What role does an existing relationship between players play inside a game?
There are some slightly regrettable elements to this question. What ‘role’, is hardly specific. An ‘existing relationship’ is in sore need of some specific definition. On the whole, the question seems oddly specific and wildly vague at the same time, and I’m a loss why I thought this was an adequate question only a week ago.
Regardless, let’s have a stab at half an answer. I think we can establish that pre-existing relationships do play a role in how a game is experienced by two said involved specimens in said relationship. Otherwise, friends would probably not play games together. But they do. And their friendship is a key motivator. They would rather play with a friend than with a stranger. Which is understandable. That’s what friends generally are for.
However, the game that is to result out of these findings presupposes a measure of dramatic interaction. Familiar and amicable interaction more or less precludes any dependably dramatic interaction. So should the players always be total strangers and unaware of true identities, like in Journey? Or can their be some mechanic, some transformative element that makes it easier to relinquish existing roles and assume new ones? In Les Loups-Garou de Thiercelieux, players easily cast off existing roles and relationships to assume new ones to the benefit of the game, but a case can still be made that pre-existing relationships influence their decisions inside the game.
Further research is required to make any sort of definitive statement about this quandary. The best course of action, I think, is to organize a few playthroughs of Les Loups-Garou de Thiercelieux and other games that involve some form of roleplaying, and see how this affects familiar dynamics.