again to be a hit with fans. Some romantic 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 Black hair, black heart
All of the fantastic games seem to feature this type of woman: the kind who is up front and isn’t afraid to be cruel to get what she wants. Still, if the player takes the time to get to know her, they’ll learn that she has more heart than most, and all she wants is to survive on her own terms.
These women include the mysterious witch Morrigan, the mighty badass witch Yennefer, and, of course, the wary cleric Shadowheart. The three women will do their best to get the player for her money … unless their intensely pragmatic goals are aligned.
7 Spirited altruistic
Dragon age and The witcher have a lot in common, especially 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 red-haired, passionate altruist who seeks to change the world.
Triss seeks to influence the tense politics of her world in gradual ways, and Leliana seeks to do the same, advancing the movements for the benefit of mages and elves. Granted, Leliana didn’t trick her best friend’s partner into falling in love with her, like Triss did – but Leliana made killing people for a living, so they both come with their own bags.
6 Big, sweet and stupid
Sometimes people just want a nice, straightforward guy to lean on, and luckily a lot of games respond to that. What are Ryan Lucan (as pictured above), Alistair Theirin and Skyrim Do farkas have in common? They are incredibly gentle, very strong and capable, and have no brain cells to share between them.
Indeed, the appeal of a himbo is not for everyone, but every good game has at least one himbo option available to players. The Himbos give the game lightness and charm, and in an industry dominated by mostly female love characters, they help balance the relationship.
5 Brooding elf
If players had a nickel every time they could romanticize a brooding elf with white hair, they would have exactly two nickels. Which isn’t much, but it’s weird that this has happened twice.
The two Baldur’s Gate 3 and Dragon age 2 present romances that fit that niche: Astarion and Fenris, both of whom are considered 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 archetype of romance has hit its particular niche so hard. After all, gamers just can’t seem to get enough of these two!
4 Older, war-hardened men
Not everyone is attracted to older men, but players who prefer their older men are very excited about their beautiful. Blackwalls (Dragon age) to Ifan Ben-Mezds (Original Sin Divinity 2), there will always be a crowd of people applauding their grizzled mountaineers.
Maybe it’s their maturity over younger romance options, or maybe their beards are just plain attractive. Either way, among the romance lists, the game developers figured out that fans would definitely complain if their fellow mentor wasn’t romantic.
3 Misunderstood flirtation
Many games tend to write characters who fall into one-dimensional roles with no rhyme or reason for their actions beyond comedic value. This tends to happen to a lot of “flirtatious” characters. But when game writers really try to give their flirts a backstory, what happens is they end up creating some of the most memorable and heartwarming romances ever.
This is the case of Zevran Aranai (Dragon age) and Sylvain José Gautier (Fire emblem: three Houses), who both put up a shady facade in order to hide their inner wounds, fears and insecurities. Helping them unravel these patterns results in some very rewarding character arcs for players.
2 Clever and devious mage
It’s a common joke among fans of fantasy RPGs that the devious mage should never be trusted, ever. Dragon age is known to engage in this trope, its most egregious offender being the ever popular Inquisition novel, Solas. And in Baldur’s Gate 3, Gale is revealed to be literally a walking bomb that could explode at any time.
What is it about these sarcastic, overly intellectual mages that make them so dangerous? Maybe they’re just too smart for their own good. Lucky for them, a lot of gamers tend to like this archetype of romance and constantly bemoan the fact that they fall for the same rounds every time they play a fantasy game.
1 Rebel girl with blue hair
Every small town needs a girl with blue hair to shake things up a bit, and many video games understand this very well. Chloe Price took the job at a T, becoming the unofficial mascot of Arcadia Bay (and Life is strange in series), while Stardew Valley Abigail remains one of the most popular marriage candidates ever.
These girls are straightforward, fun, and bring something new and real to environments that are otherwise quite slow and stable. They can be a bit tricky to deal with at times, but there is no denying that they are great partners for those who seek them out.
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