Fan Preferred Couple / Video Games

  • Advanced V.G. II: The Japanese fandom often pairs Yuka with her student, Tamao, due to the latter being an obsessive fangirl of her "Sempai", to the point of having a canonical girl-crush on her.
  • In the Alpha Protocol fandom, Mike/Sis is very popular, despite - or probably because - nothing actually happens between them in-game, just some serious Unresolved Sexual Tension.
  • Animal Crossing:
    • It's implied that Tom Nook and Sable were in love in their youth, however when Tom came back from the city a more cynical and money focused individual their romance died. Fans are quick to get them together in fan material.
    • Despite the series lacking much romance, many New Leaf fanworks portray the protagonist's assistant Isabelle as harboring a crush on them.
  • For some reason, Hiroshi/Takuro is fairly popular in Ao Oni.
  • In Assassin's Creed:
    • For Assassin's Creed I, Altaïr Ibn La'Ahad with Malik a-Sayf, which didn't stop even after the PSP game Bloodlines paired Altaïr with Maria Thorpe who'd been the unnamed female Templar in ACI.
    • Assassin's Creed II and its sequel has Ezio Auditore da Firenze with Leonardo da Vinci, and confirmed the Altaïr/Maria pairing... not that that, or the fourth game pairing Ezio with Sofia Sartor has stopped the shippers.
    • Ditto for there being far more Shaun Hastings/Desmond Miles out there than the canon-suggested Desmond/Lucy.
    • The most popular Assassin's Creed III ship is Connor/Aveline, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that Connor has no love interests in his game and Aveline doesn't even appear in it unless you connect her PS Vita game to the PS3 version. Reams of fan art existed even before the games' release.
    • Weirdly enough, in Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, the ship of Jacob/Evie has gained quite a bit of traction.
  • Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland has Rorona/Cory for Les Yay fans and Sterk/Rorona for straight fans. Both of which might be canon at this point... at least until Atelier Meruru comes.
  • Every single couple has its fair share of fans in Avalon Code, but Anwar/Tia has a very notable fanbase. On the flip side, Yumil is often paired with Dorothea.
  • Pretty much every game of the Aveyond series has this due to the fact that most of the canon couple are Strangled by the Red String:
    • Ahriman's Prophecy's canon is Devin/Alicia, but he is more popularly paired with Talia, his Childhood Friend whom he shares better chemistry with.
    • In Aveyond 1, most fans think Lars/Rhen is a better pairing than the canon Dameon/Rhen. Dameon successfully flirts with Rhen in the game, but there never seems to be a spark, even when they get gushy. Then it turns out that Dameon is The Mole (though already revealed to the players around the beginning of the game), making even less of a reason for that pairing. And then we have Lars, who was once cruel to Rhen since she was Made a Slave to his family, then finds out she's royalty, and he apologizes to her rather awkwardly. Though it is rather obvious the game tries to enforce the Dameon/Rhen pairing and tries to avoid Lars/Rhen, it is even more blaringly obvious that the Lars/Rhen pairing is far more popular in fandom. Build C of the game throws Lars/Rhen shippers a bone by adding an option to have Rhen go back to Shadwood Academy with Lars, only to state in the epilogue that Rhen did marry Lars... or did she?
    • Aveyond 3 gives us Edward/Mel. While it's possible to put them together in individual gameplay, the canon pairings are Edward/Stella and Mel/a descendant of Lars who doesn't appear in the game. It's not helped that in the trailer to the third chapter, it shows the Edward/Mel prologue, thus implying that Edward proposing to Mel was the canon ending of the second chapter.
    • Talia/Devin from Ahriman's Prophecy also seems rather popular. Like the Aveyond 3 example, you can put them together in individual game play, but the canon pairing is Devin/Alicia.
  • The Japanese Bahamut Lagoon fandom ships Byuu and Frederica despite there being little evidence, and Byuu and Yoyo, who broke up in-game.
  • Baldur's Gate: Oddly inverted—there's a universal fan-despised pairing instead of a universal fan-preferred one. Thanks to Anomen being The Scrappy and, for the longest time, the only Love Interest for the female Player Character, there was a huge surge in demand for mods to let her romance literally anyone else.
    • Despite the creators attempting numerous times to invoke Abandon Shipping, male CHARNAME and Imoen have always and probably will always be the preferred pairing for a male character.
    • As for who CHARNAME can hook up with without the aid of mods, male CHARNAME's most popular option is Viconia and female CHARNAME's is Rasaad (after the Enhanced Edition came out and added him in). The former is popular because of her character development and the latter due to being a refreshingly sweet breath of air after Anomen.
  • BlazBlue:
    • It's pretty known that Litchi is a Love Martyr for Arakune, but it doesn't stop people for pairing her with Bang. This gets even more prevalent when due to story development, Litchi's love for Arakune was one of the reasons why she pulled a Face–Heel Turn, thus if Arakune was not her main love, she would've no need for that. And surprise, Bang is revealed to possess a Nox Nyctores that might be the key to cure BOTH Litchi and Arakune and possibly annulling her Face–Heel Turn...
    • While Ragna/Rachel is getting more attention there is a following for Carl/Rachel mainly through their interactions in the first game (and to a much lesser extent the second).
    • Speaking of Ragna, he's practically a Launcher of a Thousand Ships, with the above mentioned Ragna/Rachel competing with the likes of Ragna/Noel, Ragna/Lambda, Ragna/Jin...
    • Jin/Noel has a rather healthy fanbase.
    • More recently, Kagura/Makoto has been gaining some traction, based on their interactions in Chronophantasma's Story Mode (namely mentions of an implied history between the two, and the fact that they get along and respect one another in spite of their squabbling).
