Thread summary and disclaimer
There will be spoilers.This thread doesn't advocate for less romance options it mainly wishes to address issues with current romances for the mutual benefit of the future ones we wish to see as well. Please engage in the discussion even though maybe none of the current romances satisfy you and feel free to add which you would like to see in future regardless.
This thread is made mainly to sum up some of the sentiment regarding current romances and their state that I was able to collect through various other similar threads. I will try address in detail its impact on the overall narrative elements of the game, lack of it past their prime intimate quest, as well as some other problems that resulted from the creative direction of the developers. I will try to touch on future implementation focus on overarching gameplay mechanics. Lastly I will try give clarity on why this topic bears importance to us. Therefore please don't dismiss this topic as irrelevant due to some other more pertinent issues because no one will disagree with you on that point in many cases. Or dismiss it due to its repetitive nature on a daily basis, since that could be said for many other topics as well. Please be reminded that many of us are on forums for specific topics, that we are passionate about, and we will engage with them daily and mostly ignore others. Repeated topics that address an issue from different standpoints are of interest to us since we feel they impact our experience with Cyberpunk 2077 most. On that note, it would be humbling if this summary of issues and proposed problem solutions serves as a reference point, or argument fodder, to any of you in the ongoing discussions in days ahead. I'll try my best to make the walls of text less intimidating.
Romances in Cyberpunk 2077 are not part of the main story, they bear no impact on the story in any sense at this point, aside from the various ending sequences that they give closure to they don't contribute, in terms of narrative, to much of our decision making or our own character development. Your V will pretty much forget about them up until the events at the roof where you are prompted to call them if you choose to. While the main story has characters you can romance tied to it, they will be phased out onto their own separate side stories to leave you with your choice of engaging with them or not at all.
Briefly summed up achievement and impact with the positive aspects of the romance and its value to the Cyberpunk 2077 community.
For many of us it is the romance and its development that defined Cyberpunk 2077. We found nothing more motivating or engaging in this world like the characters we could get close to and spend time with in their quests and dialogue we had with them. In my personal case I find Judy's character, dialogues and story to be some of the best written piece of media ever, voiced and presented in sublime fashion. I didn't expect to nearly get so invested in her personality, background or story as I started the game. And the beautiful part is that you will hear same sentiment for Panam or River and Kerry. Which goes to compliment how well the writers manage to captivate us in our differences and give us what we didn't expect initially.
- The lead up to your relationships start is exciting due to the dialogue and quests that make you care for the characters response and their personal development as well as their affection to you
- The diversity in character personalities is amazingly presented and explored in precise details with dialogue
- Our personal investment in making right choices to win over our love interest and illicit approval from them kept us going for them at the cost of anything else in the game when presented with that option
- The intimate scenes we are treated to are carefully crafted to protect the integrity of the character as well as present them and sex with them in the most artistically memorable way, thank you for that attention to detail and love for your craft
- You genuinely feel like you know and understand the character and feel like your relationship will last as you look forward to spending more time with them since it has officially now begun
Now we get to the unfortunate depression that kicks in, as the start of your relationship is basically the end of it as well.
To sum up all the points that leave people with sadness after the best part of the romance is over. And we are aware that there can't be endless content on release, but to stop it at the start, and after the first sex? I doubt that was the original plan.
(I address the scarcity of choice in romanceable characters lower in the Disappointment section, since I see the issue stemming from a direct outcome of development choices I don't account for that topic in this section since it only deals with the quality of what is present atm)
- After immersing you with such a true-to-life character and start a relationship with them, the game expects you to forget about them ideally
- All you get is few more lines of dialogue over the phone or if you talk to them in person same ones, a few text messages and stay put till the endings
- There is practically nothing you can do with them, you have no way to show them affection in any way, and they too can't show any themselves
- The abrupt end leaves you at the same time depressed and insanely happy for what you have been through with such an amazing character, but that slaps away all the realism you felt up until this point with them
- The game doesn't care in no way that I have a relationship with a character, there are no consequences to cheating, there is no acknowledgment in any dialogue that you are taken, it is just going tru the motions
- The apartment you get access to as your relationship starts serves the single purpose of giving you a stash to unload your items, as cute as the gesture is from them to give it to you, an extra stash was last on your list of excitement in that moment wasn't it?
