Feel the Love

The 10 best side pieces in video game history

Video game romance is a tricky proposition: Except in dedicated dating sims, relationships tend to be overlooked, and many are optional elements of a bigger story.

Fans love when games get it right, though. This Valentine’s Day, we're sharing our love for some of the best optional relationships in video games.

10. Gale — Baldur’s Gate 3

Gale is notable for being the most romanced and most killed NPC in Baldur’s Gate 3’s early access — a perfect encapsulation of players’ complicated relationship with NPCs.

9. Yennefer — The Witcher 3

Yennefer is a complicated character, and a perfect fit for Geralt. She’s Geralt’s partner from the books, so many players see Triss, another possible partner, as an interloper.

8. Iron Bull — Dragon Age: Inquisition

This 7-foot-tall horned monster isn't everyone's type, but his casual attitude toward relationships sets him apart from other Dragon Age partners.

7. Dorian Pavus — Dragon Age: Inquisition

Owner of one of the best mustaches in gaming history, Dorian's wit and moving storyline made him one of Dragon Age's most popular romance options.

6. Panam Palmer — Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 got a lot wrong, but it got Panam right. This charming character leads to some of the game’s best quests.

5. Judy Alvarez — Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077's other success, Judy is a skilled technician and a fan-favorite character who had players swooning as soon as she was revealed.

4. Thanatos — Hades

Thanatos comes off as cold at first, but when he makes his feelings clear, his chemistry with the much cheerier Zagreus is undeniable.

3. Megaera — Hades

Getting back together with your ex isn't always a good idea, but plenty of players ignored that advice and fell for Meg's mix of dominance and sweetness.

2. Garrus Vakarian — Mass Effect

Garrus’ storyline is great at building a genuine connection between him and the player, making it worth figuring out how to make out with someone with mandibles.

1. Makoto Niijima — Persona 5

Persona 5 has a lot of popular romance options, but Makoto is on another level. Makoto stans (who call her Queen) admire her for being the most independent and capable NPC in the game.