Co-operative Romance

*Bow-chicka-wow-owwwww* No! Bad background music, stop it!

*Kenny G sax floats in from the nether* Wait- What? No! Stop, I say! Take your sax and go on the waggley-eyebrows you rode in on!

Right. We done? Good.

So I recently heard for the first time about a game called Haven from one of Angie’s posts. It’s from the developers behind Furi, The Game Bakers. Furi was an extremely well received game but even so, Haven forges its own path in quite a different direction in all respects except elements of the aesthetic and an overarching theme of fighting for freedom.

Where Furi was a frenetic action combat game — Haven takes a more relaxed JRPG approach to combat and includes pacifist options to at least some extent.

You play as two characters — a young couple in love. So far we don’t know a lot about their situation, but they’ve escaped to a deserted planet in order to stay together. We don’t know why law or the rest of society wants them apart, but I figure it’s something we’ll discover in the course of the game.

Oooh. That’s where the bow-chicka-wow-oww’s were coming from.

The game is focused on being a single-player experience first and foremost but allows for co-op play as well.

As a single-player experience, this could potentially be a bit of fun. As a co-op experience it makes me extremely uncomfortable.

I noted that in the comments back to Angie, but it took a bit of back and forth to get to a point of articulation on why it makes me so uncomfortable.

Turns out it wasn’t even really that deep or complicated in the end. It’s simply that I view the character (or characters) I control in a game, at least to a certain extent, as an extension of myself. Their actions are my actions. Extend that out to a co-op situation and my character is ‘me’ and your character is ‘you’.

But it doesn’t even matter who I imagine inserting into the role of ‘you’, it seems to me this would be an incredibly awkward and uncomfortable experience — including even playing with my wife (were she even interested in gaming).

I think The Game Bakers have come to this realisation or otherwise already received this feedback though. If you look at their original press kit it merely says, ‘A solo game at its core, but at any time, a second player can jump in locally.’ Contrast to more recent commentary on the co-op feature on the Steam page, ‘A RPG to play solo or with a special someone.’

For me? That still seems strange. But a bit more understandable. I wonder whether or not it would be a different perception if my wife and I gamed together more generally. I think not, but I can’t be certain.


Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

5 Responses

  1. Krikket says:

    So, I hadn’t even heard of this game yet, but I wonder if they primary consideration was more that “everyone always wants co-op” over how co-op in a game like this would actually feel. I cannot count the number of times people have suggested (and even demanded) co-op be added to games that it just made no sense in. A game with dual protagonists seems to be a logical course for co-op, but at the same time, I feel like the audience who would be truly comfortable with it here is very very narrow indeed.

    My husband and I do both game, but our tastes are hugely different (mostly in that mine are very broad and his are quite narrow), but I do have a co-op partner I’ve played games with like “We Were Here” and the sequel. We could probably play something like this together, because we also both can look at a game critically and separate how we feel from how the game wants us to feel, if that makes any sense.

    Still. Yeah, this is a weird one.

    • Naithin says:

      Hah, I wonder whether you might have the right of it with the demand for co-op. Could’ve even come from somewhere internally. ‘Well, we have two characters anyway, may as well.’

      Meanwhile, the writer is rocking back and forth in the corner trying to wake up.

      • Krikket says:

        So, I went poking and it’s only LOCAL co-op. Welp. Way to make something awkward even … awkward-er. Now I really have no idea what they were thinking.

  2. Rakuno says:

    I think it might be interesting to play with a significant other. Otherwise, yeah, solo-play only. Interesting game concept in any case.

    • Naithin says:

      Why playing with an SO also seems awkward to me is tougher to explain, but it might be as simple as recognising it as more to do with our specific situation. I mean… I don’t want to call my wife a prude, because she might even read this. (Hiiii, love yooou! xD)

      ((But she does prefer that we fastforward any bow-chicka-wow-oww moments in TV shows. ;)))

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