  • Bloodborne: Despite the game involving absolutely no romance whatsoever, quite a number of fans pair up the Hunter with the Plain Doll, mostly due to the Doll's dialogue and her devotion to the Hunter as well as how the player can choose to (sort of) reciprocate her feelings by giving her the Small Hair Ornament, a key item that can only be found in a hidden location that requires some effort to reach.
  • In Breath of Fire Ryu and Rinpoo/Katt in II is a popular Fan-Preferred Couple in both the US and Japan, even gaining its own Portmanteau Couple Name in English-speaking countries. Scias x Ursula in IV is a fairly well-established Fan-Preferred Couple that has taken on a fanon life of its own. Ryu/Lin in Dragon Quarter is a similar case of a Fan-Preferred Couplenote .
    • Yaoi Fan-Preferred Couples abound as well. Probably the most popular examples include Fou-lu/Ryu which is technically a selfcest pairing in IV, Ryu/Bosch in Dragon Quarter, and Elyon/Jesuit in DQ.
  • Despite there not being much in the way of shipping, on top of being Strangled by the Red String, Serge/Kid from Chrono Cross manages to be quite popular.
  • Bloodborne's spiritual predecessor, Dark Souls has Artorias the Abysswalker paired up with Lord's Blade Ciaran. Ciaran is the only character besides Artorias's wolf Sif who openly mourns him after his death; she's encountered kneeling at his grave after you kill him and will ask you to hand over his soul and equipment to her; and if you fight and kill her, Ciaran's last words (unsubtitled) are actually, "My Dear Artorias". Hawkeye Gough even outright tells the player that Ciaran has feelings for Artorias, though it's unknown if Artorias reciprocated. The fandom tends to assume he did.
  • Darkstalkers:
    • Jon Talbain and Felicia have appeared in more fan art than can be counted. This being said, there's not much to link them in the games, though the comics and OVA can be seen as evidence.
    • Demitri and Morrigan. It's not nearly at the height of Felicia/Jon, but it does have a good share of vocal supporters. The fact that it's implicitly official in the OVA doesn't hurt either.
    • Donovan/Hsien-Ko was likely started due to their interactions in the anime.
  • And Dark Souls's spiritual predecessor, Demon's Souls the Slayer of Demons more or less exclusively paired up with the Maiden in Black.
    • There's also a lot of support for Maiden Astraea and her knight Garl Vinland, which is pretty much canon anyway. Their tragic backstory and the fact that one will commit suicide if the other is killed only make the two even more sympathetic.
  • For Devil Survivor 2 you have Hero/Yamato and Jungo/Airi.
    • While there is no Official Couple in the game, the protagonist is capable of hitting on many of the girls, and thus many of them like him (which can really be said for everyone). However it's easy to see without the FATE route that Yamato develops as a person by just being in the protagonist's presence, originally seeing him as a pawn he can use, to seeing him as a capable leader, and then finally acknowledging the hero as his only friend that he can rely on. So if you take a route that isn't Yamato... he will not take it well at all. Given his backstory, though, it's understandable why he becomes clingy to the hero in the first place. The anime also doesn't help with upping Yamato's obsessive nature toward Hibiki and all the artwork promotes him, Hibiki, and Alcor (particularly one line where he tells Io that Hibiki is his, contrast to the game where he threatens to slash everyone's throat for daring to corrupt his hero).
    • The latter are popular more so in the anime than in the game. In the game, the two are partners but get separated because of Rolando attacking the Nagoya branch. Airi gets really angry if Jungo is killed and is relieved if he survives (mind you Jungo is one of the hardest people to save in the game). Jungo doesn't mind Airi using him as a way to vent her frustration and he always tries to cheer her up. Neither of them take it well in the game when they take different sides of the issue (she chooses law and Jungo goes neutral) when they fight each other in battle but are quick to forgive each other. In the anime Jungo is always saving Airi when she's in danger. Jungo puts Airi over everyone else in the party given his personality to save his friends. It makes their death painfully tragic because Jungo could have avoided his Death Clip but he chose to save Airi... but it ended up being in vain and Jungo realizes that when he stops running and holds her tightly before they're both blown up.
  • In Dishonored a popular theory is Corvo is the lover of the Empress Jessamine Kaldwin and possibly even the father of Emily.
    • Corvo/Jessamine has been confirmed as of Dishonored2 with the developers outright stating that Corvo is indeed Emily's father.
  • Before the sixth Dynasty Warriors game, Sun Shang Xiang was usually paired with any of the "hot" Wu guys like Gan Ning, Lu Xun, Ling Tong, or Zhou Yu as opposed to her canon Love Interest Liu Bei. Koei seemed to counter this by making Liu Bei much younger and attractive looking in DW6. Before he looked a good 15-20 years older than her. After doing this there was a noted rise of Liu Bei/Sun Shang Xiang fan art and fanfics. Mission Accomplished.
    • Guan Ping and Xing Cai. Despite her being based on the historical wives of Liu Shan, Koei has teased that they might have feelings for each other.
    • On the yaoi side of fandom, Ma Chao & Zhao Yun have had a strong fan following for many years (arguably an example of a Token Minority Couple, given they were both young, handsome, almost exclusively pre-occupied with things like honor and justice, and up until DW6, spear-wielders) before Koei decided to make it official and actually give them an in-game friendship. With proper cutscenes! And special dialogue!!!! Whether it was Koei taking notes or just pairing up the spares is anyone's guess.
