True love can be the greatest part of someone’s life—unless it turns out the person you love is related to you. A surprising number of games feature romantic love between related characters. Whether the characters are siblings, cousins, or even parents and their children, these 15 games ship characters together regardless of their familial connection.
In fact, most of these games purposefully ship family members to make you uncomfortable. In some games, significant characters develop relationships in linear, unavoidable plot points. The other games don’t emphasize these taboo relationshops—and make them completely optional. You determine how close the characters get. We could endlessly debate about whether it’s wrong to make this a playable option, but at least the developers aren’t forcing it down our throats (most of the time).
For half of these games, the characters have no idea they’re related. Thus their love is innocent—although most still feel awkward when they discover the truth.
If you’re uncomfortable with romantic relationships between family members, you should avoid these games. However, most of the games are amazing despite their bizarre relationships. You’ll cringe as your favorite characters get too close, but at least the great gameplay will distract you from the disturbing stories.
15. You Are All My Children. Or Grandchildren. It’s Hard To Tell…
Taking place ten years after Fallout 3, Fallout 4 shows significant progress in synth development. Multiple third-generation synths now populate the area of Boston, where they are being created. You eventually learn that the Institute—a radical group who kidnapped your son, Shaun—create third-generation synths using Shaun’s DNA.
Thanks to Shaun’s DNA, third-generation synths are far more human than their predecessors. However, his DNA also makes them your family—which is a big problem if you romanced any of them. You may romance three different synths (Curie, Magnolia, or Paladin Danse), all of whom carry your son’s DNA.
None of the romanceable synths look like Shaun, so it’s unclear if the Institute combined his DNA with other DNA. If they did, the synths function as your grandchildren; if the synths only possess Shaun’s DNA, they’re more like your children. Either way, you’re biologically romancing a family member.
14. Did You Forget We’re Cousins?
After journeying with Yuna, Rikku, Brother, and Cid for hours in Final Fantasy X, you finally learn they’re related. Cid and Yuna’s mother are siblings, making Cid’s children (Rikku and Brother) Yuna’s cousins. They interact like a normal, cute family throughout Final Fantasy X—but that all changes in the sequel.
Throughout Final Fantasy X-2, Brother expresses his inappropriate love for Yuna. While Rikku and Yuna continue as regular cousins, Brother flirts with Yuna, demands that she dance for him, and more. To this day, I’m not sure if Brother is ignorant of their familial connection or if he just doesn’t care.
13. Break The Rules At Your Own Risk
The rules of The Sims 2 prevent nuclear family and cousins from marrying. Oddly enough, the rules don’t prohibit all incestuous marriages. Distant family members like first cousins once removed are perfectly capable of marrying.
If this still isn’t kinky enough for you, you can break the game’s rules a variety of ways to let blood-relatives marry. For example, if you force parents to mistreat their child, a social worker takes away the child, and the game cuts off their familial ties. Now the parents can have another child, and the two children can marry. Since the game doesn’t recognize their relationship, the half-siblings can fall in love.
12. VERY Young Love
You develop multiple relationships in Persona 4, but none are as inappropriate as your relationship with your six-year-old cousin. Nanako lovingly refers to you as her big brother throughout the game, so you might mistake her love for familial love. After all, she constantly associates love with family, particularly since you help her reconnect with her father.
However, the nature of your relationship changes at the end of the game. Nanako unflinchingly says: “When I grow up, I want to marry you, big bro.”
Before you can discard this as an innocently misplaced childhood crush, Nanako’s father (your uncle) speaks. If you’ve established a strong bond with Nanako and her father, he approves of the marriage! He specifies that you can only marry when you’re both adults, “a long time” from now, so at least the family doesn’t break every social rule.
11. I Swear, I’m Just Doing This For The Stats
While the Pokémon TV show presents Pokémon as sentient—almost human—companions, the games treat Pokémon like objects. You use Pokémon to collect more Pokémon and beat the game—that’s it. Even if you grow attached to your animal companions, you’re still going to specifically catch the strongest Pokémon in the world.
