Effect of gender choice

I think the ultimate question is whether a game designer wants to allow any gender of players the widest possible options, or encourage that player to play a different gender in game with new exclusive content. Both approaches have merit if done properly.


Out of curiosity by the way, would you read a gender specific game if it was written by someone of the opposite gender? I sometimes have debated that WW2 French Resistance game having you being a female character only, even though I happen to be a straight dude. :thinking:


Sure, Just because you’re a dude doesn’t mean you can’t write cool female characters. I wouldn’t personally read it 'cause I don’t like playing female characters but I don’t see a problem with it at all shrugs

There are many ways where you could not play into any stereotypes with the whole club scenario just by changing the gender and sexuality of the “target”. Maybe we should discard this scenario because I don’t think that we will reach a happy conclusion with this without having some background that leads to this scene.

I like it a lot more if the only choices I can make are for my own character. Something about a gender changing NPC makes it just feel kind of cheap for me if it doesn’t make sense for the plot. If it makes sense for an NPC to prefer a certain gender, may it be because of their sexuality, past trauma or something else, then I don’t really see a problem with that.

Of course I will read it, Always you don’t use all stereotypes and sexist choices and respect the Historical facts. You only have to careful study what use and had several people as testers looking through it for possible errors.

Just to make it clear:

The club thing is a random example I gave, based on another random example by the OP.
It only exists as a theoretical scenario, used to make discussing the topic easier. :blush:




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Yes, okay, the discussion of the example might have made me decide to put it into a game.
(And made me contemplate how I’d implement beards into a game that has trans and nb inclusion, and crossdress scenarios.)


A question on the club thing:

There are “ladies’ clubs” compared to gentlemen clubs, so what would stop an author from researching and writing both?

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I guess the genderlock is a problem for several player, me included, but I think the main issue is the genderlock itself. Most people should be uninterested in who wrote the character, as long it is written well


My advice is to ignore gender choice altogether in the code/structure of the game. Gender choice should only be reflected in descriptions.

I sense in the post the desire to go the “extra mile” and add new dimensions. That’s admirable and that’s a good head space to be in. But IMHO the best variables are ones that reflect several hard to make choices. Those are the choices that raise the stakes and escalate conflict.

Gender choice can’t be a source of stakes or conflict. So adding content for the gender variable isn’t a productive use of your time. Look to the other variables they’re juicier anyways.

I’d recommend alternative forms of seduction/persuasion/conning people that don’t involve sexual attraction. They’re almost always more interesting. And you probably already have state tracking variables in your game you can use.


I think it’s fine when it comes down to reactions. People do behave differently around men vs women for lots of reasons… attraction, subconscious bias, etc. I know some people prefer their games a total fantasy with no sexism etc. But in a realistic setting I am ok with it. A nobleman vs noblewoman will have different upbringing etc in a medieval setting unless they are making a bias free setting which is cool vut doesn’t need to be every game

I would prefer not huge disparities in plots but small stuff is fine by me.


I like gender differences when it comes to reactions. People naturally respond to men and women in different ways, and if you can write it realistically without relying on sexist tropes, then that’s usually a boost in replayability and depth for me. (For example, characters of the same gender may feel more comfortable to talk about certain things with the MC?)

When it comes to things the MC can do, though…hmm, it’s dicey, and I’m not sure if it’d be worth it? The used example (and the example I’ve seen most often used for this kind of thing, for that matter) is to give female characters a seduction option. This plays into several ugly tropes that I’d rather see die in a fire than play through. The infiltrating club thing might work…but at that point I’d ask what is gained from displaying the difference in genders, if you need to go that far.


I agree with a lot of what has been said here. Certainly a game differentiated according to gender could be done badly, but I believe handled well it could be really interesting.

I think that we’re getting hung up on the idea of sexuality and seduction when there are a ton of other aspects that we could focus on. Giving players the option to push back against gender roles (regardless of their chosen gender) is really attractive to me. I’m really excited to see what @Fawkes does with her game.

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with creating a universe in which the MC’s gender doesn’t affect gameplay. Part of the appeal of storytelling is the opportunity to escape reality.


There was a WIP years ago where you played a robot character and the opening had defined roles and origins for players who played a male, female or gender less robot. I really wished that they had kept working on it… :slightly_frowning_face:

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My head went to all those games that wet out of their way to address you by a nickname or something just because you named the character. A memorable one was God Eater. First they call you noobie/rookie/whatever/you and then you’re just captain. Everyone else with a title still get’s their name but you’re strictly captain.

Anyway people making things different depending on stuff on like that is something I like. I mean even going in with the inclusive shtick if someone makes something different for me based on character reactions I feel like they did more than if someone just swapped a word around in the code. Of course that applies to a bunch of other stuff.


In Far Cry 5 the other cops keep calling you, “rook.” About a quarter of the way through the game I decided my character’s name was “Brooke,” and everyone in the game kind of mumbled.

It really humanized her.


Well, it makes sense if there is voice acting because it is kinda weird reading the name but not hearing it and giving the MC a nickname eliminates that problem.

I was actually thinking about Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth as I wrote that because while you can choose between a female and a male MC, it feels like the game was at first only intended for a male player and they just changed a few words to make it seem gender neutral. The only thing that this accomplishes is that it feels like the MC is non-binary (which is great but also not great because I know that this was more than likely just accidental). It also makes the reasoning the game has for some stuff sound really weird. There is one mission where a character asks the MC what he should get for his crush and he specifically asks what would be the best gift to give to a girl. The MC is tasked to go and ask their friends for recommendations because, and I quote, “you are too worldly” to think like a girl and “you should ask your feminine friends”.

I’d love to see a story that plays like that. And if you were to receive ad revenue throughout the story it’s the perfect choice because it would encourage the readers to read the story a second time to unlock new scenes and outcomes.

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I believe if you want to integrate a sort of system like this, that you need to get a feel for your entire cast including the 2-minute-cameo-barkeep NPC. Everyone has varying sexualities and preferences. But, to make the game more fair and balanced(ie. one gender being more advantageous over another), perhaps make sure to have an equal amount of characters who are hetero, gay, bi, and even ace. That way it’s definitely fair, but the players don’t know the sexualities and preferences of each and every character, so it’s all up to chance.

For example, say I’m playing a non-binary character who dresses more masculine and is trying to seduce a male gangster into giving them information. Well, you’ve decided already that this guy is straight as a ruler and my character just so happened to seduce the wrong person. My character fails the check and mentally slaps themself for reading the guy wrong.

HOWEVER, let’s say later they try to seduce a bisexual female lounge singer who says she saw a murder but won’t give up the information unless we make it worth her while. My MC would happen to pass that check since you already pre-determined that the woman doesn’t have a preference of one or the other and therefore wouldn’t be resistant to a transmasculine NB flirting with her. My character passes that check and the scene flows to their advantage.

Make it less about the MC’s gender dictating the stats and more about the entire cast that isn’t the protagonist dictate whether they pass a check or not! It feels more realistic that way, makes the game more fair if you balance it out well, AND manage to diversify your game without accidentally shutting a certain gender out of the option completely!

I hope what I’ve said made sense. It’s very early but hopefully my thoughts were communicated to you well enough, ha ha!