    • For a Squick-tastic one, there was a time where fans liked pairing Lu Xun with Da Qiao or Xiao Qiao... never mind that Lu Xun would go on to marry Da Qiao's DAUGHTER historically, thus making it look like Lu Xun has an Oedipus Complex on either his mother-in-law or aunt-in-law! Given they look like the youngest bunch in the Wu group at that time...
    • Sima Shi and Wang Yuanji is slowly becoming one, despite the latter being paired with the former's brother, Sima Zhao. It doesn't help that Yuanji seems to be more affectionate towards Shi than Zhao.
  • Dota 2 isn't exactly one to attract coupling and such, but the pairing of Sven/Crystal Maiden is a very popular one, not only on how they look cute together, they're also a popular and compatible lane-partner pair. Also for some reason, despite their respective lore not touching each other, a Heterosexual Life-Partner version exists in form of Sven/Juggernaut.
  • Drakengard 2 has Nowe/Manah as the canon pairing. A lot of fans, however, would have preferred Nowe with Eris.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Dragonborn and Serana from Dawnguard have been heavily shipped by the fandom, who praise her well developed character and how much depth was given to her burgeoning relationship with the Dragonborn. Many were disappointed that she's not a romance option, as despite the ship-tease, she politely turns down your proposal, stating her dislike of temples.
    • On the male character side, many players were bitterly disappointed to discover Brynjolf was not marriageable, as his friendly Loveable Rogue demeanor and affectionate use of "lad/lass" toward the Dragonborn throughout the Thieves Guild questline can come across as a little flirtatious. Worse, not only is he not marriageable, after you finish the Thieves Guild questline, he has no more than a single line of dialogue to spare the player anymore.
  • 11eyes has Kakeru/Misuzu, Kakeru/Shiori and Takahisa/Yukiko.
  • Fans of Eternal Sonata think that Chopin and Polka have better chemistry than the Official Couple... despite the fact A) she's analogous to his real-life dead little sister, and B) he's twenty-five years older. A lot of this depends on what version you're playing, though.
  • In Fallout 4, by far the most popular pairings are with Piper Wright and Paladin Danse, irrespective of the Sole Survivor's gender.
  • In Fire Emblem:
    • For a time in the Mystery of the Emblem fandom, people greatly preferred Marth with Catria instead of his canon girlfriend and eventual wife Caeda/Shiida, whom they preferred to pair with Ogma. In an aversion of Die for Our Ship, they get along with Marth/Caeda fans, though.
    • Genealogy has the Seliph/Julia pairing... although, that originally was a Official Couple, was rendered "Impossible" in the actual release... didn't stop the fans—the fact that they start off at "In love with..." each other, and the game dropping Ship Tease moments on them, doesn't make for a nice case in the terms of "Can't be done." (And thanks to a lovely (no pun) glitch (or two... or three) it is actually possible, leading it to be dubbed "A Love So Strong, that not even the game itself could stop it.")
    • For Binding Blade, since only Roy gets paired endings, a number of pairings that had material to be canon don't end up so, and thus became this among fans. Stand-outs are Rutgter/Clarine, Raigh/Sophia, and Noah/Fir. Roy's most popular choice of wife is additionally Lilina, which is a hair away from being canon.
    • For Blazing Sword, a surprisingly popular pairing amongst the steamy fan art crowd is Dark Action Mom Sonia Reed and her Number Two, Ursula the Blue Crow. It's not hard to see why: Ursula's Undying Loyalty to Sonia combined with Sonia's Alpha Bitch personality and penchant for wearing Stripperiffic black leather lead to obvious dominant/submissive implications, and they definitely seem closer than Sonia and her canonical husband Brendan (part of this may also be due to the fact that Brendan is huge, muscular, hairy, and in his fifties, making him an unlikely choice for steamy fan art).
    • Among the playable units in Blazing Sword, there's Erk and Priscilla, helped by the fact that this is her only romance option with a happy ending.
    • The Tellius sector has a large faction of fans who still wish Ike and Elincia had gotten married instead of Elincia marrying her loyal knight Geoffrey and Ike leaving the continent either alone or with Soren or Ranulf. From the 10th game, pairing Micaiah with Pelleas is preferred to the canon Sothe/Micaiah.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening, due to the massive amount of marriage potential, generally doesn't apply but there are some exceptions, mainly Basilio/Flavia and Maribelle/Lissa, both of whom have a very solid relationship in their Supports and in story scenes.
      • There's a surprisingly large group of supporters of Chrom/Cordelia. Yes, the Ignored Enamored Underling and her Oblivious to Love leader, really. In fairness, these are the two of the most popular characters, and it is rather strange that despite being the only couple in the game that actually has legitimate canon backing, it's impossible to pair Chrom with Cordelia.
      • Though the Chrom and Sumia pairing is angled by the game to be "canon," the Chrom and Robin pairing is far more popular. (More so among the female fanbase, that is. For the male side, Chrom/Sumia also tends to see heavy competition from Chrom/Olivia and the aforementioned Chrom/Cordelia.) The catch is that a female Avatar is Chrom's other Implied Love Interest, and Awakening goes just as out of its way (if not more so), to emphasize their close bond, one of the central focus of the story, even if the player has a female Avatar married to someone other than Chrom. Just ask Lucina.
    • Fire Emblem Fates has its own page.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Despite there being no official couples in Five Nights at Freddy's, Foxy/Chica is a huge pairing among the fandom.
  • While Frozen Essence lets Mina hook up with no less than five characters, the one who comes the closest to being a "default option" for her is Rune who she needs to pursue to get the True End. Naturally, the majority of players prefer Mina to be with Caius or Zareh instead; the former because All Girls Want Bad Boys, the latter because of him having been in love with Mina far, far longer than anyone else.
