Gay Representation in ChoiceScript games?

@ParrotWatcher, while I certainly applaud any attempt to not make it heterosexual, I do hope that the plot-critical character gender-flip then (or that there are two of equal importance).

Mostly, it’s because I want the plot critical romance characters to be as open to as many players as possible.

Or just make none of your RO’s plot-critical. Those in my main WiP aren’t, though it’ll be a lot of work writing all the different variations concerning who is or isn’t alive at a certain point in time :sweat_smile: Why do I always have to make things difficult…


I’m happy with how CoG handles it. I don’t feel like representation suffers because ROs are bisexual (or player-sexual, depending on how you want to view it). So maybe a female RO is interested in a dude in someone else’s game - that has no bearing on MY game. And in my games the girl gets the girl and that’s all that I ever wanted.


I’m all in favour of complete inequality, and allowing the straight romances to be the unimportant side ones for a change. :slight_smile:

I prefer characters that are part of and important to the plot as opposed to being side-characters that you just meet up with during downtime and tell about your awesome adventures.

So for Choice of Broadsides, for instance, I much preferred Villeneuve. (And I just wish they’d added in a little bit of an acknowledgement that you’d been lovers at the end.)

In Dragon Age, if I’m correct, Morrigan and Allistair are both plot important characters. Leliana and Zevran you can play without ever recruiting them and are less important. That’s so not fair!


There’s ‘plot-critical’ and ‘plot-critical’. The former is the type in which the plot can’t continue and having meaning without the specific RO, and the latter is where it can, because the absence of a certain RO in the plot can have as much of an impact as their presence in the plot. It’s a pain to write though.

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@FairyGodfeather, Morrigan will always be my love. How I hated her straightness. :sob:

I am all in favour of opening up a character like Villeneuve (adored her), but in my opinon they were written as open to all players. (Because they flipped their gender with you), but if the character does not genderflip and their are not pan/bi you close of not just the heterosexual, but also at least half of your players by gender.

A plot critical gay man for example close of all women, and potentially all non-binary players too.

Ups, pressed the wrong reply. Sorry Cecilia_Rosewood.


Is that a question or a statement? :sweat:

Contrary to Dorian, Alistair’s sexuality is never explicitly stated and doesn’t take center stage like Dorian’s does. As far as I’m aware, Dorian is the only BioWare character whose sexuality actually plays a pivotal role in their personal story arc. Considering gay players only had the option to romance Zevran, whom I believe essentially had a similar response from the gay community as Dorian did, I actually supported the possibility/potential for exploring Alistair’s sexuality. I’ll always be in favor of characters exploring their sexuality so long as it makes sense.


The idea would be to have two equally important characters, one male, one female, both gay, and a third, bi/pansexual character, who is either male or female (chosen by the player), and of slightly smaller importance to the plot, plus a bunch of other characters (both bi/pansexual and possibly straight), who would be involved in the plot, but by no means critically. Obviously, the plot would go the same if you’re involved in a straight romance (aside from the romance-specific parts), but romancing the two most important characters would be restricted.

Of course, I’d have to finish my current WIP first…

It was a statement.

I’m against straight-washing but I do see the need of game-mods to allow characters to be romanced by the same gender. I think it is two different things.

And I do agree that making a mod so that a character who’s family tried to force him to undergo conversion therapy, who is most definitely gay, and then having their sexuality erased, that’s such an issue. They should just play a male character.


You did indeed. Adamo is the first of the two gay RO’s. You may also be very vaguely recalling discussion about Rosie Mallory, a potentially very good friend of the MC who is, and will remain (despite the MC’s possible best efforts, at risk of their actual friendship), a lesbian. You’re also correct that some players really didn’t like that fact… which brings me to one of the wider issues being discussed.

It honestly wouldn’t make a scrap of difference if Vendetta were not in fact gender-locked. To me, Adamo and Rosie are who they are. A female MC would have no more luck with Adamo than our male MC has with Rosie. They may only be characters in a story but I cannot conceive of being able to ‘flip’ them to suit, not without somehow losing a significant and fundamental part of who they are as people - to the detriment of the story.

Granted, this may just be a failing on my part. I must admit, I do tend to view my story as something the MC has merely wandered into and may yet play a part in, rather than as a stage set entirely for their satisfaction. Oh well.


Personally, I much prefer writing characters who have a set, distinct sexuality. Its just another thing that helps me really realize them into a full person than “Companion B”. The problem I tend to have with COG games, however, is number. (Like how @Fiogan talked about).

