I was actually going to do this article on the day after Valentine’s Day to be ironic and funny, buuut I ended up playing Fire Emblem instead, so, there ya go.
Here I submit for your amusement, my top five gaming heroes stuck in the friend zone!
5) Bianca Whitaker (Dragon Quest V)
I’m not sure if this one really counts, because you were pretty much supposed to marry Bianca, and the game is stacked to make you just feel absolutely dreadful if you don’t pick her. Even so, I apparently have a thing for volatile, mean, angry girls who are secretly sweet on the inside, because I fell for Deborah in a heartbeat. What can I say? I’m apparently into tsundere. Go figure.
So anywho, the entire game Bianca is your constant companion. The two of you meet shortly after you and your father move to a new village, and embark on a touching adventure to reunite a slain king and queen from beyond the grave. Why do you go on this harrowing quest? Because you like Bianca and she wants to save a poor kitty from getting tortured by the local boys. The two of you risk life and limb sneaking out at night and battling an army of ghosts, monsters and demons, and reunite the king and queen.
After the two of you reunite the betrothed and save the kitty, you end up getting separated and once again tragedy follows you several times over. Many, many years pass before you see Bianca again, and when you do she joins you on yet another epic quest. This time however Bianca joins you on a quest that she has no stake in beyond liking you.
You need an airship, which you can only get by marrying a mayor’s daughter. One of the two of them, as there’s a second daughter in the new game. Of course, the mayor and his daughters will respect true love if you choose Bianca, buuuut yeah…I chose the girl I knew for two days over my childhood friend.
I’m about to call Maxim a jerk in the next article for doing exactly what I did, so maybe I should be nicer, but, yeah…I dunno…I just…wasn’t that into Bianca. Which…yeah…I kinda feel bad about that I guess…
She went on to help plan my wedding, aaaand adventured with me when I needed to find my missing wife…so…yeah…
I’d like to point out that I wrote this article in reverse, so now my writing of the Bianca section is super ironic…
4) Tia (Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals)
This one was so unfair that even if you didn’t like the anime stereotypical Tia (I did) you still felt a blow to the chest with how this one played out. Tia has been friends with Maxim ever since they were children, and ventured with him when the Sinistrals declared war on existence for no other reason than because she loved him.
Tia spends a fair amount of time him-hawing around the subject, but ultimately does let her crush know how she feels. Take into account that she packed up her gear, left her entire life behind, put herself in danger constantly against dragons, demons and more, and when Maxim couldn’t take a hint she finally poured her heart out to him…and…
For those of you that still plan on playing the game, let’s just say the results could’ve been better. Especially when she spent most of her adventure fighting right next to…well…yeah…
You know what? SPOILER ALERT!!! Maxim chooses Selan instead, whom he knew for a handful of weeks over the girl who loved him all her life.
Maxim, you’re a jerk.
3) Seth (Lost Odyssey)
I feel absolutely awful for poor Seth! I mean, beyond dreadful really! As if having her memories wiped and being yanked from her homeland wasn’t bad enough, as though being forced to wander a battlefield alone for a thousand years wasn’t bad enough, as though constantly living with a deep seated feeling of loss and failure and not understanding why until over a thousand years passes isn’t bad enough…
The man she loves turns out to belong to another woman…after she spends several years fighting alongside him and watching his back!
Seth is a constant companion of protagonist Kaim, and though we’re not certain how many years the two fought alongside each other, it is quite clear that she cares deeply for him. She shares Kaim’s unfortunate fate of being an immortal with no memories, and so feels even closer to him because of that. Even so, Kaim is haunted by memories of the loss of his child and a woman he knows is his wife but doesn’t know where to find or if she’s even still alive.
Seth knows that Kaim’s heart is haunted, and that it belongs to a ghost, but she holds on and fights beside him in spite of that. Love makes you put yourself through some pretty awful things, and trying to fight the past of your beloved is one of the most painful things to endure.
Worse still for Seth, is when she discovers that the wife of the man she loves…might still be out there…
In spite of all of this, Seth still fights beside Kaim and sees their journey through to the end.
Love makes you endure some pretty awful things.