- Everything will feel way less engaging past this point, sure you have loads of quests all around the city, but none of them will have any slight connection to the person you care most for, in any way
- The game does nothing with the NOW most important character to get you invested in some other side content with them and it feels like a huge missed opportunity
- Their stories up until the point of intimacy don't translate in anything of impact in terms of consequences, those scary Tyger Claws you wrecked to date Judy? Dw they won't do anything and Wakako is still cool with you too
- With Judy at least you have few messages to respond to and gifts to put a patch on your open wound of loneliness, the other romances get crickets mostly
- Romances feel like victims of gutted content, as interactivity with the world was cut so was the option to interact with your partner in the world at large
- On the other side of the coin, those rejected due to characters preference don't get to really have their new friends or learn more about them
While it would be nice to have the romance reflected in some ways in the events of the main story. It is probably their saving grace to be side quests and tied to city events and ecosystem. And they did still, in some ways interact with your endeavors. If you call the characters after a big story mission they will comment on it with you, it is a nice touch. The following summed up list proposes improvements to the romance feature. If you by any chance happen to be one of the lovely people involved with the development of this wonderful game, feel free to start from here since you likely are aware of the above mentioned points.
On the topic of implementation with the correlation to new gameplay features and quest consequences, these would be some of the ideas that make use of the heavy investment we built with our romance.
- Your character of choice for romance should be the only one that calls you by your full name after the start of the relationship.
- If we refuse a character, allow us to say it is because we are already dating, have someone we wish to date, or on default lines of expressing our sexuality
- No need to reinvent the wheel, there is already lots of simple ways to improve on the monotony of dialogue: randomize and expand the answers these characters can give us, its same lines atm, have them surprise us with different answers based on met conditions. If i ask Judy what new braindances she mixed up, have her tell me 5 different things and let me choose other things to say based on her response. If only artificially for a moment it would make us feel like there is endless depth to her responses
- More messages and text responses. This shouldn't be difficult to implement more of, but it's what couples do endlessly so please. If events follow based on the responses, great! These messages should be spread out past our initial intimacy, they should be prompted after we meet certain thresholds on our side quest clearing path, this way we will always have more story and events to look forward to with our partners
- More quests together, casual or serious, romantic and sweet. Ideally these are prompted by natural means of an affectionate nature, as couples usually would, initiated through call or text message, as certain progression on the overarching side story list is met. Those can vary from trip to the bar, restaurant, conversation on top of a building under the stars, or even better: character specific hobby, let me do more with Judy's passion for brain dances, diving or art
- More intimacy; option to kiss, hug should be somewhere in these responses we give to our lover. Ways to trigger more sex scenes with our partner after these new events and stories
- Don't make it too easy. We want the challenge and sharp decision making to getting into the heart of ones we love. Triggering the intimate scenes should come with perfect decision making in dialogue choices and actions in quests/events, just because we were intimate once it shouldn't be open season on sex, we still should put up work for the next occasion and be treated to another wonderfully choreographed sex scene
- Make more use of that apartment after they let us live with them I beg of you. At least to hug and kiss them and fall asleep with them. More dialogue on those parts would already make it so much more meaningful. I propose to find them in a different state when we visit the apartment, working on something, sleeping, taking a shower/bath, prepping dinner etc. And based on those states you can expect different dialogue and interaction, with a hug/kiss there somewhere.
