Romance in video games can be deep and meaningful, but a lot of romantic subplots are on the shallow side thanks to poor NPC characterization.
But if there’s one thing BioWare does right as a studio, it’s character development. While not all of their romances are moving to the same degree—some not at all—they have a pretty good track record for representing romance between many different types of people. Between Mass Effect and Dragon Age romance plots, there are tons to choose from—these are just a few favorites.
Tali’Zorah nar Rayya starts out as Shepard’s introduction to quarians in Mass Effect, but by the end of the series she becomes so much more. She’s originally on her pilgrimage—a quarian rite of passage that requires young quarians to leave their birth ship in the Migrant Fleet to find something of value and secure their place on a new ship.. By Mass Effect 2, she’s a member of a new crew and a more independent and certain character; when their romance begins, it’s despite the risk of illness that comes with being a quarian.
Though many fans were disappointed with the ultimate reveal of Tali’s face, there’s still a lot to like about this romance. Tali changes her name to Tali’Zorah vas Normandy, signifying her attachment to the ship and its crew. And when Shepard ultimately sends her away before heading into the Citadel for the game’s climax, telling her to return to the quarian homeworld of Rannoch, she replies that she “already has a home.” After years spent as nomadic and even with her homeworld fully restored, it’s in her relationship with Shepard that she truly feels at home.