2)Anya Stroud (Gears of War)
Marcus Fenix, I sincerely hope you realize how lucky you are buddy! I can’t think of many women who would wait for the guy they like to notice them for like fifteen plus years. Anya Stroud is the intelligent, confident, powerful and of course beautiful daughter of Helena Stroud, who was scary powerful on the battlefield. If you ever read Karen Traviss’ absolutely amazing Gears of War novels you get further insight into the poor gal who spends what little time she has away from directing missions and on the front line trying to get the moody Marcus Fenix to stop being dour long enough to pay attention to her.
Anya is aware of Marcus’ emotional block, a result of his cold and distant upbringing as well as the loss of both of his parents and being forced to spend four years in the darkest prison on Jacinto for trying to save his father’s life, but that doesn’t make being enamored with him any easier! Anya suffered a similar fate; to my knowledge she never knew her father, and her mother was brutally killed in action during one of the most devastating campaigns in Gears history.
Unfortunately, as does occur in real life, Anya and Marcus each dealt with and emerged from their trauma differently. Anya found the value and necessity of making sure the people you love know that you love them, while Marcus found that the best way to carry yourself was to be as distant from the emotion as possible. Even with his best friend, Dominic Santiago, there’s a measured distance there, and the unfortunate example set by Dom’s losses did nothing to make Marcus more outwardly affectionate towards the woman that would lay her life down for him.
Twenty years, five novels and four games later, Anya sorta kinda made progress to .5 base. Hang in there gal’, I’m sure he’ll give you a nervous and clumsy peck on the cheek…on his deathbed.
1) Lucca (Chrono Trigger)
This is the big one for me! Now, first and foremost, I never like the protagonist in any RPG that doesn’t have create a character. Well, almost never. However they’re certainly never my favorite character. I think Tales of Graces F might have been the only RPG I’ve played where the main character was simultaneously someone I liked and also my favorite.
By and large though? Final Fantasy 9 my favorites were Freya and Amarant. Tales of Symphonia I didn’t like Lloyd but I loved, well, everyone aside from Lloyd and Colette. Sheena, Priscella and the guy with his arms bound were my favorites. Chrono Trigger? I was all about Magus, and I couldn’t stand Marle!
Now Lucca? That’s my kinda girl! Intelligent, classy, reliable, caring, honest, resourceful, that’s the kind of girl I want. Marle? Sorry, but I don’t care how busty and rich you are, if you’re a loudmouth idiot with no depth who keeps getting me into fights all the time, you are so far down my list I can’t even begin to find a place for you!!!
Lucca was there for Crono from the very beginning. She had his back, she looked out for him, she stood by him, and she traveled across the sands of time for him. Lucca really honestly had no stake in this adventure. I mean, everyone has a stake in the planet not getting destroyed by a giant porcupine turtle, but by and large Lucca had no stake in the fight beyond the fact that she liked Crono.
Marle went and got herself cast through a time gate, Lucca was like “Oh crap…I sent my best friend’s girlfriend back in time…I should really do something about that.”
So she went back in time and saved your sorry butt. Then a monster was coming after them, so she was like “Crap, I better help fight this too!” Then she got back to her own time period, yaaaay! Except Crono and company kept finding more drama to get into, and Lucca was there for all of it.
Seriously, literally everyone else in the game had a vested reason to get involved. Crono had the hots for Marle, Marle is an impulsive b…rat, Frog wants revenge on Magus, Magus wants to find his sister, Robo wants to thank Lucca for saving his life, and Ayla wants…well…Crono I guess. And also to make sure the future that is wrought from her tribe doesn’t get wiped out.
Lucca? She pretty much likes Crono and really wants to impress him. That’s about it. And at the end of the day who does he pick? The busty blonde with zero brains and zero personality over the cute brain with awesome purple hair who has been taking care of him from the start.
If I didn’t dislike Crono before, I certainly don’t like him now! Oh, and to everyone going “How can you hate him, he’s a silent protagonist! He’s supposed to be you!” My answer is thus:
There is no way in crap that I would pick Marle over Lucca. I’m just sayin’. Oh, and as a bonus round I’d actually say Schala is the number one gaming character stuck in the friend zone, but if I told you why it would ruin Chrono Cross and Radical Dreamers, so, go find out for yourselves!