Do you mean that she likes me, or that she likes-me likes me?
In many Video Games
, there exist Relationship Values
that reflect how much your party members (or other NPC's) like you. Generally hidden, they can be altered by your behavior in-game. Types of behavior that can change your relationship values include:
- The choices you make during gameplay. For example, one character wants you to go outside and inspect the rumbling noise, while another wants you to wait and see what happens. What do you do?
- A subset of the above, the answers you give to certain questions (often of the "who do you want to go with you?", "do you think the White Magician Girl is cute?", variety).
- Your actions during battle. For example, healing a character in battle may raise your relationship value with them, while attacking them may lower it.
- How you allocate party members during Let's Split Up, Gang sequences.
Most choices you can make please some characters while disappointing others. Therefore, part of the challenge lies in either allocating your praise equally among all characters, or (more likely) figuring out whose good side is worth getting on and whose isn't. Relationship Values
can be frustrating, because what affects your relationship values, and even the existence of Relationship Values
themselves, is often not alluded to during the game
. Furthermore, the player character's actions may affect his relationship with others in unexpected if not nonsensical ways, such as when a character's relationship with the player character is changed despite them not being present
when the actions are carried out.
The results of having a good or bad relationship value are varied, consisting of anything from an alternate cutscene
to a different ending
Almost all Dating Sims
have these, and, indeed, they are usually the point of the game. Strategy games (notably 4X games
) may also have a variation of this, tracking your relations with other factions (and theirs with each other).
Sometimes called Affection Values. Sometimes coupled with a Karma Meter
or Romance Sidequest
; sometimes makes you Level-Up at Intimacy 5
or makes You Lose at Zero Trust
. Poor design often results in More Friends, More Benefits
. Compare Match Maker Quest
and Alliance Meter
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- Grand Theft Auto II had an approval meter for each of the three gangs in the area. Doing missions for one against another would boost your standing with that gang, and turn your target against you. Them being in a triangle of hate results in you usually being able to max out only two of them with the third shooting you on sight.
- A large part of Grand Theft Auto IV is about Relationship Values; both romantic and platonic. Having good relationship values unlocks areas, gives access to cheap guns, medical treatment, and a host of other advantages.
- In Metal Gear Solid 4, Snake can gain notoriety or anger from the rebel side of the two warring armies in the game. If you help them, then when they see you they might assist you in return, but if you hinder them, they will become more aggressive. There's really no point to hindering them, though, because the PMCs under Liquid will treat you as hostile no matter what you do.
- An important part of the second Onimusha game, where the fate of members of the supporting cast may rest on your relationship with them.
- Used to a small extent in the Tex Murphy game The Pandora Directive, where the player's choices determine whether he ends up with wholesome, lovable Chelsea or scheming Regan.
- Though it's really not so much a choice of which girl to end up with as it is a choice of whether to be on the moral or immoral path. Ending up with Chelsea nets you the Golden Ending, whereas pursuing Regan instead gives you a Bittersweet Ending at best.
- Of all games series out there, Dynasty Warriors possessed one in its fourth incarnation. Its relationship system kept track of how every single playable officer felt about every other playable officer, strengthening relationships by saving them to encourage them to appear out of nowhere to save the player and weakening relationships by defeating them causing them to spontaneously defend your enemy commanders if they're on the same force; even challenging you to a duel if they really hate you.
- This relationship concept returned en masse for one of the spinoff franchises, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2. Characters will like you or hate you depending on how you treat them in your missions. Of course, this will affect if they come and reinforce you in certain missions or what licenses you can earn for using other major giant robots in the game. This becomes especially painful when you realize it's necessary to befriend certain annoying characters to actually unlock them to use in the game. Luckily, the game does give you "friendship building levels" to at least try and patch up those problematic character relationships.note
- The Empires spin-offs expands on the relationship system, allowing players to forge bonds with other characters. At high enough levels, players can take on other characters as sworn siblings, or even marry another character of opposite gender.
- In Telltale Games' The Walking Dead, the decisions Lee makes affect how the other survivors see him. He can earn their respect or disdain, and how they treat him changes accordingly. When Kenny states "No one gets left behind" in the first episode, for instance, he'll add either "Especially a good friend" or "Even if he is an asshole" depending on his opinion of you.
- Unrest has three meters that track how Friendly, how Respectful and how Fearful NPCs are of your character. In addition, their general opinion of you is summed by a one-word description over each bar.
- Similarly, the RPG/Dating Sim Brave Soul gives each party member Level Up as you pursue them romantically: the healer gets more powerful spells as your relationship deepens, and so on.
- Tokimeki Memorial is possibly the Trope Maker or Trope Codifier of Relationship Values, which it was responsible for popularizing in Dating Sims and Eastern RPGs.
- This also happens in the free amateur RPG / Dating Sim Elven Relations: the girl you get closest to will defend you in combat, and your actions in combat affect how she feels about you in the story-based segments.
- The Galaxy Angel games incorporate Relationship Values into both their Dating Sim and Real-Time Strategy segments. If you impress an Angel on the bridge, she'll fight stronger in her ship. If you let her blow up in combat, she'll hate you when she gets back.
- In the Angelique series, your relationship values effect both the dating sim and the world-building sim portions of the game. Guardians who like you will give you free buildings and guardians who like your rival will either give her buildings or destroy yours.
- Sentimental Graffiti keeps track of two affection values: how much the girl likes him in general (the size of the heart) and how much she wants to see him (how fast it's beating).
- In Katawa Shoujo, relationship values track the player-as-Hisao's affection with each girl in Act 1. Basically, they're split between Shizune and Lilly/Hanako: if Shizune's is higher, Hisao will go with her, if Lilly and Hanako's are higher he'll have a final choice between the two and get together with that one, and if they're roughly equal he'll get with Rin. To get with Emi he pretty much just needs to choose to try hard during their training, though it's sometimes possible to end with Shizune even after that. After Act 1 and a girl's route has been chosen, the game goes in a more Visual Novel style with choices determining whether you get a Good, Bad, or sometimes Neutral End.
- In The Prince of Tennis dating sim Gakuensai no Oujisama, the player is put in the role of a female manager who must work interact with the Cast Full of Pretty Boys to help organize the upcoming School Festival. You choose a school for the girl first, then you have her interact with the dudes of said team, and the guy you interact the most with might or might not become her boyfriend if you play her cards right. Obviously, some guys are harder to reach to than others due to their personalities note . Additionally, some boys note are more prone to jealousy than others; if you had the girl work on their affections but then you have her bump into one of them while with another dude, their love meters will drop noticeably due to envy and resentment.
Eastern Role Playing Games
- The Star Ocean RPGs feature this prominently.
- Some of the Final Fantasy games feature the use of relationship values.
- In Final Fantasy VII (which popularized the use of relationship values in RPGs), whoever liked you the most would take you out on a "date" at the Golden Saucer. Many people get Aerith because of her extremely high default affection value towards Cloud, and arbitrary jumps in points for seemingly random events. However, the Tifa date is still rather easy to get, and with enough dedication, Yuffie, or even Barret can be your suitor.
- They had something similar for the prequel Crisis Core, where the actions taken to find the thief who stole Zack's wallet can lead to a different type of conversation with Aerith. For some reason, having Zack act like Schmuck and listen to all the unhelpful bystanders earn points on Aerith's affection scale.
- In a similiar fashion, completing certain side quests would effect how many people joined Zack's fanclub and its final mail message.
- In Final Fantasy X, alternate scenes and dialogue can be accessed depending on who likes you most out of Yuna, Rikku, and Lulu. Perhaps most notably, your Relationship Values determines who aids Tidus in the cutscene of his ultimate overdrive.
- Also happens with the male characters, although the varying scenes aren't as plentiful. The snowmobile scene is the most obvious one; Rikku and Lulu are by far the most common options, but it's possible to also get Wakka, Kimahri or Auron to buddy up with Tidus.
- Final Fantasy Agito possibly tops all others to the degree it's compared to a dating sim and you can wind up with multiple girlfreinds or boyfriends from the main characters.
- In Contact, there are a number of girls that Terry can romance, based on his rank in the dozens of statistics that game has.
- The Growlanser games usually have these integrated in, where they represent the other party member's opinions of their leader.
- Growlanser 2's Relationship Values would give the player a choice about who they could spend a day in town with near the end of the game, and could effect the ending on the regular game path (Though they're all but ignored on the two other gameplay branches). One could spend it with any member they wanted so long as their value was high enough, be they male, female, or dog-familiar thing.
- Dot Hack GU has an affection system that can be altered through e-mail, cards and gifts. This will allow for better trades and morale boosts for your party members. In addition, (with two notable exceptions) the main character can marry the female characters or become best friends with the male characters at the end of the game assuming their affection is maxed out.
- The two exceptions being Natsume, who only views you as a friend, and Endrance.
- In Legaia II: Duel Saga, certain actions and choices presented to the player affect Lang's relationship with four different girls: Maya, Sharon, Nancy, and Phanta. It is possible to make all four of them fall in love with him, though unfortunately, this has no effect on the ending. It does affect the in-game cutscenes and dialogue, however. The way the player is able to tell how the different romantic relationships are progressing is by going to the fortune teller in Phorchoon Casino and getting a reading for his love life.
- Persona 3 has a similar system in which you get access to the best Personae if your relation with certain characters (not necessarily party members) is high enough. Your team is a social link that levels up automatically, but some members of your party, along with a colorful cast of NPCs, have individual social links. Getting all links maxed in one run is a Bragging Rights Reward and the equivalent of a No Damage Run for the non-combat aspect of the game, but even with a guide, it's still beyond difficult, particularly since the game loves to mess with players by changing your schedule. Did you choose to spend a night boosting a stat instead of pursue a social link? You might as well start over: your school-based social links are unavailable for the next two weeks. Have fun figuring out how to level up your base stats quickly enough to initiate certain social links while also maxing out the ones available to you.
- These games stand out among other examples because the Relationship Values system is an integral part of the game; half the gameplay is leveling up these values (known as Social Links), and it has a huge impact on the other half of the game - the actual dungeon crawling. Even if you wanted to, you can't ignore this aspect of the game, as the fighting would be way, way hard without Personae boosted by Social Link points.
- Maxing every social link in Persona 3 unlocks bonus content and each maxed link yields an otherwise unobtainable item and the benefit of being irreversible. Which means that you need to date several female characters simultaneously in order to finish the link, then do it again with another set of female characters. (Playing the game with a female protagonist decreases the number of dating relationships you're forced to pursue, but you still need to max each social link.) The social links are one of the game's logic puzzles — what a reasonable person would say and what you need to say to level the link are often not the same. Oh, and one link requires you to be fleeced of 40,000 yen, which hurts if you try to start that link too soon. Social link questions make up almost half of Persona 3 boards and are essentially a set of logic puzzles, with each link being its own puzzle. Good luck!
- Persona 4 does this as well, with the additional option of pursuing either a friendship or a romantic relationship with the female characters. Having a high relationship with your party members can save your neck in battle too, since they can take a mortal blow for you.
- The newer Pokémon games feature a relatively simplified version of this trope, in which your Pokemon either like or dislike you. This "happiness" value affects the damage power of a couple of moves, certain Pokemon will only evolve if they like you enough, and certain NPCs will give you an item if your lead Pokemon has a high enough happiness rating.
- It is worth noting that Frustration, the move that gains more power from a lower happiness value is much harder to get and use effectively - in most instances you need a Pokémon that hates you to even get the attack, and if you do opt to use it, it will rapidly decrease in effectiveness simply by the fact that doing well with that Pokémon causes your happiness to rise. Compare Return, which is incredibly easy to get and can only really increase in power unless you're actually trying to bring it down.
