So, things are different in this game than they were in Our Life: Beginnings & Always when it comes to creating a relationship with the leading characters. And all of this here in such a long post is why we’re not really committing to having extra side character stories for OL2. There’s a lot do with just the two we’ve got, ahah.
It can be overwhelming when laid out like this in text but don’t worry, it’s very straightforward to use in the game itself. You only have to click a few options that feel like they fit your MC and then it’s set up. Now, here’s the actual breakdown of the feature-
The Interest/Comfort system from the first OL is gone. The Warm/Moderate/Cold-Sporty/Mixed/Studious system Cove used has been replaced as well. We, hopefully, made the elements less confusing by putting it all together in one combo feature instead of fully separate ones.
It’s called the “Relationship Dynamic System”. Your Dynamics between Tamarack and between Qiu are entirely separate. You can feel/act totally different when it comes to one over the other, or you can also choose to have similar feelings/behaviors when it comes to both. The Dynamic System has two major parts: Relationship Standing and Expression Elements-
- This is in regards to the info displayed along the top of the screen in that preview image
- Your Relationship Standing determines how close you are with the other person and if your closeness is platonic or romantic
- There are five main Relationship Standings: Neighbors, Friends, Crushes, Family, and Beloveds
- Your Relationship Standing with the selected character will always be mutual. If it’s friends, for example, you and Tamarack/Qiu both agree that you’re friends
- Neighbors, Friends, and Crushes have no limitations. You can choose them starting from Step 1, you can switch between them when going into a new Step, in very special cases you can even change your standing in the middle of a Step, and you can use any of these standings with both Tamarack and Qiu at the same time.
- Family and Beloveds are deeper feelings of affection that only unlock in Step 3 and beyond. Family is platonic love and Beloveds is romantic love. You can’t change these standings once you’ve chosen them. They’re not feelings that will waver
- You can have both Tamarack and Qiu at Family, you can only have one at Beloveds
- There are three additional, non-main Relationship Standings as well; Partners, Fiancées, and Spouses. Those are used if you get into particular types of romantic relationships. You can also only have one of them at those standings
- Basically, you can’t date/marry both. You can have crushes on both and never officially become an item with anyone, or you can eventually get over your crush on one and get together with the other
- If you do start going steady with Tamarack or Qiu, you can’t break up. That’s a permanent relationship change
- We are keeping in mind a potential polyamorous option, which would let you be romantically involved with both, but it’s not a for sure thing
- And maybe there will be some other possible non-main Relationship Standings you could get into. We’ll see how that goes when the development is further along
- This is in regards to the info displayed in the middle section of the screen on that preview image
- Expression Elements set personality traits, but specifically in terms of who you are for another person. This doesn’t have to be the same for everybody, you can be different with different people based on your feelings/preferences
- There are three Meters you get to set yourself along when it comes to your behavior towards Tamarack/Qiu, and Tamarack/Qiu also have their own settings along the Meters
- None of these settings have to be mutual between you and them. It can all be different, some the same, or all the same
- Meter 1: Deferring - Teamworking - Contesting. Determines if the character acts as a follower, collaborator, or wants to be the decision maker, whether the other is actually following them or not
- Meter 2: Praising – Easygoing - Teasing. Used to set if the character brings up positives or is even flirty, goes with the flow without pushing forward or back, or tends to give the other a hard time or make jokes out of things
- Meter 3: Doting – Accepting – Idolizing. Controls how the character thinks of the other. Do they feel like they need to look out for them, or that they’re on the same level as each other, or that the person is more incredible than other people (including themselves)?
- Yours and their Expression Settings are conveyed in isolation and in combination. If you’re both doting it won’t be exactly the same than if one is doting and the other is idolizing, for example
- You’ll get to set your own Expression Elements for both of them at the start of every Step
- In Step 1, Tamarack and Qiu have just met the MC and so their Expression Elements towards the MC are always the same no matter what
- In Steps 2-4, both of their Expression Elements will be determined based on their unique experiences with the MC and will use your choices throughout the prior Step as the deciding factor for the settings. Or you can simply customize them to your preference
- And there is one more Meter that unlocks starting in Step 2 if you have a Relationship Standing other than Neighbors
- Meter 4: Jealous Of - Not Jealous – Jealous Over. Only exists to add optional elements of drama to your story. Jealous Of means the character is envious of what the other person has (such as wishing they had a similar family life, or were as popular in school as they are, etc.), Jealous Over means they’re protective/competitive when it comes to the other person’s attention
- Qiu and Tamarack will always naturally be set to Not Jealous, which skips all of that. You’ll have to choose to customize their Expression Elements and intentionally add the jealousy feelings for them and/or yourself
- And even with jealousy on, it’s still Our Life. The feelings aren’t hateful/destructive and it all works out with communication/making an effort
- But that’s right people who wanted jealousy in OL1 and I didn’t do it ‘cause I prefer to avoid those scenes myself, I heard you and made a compromise. Now they’re there and fully skippable
Relationship Standing and Expression Elements work together to make your unique Dynamic in each Step. However, they don’t replace being able to choose what you say/do in the events themselves. This is more of an overall type of deal and you still control the specifics from scene to scene. You can have a contesting dynamic but make choices that have your MC be shy/independent instead of bold/sociable about their decision making, and such.
And there’s still the extra layers in future Steps where your past relationship with the person has ripples within your current relationship. Being at Crushes in Step 3 will be somewhat different if you used to friends than if you were crushing from the start, and so on.
The Initiative Level feature from OL1 is also in this game too, I’m just not gonna include a description of it here because it isn’t changing much and this is too big already. You’ll also be able to like or dislike side characters you meet, but that’s a much simpler system done through normal choices.
And okay, finally, that’s the very long to explain, but ideally not too confusing to make sense of, Relationship Dynamic System! I think it’s gonna be super nifty and way more flexible than our first attempt at making this kind of feature. Hopefully you’ll all enjoy it too!
(Alright one last thing. Tamarack’s automatic Step 1 Expression Settings can be seen in the screenshot: Contesting, Praising, and Accepting. If you’re wondering, Qiu’s Step 1 settings are always: Teamworking, Teasing, and Doting. It’s done now.)