- New side story quests with our romances should be entirely tailor made to fit them and driven by them, even if they are to join as companions, they should drive the quest equally to V as they have up until now
The above mentioned suggestions for improvement are made in faith that the team will always keep the integrity and authenticity of their character, therefore they are in no way demands and we all agree that ultimately the writers and developers will know which characters are suited to be expanded upon in what way. These are just some ways the community thinks would add more value to the romances in Cyberpunk 2077.
- New gameplay features should ideally have some connection to romances, we don't want to have new content just for contents sake without it being driven by either some factions or characters we know or romance, whatever the preferred one is in the eyes of the developers
- Your stories and romances create a tremendous motivation tied to that character, let a gang retaliate against us by going after them since our choices of quests lead us down this path. You can give us new ways to just blow the heads off of bad guys on the streets for no particular reason but freedom, or you can structure a quest that involves our love interest and the use of that new feature in their rescue. Such approach not only gives us more motivation to focus on the quest but also we feel the impact of its importance and importance of the use of the newly added gameplay mechanics
In the relation to romances, 2 other issues seem to be very widely discussed. The lack of characters to romance and the characters sexual preferences.
On the first point it is a good time to define what the community sees as a romance. Romance isn't just having sex with a character, otherwise we would be treating the 4 joy toys as romance choices, which no one does. Romance refers to the commitment that the character makes to us and we to them and our investment in their story and further development of this relationship through dialogue. Some people felt they couldn't find any of the 4 choices worth their time and expressed desires for other characters to be dated. Or simply felt that some were cut and were intended to be romance choices. To give reference as to who they are I tried to compile the most requested ones.
While we all wish to see more choices in the future, until the above mentioned issues with the current relationships are addressed we would be setting ourselves for a low standard for any future character. It would only lead to the same feeling of missed opportunity and unfulfilled potential in regards to romance. Therefore I hope we can all agree on wishing to first set a higher bar for quality in this regard, so all the following characters feel like real expansions of our quality time with them.
- Mox bouncer Rita
Many threads try address the developers choice of making the romanced characters have sexual preferences. They mostly seem to call for making all characters player sexual, basically bisexual or offer the counter argument that it is better to keep them as they are and advocate for more character choices in the future instead. The most prelevant one seems to be surrounding Judy. And the consensus is always on the side of keeping them as they are. In Judy's case her dialogue and background story is woven with her sexuality. Taking that away from her to accommodate the player, majority agrees would be a lazy way of addressing this topic as well as it would damage the integrity of her character and personality that the designers and writers envisioned her to have. This sentiment extends to the other romance choices and the community for the most part agrees with the authors and their original vision and wish to keep them the way they are. One of the arguments emphasizes that such changes would sever the ties the players have to them as they are now, but also appreciate the value of having been treated to 2 separate parts of their personality in their acceptance and their refusal. Therefor acknowledging the depth of character they show as well as reflect authenticity to reality, making them stand out as their own defined personalities within a virtual setting.
However, following the threads we tried to find why these 2 topics arose often. The conclusion I think might be related to how little time people felt they got to spend with those that rejected them. They felt a lack in opportunity of getting to know them better in a way. Because their new friendship basically comes to a forced halt, similar to those that did end up in a relationship with the character. There should be still ways for them to get to know these characters better as friends and spend time with them around a certain event.
Some people felt that none of the romance characters manage to illicit any affinity from them due to their own preferences in appearance or personality. While we are aware we can't have someone that will satisfy everyone all of the time in those regards, something very close to getting there is possible in Night City. Following up on the subject above in regards to the romance choices I would like to promote an idea that would solve many issues with romance affinity and diversity. The theme subject and narrative solution of this problem is represented in the Clouds service in Night City. Which I feel holds this possibility and can make use of it in future.