- In the most recent games, your happiness affects whether or not specific Pokémon can learn some rather powerful moves - essentially Hyper Beams in Fire, Water, and Grass types.
- Pokémon X and Y adds another layer to this in the form of Pokemon Amie, where you can play with your Pokemon to raise their affection for you, which is a separate value from the aforementioned friendship. Raising it provides benefits like increased EXP gain and increased critical/evasion rates. It'll also change the battle dialogue to reflect the bond you've forged with that Pokemon and the Pokemon will start looking back at you while it awaits its commands if likes you enough.
- In Riviera: The Promised Land, the ending you get depends on which other party member likes you the most, with a secret ending being reserved for your cat-demon familiar. On the other hand, that character can't be used for the final battle.
- In the PSP remake there's supposedly an ending with Ledah. The CG for it has been found and looks completely genuine, but no one's figured out how to get it yet.
- Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song gives you Relationship Values with the gods. The quests you complete and the choices you make therein affect your favor with the various gods of Mardias, raising the chances of them coming to your aid during battle and influencing your access to certain options, as well as determining which of the three ending quests you can access. (Ironically, it's easy to buy your way into their good graces simply by purchasing spells at their temples for higher prices than normal — in fact, Elore, lord of the gods, is by far the easiest to appease this way, while the evil gods don't have this option and are thus more difficult to earn favor with. Go figure...)
- The Sakura Wars games are all about this trope. How the girls feel about you (their commander) explicitly gives them bonuses in combat, and a special team-up attack is available depending on who your relationship is strongest with at a given time.
- Occurs in the Shadow Hearts series (at least in the second game). Your characters have "affinity" for one another, which affects how close they stand together in battle.
- Affinity between characters generally rise from cutscenes spent together (e.g. high affinity between Kurando and Anastasia, Yuri and Karin...) and performing combination attacks together in battle.
- Tales of Innocence does both the second and third methods. Relationship values go up based on cutscene dialog choices, and between any two characters at the end of battle if one used a healing or support skill on the other. The game is unusual in two ways: first, the game shows you the numerical values for every decision and at the end of every battle, even letting you check values at any time in the status screen, and relationship values can exist for every pair of the six characters, though only the main character's values affect the ending.
- Likewise for Tales of Symphonia, although the ending is only marginally different — relationships affect certain in-game cutscenes more. Particularly frustrating because one character (Colette) is noted for her devotion to the main character, and as such, it's difficult to shake her and get a different character to be Lloyd's closest companion. Fortunately, your wanted character can be anywhere in the top 4 highest values, instead of only the highest. You choose which character wins during the Flanoir event, and can simply refuse Colette if you want someone else.
- And the real ending is only with Colette, even though 2 of the other characters, Kratos and Zelos, can fly. The rest are only shards of the epilogue where Lloyd is tacked into someone else's ending, but in the previous dramatic cutscene only shows affection for Colette.
- This can be avoided by keeping your Relationship Values on a New Game+. This means, you can actually force Colette to be second or third on your second play through and have your wanted soulmate on top. If you want to get a certain cutscene with Zelos (that Colette normally speaks during The Reveal involving Kratos, he must be the second or third person on your first play through before he can be the first. This works for everyone though. If you play the game again after that, you can move Colette further down the line until she's no longer on the top.
- It's fully possible to get Zelos - the character who starts with the lowest affection for Lloyd - as your soulmate while pushing Colette fairly close to the bottom of the list (low enough to be one of the four characters who leaves Flanoir for the snow conversation segment) on the first playthrough. It's possible, but you have to answer every question in the game in a way that angers Colette and pleases Zelos, with no indications or hints as to what you should pick, pursue some sidequests and not others at certain times, keep Zelos in your party every time, find all of his skits, and get at least one of his optional costumes. This means it's also possible to get any character as your soulmate on the first try, and always possible to bump Colette off the list - you just have to know what to pick in advance.
- In Tales of Xillia 2, raising Ludger's affinity with other members of the party allows him to learn one of their artes and unlocks a special Mystic Arte he can perform with them, among other things.
- Vanguard Bandits had its characters' relationship values towards Bastion based largely on two things: how the characters did in combat (getting defeated cost them), and who you chose to talk to between fights. What these meant, plotwise, depended on the story path you were on: in the Kingdom path, you needed the average amount above a certain total to avoid the Kill 'em All Bad Ending; the Empire path resembled a two-girl dating game, and the one with the higher relationship value would end up with Bastion at the end; and the Ruin path (which had only one ending) didn't care a whit for them.
- The World Ends with You has two much different than usual values. There's synchronization, a percentage that affects your partner's performance in battle which resets every day, is increased by feeding them food, and goes down when you flee from battle. Then there's your friendship gauge with shop owners, which you increase by spending money at their store and unlocks items' abilities (as well as making their dialogue much friendlier).
- Radiata Stories has this, although it's nearly impossible to figure out. All female party members (of which there are many) can get a short scene during a festival late in the game where they watch fireworks with Jack. This character will also be seen following Jack out of town in the human side ending, implying they plan on leaving with him. If you choose the non-human side, then it affects nothing, as Jack's love interest will then become Ridley.
- In The King of Fighters Spin-Off "The King of Fighters: KYO", you-as-Kyo-Kusanagi must not only travel around the world and interact with all kind of characters, but recruit two partners for the KOF tournament. Since Kyo is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold in canon, this isn't necessarily easy, and thus you must have Kyo solve sidequests and do small-to-big favors for them among other things. i.e to have Benimaru as your teammate Kyo must allow himself to lose a battle in public so Benimaru can woo a girl who likes strong men, to gain Yuri's partnership you must take her side when during a discussion with her brother and father, etc.
