Dating Without Consequences: The Allure Of Romantic Video Games
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Date Nighto — a company that makes interactive, Japanese-style romance comics for Western audiences — knows a thing or two about creating captivating romance stories. Their previous title Starfighter: Eclipse probed deeply into its characters’ sexual tension rather than just focusing on the romance like its previous titles.
Aevee Bee, Date Nighto creator of We Know the Devil, mentions that we don’t often get to see the consequences of a relationship, most stories just end at happily ever after. In We Know the Devil you have to chose between three possible mates, but unlike other games, you can witness what would’ve happened had you chosen the others. Relationships have real-life stakes, stages which are often difficult to convey.
Date Nighto creator Kasey Van Hise talked about her upcoming game called Hustle Cat. In this title, you play as the newbie employee of a Cat Cafe that holds as many mysteries as a cat has lives. The game gives you the option not only to determine your main character’s look but also their pronouns, an option that provides a better sense of immersion and empathy with the characters and their situations.
Arden Ripley — writer of another game also in the works, Date or Die — talked about creating interesting branches within the game. In Date or Die you’re placed inside a devilish nightmare where your captor “helps” you find true love by offering death as the alternative. Your actions take you down routes that you might not consider in real-life like romancing your captor. But unlike real-life, romance games offer you a chance to try interesting alternatives, so why not go for it?