  • Golden Sun:
    • Despite the fandom's notorious shipping wars for every other character in the series, Saturos and Menardi are near-universally seen as a Battle Couple, despite there being no canon evidence of romance between them.
    • Felix's most popular pairing is with Sheba due to his Always Save the Girl moment for her in the first game, which is given a nod in Dark Dawn's recap of the story. Notably, they are the only two party members whose romantic fates remain entirely unknown, letting the shippers still hope that they could be canon.
    • Isaac and Mia also have a sizable following that weren't happy about him marrying Jenna.
  • The Harvest Moon fandom has a lot of this due to the fact marriage is a major part of the plot. Rarely is one bachelor or bachelorette pushed over the others in canon, however fanworks will often push certain pairings (usually with the most popular love interest). It can be hard to find fanfics or fanarts of certain characters because another pair is overwhemingly more popular:
    • Harvest Moon 64 and Harvest Moon: Back to Nature have Pete/Elli and Pete/Karen. The former is implied to be the Official Couple in 64 due to the Japanese strategy guide confirming it and due to the fact Ellen's grandmother Ellen only dies if you marry Elli. The Distaff Counterpart Back To Nature For Girl (and its remake More Friends Of Mineral Town) have Claire/Cliff and Claire/Gray as the most popular pairs.
    • Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is rather evenly divided on couples but there are probably more Mark/Nami fans than Mark/Celia, Mark/Muffy, or Mark/Lumina ones. The Distaff Counterpart Another Wonderful Life easily has Pony/Marlin as the fan-preferred couple. This could be due to Marlin's shyness being cute or simply because he's the most appealing of the bachelors for most fans.
    • Harvest Moon: Magical Melody has more bachelorettes and bachelors than most Harvest Moon games yet an overwheming amount of fanworks focus only on Amanda and her moody rival Jamie together. Jamie can be married but the game ends afterwards, unlike with other characters where you can continue and have a child (this means that you cannot 100% the game when marrying Jamie). There are rarely any fan works for Jamie and the male protagonist, only the female one.
    • Harvest Moon DS Cute has Pony/Skye. Despite the fact you can play as Claire, most fanworks ship Skye with Pony instead of Claire.
    • Chelsea/Vaughn is the most popular ship in the Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness fandom. Chelsea/Shea and Chelsea/Denny are also popular.
    • There are more fanworks for Lillian/Cam than any other Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns couple.
    • Klaus/Iris is the most popular Story of Seasons couple.
  • Ib: Almost all the fics on AO3 with a romance aspect ship Ib/Garry. There is no Official Couple for Ib, probably because the main character is nine years old and Garry, her preferred love interest, is anywhere from eighteen to twenty, but that hasn't stopped the fans.
  • Inazuma Eleven has Endou and Aki apposed to the Official Couple Endou and Natsumi or Fuyuka depending on adaption though most of the fans got over it when they realized that she probably ended up with Ichinose.
  • Jade Empire has a maximum of three romantic options within the party... so, naturally, the most popular pairing is the PC/Sagacious Zu, a character who makes a Heroic Sacrifice right when the canon romances begin to play themselves out.
  • Jak and Daxter: There appears to be a small following for Jak/Seem despite the latter character having only appeared in one game so far and not to mention was a monk, but seeing as how Keira, Jak's canon love interest, isn't well liked by many fans, it may just be to spite her.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising:
    • Pit and Viridi could count as one, if the fan art and fanfiction have anything to say about it.
    • Dark Pit and Phosphora are often shipped together... for some reason.
  • In The King of Fighters, Iori/Kyo is not just the poster-pair for Foe Yay but by far the most popular pairing for Kyo. It's followed by Kyo/Athena (one-sided canonically in the KOF:KYO continuity) and Kyo/Shingo (based on Shingo's HUGE hero worship of Kyo). And of course, shippers from the THREE sides want Kyo's canon girlfriend Yuki to die.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kairi is semi-officially paired with Sora (they both are shown to like the idea of sharing a Paopu fruit with each other, which is pretty much a mythical engagement-ring). Among many fangirls, however, the pairing of Sora with his best friend and rival Riku is vastly more popular. There are also many who take a third option and ship them together in an OT 3.
    • Axel and Roxas, anyone? In the circles where fanfic is written and fan art is made, it's undoubtedly FAR more popular than Naminé/Roxas or Xion/Roxas, both of which might as well be official couples. They have LOADS of fan arts and fanfics. Try and go find a Kingdom Hearts fan who hasn't seen/read any of them. It's everywhere. There's no escaping the Akuroku.
    • While Birth by Sleep is in no way light on Ship Tease from all directions, the most popular ship by far is that of Terra and Aqua. It probably has something to do with their parental attitudes towards Ven and how Aqua throws herself into the Realm of Darkness to save Terra. Bonus points for being one of the few hetero ships in this fandom that doesn't come under (heavy) fire from the Yaoi Fangirls.
    • Also from BBS (more so among fans of yaoi), Ventus/Vanitas. This becomes Squicky because Ventus and Vanitas are technically the same person. However, as other pairings demonstrate, the semi-canon Xion/Roxas included, in the universe of Kingdom Hearts Screw Yourself isn't uncommon.
  • Kin'iro no Corda has Hino with either Tsukimori or Hihara. Shimizu and Fuyuumi are also quite popular.
  • In Lamento - beyond the void there is a very sensitive war going on until today about who is Konoe's best choice for partner. Considering he have three options, it's not an easy discussion but Rai seems to be the favorite of the majority (and his ending is the so called "true ending" of the game).
  • Left 4 Dead 2: Nothing compares with Nick/Ellis which has come to dominate the fandom with their Ho Yay. And ever since the release of "The Passing" DLC, Rochelle/Francis has also been a target due to how the two interact (they both hate stuff).