- Xenoblade uses a variation. The game keeps track of each party member's "affinity" with the others, doing things like helping them out in battle or performing sidequests togeather can increase the relationship. Once it reaches certain values, you have the option to view "Heart-to-Heart" events between the two, potentially increasing their relationship even more. Interestingly enough, this only really affects gameplay: characters can learn skills off those they have a high affinity with, make better gems while crafting and get slight boosts in battle.
- The NPCs in the game also have affinity values with eachother, which can be strengthened or damaged based on your choices during sidequests. (Such as how you resolve an NPC Love Triangle, for example) Though these don't really do much, aside from providing Videogame Caring Potential.
- The Neptunia series has these, and given the cast is nearly entirely female, it terms them Lily Points. Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 merely had every party member have a ranking with Nepgear, while Victory has a Lily rank between every possible pair of you 10 party members.
- In Video Game/Opoona, you can befriend certain NPCs. Each "friendable" NPC has their own story associated with them, and by doing events to advance their stories, you can increase your friendship with them. Near the end of the game, you'll need to gather up a number of your friends with a high affection in order for their help in storming the final dungeon.
- CIMA: The Enemy features this for the various settlers that you have to protect, which increases if you kill monsters in their presence and decreases when they take damage. Having a negative value means that the settler won't be able to craft items for you (and an event happens early on that puts this value into the negatives for every character, forcing the player to regain their trust.)
Miscellaneous Visual Novels
Relationship values are found in many Visual Novel
games which incorporate Dating Sim
elements. Examples include:
- Fate/stay night performs a relationship values check in all three routes. In Fate, if you-as-Shirou are too much of a jerk to Saber she basically kills you in a moment of absentmindedness to get the Grail (this practically requires a conscious effort to get). UBW has Tohsaka leaving you to be killed by Archer while she goes ahead without you to stop Caster (also very difficult to get). HF has the Shadow eating you if Sakura isn't attached enough, Ilya will also come after you if you don't meet her a few days earlier in the route, and if you choose not to unseal Archer's arm Shirou will stab Sakura (and get killed by Rider) much further down the route (all of whom can easily happen if you're not careful). All of these, needless to say, are bad ends that kill you. You get scolded for these in the Tiger Dojo, especially the first.
- Akiha will lock you-as-Shiki out of the house in Tsukihime if you're not nice enough to her. This results in a bad end.
- She can also eat you alive towards the end of the game if you're not careful. Similarly, Arcueid will bite you, Ciel will exterminate you, and Hisui and Kohaku will refuse to cure you in their appropriate routes. All of these are bad ends. That said, Tsukihime is much simpler than most VNs with regards to relationship building; say nice things, always go to her place, and no rape.
- Nitro+' Full Metal Daemon Muramasa has a subversion of the usual points system: At the midpoint of the game, you kill the heroine with whom you have the highest affection points. This is due to the curse laid upon you by your mystical Powered Armor - to slay an ally for each enemy, someone you love for someone you hate.
- In Danganronpa there's an option named "Free Time", which gives you-as-Naegi the chance to hang out with the other students and give them presents. They'll reward him either with skills to be used during trial scenes, or by raising the maximum number of skill points Naegi has during trials, depending on how far he's progressed in hanging out with them. (Not to mention, some show quite a bit of Hidden Depths as well.)
- The downside to this, however, is that there's a limited number of "free time segments" in each chapter. When students get killed, they are no longer available to spend time with, and their skills cannot be acquired. Furthermore, even if they're still alive, some characters may be unavailable to spend time with for plot reasons. Fortunately, skills and free time progress both carry over on subsequent playthroughs.
- Cinders tracks the eponymous character's relationship values with not only her obvious male love interests but with her stepfamily too. If Cinders takes the time to improve her relationships with her stepsisters, they'll have friendlier dialogue with her and cover up for her when she sneaks out of the house. Similarly, if she makes a good impression on her stepmother Carmosa, she can opt to retake her father's manor by impressing Carmosa enough that she steps down to let Cinders manage the household which makes for a much less risky solution than having her arrested or killed off.
- In True Love Junai Monogatari, the girls will likely be attracted to either one trait or one factor that you make the Player Character work on. In example, to get Remi's attention, he must work on his Academics/Scholarship, to get Mayumi he shall work on his Appearance, and so on. And in one case, it'll work against him: if you want to romance Mikae, you can't let the PC's Academics get too high, lest Mikae and Remi will end up as love rivals. Additionally, if the PC's stress gets too high, Mikae will nag him and accuse him of being The Pig Pen until it's lowered.
- Analogue: A Hate Story has the AI constructs keep track of how you treat them and how well your opinions matches theirs. It is only used to add flavor as long as you don't piss off *Hyun-ae completely and refuse to apologize. The save file icon gives a rough estimate on how they feel about you.
- This continues in the sequel Hate Plus, but due to the low number of chances to change them, the imported save is generally controlling the values.
- An in-universe example in Megatokyo. The MMORPG Piro and Miho used to play had a hidden relationship spec. Miho worked it out, and was exploiting it to gain influence over everyone's character. The reason she took an interest in Piro's (female) character was because she was able to get Miho's (male) character to fall in love with her, and Miho powerless to stop it. Miho eventually took advantage of her mass control, causing player's characters to act contrary to their wishes, stopped only by Piro permanently killing her character in game.
- Lampshaded in the flash game Level Up, where the codex even states "Yes, we're so cynical that we rank your relationship"
- The Yu-Gi-Oh! Tag Force Series, starting from the Second Game, uses a heart system that gradually increaces through winning duels, giving your partner their favourite foods, etc. Whenever a heart is fully filled, it starts a storyline event the following day.
- In Tag Force 4, however, although the heart system used in the previous two games still exists, you arn't forced to pick one person to tag team with until you finish their particular storyline. Instead, Each day you can talk to and give items to diffrent characters and eventually choose them as your partner if you ask them. If you ask to partner up with a character when they have 2-and-a-half hearts or more, it is the only time they will ask you to edit their deck (otherwise you have to ask an NPC to force them to let you for the price of a hefty 10,000DP).
- This can be a double edged sword, however, as certain characters may/may not like who you're teamed up with. To use this to your advantage, you must have an in-depth knowledge of the Anime in question (either GX or 5Ds). Some are readily understood (The Twins Rua and Ruka will be more responsive and happy if you bring the other along as a partner, bringing a Signer/Dark Signer will cause their counterpart to be less responsive) whilst some not (the unnamed characters in TF 4 are on edge if you bring along Aki, 'Marked' characters will cause City and Tops residents to be less responsive, Misty and Carly respond well when one of them's your partner, etc.) Anime knowledge also helps in choosing the gifts you give to certain characters (Jack will reach a full yellow heart when you give him coffee or a crown, Ruka responds well to stuffed animals, Yusei with Milk, Hair Gel and gadgets, Sherry with hair-care products, Carly with fortune-telling equipment, and Aki with tea and fashion accessories)
- In TF 5, even NPCs will have different reactions depending on who you bring. (Prominent Examples are Zora's expression and dialogue when you tag up with Yusei, and Stephanie giving more chances of a good meal (I.e. His favorite: Blue-Eyes Mountain coffee) when you bring Jack).
- The shop NPC has a "Pseudo-relationship value" that involves the "figurine" items you get in the gift vending machine. Simply enter the card shop with one of five "gold figurines" (I.e. Card Excluder/Ejector, Cyber Tutu, Ebon Macigian Curran, White Magician Pikeru, and Dark Magician Girl) and he will ask you to give it to him in exchange for a 5% discount on every pack. If you give him all 5, you will unlock a new pack along with 50% discount on all packs (including the unlocked one).
- Relationship Values become even more important during tag duels in TF 4, as now you cannot see your Partner's hand when it's their turn and with the addition of the new feature "Partner Synchro" that allows you to tell your opponent one move (either activate a certain card in play (hand, field grave) or summon a monster, they will continue the rest). The "relationship bubble" (the picture floating over their head or next to their picture) will effect just what you can see in their hand (the anime vein and skull warrant completely blanked-out cards, the ellipsis (...) shows you only the card frame (name, picture and effect are blanked), the musical note provides the card picture and effect (but not the name) and the full heart provides the full card).
- Inazuma Eleven Strikers for Wii has every character build up "kizuna" (literally "bond") values with each other from 0% to 100% as those characters practice together or participate in a same soccer match. The higher the relationship value, the better they perform. Some characters access secret skills and combinations through this process as well.
- In The Old Republic each of your companions have a relationship meter with you that can be increased through selecting the right dialogue options while they're around, or just bribing them with gifts.
- Tekken has this in the way the characters react to each other and cooperate as a team, as well as affecting win poses. It's a little around the place but makes the game worth playing to see the different combinations.
- The Dynasty Warriors: Gundam series has this from the second installment onwards. Oddly, the character's relationships are abstractly with the player, despite the fact you're always controlling one of the very characters you have a relationship score with (and the controlled characters relationship doesn't change). Fighting on the same side as another character builds friendship, which unlocks them as a pilot, followed by further perks such as unique skills or special abilities of their signature Mobile Suit. In the second game, you also lost points with pilots on the hostile side, locking perks back out if you damaged the relationship too much. Fortunately, Koei realized what a nightmare this was as relationships can only go up in the third game.
- Every character in Doki-Doki Universe has a meter that tells you how much they like or hate you, which you can influence by summoning things they like or hate, or by picking them up and throwing them around.
- In Animal Crossing, for almost the same reasons as Harvest Moon. But animal neighbors never actually commit to anything, so instead of anything related to marriage, they just give you a framed photo of themselves once you max out their friendship.
- Freelancer has Relationship Values for every in-game faction. The more jobs you do for them, the higher the respect they hold for you; the more jobs you do for their rivals, the more they will hate you. If you push enough towards one side, that faction will become your friend or enemy. You can also pay for having a good word put upon you at any space station.
- Used heavily in many of the Harvest Moon video games. Some of the bachelor(ette)s have these, usually in the form of hearts, that tell you how much they love you. Once you get them to a certain level, you can then use the Blue Feather (HM's equivalent of a wedding ring) to propose to them.
- The animals have it as well. The higher the relationship level is with them (and, in relationship to this, how good care you take of them), the better produce they provide. In Magical Melody, your relationship level with your horse determines what race you can enter for the Horseracing Festival, which means that you have to actively neglect and upset your horse if you want to keep at the necessary relationship level for certain races.
- Employed in Rune Factory, just like with its sister series Harvest Moon.
- The Lionhead Studios tycoon game The Movies tracks relationships between actors and directors. Closer relationships between co-stars and directors give a slight (but not deal-making) boost to individual movies. Slightly related is the mood-tracking concept that The Movies shares with just about any personal-scope (Sims-style) Simulation Game.
- In Princess Maker 2, some particular meetings and your adoptive Daughter's stats will determine who will she marry. This includes unnamed males of more-or-less high status, a young Dragon, your lovely demon butler, the Prince of the Realm, a nobleman, a local tycoon, a normal man who may leave her in the end, the Demon Lord (who she kills and then steals his power)... or even yourself. Hey, she's your adoptive kid...
- The Princess Maker games in general are notable for this, especially since all Relationship Values are completely invisible, and there's no real way to influence them, besides indirectly. The only one that's easy to predict is the Wife Husbandry ending, because of the sparkly eyes your daughter's drawn with whenever she qualifies for it.
- Both versions of The Sims have this as a central aspect of the game. Relationship Values are visible for player-controlled characters, but there are also more minimal visual indicators for NPCs; icons will appear over the characters' heads when they become friends, best friends, enemies etc. Having a certain number of friends can be a requirement for getting a job promotion, or a goal unto itself.
- In the original game, one expansion added a long-term relationship meter to go with the usual short-term meter, with the icons then reflecting long-term changes over short-term ones.
