I’ve had an idea for a world with a few separate stories within it that I am interested in writing and I’ve finally decided to just sit down and start writing them. Here is my dilemma, due to the nature of the world gender is quite important. Writing a different gender would be a GREAT undertaking as a lot of the central ideas I want to include are influenced by the gender of the main character. If I wrote only one story, I suppose I could just flip gender stereotypes but I have several and it wouldn’t make sense if the stereotypes kept flipping every game. So my question is,
If forced to be male/female would you still play a game, or is the choice direly important to you in choosing?
I know I prefer when I can play a woman as a woman and have grumpily passed up on games sometimes because of it but I was wondering how prevalent that was? Or at the very least to have the validation of someone voicing what the confident part of me thinks which is, “It doesn’t matter if people want you to do something, it is your story, and if people want to play it then awesome.”
I think… If I can code it properly (it should be simple but I have enough experience with other coding to realize that can be entirely misleading). I can offer a male pov with a different little origin story and some difference in skill checks and whatnot to reflect the culture/world that I am writing. I THINK. I’m gonna give it a shot but I mean… If it ends up being a grand 'ol mess, I’ll probably just cut it. The gender will change some of what you can accomplish however, because I have no intention of changing other character’s genders to suit yours for romantic purposes. Some people just won’t be interested in you, I’ll probably let you flirt with them anyways though. For fun.
I pass on games that force me to play a male character. So gender choice is probably not the key component for me - being able to play a female character is.
That said, I also prefer to not have any significant differences in the narrative just because I happened to choose a different gender. Mostly because those differences tend to mean ‘as a female character you’ll have to deal with sexism’ or ‘romanceable characters depend on your gender’ and I’m not down with that.
I typically won’t play a CoG with a genderlocked PC. I want to be able to make the PC a character of my choosing, and automatically limiting my options by removing a gender option doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t care as much about it changing things, but I want the option to be there.
That said, it’s your story, so you should write it the way you want to. If it requires a PC of a particular gender, then do it. I probably wouldn’t play it, but there are a lot of people who would. It’s impossible to make something that appeals to everyone, and rather than try to draw the attention of people who aren’t interested, I think you should focus on the people who are.
for me it’s all about writing. Whichever makes for a better story is better prefer playing as a woman, just because it fits my playing style more, and sometimes only writing for one gender makes sense(like in guns of infinity) though most games that do this, tend to do male characters. But obviously being able to choose either can make it feel less story based, in some cases but adds more replayability and customisation. so yeah lol, really depends on the game, though ideally I’d like to choose.
For a game that’s based off an actual person or is something preestablished like a character with an entire life story and friends and family (i.e. Kingdom Hearts), I don’t mind playing whatever gender. In that situation it doesn’t feel like I’m “being forced to play that gender”, it feels more like I am along for the ride in viewing someone else’s life and story.
For a game that is supposed to give you a large range of customization character options and/or freedom of choice, yes I do believe gender is important. In this case, I’m not just playing a prestablished character like Sora or Riku from kingdom hearts, I’m playing as my character who I want to model after me. I was born as and identify as a black female and a majority of games have you play as a white male so I like to take the opportunity to play as something as close to me as I can get.
I agree with everything @blackrising said. 99% of the times where we can change our gender, I pick female. I almost never play as a male but I know a lot of people do, so that’s important. I don’t really enjoy gender locked males because most of the times authors give some excuse as to why women couldn’t do that etc. Then again, that’s just my view.
Yes, if I can’t play as my own gender (female) then I probs won’t play the game. There are exceptions of course, like A Study in Steampunk. I originally planned on not playing that game because it was gender locked but decided to give it a shot after seeing all the positive comments on the forum.
Me, personally? I would echo what has already been mentioned a few times - I only play games where I can be a female. I’ve tried to get into games with a set male protagonist, but I just couldn’t and always lose interest. (Even with great writing and interesting plots!) I’m fine reading books with male protagonists but when it comes to interactive games it’s just a hurdle I can’t get past.
That said, I will also parrot what has also been stated: Write what you want to write. It sounds like hand-waving answer but it is so true. There have been projects where the authors lost interest because they tried to write things they didn’t feel motivated to write and tried to focus on the audience instead, or doubled their workload by trying to fit elements in that didn’t work. While it is important to consider feedback, stick with your vision and you’ll get a product that you’re happy with. (Again reiterating…) You’ll never please everyone, so do what makes you happy!
For me, personally, I don’t play CoG and Hosted Games games w/o the choice to play as my own gender, female. Perhaps that’s incredibly ignorant of me to not want to play from a different perspective on a gender-based level, but the choices I make in choicescript games are always based on what I would do irl. So my point is that if I can’t play as myself, then I’m not playing the game as true to myself as I would w/ the option to play a female character. That said, I’d like to suggest you include additional gender options beyond (cis) m/f (genderfluid, genderqueer, agender, intersex, demiboy/girl, trans man/woman, etc). Perhaps more research into how you might phrase these options, like “I identify as neither man nor woman” or “I identify as both man and woman” or “my gender is often in a state of fluidity” (though you could include the option to be genderflux, different from genderfluidity, w/ similar wording to the last example). Also, options for pronoun pref is just as important in the case of grey-area gender. I know all of it sounds like way more work than you might’ve expected, but I think accessibility to as many readers as possible w/ so many differences, and options catering to that diversity, is one of the most imperative characteristics of a good choicescript read.
To be honest, it’s a little off-putting, but not a complete deal breaker for me. So, I guess I really don’t mind all too much in the end. I’m still hesitant towards genderlocked games (playing as a female isn’t really my cup of tea). Would letting the players choose their own gender/sexuality/etc. really hurt the story all that much? Anyway all that really matters to me is if the writing is good and the storyline is interesting.
Write what you want to write and feel you can write well. Choice of gender is great, and adding it will win you more readers. But both the forum community and the broader CoG (or more precisely Hosted Game) market are friendly toward well-written passion projects where the author argues there are important reasons for a genderlock (Guns/Sabres of Infinity, Study in Steampunk, Guenevere).
Personally, gender and ability to choose my sexuality (always pick gay or bi) is what appeal me to CoG. So yeah its kinda the deal breaker for me. But for you if you really want to write it genderlocked because its important for the story don’t let it stop you. It might stop some people like me to play it but a lot other will still love it I am sure
I tend to pass games that obligate me to play as a male character. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s due to the overwhelming quantity of games with a male character and a lack of female characters. However, depending on the story, I’m totally down to playing male characters.
For me personally I don’t mind if I have to play as a certain gender(most often a man) if it fits in well with the story and we’re not just given a poor excuse as to why we cannot be a different gender.
Being genderlocked won’t stop me from playing a game I’m intrested in.
I also find alot of the time when I am given a choice I find myself playing as a man instead of a woman, because I usually Base my mc on one of my own characters and try to play how they would. Since if I play as myself I always turn out much to nice.
All I can say is write your story how you want since its your story.
I gave my MC character a male/female divide, but it doesn’t affect the story whatsoever. It’s arbitrary and only changes the way characters talk/use pronouns every once in a while. There are so many genders and identities out there, and I feel I couldn’t encompass them all, since everyone should be free to interpret the concept of gender however they want without it fitting into a label.
99% of the time in games where the option is available, I will play as a female, just because I’m thankful that women were included in a world filled with male game protagonists. However, I will say that playing as a gender different to yours by choice can be an interesting experience in an RPG with a strong MC. It really makes you feel like you’re living someone else’s life, and increases the escapist factor. I’ll never forget my male inquisitor from Dragon Age Inquisition. Probably my favourite custom protagonist of all time.