I'm having trouble with being inclusive

Hi everyone,

I’m having trouble with being inclusive but more-so plot wise than from coding. Basically, I plan to have four romance-able characters, two of which will gender flip depending on the MC’s sex/orientation. Everything is pretty straight forward for me until I get to non-binary and bi-sexual. For example, say MC is a non-binary bisexual, how do I decide which gender to set the characters to, since I have no way of knowing if MC prefers men or women. I could flip one but not the other, but then how do I decide which one of the two to flip? I guess I’m just nervous about doing it wrong and upsetting someone. It would be easier for me to remove the non-binary and bisexual settings but that’s not fair to people who want to use them. The two gender flip characters are big members of two different factions so that’s why I thought it would be important to have them customizable.


Let people choose genders of the characters or for bisexual set the gender randomly. Don’t be afraid people will help you during the beta to make your game better.
Also I recommend you don’t think romance as Two genders I recommended add aNb as gender switching too because there are people only into nb so that could be something to think about


There are a lot of ways to approach this design choice. One way would be to simply ask the player whether they would like romantic interest to be men, women, nb, or to randomize. This might be asked at the start of the game, or when meeting the character in question.

This has the advantage of allowing the player to make a clear choice. Probably the best thing to do is not think in terms of “gender flip” because that locks you into a binary model of thinking.

One disadvantage to think about is that allowing players to choose can remove nb characters within the narrative entirely.


Some authors are now allowing the reader to preset the genders and preferences of the RO before the story begins. This is what I would suggest.

@HannahPS has a very well executed process in her current WiP – maybe she would comment on it more.

@Gower also has had success in his recent stories.

I would most likely look at their material for examples to follow here.

Remember that identification is different from preference, so when approaching relationships be sure not to confuse or mix the two.

Last but not least, it will be really important to have nonbinary and bisexual testers focus on your WiP romances as you test. The community is very supportive and I’m sure you’ll be able to get a lot of feedback when you make your demo public.


To add perspective, this is how I’d do it:

  • set MC’s gender
  • set MC’s preference/sexuality (this’ll include asexual or aromantic)
  • set NPC’s gender based on above two

One way would be to allow the player to make the decision as they meet the character in a similar way that they choose their own gender. It also gives an extra option for peoples who dont plan on romancing either characters so its not just hardcoded to be opposite of the player gender.

I would prefer to just choose the genders of the RO. I believe most players would.


That’s also one way to do it. Mecha Ace did it.

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Based on the feedback I’m thinking of doing it in two ways, the first being the following:

Set MC gender: m/f/nb
MC orientation: gay/straight/bi/asexual
MC preference: Male/female/nb

And the second method was what everyone mentioned which is to let you pick the gender when you meet the character. I’ve never had this option in a game so I’m not sure how I feel about it, i personally feel like it would break my immersion if i was suddenly asked to pick the NPCs gender. I’m thinking maybe I will add this option at the beginning for those who want it, so that it doesn’t suddenly interrupt the narrative but you have it there just in case. @NatsDemilla @Eiwynn @poison_mara @Gower @Szaal

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To be fair, if I don’t plan my NPC to switch their gender based on player’s input (their preference/sexuality), I’d make it so all NPCs can be interacted and flirted by MC (if that’s even a phrase).

Denial would be incorporated into the story itself rather than in the game mechanics.


Only non-binary MCs should be allowed to have a preference for other nbs/attracted solely to nbs. Otherwise this steeps into fetishization.


Instead of setting orientation, why not allow the player to choose who they are attracted to on a case-by-case basis?

If a binary character realizes over the course of the game and interacting with a non-binary character that they have fallen for them, I think that could be a possibility worth not closing off.


Since it’s just two character gender-flippable, I think you could add the selection in their introduction scenes, the reason why is because in the start the player doesn’t know then yet and might want to change it later depending on what gender they would prefer for each.

I have no problem with this breaking immersion, and I value immersion a lot. You can steer it into your story in a way that makes it look like the player is helping you tell it, instead of the player just being customizing a few things in a game. It’s all about the narrative, the way you tell your story. As for examples, the only one I can remember now is in the Heroes Rise first series, but I’m sure there were others.

Another solution, as others already mentioned, would be to just drop the whole gender flip thing and go with the flow. Sometimes it’s okay if not all characters are romanceable from my MC perspective if it saves the game from other issues, like lack of immersion or too much exposition, and so on. It adds flavor to the NPCs because they will seem more connected to that world you built, and not something the player helped you create. I’m even in favor of them having their own preferences. Like Dorian from Dragon Age Inquisition, which is only a RO for gay and male MCs. And that’s more than okay. I love Dorian and as a female I would’ve loved to romance him in my playthrough, but this decision made him so human that I was more than happy to be his friend. Sometimes there are sacrifices we have to make as writers in order to create something great or at least satisfy our readers.


I don’t think there’s really a hard and fast right or wrong approach here. My personal preference is for RO’s with set genders that are interested in the player character whatever gender they choose to be.

That’s definitely not the only right answer though.


I think that sexual orientation does not depend on gender. I mean, is about the other person, and not about how you identify your gender.
I’ll try to explain it because english isn’t my first neither second language and I don’t want to be misunderstood. It’s long so…:


People are attracted to certain kinds of people; to certain expressions of masculinity and femininity; attracted to certain physical manifestations of sex and gender and attracted to certain self-identities of gender as they pertain to relationship and societal roles.
If a genderqueer person is attracted to women, you would say that person is gynesexual. If a cisgender person is attracted to women, we would say that person is gynesexual.

It depends on what you want for your game too. I would take specially @Camille622 and @Gower recommendations but that’s just my opinion. :sweat_smile:

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This is an interesting question. Just to muddy the waters a little, I wonder if the process of randomising genders for a player who expresses interest in more than one gender should include some sort of cap mechanism to guard against the possibility that every RO in the game will end up as the same gender? As a player, I’m amenable to romance with ROs of any gender but it would feel kind of limiting if they turned out to be all men, all women or all nb.

You could do something like this easily by setting some numeric ‘cap’ variables when the player chooses preference then ‘re-rolling’ if they’re exceeded.


I was putting some examples not putting all together. I’m pan. I didn’t want to bother or be offensive. I’ve researched the etymology of Skolio and you are right so I’ll edit that term and sorry for didn’t look the etymology before. I’ve just make some quick research from catalan language, my bad, sorry again.[quote=“Laguz, post:18, topic:57938”]
You cannot tell a non-binary person from a cis or binary trans person: our umbrella is too wide. To think that you can is to stereotype and fetishize us.
Like I said I was trying to put an example. I could have put any other term.
I’m not making stereotypes. I understand being angry or offended about skoleo word.


@Baphometra okay m’dear, the easiest thing to do would be to randomize the two ROs if the bisexual option is chosen :slight_smile: if you need help with doing randomization, feel free to DM me and Rissa and I will be happy to help you!

Oh, and if you want to up nb playability, you could let them change pronouns at any time via the stats page. It’s a little extra work, but Rissa @acegoats knows how to make it simpler to do!


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