How Acceptable Are Pre-Determined Gender Protagonists?

I’m only referring to whenever someone goes out their way to comment on a gender-locked game and say “this isn’t for me” or the like, especially if they believe that gender-locking a game on a whim is perfectly acceptable.

To me, it points towards hypocrisy. If you feel compelled to comment in a thread and criticize something that is related to the core gameplay mechanics* that the author has expressly stated will not change then it erodes away at the validity of your belief that gender-locking on a whim is acceptable.

In short, the two beliefs and the action of commenting are mutually exclusive.

Buying or choosing not to buy a product is a completely different beast since that, usually, makes the assumption that the product is ready for public consumption.

Taking your scenario with the genre of a slasher story, I wouldn’t consider that to be hypocritical since you’re not going out of your way to voice your displeasure for the product beyond letting your wallet speak for you.

*side note: would gender-locking/gender choice be considered a core gameplay mechanic?

Fair enough. The original comment by @Urban did not specify where they’d seen that pattern and I naturally assumed that they were referring to the forums. I can see the possibility of a pattern of male-locked games being praised in places outside of the forums.

Related to Donor’s character-lock, I’m starting to wonder if we should start a game development discussion about character-locking and what types of characters (besides the ones that violate CoG publishing guidelines) would be boo’d by the community.

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Simplest answer to this question is a solid ‘yes’. Either can draw the eye of a potential buyer, and both have merits as far as spinning tales for interested readers goes.

The single biggest hurdle I’ve noticed, at least with indie games that expressly note fem!MC, is that the character is very rarely defined enough for that to truly matter beyond the surface level of what’s being presented without resorting to tacky tropes in an attempt to more forcefully share the protagonist’s presented gender.

In much simpler terms–it’s hard to do it tastefully, without leaving their protagonist as a 1 dimensional blank slate with next to no defined personality. Not that this hasn’t seen considerable improvement lately, but it is still very niche as far as truly successful games of this type go.

Gender choice has the same weakness, but for completely different reasons. It may allow for more self-insert type creativity while playing, which all well if that’s all you want out of a game you opt to buy, but sometimes it really is nice to read alongside a character with more substance to their general makeup than “players can choose x, y, and z features!” making their own rules within the allowances of the author’s skill level at complex, layered storytelling.


On the other hand, I assume the system for choosing an IFComp winner is a lot different from leaving a review or a rating.

I wouldn’t be surprised if female-locked games get an excessive amount of one-star review trolling by men who hate the idea that games might be of interest to women, which has a negative effect on sales.

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I don’t think so, as IFComp winners are chosen by voters giving each game they play a score of 1-10 (which is the same concept as google’s 1-5 rating). It’s not much different other than the votes/reviews could be anonymously placed in IFComp (which lets face it, can be done on any of the stores with a fake name anyhow.) The only real difference is you don’t see the current voted rating at the time of placing your own vote. Although people can write reviews, only a small proportion of voters do so publically. (The rest of the feedback can be delivered privately to the author after the comp anonymously.)

In saying that, if people who didn’t like genderlocking or didn’t like gender locked female games in particular were a significant part of the IFComp voting population, they could still skew the results to prevent games like this one from placing well by leaving low vote scores and poor public reviews. So if there was a decent push back against female locked games in the wider IF community, I’d imagine it’d be unusual for a female locked game to place in the top 10, let alone come first out of 82 entries.

Fair enough, I see what you were trying to say now :slight_smile: