It’s Valentine’s Day, so scenes of joy and commiseration abound. Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t avoid the teeth-gnawing pressure of wondering whether the special someone in your life loves it or hates it too. Relationships are complicated beasts, obviously, and it’s long been an aim of videogame developers across the globe to try and express some of this complexity in games.
Here we are in 2017 however, and it would be fair to say the majority of games haven’t quite got relationships down yet. Either they’re strutting around like Duke Nukem and aren’t even comprehending what a relationship is beyond groping a stripper, or we’re forced to sit through some of the most stomach churning dialogue as two low-poly character models get it on in the most spectacularly awful way possible. Fahrenheit I’m looking at you. Yes, you with your QTE sex scene. Have you no shame David Cage.
Every so often there’s a few gems that surface however. Little gaming miracles that can players hugely invested in the fate of a character, or characters. Over the years BioWare has proven itself the master at this, so much so that most people can’t wait for Mass Effect Andromeda purely so they can bang every alien in sight.
For me my favourite relationships have been a little more platonic. Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us is of course a standout example; you can’t help but be moved by the bond which forms between these two over the course the post-apocalyptic adventure. It was great to see Naughty Dog take its own lessons on board for Uncharted 4, helping elevate what is essentially a pulpy action movie into a heartfelt journey as the cracks appear between Nathan and Elena.
Moving away from your typical cinematic fare, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is also a relationship that has stayed with me. Brothers is about two young boys whose father is desperately in need of medicine. In an effort to save their father, the two brothers head out on an epic quest in order to find the cure. The entire tale is told without a single word being spoken, yet in a stroke of genius, Starbreeze Studios decided the player would control the brothers simultaneously, one with each analogue stick. As you are working out your own relationship between hand and eye, the bond between the two brothers tightens.
So what are some of your favourite relationships or hook ups from the weird and wonderful world of gaming? Are you more of Mario and Peach person, or has BioWare got you hooked with its intergalactic luvvin'?