  • The Legend of Dragoon has Dart and Rose, who get scores of tease lines and romantic interludes (especially in Disc 2).
  • Little Busters!: Rin/Riki is technically the official pairing of Little Busters, even if it's far, far more ambiguous than in most Key games, and certainly plenty of players ship it. But among the more serious fanbase, it's a lot easier to find Riki/Kyousuke or Rin/Komari fan art, and even Riki/Kurugaya is arguably as popular.
  • Live A Live has in Japan, at least (where a fandom has actually had the chance to develop) Akira/Li. Also surprisingly popular is Sundown Kid/Mad Dog and, even more bizarrely, Odi Wan Lee/Li. Yes, really.
  • A number of fans were pretty annoyed when Berethor/Idrial was sunk about half way through The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age because apparently he was already married to Morwen.
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals has Tia and Dekar as a popular fan pairing, based on Dekar's heartwarming talk with Tia after Tia sees that Maxim is in love with Selan. The remake has Tia start dating Dekar after Maxim and Selan's wedding.
  • Despite Lux-Pain having a small fanbase, two of the main pairings that everyone can agree on are Shinji/Mika and Ryo/Hibiki. As for the main character himself, while he is shipped with everyone, the most popular pairing by default is Akira/Atsuki.
    • To put it simply, Akira/Atsuki has the most Ship Tease in comparison to the other potential love interests for Atsuki like Rui and Yayoi. Shinji/Mika is popular given that by pairing Mika up with Shinji, it greatly averts her being a victim of Die for Our Ship as well as evidence in the game that shows that she's moving away from Akira and getting close to Shinji. Finally, with Ryo/Hibiki, the fact that Hibiki is already confirmed to be in love with Ryo is one thing but whether or not Ryo has feelings for his best friend is up to debate although, there are some conversations that suggest that the feelings are mutual.
  • In Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis, the only ending with a confirmed romantic implication (not counting Vayne-as-queen in Muppy's ending) was with Nikki. And yet there's a lot of fan support for Vayne/Jess.
  • Prior to Mass Effect 2, the two main fan-preferred couples for Mass Effect were Male!Shepard/Tali and Female!Shepard/Garrus. The two were so popular, BioWare made them both official options, and they still take up the bulk of Mass Effect fanfic.
    • Other popular pairings are Male!Shepard/Kaidan, Male!Shepard/Garrus and Saren/Nihlus. At the end of the trilogy, it seems that the consensus of the most popular pairings that took up the majority of fanfics are: Female!Shepard/Garrus (for the straight female players), Male!Shepard/Tali (the straight male players), Male!Shepard/Kaidan (for the gay males and Yaoi Fangirls) and Female!Shepard/Liara (for the lesbians players and Yuri Fans) (all of them are canon, thankfully for the shippers) and... Saren/Nihlus. And yes, only one of them not involve Sheppard. Tali/Garrus and Liara/Javik tend to be popular Ship Mates to players who don't romanced them.
  • There are loads upon loads of Ho Yay Mega Man X fans who ship X and Zero. And there's also Zero and Iris, and X and Alia. But X/Zero beats out the competition.
  • Metroid:
    • In the fandom, there are Samus/Ridley shippers. Yes, Ridley. The villain who killed her family. Then again, the closest thing to a canon couple is Samus/Adam (with the latter thinking of the former as a father figure).
    • Samus/Gandrayda or Rundas are likely the most popular pairings that actually seem physically possible, mostly stemming from Gandrayda's rather affectionate dialogue and Rundas's general respectfulness. Samus/Dark Samus isn't far behind, even though the latter is a Humanoid Abomination and one of Samus's archnemeses.
  • Metal Gear Solid, my god. Among the people who play this game who care about shipping, Snake/Otacon trumps Snake/Meryl (the CANON) by at least ten to one. The fact that you can actually kill off Meryl in-game to get a Ho Yay-ish ending with Otacon instead really doesn't help.
  • Mortal Kombat: Most of the semi-canon pairings are pretty well-supported, but outside of them:
  • Judging by the fan art for Morenatsu, the most popular Hiroyuki pairings are with Tatsuki, Kounosuke, and Juuichi. Ironic, since this art existed before the patch which completed Tatsuki's and Kounosuke's route was released.
  • MOTHER 3 is pretty light on Ship Tease in general, but fans love the idea of Duster/Kumatora. Also Claus/Lucas, thanks to the Yaoi Fangirls.
  • Fans of Neptunia series tend to ship Neptune with Noire, Nepgear with Uni, Vert with Blanc and Neptune with Plutia.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 has Neeshka. The majority of fans seem to prefer her to the canonical Elanee.
    • Neeshka was planned to be a canon couple, but it was cut from the game due to time restraints. It's not too hard to see where they intended to take it, and it's a lot more complete than Elanee's, even though it isn't, you know, complete.
    • In the same vein, Bishop is also a planned but cut romance option that fans seems to prefer over Casavir, partially due to the latter reminding them of Anomen, and partially because the former has heaps of Belligerent Sexual Tension with the female protagonist and, like Neeshka, feels more "complete" than the actual complete romance.
    • Fans like them so much they made a mod that allows a "proper" romance, complete with an epilogue in Mask of the Betrayer.
  • People really like pairing Kai up with Oki in Ōkami.
  • Overwatch:
    • Tracer/Widowmaker had people shipping them ever since the very first cinematic trailer for the game came out. The pairing became even more popular when the Alive animated short came out.
    • McCree/Hanzo a.k.a. McHanzo got popular in circles of Bara Genre fans, with various artists of the genre on Tumblr and Twitter started making fanart of them.
