Character spoilers for Horizon Zero Dawn
Ok, we did religion: are we ready to move on to romance?
Yeah, let’s go to romance. We don’t want to shortchange an important (VERY important) subject. What have you got?
Ok, so we’ve played games with romance (which we enjoy) and without (which we still enjoy but mope about). Generally, our romanceless games are so just because romance doesn’t fit the narrative. See TR. There COULD be romance, but there isn’t. It is never mentioned. Lara has no opinion on it that she tells us.
But in this, Aloy romances no one, and she actively disdains the idea. Just last night, I had her talk to flower merchant, who quit adventuring for love, and she was all “You….like that? Giving up freedom?” and there was, what, contempt? Disgust? And the guy who hired me to go to the Banuk camp was flirty, and he said Aloy should use the shards to get something more…flattering, and she reacted angrily, but not so much as “Hey, dude, you’re not my type and back the fuck off,” but more “Why the HELL would I want to be pretty and stuff?”
So we’ve had game heroes who do not seem to have time for romance, but this is the first hero I’ve seen who actively says “Romance? Why would I waste my time on THAT?”
Which is an interesting narrative choice. I’m not sure what to make of it. Is it an assertion of strong womanhood?
You’re the independent thinking redheaded woman. You tell me.
Hm. That’s interesting, because it’s not as if she can have seen much of romance to be put off it so strongly. Maybe she’s just like “I am SO BUSY I do not have time for this nonsense so don’t even bring it up.”
She does have a lot on her plate. (Not that we wouldn’t make time for romance if the option presented. But that’s us, and perhaps our choices are flawed in the estimation of a dedicated person who is literally incapable of turning down any request for help, such as Aloy.)
Also remember she’s young. Maybe she just wants to get established in her career first. Her career of Machine-Hunting Adventurer, that is. First career, then romance!
But why include it? If you’re not going to have your character romance anyone, why mention it at all? We wouldn’t have noticed if they hadn’t mentioned it. This was meant to be noticed.
And hey: if Shepard, and all our DAI characters, and Geralt can find the time….
Maybe they’re establishing her now as a person who disdains romance, so that later on down the road they can have it be a big deal when that changes. Maybe there’ll be a whole game based on romance-related character development!
We can dream.
Ya never know. After all, read a good article (to wit, this one:
Dawn of a new era: why the best video games are not about saving the world) making a very good argument that games are more about people these days. And people have romance. Or try to. Would be a cool game.
Interesting article as well.
Hm. That is an interesting article. I think we would certainly not argue that games about complicated people with interesting personal stories are awesome.
“People need HOPE, people need LOVIN’, people need TRUST in their fellow man. People need LOVE, to make a good livin’, people need FAITH in a helping hand.”
Give me that game, man. People need to get to an ABBA concert! The better to find love, of course.