- There are also situations that have temporary relationship values; you don't have to stay friends with the person, just get them to like you a certain amount in a time limit, such as trying to impress the Headmaster so your kid can go to private school.
- Wing Commander III and Wing Commander IV allowed you to affect your pilots' attitudes, and thus their combat efficacy, in cutscenes. WC4 took it another step by putting you in situations where you had to choose which person to be nice to, and thus which one would take the relationship hit. Thankfully, the games were easy enough to make your wingmen irrelevant.
- Also, in WC3, in a romance subplot you (as Col. Christopher Blair) were given a choice between the ship's chief tech and a pilot under your command. Choosing one made the other unavailable afterward (no Rachel meant you had to configure your own ship loadout, or else you'd launch with no missiles, whereas no Flint just means one less pilot to select for the final mission set), or you could choose neither and make both a little less pleased with you, but keep both of them around.
- Sims in My Sims have a friend meter. It starts at Acquaintance, then goes through Friend up to Best Friend as you give them things they like and Be Nice to them. When you achieve Best Friend status with a particular Sim, you are rewarded: Townies give you special blueprints, while Commercial Sims give you duplicates of their outfits.
- Crusader Kings keeps track of all sorts of relations between characters. First of all between rulers and characters in their courts (a "loyalty" ranking) then for rulers and their vassals, then relations BETWEEN vassals and between rulers and other rulers. Mess things up too much and you can have your empire implode. All of these traits are based on a multitude of factors (prestige, piety, badboy score...) including your character traits (skeptical and zealous characters do not get along) some of the worst traits in the game ("Heretic", "Excommunicated" and "Kinslayer") has the effect of turning you into a real pariah...
- In the sequel, these are scrapped and replaced with a new system wherein every character has an opinion of every other character.
- 4X Strategy games such as the Master of Orion and Civilization series are won or lost by your relations with your neighbors. — or at least by your ability to placate them until you can get around to properly crushing them under your heel.
- Also, in some of those games, you can win Diplomatic or Alliance victories by having extremely high Relationship Values with all the factions that you haven't converted to smoldering piles of rubble.
- On anything but the easiest difficulty levels, it's pretty much impossible to keep the other civilizations happy with you. As soon as you become even moderately successful, they will start plotting to bring you down. Of course, if you have a Democracy, it often behooves you to get your relationship values as low as possible, so that the other civilizations will attack you, eliminating the need to get permission from your Senate to declare war. And there also seems to be a hidden relationship value as far as how your Senate feels about the other civilizations. If it goes low enough, you can declare war on the other civilizations, and your Senate will just look the other way.
- The RTS Seven Kingdoms also have a wealth of diplomacy options with other kingdoms. Unfortunately, the AI tends to be on the aggressive side and will become a sworn enemy if you do as much as build a fort in reach of one of its cities. Or reject their request to declare war on another AI kingdom that probably hasn't done much worse than that to anger them. However, there is still a benefit in forging alliances, and breaking them damages a kingdom's reputation.
Strategy Role Playing Games
- The support conversations of the later Fire Emblem series work this way. Characters who spend a lot of time in battle together can improve their relationship, and will receive statistical bonuses whenever they're near each other on the field. Certain preset combinations change the ending, with the supporting characters getting married or otherwise pursuing their relationship.
- In FE 6, only the main character Roy can have paired endings, and only characters who went to the final battle (the real final battle, that is) get more than a simple line of text stating what happened to them after the war.
- In FE 4, relationship values are determined by how many turns a man and a woman stand together. Whoever reaches 500 relationship points with a woman first becomes her spouse and the father of her children in the next half. Values are also determined by whether or not the pairings are "predestined"; each female comes with three men as her default love interests, and building relations with them takes less time than building them with others (example: Levin/Fury is one of the fastest pairings in the game and can happen in a chapter's span, while pairing Fury with Claude takes forever).
- Fire Emblem Awakening (aka FE 13) has a similar system as FE 4, in that when a male and female reach the 'S' Support level they become committed/married to one another which gives more stat bonuses when the two are in proximity. Depending on the female, they may produce a child who inherits skills and statistical values from both parents. Although even those that don't have children still can reach 'S' rank.
- Interesting example in La Pucelle: Tactics, in which any monster you convert to your side has a visible friendliness meter. Training them causes it to drop, and being nice to them causes it to rise. If it hits 0, the monster leaves with all the gear it had equipped, and if it reaches 10, that monster can use the special ability Purify.
- Many games in the Super Robot Wars series have hidden relationship values between different pilots, whether as friends, rivals, or love interests. This is quite useful in the games it appears in, as it can affect the skills of the pilots if they're surrounded by the people they like.
- Super Robot Wars K has a simple version that determines which of the two sidekicks gets to pilot the mecha that combines with Mist's, affects the OG Big Bad slightly, and determines who's with you in the "fin" slide. If you do it right, you can get both girls in the ending, but you still have to pick who pilots the Selcerius.
- Super Robot Wars Judgement has a similar instance of setting the main character up with one of the copilots, although the implementation differs. There is an instance closer to K's in Super Robot Wars Alpha where you can determine whether Hikaru ends up with Misa or Minmay.
- Tactics Ogre has Loyalty points which are invisible but you can read them through Characters' opinion about the main character. Having Loyalty at zero will make the character feel "Disaffection" and leave the party; some special characters like Aloser will immediately feel "Disaffection" and leave if you make a certain choice. There are many factors for raising and dropping loyalty: leveling them up on non-training battles will increase loyalty, but if you kill enemies with the same race as them they will drop their loyalty. Alignment has an effect too - if you have made "Lawful" choices the Lawful alignment characters' loyalty will increase while "Chaotic" characters' will drop, and vice versa.
- Luminous Arc have Heart levels, which increased by choosing the right dialogue choice in the Intermission sequence with the character after every battle they participated in.
