Preset Player Character Names


So, I’m curious.
I know in choicescript games it’s pretty much a given that you’ll be able to choose the name of your character, their gender and all the other little details. However, if any of you are familiar with Ren’Py Visual Novels, especially, you’ll know that such options aren’t always the case.

For whatever reason some choose your own adventure games DO NOT allow you to choose your own name, or gender.
Why do they do this? What benefits do you think it has? If we saw more choicescript games using such methods, would you play them, if not, why?

I’m very interested in your opinions! :slight_smile:

Preset Player Names and Preset Back Story

I avidly play otome games where the main character is often preset. I also play CoG-style stuff. I believe the pre-defined character style works when the story focuses on romance because it means that interactions between the main character and love interest can be better defined. Most otome games I’ve played really don’t give you much choice other than which character you romance and what endings you get. In this case the focus is on the love interests rather than your character. Your character is just a vehicle to move you into the story.

Honestly, I find the COG style to be more engaging. I like it when my character feels like an active participant in the story, not just a vehicle for me to insert myself into the story. I find it richer.


I think the main benefit is its easier to slot a set character into the world as opposed to a character who has got to be defined first.

To be honest it wouldn’t bother me, its nice for the choice but imo it doesn’t affect the game enough to not want to play it.

Good examples of a ‘set’ character are Vendetta and Sabres of Infinity. Sure it might be easier for me as the main characters in both are male. But I would still play a game that made be play as a woman as long as I like the story.


Thanks for your inputs! They’re both very interesting.

@Farside - So would you say the pre-defined character almost feels pointless? That’s the impression I get. That the focus then tends to be more on the opposing characters and your relationship with them through “a medium” of sorts, which happens to be the player character?

One major advantage I can think of is that you would be able to cover several character perspectives a lot more easily, if you didn’t define any of the characters yourself. That’s something I’ve yet to see in a CoG game. I would very much like to, however.


I require at least the ability to choose your player character’s gender before I will even consider playing a game. Generally I’ll appreciate the ability to choose your character’s ethnicity. Any customisation on top of that is just an added bonus.


@CJW Not pointless, but pointless in the ways predefined characters are often used. If you create a predefined character, you should do more than just make them the reader’s self-insert. A character, whether controlled by the player or not, should be active and engaged in the story. It’s more of a complaint I have with Visual Novels/otome games than CoG-style games.


I always preferred some sort of customization, and I almost always incorperated at least a name choice and personality based stats whenever I worked with Ren’Py. While it isn’t much harder to code than it is in ChoiceScript, the inconvenience comes in with the artwork involved (though it can easily be worked around). Ren’Py games just had a certain formula the writers weren’t keen on breaking, just as ChoiceScript games tend to follow their own general formula.

The fact that most visual novels just counted how many times you made the “right” choice with a certain character really irked me for a long time, though. I was more than happy when CoG started up and brought in a style of game with customization choices that went along with my gaming preferences. :slight_smile:


I see, thanks guys. That gives me something to go on :slight_smile: