Sometimes two characters just have a spark, something that leads people to see them as a potential couple and put them in a “ship”—short for a relationship—with each other. We here at Variable are not immune to this, and we all have our own favorite videogame ships.
Ships come in many forms. Some are actually officially supported by the game and its plot. But some of the more intriguing ships are those that aren’t officially supported by the game’s story. Rather, there’s just something about them that draws fans to ship them together.
For our list of favorite videogame ships, we’re focusing on the latter. These are ships that aren’t guaranteed—yes, the game may give you the option to pursue it—but they’re not exactly set in stone. Other’s aren’t even an option in the game, but there’s just enough either in the character’s interactions and even their gameplay that makes it easy to pair them.
So, without further ado, here are 5 of our favorite videogame ships. Please take note that these may cover some spoiler territory for the games involved.
1. Xiao and Venti—Genshin Impact
It makes sense, in a way, that one of Genshin Impact‘s first big crushes gets paired with its—at least as of the time of writing—latest. But there’s more to just shipping Venti and Xiao than their boyish charms.
The main thrust of this ship comes from the hint that Venti saved Xiao in the past. Xiao’s story teaser shows him nearly suffering the same fate as his four fellow yakshas. But he was saved when he heard music from the Dihua flute that was apparently being played by Venti. There’s actually a moment in the game where Xiao nearly makes a comment about this, before deciding against it.
In addition, both have Anemo visions that share the same color scheme and both are canonically over 2,000 years old. Meanwhile, their personalities complement each other with Xiao being serious and Venti being laid back.
2. Leon and Ada—Resident Evil
The titos and titas among our readers will likely remember the second favorite videogame ship in our from way back. Ever since they first met in the original Resident Evil 2, there’s been a certain chemistry between rookie cop Leon Kennedy and femmé fatalé Ada Wong.
Capcom has been aware of this. It’s been giving them unique interactions that hint at some form of attraction even if they never do get together. The recent Resident Evil 2 Remake has only helped to strengthen this even more.
But what makes this ship really fun is how the fandom tends to portray them. Leon is usually portrayed in fan works as somewhat innocent and unaware of Ada’s obvious attraction to him. Other times, he’s shown being oblivious to Ada’s status as a dangerous femmé fatalé and villain, despite the attempts of other characters to warn him. There’s just something fun about cute but oblivious himbo Leon playing off the more traditional femmé fatalé Ada.
3. Pharah and Mercy—Overwatch
Most ships stem from story or dialogue reasons. This is not the case for Pharah and Mercy, or PharMercy as the ship is popularly known in the Overwatch community. This pairing instead stems from how the two complement each other in real matches.
Damage dealer Pharah has the unique ability to fly really high and rain down rockets on her opponents when she’s up there. Healer Mercy, on the other hand, can not only float but can also pull herself onto any ally she sees even a flying Pharah. Put in the hands of two good players and you have a mid-air rocket-slinging kill machine that constantly heals itself.
While this would usually be the end of that, today’s ever thirsty internet has, of course, turned this into a popular ship—one of the first to get its own name. From this have spawned art and fan fiction depicting the two together. Blizzard has since revealed that one of Overwatch‘s characters as a lesbian—Tracer, who has even gotten her own, non-playable girlfriend, Emily. But PharMercy still remains a popular pairing in the fandom.
4. Geralt and Yennefer—The Witcher 3
Some of you may accuse us of breaking our own rules with this. Geralt and Yennefer are a canonical couple in the Witcher books after all. But that isn’t the case in the games, which serve as a distant sequel of sorts to the books. In the Witcher 3 Geralt hasn’t been together with Yen for years, having spent the past two games attached to Triss Merigold. The game even allows you to have Geralt continue his relationship with Triss.
But seeing Geralt and Yen’s interactions with each other shows just how much they complement each other, especially when their surrogate daughter Ciri is involved. The story of the Witcher 3 is basically about Geralt and Yen trying to rebuild their family by finding Ciri. In the process, it’s clear to see how much they not only love each other but also how they support each other during this ordeal. Yes, they get into fights (as real couples do), but through it all, they still support each other while also calling each other out when they go to far in their efforts to find Ciri
5. Joker and Sae—Persona 5
Persona 5 features three possible adult romances for its protagonist, Joker. But as illicit as these are, these aren’t the most intriguing. Rather, that honor belongs to the one character who you’d think Joker would be able to romance but can’t: Sae Nijima.
The main narrative device that Persona 5 uses is that it’s actually Joker narrating the story while under interrogation by Sae. As Joker tells his story, Sae slowly warms up to him and eventually takes his side. Despite this, she’s never actually presented as a possible romance option, despite having her own social link.
It turns out that Sae was meant to be a romance option. Actual voice lines for a possible Sae romance actually do exist in the game’s code.
As for why her romance was cut, we’ll never know, at least not until Atlus says something. But it’s that temptation of it being a forbidden fruit forever kept from us that makes it even frustratingly intriguing. (Read: Persona 5 Strikers coming to the west with a PC port)
Bonus: Lady Dimitrescu and Ethan Winters—Resident Evil Village
This is a bonus since the game isn’t out yet. Because of this, we don’t know how the two characters will interact. That said, the internet has been in love with Resident Evil Village‘s nine-foot-tall vampire mommy ever since her reveal.
As the player character in a first-person game, Ethan Winters stands in for the player. Every time Lady Dimitrescu hurts Ethan for being naughty in her castle, it’s as if she’s actually hurting the player. Every time she steps on Ethan (if that does happen), it’s the player being gladly stepped on by their “queen.”
Sure, it may seem “weird” to some. But it’s all just a way for players to explore certain fantasies, which is what shipping is all about anyway.
If you’re looking for great romantic scenes in video games, we’ve got you covered.
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