    • Mei/Zarya also started to get a following.
    • Pharah/Mercy ("Pharmercy" or "Pharmacy") is one of the more popular ships owing to the fact that they are the only two characters that can remain air mobile and hence synergize very well. Blizzard added more fuel to the fire when one of their weekly brawls only featured these two together.
    • Soldier:76/Mercy is a frequent pairing in the fandom. They are often interpreted as parents to the other Overwatch casts.
  • PaRappa and Lammy from Parappa The Rapper, despite the fact that both games focused on PaRappa's love of Sunny. There was a Japanese commercial depicting PaRappa falling in love with Lammy, however.
  • In Persona 2, the most popular pairings depends largely on which game the fans are talking about. The most popular pairing of Innocent Sin, the first of the duology, is most certainly Tatsuya/Jun, while in Eternal Punishment, the second game in the duology, it seems to be Tatsuya/Maya. The third option, Tatsuya/Lisa, hardly has any supporters at all. The fun fact behind this is that these are the pairings that are pushed a bit by each game, but there are quite a few fans of the other pairing in each game. The other weird mention is that Tatsuya is the same between these two game's universes, while the love interests are not. It is still a hot debate in the fandom to this day who Tatsuya actually loves, but considering he's a walking mess of complexes, he's not likely to say it anytime soon.
  • Persona 3: The female Protagonist's most popular pairing is Shinjiro by a huge margin, since completing his Social Link is the only way to save him from his Plotline Death.
  • Persona 4:
    • Although doesn't have an official couple (thanks in part to the fact that you can date everyone), the Protagonist usually seems to end up with Naoto in fan works, to the point that the aforementioned spoiler is practically entering It Was His Sled territory. Yukiko is in second place, apparently winning against Rise by a slight margin.
    • And while Chie (the remaining female main character) doesn't get shipped with the protagonist, there's a lot — a LOT — of fan material with her and Yukiko. The game helps a lot already.
    • Fans of the older characters in the game tend to ship Dojima/Adachi. A lot. Never mind that Adachi is the Big Bad of the game and tried to get Dojima's daughter killed. And all of this started when Adachi tried to rape two women. It's said that Adachi/Nanako has a particularly big pairing in Japan, also. Nanako is a seven year old, by the way.
    • Recently, more and more people are starting to ship Kanji/Naoto—aka "Kannao"—as a serious ship instead of something played for laughs. On Japanese fan work sites such as Pixiv, the number of Kannao doujinshi, artwork, and light novels are now outpacing that of Protagonist/Naoto.
  • Pokémon is a hard series to tackle, due to the numerous continuities and hundreds of ships. Shippers tend to have a habit of shipping protagonists with each other, or rivals and protagonists, leading to those being the top ships.
    • Hilbert or Hilda/N is quite popular for their games, more so than the two protagonists together (as is Cheren/Bianca from the same games).
    • Likewise, Cynthia/Dawn is almost as popular as said protagonist and either her rival or Lucas.
    • Silver/Lyra has a strong following.
    • Interaction is not always required with common Pokémon ships. For example, Morty/Falkner has a sizable following, even though Morty and Falkner are never seen interacting with each other. (They can battle each other at the Pokémon World Tournament, but the player does not get to see it.)
    • From the Mystery Dungeon series, the Player Character and the Partner tend to be shipped together most of the time, despite being either Platonic Life Partners or Heterosexual Life-Partners in canon. There's also Dunsparce/Virizion in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. Dunspare is set up as a Dogged Nice Guy at first, and they two get a lot of Ship Tease as the game progresses, until Emolga/Virizion suddenly becomes the Official Couple during the final dungeon, with very little foreshadowing. Naturally Dunsparce fans weren't exactly happy with that development...
    • If you search a paring with Calem or Serena, you will almost always find them paired together (though Serena and Shauna are also common).
    • When it comes to Kanto gym leaders, Erika and Sabrina get paired very often. They don't have much in terms of interaction but their contrast in personality combined with Erika being Ambiguously Gay spurs shippers on.
    • If you're looking at fanworks involving Eeveelutions, you're almost always guaranteed to see an Espeon and an Umbreon pair. They're almost never shipped with anything but each other. Usually the Umbreon will be male and the Espeon will be female. Though not nearly as common, Flareon and Vaporeon together is popular.
    • Pokemon in the same evolutionary group (for example, Gardevoir and Gallade or Pikachu and Raichu) have a tendency to be shipped together. Nidoran evolutions have been shipped in various canons but most others usually aren't in canon.
  • In the Professor Layton fandom, it's canon that the professor and Claire were in a relationship, and ten years later, even after her death, he still loves her dearly—of course, the fangirls prefer to ship Layton with Luke.
  • Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon: Also double as Crack Pairing. There are more fan art of Moh Shuvuu and Raidou than any other. There is also quite a bit of Raidou and Demi-Fiend that could easily put it in second place.
  • In the Resident Evil fan community, Chris/Jill has the most supporters since the first Resident Evil game's release. The second most preferred pairing is in fact Leon/Claire instead of Leon/Ada, although the latter has had a sharp rise after Resident Evil 4. For the main antagonist Wesker, however, he has lots of Wesker/Redfield shippers somehow.
  • Shara is treated as the canon love interest of Rune Factory 3, but many players greatly prefer to marry the Player Character to Raven due to her sad backstory, her badass Phoenix form and not wanting to leave her feeling alone and unaccepted forever.