- The sequel, Luminous Arc 2, use a similiar system, except with fixed chapter choices. So you have to choose between two or three characters a chapter to increase their Heart level.
- Luminous Arc 3 continues using the Intermission sequence, along with Refi spending time with a partner of the player's choice and gains a Zodiac Card to perform a Unison Strike with them.
- Agarest Senki lives and breathes on this trope. The higher the relationship value, the stronger the next generation protagonist will be. Same thing goes with Agarest Senki 2.
- In Silent Hill 4:The Room Henry has one with Eileen. The more damage Eileen sustains, the more antagonist Walter Sullivan will be able to possess her. Depending on how hurt/possessed she is, Eileen may speak like a baby, recite the teachings of the Order, attack herself, refuse to move, or sap health from the player. Possession can be counteracted with Holy Candles.) This also affects the game's ending, since the more Eileen has been hurt by the end of the game, the faster she will move toward the Death Machine during the final battle with Walter Sullivan. Eileen's survival or death is one of the two factors that influences the game's ending.
- In Haunting Ground, Fiona finds a dog named Hewie, who is tied to a tree via wire. She frees the dog, who in turn becomes attached to her. By praising the dog for doing something well, or giving him the jerky you find scattered around the castle, Hewie's bond with Fiona increases. Being mean to the dog will make him ignore you, and the ending will change, depending on if he did or did not survive at the game's end.
- In Resident Evil, when playing as Jill, you have a choice mid-game whether or not to trust Barry. This will influence Barry's actions near the end of the game, and ultimately affects the number of survivors.
- Similarly, how you treat Rebecca when playing as Chris (such as, you know, saving her when she's about to be cut in half by a Hunter) will also affect how many survivors there are.
- Resident Evil 5 has a secret trust meter. Play well and work well with your partner and there will be different animations. If it lowers then they can become uncooperative.
- Ib's Multiple Endings are determined by the title character's relationships with Garry and Mary. Having a too-low relationship with either one of them locks you out of the game's best endings, especially with the latter as angering her too much by being overly violent to things around you or failing to get out of the doll room in time when playing as Garry causes her to kill Garry later on (although getting Mary this angry is ironically required to get her ending). The best ending is obtainable only if Garry's bond with Ib is at max or near-max too, which requires you to not only be nice to him and talk to him at every opportunity but also to talk to him a lot of times at said opportunities.
- Most actions you can take that anger Mary are Garry's fault, not Ib's, so you can anger Mary a lot and yet have her feel affectionately towards Ib. As of 1.04, if you almost max out Mary's anger meter and see a couple of disturbing scenes on the side, you are doomed to one of two endings that are even worse than any bad endings the game had previously. However, while in those endings Ib and Garry are completely screwed no matter what you do, you can still save Mary if Ib has gone out of her way to be nice to Mary.
Table Top Games
- Getting good at your pilot's Psychic Powers in Bliss Stage depends entirely on your ability to Level-Up at Intimacy 5 and to avoid losing at zero trust.
- In the RPG based on Smallville characters have relationships with other important characters rated as die type, from d4 to d12, that you can add to rolls that deal with that character. The level does not represent how good the relationship is, but rather how strongly you feel about the other character. A d12 relationship could represent love, hate, or something else entirely.
- In Apocalypse World, every PC has a 'History' stat for every other PC, which indicates not their feelings towards that character, but rather how well they understand them. This stat is rolled against whenever a player wants to help (or hinder) another's roll. It's initially set by choosing options during character creation which determine certain feelings or past events, and after that is altered by how you act - if you heal someone you understand them better, if you hurt someone they understand you better.
Third Person Shooter
- Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction had meters tracking each of the four major factions' attitudes towards you, which could be influenced by helping them (doing missions for them) or harming them (killing their soldiers). This doesn't really affect gameplay, except that if you piss one group off enough, you either have to please them again or bribe them to make them forget what you've done (additionally, pissing off the Allied Nations typically involves causing Allied or civilian casualties, which can get expensive after a while).
Western Role Playing Games
- Obsidian Entertainment often use this in their games.
- Alpha Protocol has Mike getting a Reputation with each major character, which ranges from -10 (enemy) to +10 (friendly). Not every character's reputation can be maxed out in either direction, but most major ones can. Depending on what you want from that character, antagonizing a character into negative values may be just as useful as playing along with them to get a positive value.
- First, they give you story options. For instance, if you can make Albatross hate your guts, you can beckon him into sending his forces to kill you, leading to a helpful Enemy Civil War. Secondly, good and bad reputations give you stat bonuses on missions. For example: If you're unsubtle and threatening while Albatross is your handler, you get a health bonus. But if you're stealthy and manipulative instead, you'll get a stealth bonus.
- In addition, one particular character (Marburg), after doing a lot to deserve death, can only be goaded into a battle if he really hates you. If you've been playing the game telling everyone what they want to hear, then you will never have the chance to kill him.
- Marburg can also be killed by completing Madison's dossier and discovering her secret fact (she's the daughter of Alan Parker), then if you choose to contact Parker in the final mission and pick the "dossier" option, and if Parker has a high enough reputation with you, he'll believe you and try to kill Marburg and end up getting killed himself, then you get to fight Marburg again, only this time, you fight him to the death
- Planescape: Torment relied heavily on interactions with party members to tell the story, and you would have a more-or-less personal relationship with everyone (not necessarily romantic either). Interactions could change alignments, stats and the way the final battle unfolded.
- In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, you could draw some characters to the light or dark side with you. KotOR 2 took this even further: everyone in your party is affected by your alignment, and how much depends on your influence with them.
- Obsidian Entertainment later carried the influence system over to Neverwinter Nights 2.
- They even show you the numbers representing your influence with each character in Mask of the Betrayer. Though the scale seems to have altered; in the original campaign influence changes in steps of one to four, while in Mask of the Betrayer the lowest change is six and the highest is 25.
