Hmmm. I’m going to go against the majority here and say that I don’t think the freedom to chose the Mc’s personality is high on my priority list. I’d even say it can actively be harmful to the story.
Now don’t get me wrong: on paper, of course it would be good to have that. Who wouldn’t want to roleplay the way you want? But in practice, it’s a bit harder than that.
The problem, I think, is that if you decide to have a player-determined personality when you write a game, you have two choices: you actually manage to write entirely different voices for each personality type that manage to give the MC relief, or you give the MC the most neutral personality bar a couple of dialogue choice, and you let the player fill in the blanks.
Now the first choice is ideal, but has an obvious downside: it can be a lot of work. Often more than it can be worth for someone writing a CoG product. Plus, there’s always the risk you missed the type of personality some players wanted to play, because there’s a lot of character archetypes out there, and everyone can be attracted to something different.
So in practice, the second option is often the one who’s kept, and… I’ll be honest, more often than not, it’s just boring. Sure, you have a few lines here and there, but in general, it just ends up basically being your standard bland protagonist who has as much personality as a cardboard.
In general, I can be a lot more enthusiastic toward projects where the MC DO have a preset personality (with sometimes the possibility to adjust certain traits). Sure, it’s a risk, and a lot depends of the quality of writing. But I feel like it can bring so much more to a story than a game where the writer tries his best to not flesh out the Mc too much because it might interfere with what the player think they might be.
Now, I get that the problem with that is that it’s harder to feel like the MC is an extension of yourself. But… is it such a bad thing? Don’t get me wrong, I did went through a period during which every of my RPG protagonists were basically idealized self-insert of myself. But at the end of the day, I came to realize it’s limiting. It’s just sticking to your comfort zone and not trying anything new.
Random trivia: to me, I know I’m hooked to a game or a WiP if when it comes to choosing a name for the MC, I don’t feel like picking one for myself, but instead go with a choice in-game because it just feels right for what I already know of the character. I guess I’m at a point where I’m more interested in discovering a character than trying to mold it to conform to my own ideals.