  • Invoked, discussed, and deconstructed In-Universe in Senpai, Please Look At Me! In spite of the female protagonist canonically crushing on the titular Senpai, odds are that the player will prefer her best friend James instead due to him having a more well-defined personality, an actual name, a relationship with the protagonist that feels more meaningful than just a schoolgirl infatuation, and endings that are much easier to get than Senpai's. It turns out that Senpai himself is fully aware of this — if you try getting one of James's endings after getting Senpai's best ending, he erases James from the game so that he's the sole available love interest and repeatedly crashes the game in increasingly desperate attempts to make his interactions with the protagonist feel more organic and interesting. After his actions almost completely destroy the game, he breaks down and admits that he knows he's a dull love interest compared to James, with even the beta testers preferring James to him, and wanted to change that.
  • Shining Force II's plot is something of a Cliché Storm, complete with a Sleeping Beauty princess who needs to be awakened with a kiss. Everyone tells Bowie that he's the right one to wake Princess Elis, marry her, and inherit the throne. When it comes her turn to talk, Sarah bursts into tears, says that you're the best choice, and runs off, only to be comforted by another member of the Five-Man Band, while you get to go up and wake the princess. Most fans, of course, much prefer Sarah to Elis, who doesn't get more than two lines in the whole game and exists solely to be the Damsel in Distress.
  • Skullgirls:
    • Beowulf/Eliza, which in spite of the fact them basically being polar opposites (one being a goofball BoisterousBruiser with a heart of gold and the other being an eons-old megalomanicial sociopath), has seemed to inspired a ton of fanart and fanfic. This is at least SOMEWHAT supported by the fact Beowulf's one of the few people that Eliza doesn't condescend to in her unique intro dialouge, and the respect she seems to have for the strong. A lot of people like to pair him off with Valentine, too, likely thanks to them openly flirting (or at least, the closest thing what to what could be considered flirting for Val) with one another in their unique dialouge
    • There's also a considerable amount of fanwork that that depicts Filia with either Painwheel/Carol or Squigly, thanks to her interactions with them in story mode.
  • While the Soul series is more preoccupied by violence and Rule of Cool than romance, subtextual or otherwise, fans nonetheless have a few:
    • Siegfried/Sophitia was one of the most enduring ships for a long time, until Hilde made an appearance and had an actual role in Siegfried's story. Now it's harder to determine.
    • Nightmare is often paired with Tira for people who are into a bit of Unholy Matrimony.
    • Mitsurugi/Setsuka is popular as well, especially seeing as she defeats him in a duel sometime between the events of IV and V and consequently drops her grudge against him. Although this ship often clashes with the older, more established Mitsurugi/Taki ship, which has a similar allure.
    • Kilik/Xianghua counts on a technicality. After four games' worth of Ship Tease and Unresolved Sexual Tension, from a Battle Couple moment at the end of the first Calibur all the way up to a (thankfully non-canon) bittersweet ending in IV, there was no reason to believe that Kilik wasn't the father of Xianghua's daughter Leixia, especially when the girl was seen wearing his Dvapara-Yuga pendant. Naturally, many fans were none too pleased to learn that the two had parted ways between games and Xianghua went on to marry a Ming general named Yan Wujin and bear two children. Later on, it would be discerned that Kilik only left Xianghua in order to the protect the world she lived in, with strong implications that the two still love each other dearly. And guess who Xiba's parents are.
  • While Soul Nomad & the World Eaters has no Official Couple, Gig/Revya is the most popular. It helps that Disgaea games imply that their ending is canon if only because Revya travels with whoever has the highest affection for her at the end of the game and in Disgaea 3, Revya is traveling with Gig. Gig also doesn't stop talking about her in Disgaea 4 where he appears alone.
  • Ulala and Purge seem to be more popular than Ulala and Jaguar in Space Channel 5.
  • Star Fox: In Japan, Fox/Falco dominates fan expression. There's a lot of it in the West, too.
  • Street Fighter:
  • In Suikoden V, while (as is typical to the series) the Official Couple for the main character is never explicitly stated, the game beats the player over the head with indirect implications of a romance between the Prince and his bodyguard Lyon. However, it's popular among fans to pair him instead with his younger sister's bodyguard Miakis, a slightly older Genki Girl who's probably the most popular character in the game (or at least the most popular female character). This is particularly true in Japan, where the volume of fan art and fanfics implies that the Prince and Miakis are preferred over the semi-Official Couple by a roughly 3 to 1 margin.
  • Technically the vast majority of Super Mario Bros. ships fit, considering the Excuse Plot nature of the games. Examples include:
  • Super Robot Wars generally avoids this between characters from licensed series, in hopes of preventing any unnecessary Ship-to-Ship Combat. However, there are some exceptions:
    • Female protagonist Setsuko Ohara of Super Robot Wars Z and Shinn Asuka in the same game is probably the most supported pairing, as it's one of the few that actually makes a lot of sense considering their close relationship in-game. And because it makes more sense than either of his pairings from the anime.
    • There is a lot of fan art with Joshua Radcliff and Glacies from Super Robot Wars Destiny.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Many fans of Brawl are partial to the pairing of Solid Snake/Samus Aran. The game itself encourages the pairing through Snake's codec transmissions on Shadow Moses Island in which he talks to Otacon and Mei Ling about Samus; he says things like "Sounds like my kind of woman" and "But underneath that metal exterior beats the heart of a woman." The fact that the pairing is technically impossible outside of the Smash Bros. setting (not least because Snake doesn't even belong to Nintendo) deters pretty much no one. Before Brawl it seemed the preferred pairing was Samus and Capt. Falcon. One event in Brawl ("Unwanted Suitors") pokes fun at the pairing.
    • Since his announcement for Smash Bros 4., Little Mac/Samus has been gathering some steam, because Little Mac's reveal trailer compares the height difference between him and Samus (who is much taller). Most people would agree that Wii Fit Trainer is also a fitting choice for him.
    • In Melee, Marth/Roy was incredibly popular (enough that it leaked into the actual Fire Emblem fandom). In Brawl, Roy was replaced by Ike both in the roster and in that ship. It remains to be seen how the inclusion of Robin and Lucina (and Corrin via DLC) as well as Roy's return (also via DLC) in the fourth game will affect the Fire Emblem ships.
    • When it comes to lesbian ships, most fans ship Zelda/Samus and Palutena/Lucina. The latter is almost always using the Brawl and Super Smash Bros 4 incarnation of Zelda instead of the Melee version, as her stoic seeming Lady of War personality is considered a better suit for the similarly stoic Action Girl Samus. Palutena and Lucina come from a screenshot on the official site.
  • Tales of Destiny 2: Judging by the amount of Harold/Judas fan art on Pixiv, Judas is the only person anyone ships Harold with and vice versa. Though the fact that Judas is Leon complicates the issue, as Leon/Stahn and Leon/Marian are both very popular.
  • Tales of Symphonia:
  • A great many Tales of Legendia:
    • Fans in the West prefer Senel/Chloe to the heavily implied Senel/Shirley. After all, Senel and Chloe spend most of the game getting to know one another and discovering what they have in common (though, ironically enough, their similarities are used in-game as the chief reason they can't end up together). Meanwhile, Senel introduces Shirley as his sister, was in a relationship with Shirley's actual sister, and when he spurns Shirley for her dead sister, she turns into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who almost floods the world.
    • In Japan, it's less of a Fan-Preferred Couple and more on par with Senel/Shirley in terms of Ship-to-Ship Combat. The official crossover spin-offs to the Tales series constantly flip-flop between supporting Senel/Shirley or Senel/Chloe depending on the development staff.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, Luke/Tear. One of the few examples in the entire Tales series where the Fan-Preferred Couple (Ho Yay pairings notwithstanding) is completely supported by the canon. In the case of side couple Peony/Nephry, Peony's canonically still pining after her even after ten years, but there's a lot more visible shipping activity for him and Jade. (Weirder still if you consider that Jade is Nephry's brother.)
  • Tales of Vesperia:
  • Team Fortress 2: Any coupling outside of RED Spy/BLU Scout's mother and possibly Demoman/the opposing Medic's wife is based in Fanon, but the highly suggestive lines the Heavy has leads to Heavy/Medic being the most popular. Valve even ship teases these guys with the "Beaux and Arrows" achievement, which you get when you pin a Medic to a Heavy using an arrow, and the Medic-only Gentleman's Ushanka, which mentions the hat would match with the Heavy's ushanka.
  • For Togainu no Chi fans, Shiki/Akira easily beats all other pairings in the English-speaking fandom. Granted, it is not more or less canon than any other pairing in the series. Meanwhile in Japan, Keisuke/Akira is very popular among the fans.
  • Tomb Raider: Would you believe Lara/Doppleganger? Now with the 2013 reboot, Lara/Sam a.k.a. S.S. Endurance, is VERY popular. It helps that it was almost canon.
  • In the Undertale fanbase, Sans/Toriel seems to have gained something of a following.
  • Until Dawn:
    • Until Dawn comes with a group of 8 young characters who are conveniently paired off with each other. Still, a lot of people like the idea of Mike and Samantha being together.
    • Chris and Josh (nicknamed "Climbing Class") is also a popular ship, on account of the two being Childhood Friends.
    • Jess and Matt have their shippers, too. They're dating Mike and Emily respectively, but are separated from them halfway through the game, culminating in the two of them escaping the mines together if they both survive to the climax. That plus the facts that Matt's relationship with Em isn't exactly harmonious and that Mike and Em seem to have feelings for each other lend to people liking the idea of seeing them together.
  • Fans of Valkyria Chronicles vastly prefers the pairing of Selvaria Bles with Johann/Oswald the Iron. Considering what kind of dick Maximillian (the one Selvaria is canonically interested at) is, it should come as no surprise. Radi Jaeger is sometimes a decent substitute, too.
  • Khadgar and Garona in the Warcraft Expanded Universe. The novel Warcraft: The Last Guardian played them as romantic interests with each other and ever since it was accepted that they loved each other... until recently when the comic series exposited that Garona gave birth to the baby of Khadgar's wizard-master Medivh.
    • Jaina and everyone's favorite orc, Thrall, is another popular ship. Such that Chris Metzen mercilessly sank with the recent novel having Thrall become mates with the Maghari Shamanka Aggra seemingly out of nowhere then letting Jaina get with Kalecgos in MoP. Baring that, stated with extreme confidence that the Thrall/Jaina pairing will never happen during the Q&A at Blizzcon 2010. It didn't really help that designers had previously lampshaded the Thrall/Jaina pairing in an Easter Egg.
      • The designers poked fun (or just rubbed salt in the wound, depending on your view) at the Ship Sinking during Thrall and Aggra's in game wedding. After the wedding concludes, if you stick around long enough, you can catch Jaina openly sobbing.
    • Another example would be Wrathion/Anduin, due to their massive amounts of interaction in the game and the novel War Crimes that just screams Opposites Attract. Even some Blizzard's employees ship them to the point that the writer of the novel had to confirm that they're just "good friends." No one really believes her.
  • It's pretty much a common knowledge in the Wild ARMs 2 Japanese fandom that Lilika deserves Ashley much more than Marina does.
  • Many Xolga And Mr Toko fans prefer Xolga and Mr.Toko as a couple despite Pacthesis insisting they aren't...

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanPreferredCouple/Videogames