In order to build the strongest party, players breed Pokémon together—including related Pokémon. Family members share certain advantages, and those advantages multiply within their offspring. If you want to quickly and effortlessly form a powerful team, you can breed related Pokémon—but you’ll sacrifice your moral integrity in the process.
Nintendo, fortunately, doesn’t encourage you to practice inbreeding. Nonetheless, it’s inappropriate for a kids’ game to make inbreeding an advantageous option.
10. Ghostly Love
Miku and her brother, Mafuyu, grow closer throughout the Fatal Frame series. Even after Mafuyu dies, Miku finds a way to communicate with him—and even reproduce with him!
In Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, a cutscene shows Miku performing the Yuukon ritual to posthumously marry Mafuyu. His ghost appears beside her. We eventually learn that Miu, one of the protagonists of Maiden of Black Water, is Miku’s daughter. Miu’s also a Yomi Ko, meaning she’s the child of a living person and a dead person.
By this point, most players figured out Miku and Mafuyu crossed social boundaries to produce Miu. The developers later released an official guidebook which confirmed Miu’s heritage: Miku and her ghostly brother somehow had a child together.
9. So…We’re Siblings? Let’s Fight To The Death!
Travis, the protagonist of No More Heroes, loves Jeane throughout their childhood. They date and eventually sleep together—until Jeane murders his parents in front of him. Seeking vengeance, Travis destroys Jeane’s organization and finally confronts her at the end of the game.
When Travis demands answers, Jeane happily accepts—but she warns us that those answers are extremely inappropriate. In order to keep No More Heroes somewhat appropriate, she amusingly fast-forwards through her own dialogue.
If you record and slow down the scene, you learn that Jeane and Travis are actually half-siblings with the same father. While Travis never knew of their relation, Jeane knew and nonetheless slept with him. Because their father abused Jeane and caused her mother to commit suicide, Jeane murders him and his new wife. Perhaps Jeane used Travis to find her father, or perhaps she truly loved Travis. I guess we’ll never know: Travis killed her despite their romantic and familial relationship.
8. You Remind Me Of My Daughter. Oh Wait…
You play BioShock Infinite alongside Elizabeth, an amazing, beautiful young woman who you’ll easily fall in love with. The game silently encourages a romance: your character grabs Elizabeth’s hand and even dances with her, all from a first-person point of view.
Then, after you’ve probably developed romantic feelings for her, you learn she’s actually your daughter. When Elizabeth was just a baby, the antagonist stole her from your arms. Your character, Booker, searches for his daughter and unknowingly rescues her from the antagonist.
Fortunately, Booker and Elizabeth never develop an explicit romance. The characters themselves develop a strong father-daughter relationship. However, many players develop romantic feelings for Elizabeth, producing one of the most awkward and inappropriate moments in BioShock.
7. Like Parents, Like Children
In order to revive the Demon Lord, the antagonist of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War arranges an incestuous marriage. The Demon Lord can control anyone with enough of his blood, and Deirdre and Arvis—as descendants of the Demon Lord—possess his blood. These half-siblings marry and have children, and the Demon Lord possesses their son, Julius.
Their daughter, Julia, battles her brother alongside Seliph. Julia and Seliph obviously love each other—until they discover they’re half-siblings. Deirdre was originally married to Seliph’s father, but the antagonist brainwashed her so she forgot about her marriage. Seliph grew up alone, so he doesn’t realize when he meets and falls in love with his half-sibling.
6. It’s Ok, You’re Only Related To My Past Self
As an amnesic protagonist, Dust can’t remember his past throughout Dust: An Elysian Tail. He stumbles across a village and quickly grows close to a resident named Ginger. While helping her and the village, he eventually discovers his true identity.