- And you get bonuses for achieving certain influence levels. The highest bonuses are of course gained from getting Gann (if female) or Safiya (if male) to declare their love for you and returning it.
- Obsidian used a similar faction system for Fallout: New Vegas. It also secretly tracks a "History" stat with certain characters where if they're brought along to a few events/places they will initiate their personal quests.
- Science Girls affects the main character's relationships with the other girls via conversations. This actually doesn't do anything - heck, you may not even know it's there the first time around - until the end of the game. No, not for a romantic pairing, but for determining who the alien hive mind kidnaps and possesses for the final boss battle.
- Every NPC in Arcanum: Henchmen, shopkeepers, guards, rats, every single one - has a Reaction score indicating how much he or she likes the PC, and this score can be changed depending on a number of factors; don't expect to be well-liked if you have a reputation for running naked through the streets of Tarant.
- Baldur's Gate 2 had several romances you could pursue, though people complained that it had limited choices for female players (namely, just one), as well as the romances being tightly scripted (so you were required to give the "right" answer to your prospective partner at every step to make the romance continue). The expansion pack Throne of Bhaal continued the romances, and the epilogues were different depending on who you romanced and what you did in the end.
- Bliss Stage First And Final Act has these as its combat statistics. Relationships form Empathic Weapons; sexual relationships form Infinity Plus One Swords!
- Dragon Age: Origins has this in the form of an approval rating which is affected by the Player Character's decisions and dialogue options, and can also be helped along with gifts. As each party member's approval of the PC increases, they gain stat boosts from the inspiration the main character provides.
- The relationship value also determines whether the relationship is of a friendly or romantic nature. These use the same number and are determined in the same way, but are differentiated by their description on the status page. Although the player can engage in multiple romantic relationships at once, they will eventually be forced to choose a single romantic companion. Shunting the relationship value of the other involved characters from romantic to friendship usually comes with a pretty hefty reduction in the value. Thank the Maker you can just bribe them back into being your BFF with a few shiny gifts.
- Dragon Age II instead has a Friendship/Rival meter similar to Alpha Protocol, which gives party members different passive upgrades and can affect how the Romance Sidequest with characters go. While this allows you to earn their respect even if you disagree, not going far enough one way or the other has the same effect as You Lose at Zero Trust, and can lead to you fighting each other.
- Dragon Age: Inquisition returns to the approval system, but hides the exact numerical valies, just listing which characters approve or disapprove of any specific decision of yours. Occasionally, instead of simply approving or disapproving, they "slightly" or "greatly" approve/disapprove. Unlike most games with this mechanic, you cannot prevent approval gains or losses by not taking specific companions with you; the approval gains affect your entire party, even companions located elsewhere. They even retroactively gain or lose approval for decisions you made before they were recruited.
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind both use a system where every NPC starts with a unique opinion of you, tempered by a faction opinion of you. In Morrowind, it's very easy to abuse.
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has NPC disposition based on each one's responsibility, compared to the player's Fame and Infamy (i.e. high-responsibility characters, like Fighter's Guild members, will like you less with a high Infamy, while members of the Dark Brotherhood will become increasingly amicable). Pretty much everyone hates you if you've become a Vampire. It's possible to raise anyone's disposition via a minigame, too. You can also bribe your way to popularity.
- In World of Warcraft, two values were originally used for hunter pets: Loyalty, which grows over time (if the pet is happy), and happiness, which is raised by feeding the pet food it likes. While Loyalty was pretty much meaningless after a while (unless you let the pet starve long enough), happiness affected the pets base damage. Both were eventually removed, though.
- There's also the sorta-example of reputations.
- Mass Effect 1 has Shepard develop friendships with his/her squadmates by completing side-quests for one half of the team, and romancing one of the squadmates in the other half. Urdnot Wrex, especially, because once Shepard recovers his family armor, persuading him to rejoin the heroes on Virmire becomes several times easier, since he/she earned the krogan's trust.
- Mass Effect 2 has Shepard earn loyalty from each of his/her squadmates by completing their loyalty missions. It's a more oversimplified relationship system, as Shepard can just complete their respective loyalty missions, and boom, instant friendship! However, earning their loyalty also increases their odds of surviving the suicide mission; after all, when you're friends with someone, like Shepard's teammates to Shepard him/herself, your will to get the job done increases, as you're motivated to do it for those friends.
- Shepard would also mediate two arguments, one between Jack and Miranda regarding the former's life as a Cerberus experiment, and the other between Tali and Legion regarding the latter uploading data from the former's people. Shepard could either side with one of those teammates and risk losing the others' loyalty, or if he/she has a high enough Paragon/Renegade meter, persuade both sides to stand down and work together as a team.
- There is an unspoken one in Mass Effect 3 between Commander Shepard and either Ashley Williams or Kaidan Alenko, whomever is still alive. During the first third of the game, they're hospitalized, and through various actions Shepard had undertaken over the course of three games, builds a relationship with them, becomes romantically involved with them, not cheating on them with someone else (or being honest about it if you do), dropping by to visit them in the hospital, getting them a gift, or having a heart to heart about them thinking you betrayed them by joining Cerberus in ME2. At the climax of the mission where Cerberus attacks the Citadel, they are locked in a Mexican standoff with you. A high relationship will have them trust you unconditionally, while lower ones require reputation checks to avoid shooting and killing them.
- There is also another hidden one that affects all party members. It determines which squadmates will emerge from the Normandy after it crashlands, if there are any survivors. Love interests are given highest priority. It also influences who will place Commander Shepard's plaque on the Normandy memorial wall.
- The Citadel DLC has some more low-key examples, tracking who you take with you the most. The story begins with Shepard being ambushed alone - one squadmate comes to the rescue and another assures them over radio that the team is coming (love interests get priority). It later lampshades the Arbitrary Headcount Limit - when Shepard is forced to take two and leave everyone else, one will complain that they wanted to come, and your least-used squaddie will complain that they never get picked.