Affinity (親密度 Shinmitsudo?, "Intimacy"), also known by various names such as Affection (好感度 Koukando?) and Bond (絆 Kizuna?), is a relationship system used in a few titles in the Tales series. Having high affinity with various characters rewards the main character with various items and cutscenes.
Tales of Symphonia
Tales of Symphonia is the first game to introduce an affinity system, known as Affection, though it remains a hidden mechanic. Whenever Lloyd Irving makes a dialogue choice, the affection levels of all of his party members toward him will either increase or decrease depending on how that choice aligns with the character's personal view on that situation. There are also overworld skits that can alter this level as well as sidequests. Affection affects a few situations, some major and some minor.
The most major situation happens at Flanoir, where the three characters with whom Lloyd has the highest affinity will approach him one-by-one in the inn. Whoever Lloyd chooses to speak with will have a unique conversation with him, while Colette Brunel, Zelos Wilder, and Kratos Aurion will each give unique items. If Lloyd chooses to speak with Kratos here, a major consequence occurs in that Zelos will later betray the party, while Kratos rejoins; in any other situation, Zelos remains, while Kratos sidelines himself.
A secondary situation happens later after making a pact with Origin. Mithos will possess the character with whom Lloyd has the highest affection, and that character will be unavailable for a period of time. Additionally, if the sidequest to obtain the swimsuit costumes is completed, only three characters receive them: Lloyd and the two characters who have the highest affection with him.
Tales of Innocence
Tales of Innocence features the Bond system, where characters can increase their bond level with each other through completing skits, sidequests, and performing beneficial actions with each other in battle. By increasing their bond level, skits between characters will be unlocked. In addition to this, the character with the highest bond with Ruca Milda will obtain a special scene with him in the ending, though in the case of equal bond level with a priority of: Illia Animi > Spada Belforma > Ange Serena > Ricardo Soldato > Hermana Larmo.
Tales of Hearts
The Somatic Bond (ソーマリンク Soomarinku?, "Soma Link") system is the affinity system of both Tales of Hearts and its remake, Tales of Hearts R. It is both an in-story element and a gameplay mechanic, where characters who raise their affinity with each other through events, skits, and battle can unlock artes and skills for each other.
Tales of Xillia 2
In Tales of Xillia 2, Ludger Will Kresnik can raise his affinity level with the other eight playable characters, as well as three non-playable characters: Elle Mel Marta, Julius Will Kresnik, and Bisley Karcsi Bakur; however, other playable characters cannot raise the affinity with each other. The best way to raise affinity with characters is through the choices system. Some choices demand favoring one character or more characters over others, raise affinity regardless of the actual choice, or simply lead to a slightly different scene while still retaining the core story. Choice screens are the only way to raise affinity with non-playable characters, but it is only one of the ways for party members. When a choice favors a party member, the portraits for characters for whom the choice raises affinity will appear when the choice is made. Other ways to raise affinity with playable characters include the completion of character episodes, using Friendship Potions, using items in battle with Ludger, staying linked, and performing linked artes.
There are ten levels of affinity for playable characters, each level with its own rewards:
|1||1,000||Skill tome and victory pose|
|4||6,000||Skit and chromatus gauge fill 5% faster when fighting when linked with the proper character|
|6||10,000||Title, skit, and victory pose|
|7||12,500||Chromatus time increased by 5 seconds when linked with the proper character|
|8||15,000||Can enter the post-game EX Dungeon, Illusionary Darkness|
|9||17,500||Linked mystic arte|
|10||20,000||Title, victory pose, skill tome, and bonus scene by speaking at a certain town|
Also, a "bonus scene" may play during some scenes if an affinity with a certain character is high enough. When the affinity with the three non-playable characters is high enough at the end of chapter 15, each of the characters will give Ludger a weapon: Elle will give "Pollux Twins" dual blades, Julius will give "Spirius Model-4304" dual pistols, and Bisley will give "Spirius Surrender" sledgehammer.