It’s actually a mix of the number and the plot critical aspect that was talked about before. I try hard to make every romance able character plot-critical, or at least have their own side story. Why? Well, I figure no romance is so flat that it’s just “I like you” “I like you too” “Kay cool”.

You have to get to know each other. The longer you do know each other the more you learn, the more you learn the more secrets, past mistakes, etc. become clear to you. I love writing these kinds of things. So it’s less out of a since of fairness than… just for my own enjoyment.

… but the downside is that then it takes a lot longer to write one romance than it would if I put less time into the developement of that romance. Which means each person ends up having their own story within the story, which as a result means I have to pair down a lot on the number of ROs I can write without burning out.

Take my current WIP, originally there were more ROs than the current 4. Each of them had their own unique sexualities, backstories, etc.

But I realized… I just couldn’t write that much. So I took away, character after character- most not even appearing in the story anymore. Then I was left with 4. One was pansexual (Icarus), one was lesbian (Cynthia), one was gay (Copper), and one was straight (Lorraine).

Problem is, that leaves most players with only 1 romantic option, 2 at the most!

That… wouldn’t work well. Most likely, people wouldn’t be happy. As a result, I had to forgoe the sexuality function and make all of them pansexual (Or player-sexual, if that’s how you prefer to put it).

I still wish I’d been able to write a longer story with more sexual diversity… but sometimes it really is just because of things like time and effort available to put into the story when taking everything else into account.

That being said, it would be great to see more games made by those who have the skill, time, and effort to do so! (Or make it less crazy than my style of writing at least… might factor into it as well, :sweat_smile:)


Yeah, this is pretty much what I’m trying to do with my own WIP. I really don’t want any ROs to be just “tacked on”, with even the most minor ones having some plot significance, and none of them “there just to be an extra RO”.

It’s okay; I’ll just headcanon that Copper’s still gay. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Speaking for myself, I tend to refer to ROs as playersexual because 90% of the time (in ChoiceScript games), the RO never mentions the player’s sex/gender. It’s irrelevant. In fact, most of the time, they just never mention who they’ve dated previously or if they happen to have any preferences at all. It’s just swept under the rug for the sake of the romance, and I’ve always found that to be jarring. If I’m playing a gay MC that romances a widower whose wife passed away, I would definitely hope there would be some sort of acknowledgement of the fact that my MC is a man when the widower was previously in a long-term relationship with a woman. Give me a throwaway line at the very least, y’know?


I prefer when ROs aren’t restricted by orientation. I know it’s not realistic, but I don’t care :laughing:

I really like the way the Lost Heir series does things. I get to decide who my character is interested in, and her success/failure hinges on her actions rather than gender.

Amen. I just want to pick whoever fits my character.


Yeah. I found the relationship with Tom in Zombies Exodus rather WTF because the lack of any acknowledgement if you were male. The lack of anyone at all commenting on it too. I’d have at least expected his sister to say something.

I’d similar issues with Josh (I think) in Choice of Robots. Particularly if you’ve been together, ended up breaking up, and then he comes up to you and he’s all talking about how he wants a sexy female robot companion. And I just wanted to go “duuuude that’s so tactless”. Or something.

Yeah that’s a problem.

I don’t think that’s a huge issue if all four are written equally. Rather than making the characters player-sexual, you end up making it so the player has to change their character’s gender, I guess. As long as nobody is completely left out.

Slammed! has three and a bit romances. It had the situation that if you’re a straight woman, you have one romantic option. If you’re a straight man you have two (and a bit.) If you’re a gay woman you have three options. If you’re a gay man you’ve two options. That’s not particularly even, but, if you’re playing as a woman you have access to a whole extra ending, and a moment of awesomeness men don’t get. So I think that balances things slightly for the straight women.

A Study in Steampunk just has the three romances, right, but it’s hugely popular? It’s not the number that matter, but the quality? And Choice of the Vampire (the first one) just had the two, right? But both were significant. And Choice of Romance, just has the three.

So four sounds like an awful lot.


Few if any games earn that “entirely,” I think. Take XoR for example. I’ve got several genderflipping characters, but they don’t all flip independently – your choice with the first one affects how all the others flip, much to some readers’ dissatisfaction. Mine and many others don’t have every RO flip.

I tend to view my story as one where the reader is in part a co-author, rather than merely a MC who has control only over the things their character would control. The background of the character and thus to some extent the gameworld is affected by the reader’s choices; that’s how a good D&D game works, and I think it applies well in computer IF too.

