The 10 greatest couples in video games

6. John Marston and Abigail Marston

Game: Red Dead Redemption
Format: PS3, Xbox 360
Release date: 2010

When a relationship has moved past the early stage of flirtation and butterflies, that’s when the weak might give up. But the strong will put in the work, weathering the challenges of building a life with another human being. John and Abigail Marston in Red Dead Redemption stay together through not just the ordinary hurdles of sustaining a relationship, but also through the harsh reality of life on the western frontier. If your relationship can last through years running in a gang together and through settling a homestead, then you’ve got something real. The Marstons know what real commitment is.

7. Commander Shepard and Garrus Vakarian

Game: Mass Effect trilogy
Format: PC, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Release date: began 2007

It doesn’t matter whether you romanced the Turian or not, Mass Effect’s Garrus is the best bro an RPG protagonist ever had. He’s always got your back. He’s loyal, thoughtful, and as quick on the trigger as he is with his wit. In a game swimming with memorable characters, Garrus stands the test of time as one of the realest friends we’ve seen in a game. Maybe you decided to make that friendship the basis of something more when you played Mass Effect, and kudos to you for locking down that hot piece of avian ass. Even if you took the purely platonic route, there’s no denying that Garrus and Shepard are one of the ultimate power couples of interstellar world-saving. Whatever you chose for the nature of the bond between them, these two are electric together.

8. Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance

Game: Half-Life 2
Format: PC
Release date: 2004

Relationships demand lots of open, two-way communication in order to succeed. That makes Half-Life 2 a strange choice here given that one person is completely silent for the entire game. But the plot arc and subtle writing for the character who does talk has made Gordon and Alyx a fan favorite among gaming couples. Maybe it’s the whole opposites-attract idea at play. Gordon’s cold stoicism does make him a foil for the warmth and wit of Alyx. They’ve also gone through some serious shit together and they do engage in some lively flirtation. Whether they’re in love or not doesn’t matter. The duo is still one of the best in-game pairs we’ve seen and it’s just nice to think that there’s something real between them.

9. Master Chief and Cortana

Game: Halo series
Format: Xbox One, Xbox 360, Xbox, PC
Release date: began 2001

Long before Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson asked the same question in Her, Halo fans were well aware that an artificial intelligence and a human could form a genuine bond. Cortana is always at Master Chief’s side. At first, she’s just the smoky-voiced, computerized guide telling him where and what to gun down. But over the course of the Halo games, they manage to showcase the live-or-die trust that defines the strongest relationships. Their exchanges get increasingly flirty up to Halo 4. In the game’s final scenes, Cortana sacrifices herself to save Master Chief, but also projects a physical version of herself so that they can touch for the first and only time. That particular type of relationship between stoic soldier and sweet support is a cliche one in games, but this is a take on it that makes us smile.

10. You and Lydia

Game: Skyrim
Format: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Release date: 2011

Not all great relationships are about romance. And not all the best couples are meetings of equals. Following the legacy of Don Quixote and Pancho Sanza, the bond between the player and Lydia is ultimate in hero and sidekick duos. No matter what kind of character you choose for your playthrough of Skyrim, you can have Lydia as your companion once you become a thane of Whiterun. That doesn’t take too long if you’re following the main quest line, so for many people, she’s also the first person who will fight by your side. Maybe that’s why Skyrim fans tend to have such strong feelings about her, good or bad. Her blend of bored resignation (“I am sworn to carry your burdens”) and eager-beaver helpfulness (seriously, she just sits and watches you sleep) makes her the standout of all the Skyrim companions

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