Relationships and marriage in games

First off - I think gaming is headed in a similar direction to what you are talking about. The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite were two games that played upon a family relationship.

But why not marriage? I can think of several reasons:

  • Marriage is not that interesting/relatable to young gamers. Getting married is interesting, but the trials and wonders of marriage are all but lost to a 14 year old, and for good reason. Young players can still relate to a father figure like Sam from Splinter Cell, or Max Payne. Even if its the loss of a wife (Kratos), its easier to project. But actual marriage, where the spouse is alive? This brings us to the next point.
  • Marriage is a touchy fucking subject. What makes a good marriage? What's appropriate? This is a country that made spouses sleep in separate beds on TV till the 1960s. A similar concept still persists: if you want to make a high-selling video game, you had better not be making a huge statement on something important, like family values. To sum this point up - it's hard to encapsulate what a good marriage is. You'd have to be real careful in how you displayed marriage, else it would be very offensive to someone or really boring to everyone.
  • Marriage is boring. This comes from the previous two points. It's way more fun to keep things superficial in the game, and allow the player to imagine up his/her own background story. That's why characters in games like Fire Emblem, Harvest Moon, and Fable (oh god) have little actual depth; it's all superficial stuff to allow for the player to add in his own depth with his.her imagination. As soon as you add a lot of depth to your characters, you are watching a movie - but guess what? Video games are intrinsically based on immersion and projection, so having a love interest that the player doesn't get to pick is really only going to disenfranchise part of your player market.
/r/truegaming Thread