Dust nicely plays with amnesia, for Dust never actually lost his memories. He was born when we first met him: when Ginger’s brother (Jin) and an assassin simultaneously killed each other, their souls merged into one. Dust is the new soul, created from two clashing souls.
5. Love Kills
As the only female character in Killer Instinct (1994), Black Orchid is made overly voluptuous. While we can only imagine what lies beneath her extremely tight clothing, the other characters get to see much more. In one of Black Orchid’s finishing moves, she unzips her leotard and flashes her opponent. The male characters loudly voice their arousal before passing out from mere excitement.
The characters’ reactions are pretty entertaining—although Jago’s is disturbing. Like the other males, Jago loves Black Orchid’s body so much that it literally kills him. We learn at the end of Black Orchid’s storyline that Jago is actually her long-lost brother. That must be an awkward realization for both characters. Hopefully, they’ll abandon their inappropriate attractions for a normal brother-sister relationship.
4. The Awkward Messenger
When you enter Duke Janus’s castle in Divine Divinity, he assigns you as his Lord Protector for the next forty years. In order to escape his castle, you have to complete a series of quests for the Duke.
You’d think the Lord Protector would have important quests, but not when Janus is in charge. You merely help Janus express his “secret” love for his sister, Lela.
The questline begins with a love letter; Janus says it’s an ordinary letter, but you can tear it open and discover Janus’s gross attempt at writing a romantic letter. Then you deliver flowers to Lela. Finally, you help her find her lost teddy bear (if the incestuous relationship hasn’t already disturbed you, Lela’s childish immaturity will).
3. So THAT’S Why I Couldn’t Romance You!
In the first Baldur’s Gate, Imoen and your character flirt, regardless of your gender. They grew up together as childhood friends, giving them one of the strongest bonds in the franchise. Unfortunately, Baldur’s Gate doesn’t include a romance mechanic, so you couldn’t initially romance Imoen. When Baldur’s Gate II introduced romance, fans were immediately disappointed when you couldn’t form a romantic relationship with Imoen.
However, you learn later on in Baldur’s Gate II that you and Imoen are actually half-siblings. She has the same father as you: Bhaal, a man who acquired godhood by murdering a god. Bhaal appropriately became the Lord of Murder.
As two demigod children, you and Imoen have a lot in common. Perhaps that’s why fans eagerly created a mod that lets you romance Imoen—although the mod includes Imoen voicing her discomfort with an incestuous relationship.
While Altaecia truly loves her twin brother, it’s hard to tell if Irving shares that love. It’s heavily implied throughout Wild ARMs 2 that Altaecia and Irving interact romantically, and Irving confirms at the end of the game that they slept together. Irving uses his sister to resurrect the demon that almost destroyed the world, claiming that “by making Altaecia a vessel,” the demon can be contained.
Irving may be right (although that doesn’t make his intentions any less evil). A thousand years before, Irving’s and Altaecia’s ancestor sacrificed her life to seal away the demon. Instead of sacrificing her life, Altaecia would live with the demon inside her.
1. So You’re Actually My Mother!? Thanks, Time Travel…
During their adventures together, Yuri and Karin fall deeply in love. Since the two playable characters fight together throughout Shadow Hearts: Covenant, you’d expect the game to end with their romantic union. Instead, the developers throw in a bizarre twist in a bizarre game: when the final boss dies, Karin is unwillingly thrown into the past. She loses her memory, takes on a new name, and falls in love with Yuri’s father—making her Yuri’s mother, Anne Hyuga.
The ending’s frustrating, but the game nicely foreshadows Karin’s identity. While anyone could use Anne’s Cross (given to Yuri by his mother) in the prequel, only Karin may wear the cross in Covenant.
It’s sad that Karin forgets her memories, but it’s even sadder—and much creepier—that she births the man she once loved. Hopefully, those romantic feelings didn’t carry over and ruin Yuri’s childhood.
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