It’s that time of the year, where everyone looks at their significant other or talks about them at least. Here, we want to celebrate the way gaming, in any of its forms has shown some fantastic romances and these are our favorites.
I spent a while thinking on this because I’m not typically that much of the romantic type. The first that came to mind is in Tabletop RPG where a rather sidetracked one sprung up around my character there and was interesting to explore as Markan was a dynamic character who grew a lot throughout the adventure as a character and his significant other was a foil to his more serious side that showed up at times. That did feel a bit like cheating though, so then I went thinking and I went through a few like Cloud and Aerith which is a classic tragic one, but I think if I’ll go with Valkyria Chronicles Welke and Alicia. Their relationship grew well over time and was at the heart of the story around the World War 2-styled conflict there.
Runner up would probably be Suikoden 5 Prince and Lyon as that feels like it evolves over time well and we see it as the player grow. Mass Effect‘s Commander Shepherd and Liara also deserve a shoutout, especially with how Liara evolves throughout the games and so does their relationship.
Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher, from the incredible Uncharted series, spend an awful lot of their time fighting; fighting against armies of heavily armed soldiers, fighting supernatural beings and fighting each other. When one of them messes up (okay, it’s mostly Nathan), they work through their issues before resolving things. When they cuddle up on the sofa to play Crash Bandicoot, it’s heart-warming. You can feel every bit of tension and passion – it’s not a perfect marriage, but a perfect representation of one. Plus, spoiler alert, the introduction of their daughter, Cassie Drake, in the epilogue of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End left me desperate for another adventure starring the hero’s daughter.
My favorite video game romance? You know me: I am obligated to choose one from my favorite fantasy world of Thief. With aplomb, I answer this prompt with a cloud of cigarette smoke, neon light, red lipstick, late-night streetlamp, steamy steampunky romance. I give not an example from one of the official Thief games, but from one of its fan missions: Calendra’s Cistern.
In this moody heist, Garrett’s eye is set on the priceless gold of companionship. Former Keeper and current sorceress-thief Mercedes is Garrett’s once-flame. She has “invited” Garrett to a secret cult’s crazed party to steal a trinket called the Cylix of Jortul. The two meet in the cellar of a tavern and then coordinate the theft before heading back to Mercedes’ place.
Team Calendra, led by Purah (Anthony Huso), crafted this mission and its love tale, a type of story atypical for Thief. Why is it my favorite game romance? Because it’s the kind I can see having in my life: late night liaisons and undercover adventures.
I consider myself a Garrett looking for a Mercedes and love experiencing the late-night meetups between these two thief collaborators whenever I replay Calendra’s Cistern or its sequel.
My favorite videogame romance has to be Silent Hill 2’s, James and Mary Sunderland. Nothing says “I love you” quite like a prolonged journey through a hellscape of one’s own unwitting invention, after all. I can’t say too much more without giving away Silent Hill 2’s twists to the six people who haven’t yet played it, but if you don’t come away from the game thinking there’s hope for love after all, you might not have got the right ending.
I’ve got to go with Geralt and Yennefer from The Witcher series. Their relationship is about as rocky and complicated as one would expect between a professional monster slayer and nigh-unstoppable sorceress, and that’s exactly why I like it. Most video games (and movies, and books, and TV shows, and…) portray romance as just two people coming closer together, but nothing could be further from the truth. People get closer, drift apart, get closer again, go through rough patches, work things out, go through more rough patches, etc. Geralt and Yennefer’s myriad of problems together make their relationship feel surprisingly real for a game where you shoot fire and hack off monster heads.
Robert N. Adams
Arytom and Anna are the very definition of a battle couple. It would have been tremendously easy for the main character of Metro Exodus to have a wife who stays out of combat and cheers from the sidelines. Instead, Anna joins you on the battlefield as an invaluable scout and sniper. Sometimes she needs rescuing and sometimes she’s the one rescuing you. The magic between the two isn’t just a relationship—it’s a partnership, in every sense of the word.
One of my favorite romances in games is also one of my favorite Disney couples–Beauty and the Beast in the first Kingdom Hearts. I just really appreciated how that first Disney-Final Fantasy crossover added even more to their relationship dynamic. It was amazing to me when Beast first showed up, and unlike previous Disney party members, his world was already lost to the Heartless. His survival despite all of that emphasized not only his determination but also his dedication to save Belle when she was kidnapped. Nothing would stop him from helping her–not the veritable apocalypse or the barriers between dimensions.
At this point, I’ve seen every Overwatch character inside of every other Overwatch character. I can only assume that this means they all love each other very much. I only wish the rest of the world could be as accepting as the Overwatch cast seems to be.