- Clouds can be the ideal place for V to create his/her perfect looking doll and start the romance questline with that character
- Allow V to expand the relationship with the doll outside of Clouds with expected narrative consequences and build their story upon it
- Both the male doll and the female doll have separate background stories, fully developed and deep as you would expect it for any baseline character romance and with the expected quality writing in storytelling and dialogue choices
- Have the dialogue diversity reflect the selected sexual preference of the doll that V made, this way they can choose if the doll will reject or accept them while the doll chip is not active, and of course V can choose to reject them regardless in the end
- The doll's questline can easily be tied with Judy's questline since it has direct impact on Clouds
- Explore the concept of dolls with this questline, have the doll question V on his or her decisions when it came to their looks and choice of clothing, let us be questioned if our ability to choose all about them is part of the problem ( this is just a suggestion that goes directly into what the writers decide so its just to be used as one of many possibilities in the characters development, the writers will likely have way better ideas for the character )
- Fully voiced male and female doll should ideally transcend their origin in our story as just a created-to-measure doll into a fully realized character as is the case with the main ones we have currently
- As with the main romances, allow for continuation of the relationship or friendship along the lines of the aforementioned suggested improvements to the relationship
This idea basically advocates for 2 more romance options that would cover the issues of sexuality as well as appearance while staying true and in line with the structure of the Clouds Cyberpunk theme.
On the point of personality, this wouldn't offer a definitive appeal to everyone's desires, even though it could with dialogue adaptations. But honestly would you want that? Would you like your doll to be tailored to the point of personality? When you at the start know how they would pan out and behave in the end, wouldn't that lose all the charm of getting to know them? I would rather their personality be defined while in the doll state but have you surprised once out of it for the narrative benefit of their development based on the expert writing of CDPR's writing team.
I've decided to include this idea suggestion because, while it doesn't directly push for quality like the segments above, it still solves some gripes with romances that people have in a practical way while still following the setting and themes of Night City. Mainly the concept of a tailor made relationship and person as per Cloud advertising. And I feel its a valid argument to push for instead of making threads on how disappointed people are with lack of characters to date or other issues connected to it. This would give a deep rooted romance shaped partly by V that would ideally reduce the needs to change existing ones. And that will protect the quality in the end while providing more diversity.
I wanted to include this bit because it will go towards showing how important this part of Cyberpunk 2077 is for so many of us. And why this feature of the game has most replay value and investment on our part. And I can tell you with high confidence that many of us would hop back in immediately, if we just get more text messages from our beloved character that we romanced after already completing everything.
I also wish to say why this topic has lasting value in an environment that will mostly focus on more gameplay features, while somehow not considering romance to be a gameplay feature, and/or condemning it to being a lofty wish twards making Cyberpunk a dating simulator game.
First of all none of us advocate for less gameplay features or variety in player freedoms if we wish for more romance or better interactivity in said romances. We are all aware of countless ways that the gameplay can be improved and expanded but we limit our investment to the part of the game that we feel most passionate about knowing that many topics and people already push for more gameplay improvements.
Secondly, the game's narrative, immersion and motivation for playing is by far more influenced by the romance for many of us than any other story or feature. Asking not to care about it would be setting this medium back decades. It is because you can have meaningful relationship with a character as a driving force that you have a more fulfilling and interactive gameplay experience. You can have your flying drone equipped with a railgun sniper rifle to scout your target and blast their heads of to mess some gang because they bad ya'll! Or, you could use the railgun sniper rifle drone to blast them off because they kidnapped your love interest to get back at you and you want to enact vengeance while keeping her/him safe. Which of these sounds like a better motivation?
Thirdly, gameplay for the sake of gameplay only will leave you feeling like the map is essentially empty and repetitive. And when you get more features and hear that none of them impact your decisions or story elements, none of them make you choose carefully which path to go with and which not, because its just a check list to go tru. Yes that is what you get if you ignore the narrative driving factors like romance or character involvement/development.
Lastly, there are no other games that have Judy, Panam, River, Kerry, Johnny, Takemura, etc. While there are endless approaches in other games to tackle your gameplay problems none of those games have these characters. And we can't ask for more time with them anywhere else aside from Cyberpunk 2077.
Please tell if you feel I forgot to include valid points or haven't addressed some. Thank you for taking the time.