9 – Shane
I’m sorry, Shane! I wanted to rank you higher, but Shane’s presence so low on the list doesn’t make his story arc bad. On the contrary, Shane’s story arc is one of the best in the game, but the end of that story seems to differ depending on whether or not you marry him.
The new heart events for Shane added in 1.1 reveals a man struggling with depression and alcoholism. Though he loves his niece Jas and his hobby of raising chickens, his mental struggles and the mindless job at Joja have left him without hope of improvement, and he nearly goes off the deep end in one of the scenes before you stop him. As you progress his story, Shane slowly starts to fight his addiction and begins to get help for his depression. This all culminates in his eight-heart scene, where things seem to be on the up and up at last.
The problem is that, when you marry him, all that progress seems to vanish. He has empty beer cans in his room and often talks about drinking. Though he seems less depressed, he often gets moody and doesn’t seem to have a job anymore, or a hobby beyond standing around holding one of his chickens. For all the emotional impact and realism of Shane’s arc, I’m afraid to marry him. I want the poor guy to have a happy ending, and that doesn’t seem possible on the player’s farm.