Of course I also enjoy reading games that try to hew to the opposite philosophy. Divided We Fall is perhaps the most thoroughgoing example, where you don’t even get to pick names or (for the most part) emotions, just actions. I respect that your vision for Rosie and Adamo includes their orientation, and that makes particular sense in a setting where orientation is a big deal.

Still, I think that when all is said and done, a reader of my game who chooses not to flip their RO’s gender will not feel that the characters are cookie-cutter or impersonal or any of that stuff. And for those who do decide to flip despite being ill-disposed to flippage and subsequently flip me off, my response will probably be flippant.


I admit in ZE, romance was tacked on in Parts 3 and 4, but as one of the early Hosted Games, I had few examples in CS to pull from. In Safe Haven, I am taking my time and offering a lot more options: some straight, some gay, most bi/pansexual, some aces.

I’ve gone back and forth on how I want to approach writing ROs. It is by-far easier to code bisexual NPCs. But you can really create a rounded character when you set a defined orientation. So time is the toss up.

I look at every game a player initiates as a chance to make them a star of their story, and though some content is locked behind variables to make games replayable, I want the game to present as many options as possible. The trick is making NPCs believable and true to themselves, so the reader feels like they are meeting them, getting to know them, and falling for them. The worse thing you can do is make an RO (or any major NPC) feel like an accessory.


Unfortunately, this is something that happens a lot in CoGs and HGs alike. Often times there’s a build up to initiating the romance with an RO itself, but then, once it’s been achieved and the corresponding achievement has been granted, the entire romance arc seems to just… disappear until the epilogue, and even then it’s just, what, a single paragraph changed? Romance is more than just the hunt and the build up―it’s also about the domesticity and fluff that comes after the, uh… let’s say carnal activities, and I think a lot of authors either don’t get the opportunity to expand beyond that point due to time constraints or simply forget.

Maybe I’ve just been left with a bitter taste, but I swear that most romances I’ve played through tend to falter once the MC and the RO have kissed and the scene fades to black. If the presence of romance in a ChoiceScript game is going to be used as one of the main selling points, it should probably use a li’l bit more expanding than they currently do. Like, one thing I often find myself asking is why do the ROs seem to vanish during pivotal moments of the MC’s choices? I understand that the story revolves around the MC, but the MC has made a special bond and tie to this one specific character (or more if polyamory is allowed). Highlight that! It doesn’t happen enough. :disappointed:

Edit: I think A Wise Use of Time handled something akin to what I mentioned perfectly. The MC has the potential to establish bonds with their fellow time manipulators and the bonds are actually presented later on! They come back rather than just fade into the background and take an active role―it was refreshing. Gosh, that was a real satisfying scene.


I suppose when you put it in that perspective four does sound like a lot. The only problem I have with the whole “one-to-two options per person” (in my own writing, I mean) would be that I wouldn’t want to stick someone to a “one or none” policy? If that makes sense? I would want the player to have at least one or two alternatives if they dislike the one romantic option available, but still want romance to be a part of their story. I debated bringing back one of the previously discarded ROs who still plays a major part in the storyline despite losing her RO status… In the end, though, it was more because her part of the story simply played out smoother if she isn’t romanceable. (She was actually changed before I started taking away ROs to cut down on length due to this fact.)

Any other character, who wasn’t already central to the storyline, would’ve felt like the aforementioned “there just as an RO” to me. If that makes sense?

Either way, I’m not going to sweep their planned sexualities under the rug. There’s still pivotal moments in their character development (or… well… two of theirs at least), that mention past relationships, and those are staying in.

Still, I really hope in whatever my next project becomes, I’ll be able to diversify the sexualities of the characters. (Even if that means writing more than I think I can handle. :sweat_smile:)

This is a huge problem I have with so many games. (Not particular to CoG, but really any video game that includes an optional romantic choice).

It almost makes the romances feel… less, to me? Like you’re supposed to be there for your loved one, not suddenly disappear at the most important moment!

Sometimes, though, I try to imagine that conversation when the player character comes home.

“Hi honey, how was your day?”
“Oh, nothing special, just slaying the gods. Y’know, would’ve been nice to have some support while I was doing so but I guess I’m okay on my own.”

It’s also, often, kind of sad that we don’t get to explore their past more. Like with your widower example, there could be some really interesting scenes and developments dealing with the widower’s grief, or perhaps even how they’re handling being in a relationship with a man. Was he always bisexual and this is nothing new to him? Or is this his first time being in a relationship with someone of the same gender?

It could add so much character depth and storyline… and more to the romance, too!


And then having them get killed off… :sob: