Gender, and everything else locked


#1

So I know the acceptability of games with a gender-locked protag is already kind of controversial, but are there people interested in playing a hosted game with an already developed player character?

By that I mean a character with a pre-established backstory, gender, name, etc. There would still be aspects of the character (stats) that you could control and change throughout the story. It would just be a lot more like you playing as a character instead of you BEING the character.

Also, how would you feel about a story that involves a non-optional romance with a character like this? There would still be aspects of the story you can change/control, this just wouldn’t be one of them.


#2

Guinevere does this and it’s probably one of the best WIP’s we have at present, so it’s perfectly doable. Though being forced into a particular romance is probably too limiting.


#3

I think not getting to have any say in the romance might be pushing it a bit far. Most people don’t really like to feel forced into liking a character. Maybe if we could choose between two different romances at least that would be better accepted.

But I think having the MC being pre-established could be okay. Just keep in mind that if the character doesn’t grab the player they might not be interested in playing it, even if they like the story. The MC is the one character the player deals with the most so it could make or break your game for people.


#4

I’ve always said that there’s an audience for all sorts of content and this one will be no exception, however, you need to ask yourself if the right place for that sort of game. You’re not just rail-roading us into a specific character, you’re cutting us off from a big chunk of elements that just happen to be the main attraction of this forum. You say we will be able to gain stats and alter certain points of the story but how much freedom are you giving us exactly? And how impactful will our choices be? If the story turns out to be somewhat static as well then you’re not really giving us anything, just a novel disguised as a CYOA game in order to fit in.


#5

I’d be interested in a game like that :slight_smile: as long as the character is interesting, relatable etc. Also yeah, it’d be important for me to at least to be able to choose the dynamics of the relationship. I also think one of the main reason I like these type of games too is they go fully into it, providing lots of detail on the characters, learnt lots from divided we fall. Plus it’s another under done genre/type of game, off the top of my head the only other game with a preset character that I can think of is dilemma(which I also love)…oh and Burnt, love that game too.


#6

Have you read the hosted game The 3Games? It has preset characters (the player rotates through I think five of them), and if I’m remembering right was pretty well received, and if you’re thinking of doing a locked character with this type of game I’d say it’s recommended reading

There was some discussion about a similar issue on another thread here First Person vs. Second Person that starts about whether to write in first or second POV but also discusses how much players will tolerate a “pre-created” MC, that you also might want to read through, although there the discussion was more pre-set personality traits rather than an actual fully-formed character

I second everything @IvoryOwl has said though–like you said in your post, people are already somewhat divided on the acceptability of genderlocking in games, I think this might not necessarily be the place for a game with a fully-formed character. It sounds like a lot of the things people love about these games, that IvoryOwl listed above, are things that you would remove. I especially also want to highlight @Mewsly’s comment–forcing the player into liking another character is pushing it, and I think would alienate a lot of players

(Edit – this was intended to be a reply to the whole thread, not @IvoryOwl specifically, sorry)


#7

What is being described, when I read it is a regular story and those are o.k. as is.

Stats are mechanics used to represent aspects of the character being portrayed not otherwise seen in the story itself.

When you look at stats like: soldering, it is a way to communicate with the gamer what their protagonist is able or not able to do.

Guenevere outlines a base which then is customizable with all the essential elements that make a personality unique. While the base is the same for all of us, the character each of us has as the story progresses is different. Motivations are huge for the success of that story - a reader can make an evil Guenevere, a saintly Guenevere or even a Ditzy Guenevere because motivation is masterfully manipulated by @jeantown.

This is the key to understanding if your story can succeed - and it has to do with everything listed under the “etc.” in your descriptor.

A non-controllable romance is different then a non-optional romance - although to be related to many in this community that would require the type of people each person usually has a romance with. As an example, if you force a girl on a gay guy, that will be very problematic for most to accept in a Choice-script game.

If you force an abusive relationship onto your reader/gamer, even if it is but one possible path, that is too far for me personally but maybe not for another. My biggest issue with a very popular published title is just that - a sexual abuser is forced upon me as the reader whether I want it or not. If that was not in the story, I’d be a total fangirl of the author but it is and thus I am turned off of that series now.

Its very possible to write a well received game and have it well received but you better write it very well and be very elegant in execution because the structure you build for youself right out of the starting gate means that even the slightest trip will turn into a great tumble.


#8

@HomingPidgeon
I don’t have an issue with pre-determinted characters if I did I wouldn’t be able to play 95% of the videogames launched to date. No, the thing here is that certain genres come with certain expectations and I have come to rely on CoG and Hosted Games for text-driven narratives that offer plenty of choice and freedom. This doesn’t mean people aren’t allowed to deviate from the formula, I’m just not sure if its the right place for it.

That said your suggestion is one of the few cases I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. I dislike games that split their narrative through different PoVs as not only it makes it harder for me to keep track of everything that is happening (to whom, how and why) it also completely kills any immersion and whatever little connection I was forming with them. Its sort of like a bad cliff-hanger.

I can deal with a pre-determinted character in a CoG game so long as its relatable and well-writen. A game whose main focus is a bunch of static characters AND their different points of view? No thank you. Bad enough I can’t roleplay the way I want, being stuck with a bunch of toons I can’t form a connection with is just… ugh.


#9

I haven’t read through the whole thing–but it takes static characters and gives the player stat customization over them, which is why I suggested it

I’m sorry if I sounded like I was disagreeing in any way, this is exactly the point I meant to emphasize. Having a pre-created character isn’t inherently bad–but in this context, it’s not necessarily likely to be well-received


#10

Like @CreepyPastaKitty mentioned, another game with pre-created protagonists and different viewpoints that I really loved was @AlexClifford1994’s Divided We Fall, set during the Spanish Civil War. The characters are all predetermined, but you can change their stories quite a bit according to the direction you push their personalities and decisions. The different characters also affected one another’s futures; I thought it was very well done.

I think part of it is if you’re breaking a common ChoiceScript-writers’ convention (maybe by gender-locking a protagonist, or splitting between different perspectives, or, dare I say, not including any romance at all), you can still draw a lot of fans if the other aspects that are popular with ChoiceScript works are well done—like good branching, or a character with a very variable personality, or solid and diverse endings.

And not every game will be for everyone. The forum represents a certain slice of the CoG/HG market, but I like to think there is still room for stories that might not be as popular here as they might with a different audience. The forums are full of excellent people who give incredibly helpful feedback, too, so you’d have beta readers to help you maximise the best parts of your game whilst still keeping the vision you have for it. But in the end, the only way to see for certain how well a story will do is to write it, finish it, and let it fly.


#11

Thank you for the praise @Fiogan, coming from you it is high praise indeed!

In answer to your original question @Yams, you have to write the story you want to write. A lot of people didn’t like my decision re character locking, but I hugely enjoyed writing the game and am very proud of it. Locked characters allows you to tell a story in a way that created characters doesn’t, with more detail, more specifics and more intimacy. Of course the trade off is that a reader may not feel as invested in a character as you and I think the people who didn’t like DWF said that, that they didn’t care about the characters enough. So I would emphasise that part of the story, you need to establish early on why the reader should care about your character. But ultimately, if you don’t believe in what you’re writing, you’ll never finish it.


#12

Eh, for me, choicing the gender myself is sort of a good feature. I mean, when it comes to video games and stuff, I don’t mind if the MC is gender-locked as long there aren’t any romantic affairs going around (I prefer this option when it comes to action games). For example, Bioshock Infinite.

But since you asked, yes. I do like that the developers allows the players to choose genders on their own, sometimes, races too. Recent example is Prey. Another examples are Dragon Ball Xenoverse series, the God Eater series, Monster Hunter series, ect. The only down fall of those games is that we hardly even see the MC talking during cutscenes which kind of sucks.
Again, I don’t mind if there are romance affairs between the MC and NPCs since it doesn’t bother me much.

Also, I would like to add something for the NPCs having some sord of relationship with the MC (although I hardly consider it that but…). In the God Eater 2 Rage Burst game, developers created Character Episodes for several characters. This is basically missions in which you need to participate with the said character. This could be collecting materials or simply helping the person becoming stronger and having a better trust, so to speak. And it’s not about having a real relationship with the character (although I have seen ships) but still…
I don’t know how you guys call that but I though that it’s worth mentioning.


#13

As someone’s already mentioned, @jeantown’s Guenevere gender locks the protagonist, that too to female (although maybe I’m just saying that because I’m not :sweat_smile:)
It also gender locks every single character we meet, however is insanely detailed (read "spend an hour looking at chapter 1 and the code and find no errors) with great choice in relationships.
It depends however, (if this makes sense at all) some ‘games’ work with it and some don’t.
Guenevere to me reads less like a text based game but an interactive story (again might not make sense) and is focused around the other character and relationships, much easier and easier to make more complex and deep when the MC (and everyone else) is gender-locked.

And the amount of choice you get matters too-- if I’m forced to play as a gender I don’t identify as (such as female or non-binary) and the game has gender locked NPC’s to a gender I’m not attracted to, with very little/ no “appealing” people I wouldn’t be all that happy, but again it’s not just how amazing the other characters are or their irresistible depth or whatever if I’m not attracted to their gender.

In conclusion, if your game is going to be character-centric with a wide variety of characters that pretty much appeal to everyone and you don’t mind spending an extra couple of months to make that NPC’s and MC perfect (e.g. MC can customise almost everything except gender, which other will react to and notice and the other character who will also be gender-locked but also with diverse personalities but shared across the opposite gender (e.g. if your going to make a flirty, shy and a headstrong male RO you better make a female one) then you’re perfect.


I mean there’s always going to be the people who hate being gender locked regardless, but in my opinion if there is a good justifiable reason for being gender-locked (such as based on true events or for realism-- like being forced to play a male MC in a WW1 text-based game), or the rest of the game, other characters, plot and development is awesome I can’t complain really.


#14

When you lock in too many things, it stops being a story-based game and becomes just a story.


#15

I’m just going to add my opinion here to this already extensively covered thread because I feel like repeating everything everyone else has said in different words. I’m joking, but it’s virtually what this post will be no matter what I say.

In my opinion, I’m fine with gender-locked characters who are male. Because my own gender and physical sex don’t align themselves with each other, I’ve always found it difficult to read through any sort of book or game with a female main character, so that’s my 2 cents on the subject. I’m not saying don’t lock anything, I think you definitely should because that’s what you want to write and who am I to tell you what not to do? This is, ultimately, for your own enjoyment, correct?

As many other people have said, you are definitely limiting your audience here, but there are people who will happily read your story without complaint for the gender-locking, and maybe that’s all that really matters. This type of story is for some and not for others, and the same could be said for pretty much any story out there.

Now, for the non-optional romance. This is where things get a bit iffy (if they haven’t already). I know there are some people who aren’t too fussed about romance, and I’m mostly indifferent to it if it really isn’t interesting in the context of the story, but this is where you will lose a lot of interest because a lot of people do really like the romance aspect of these games. It gives us choice to be who we are without, for the most part, ridicule from anyone else and I know I often indulge in this when I’m feeling put upon by my fellow man. Regardless, this is your choice, and I’m not trying to sway that choice because if that’s how you want to write your story, I say go for it!