Race in COG titles

If I may ask a question then (mods, if you could split this into it’s own topic if it is okay):

In which games would you say acknowledging race (and by extension gender, sexuality etc) was done best so far? In which did things just work though it was not on earth?

Looking through the forum shows a lot of writers run into the biggest problem when it comes to that, sometimes with really not good results. So, every bit of input helps the community to become better.

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Going more off of the gender/sexuality facet of the discussion than race, I thought Aegis Project acknowledged NB MCs very nicely. There’s an NB NPC with whom you can get some unique dialogue and rel bumps if the MC is also NB, that felt very natural and accurate to my experiences talking with other trans and NB folks. And on the race side, if you’re playing as a darker-skinned character, during a conversation with a black NPC, they can reference possible shared experiences of discrimination


The ones i remember are Tin Star, Silverworld and Choice of Vampire, you could play as different races and it had a impact, especially how npcs sees you, different dialogues and in silverworld case, different status, these are the ones i can list where i think it was well implemented, i have yet to see about Gilded Rails since i only played the demo, but so far you can play as an african american and as irish american so far so good.


It think the sabers and guns of infity sires does a great job at representing women in the 18th-19th century. It seemed pretty accurate in my opinion while still having some strong female characters


Have to agree with! @flocktrops those games were great and may be the only games in my memory that dealt with race at all as it deals with your PC.

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There are a few that have a wide range of selectable ethnicities. Highway Wars went with a “this color from this post-apocalyptic region”, I think, which kinda helped me world-build with associating the new region names with old geography. Kind of a dual purpose. In ZE:SH, you can pick a mix of at least 3 ethnicities. I think there’s only one in-game mention, but it’s kind of funny with someone who has a definite ethnic attraction.

Most of what I notice is selecting skin color which could mean various things, “Tan” being the most vague. But I don’t notice that it is often referenced meaningfully.

The most unique I noticed was in a game set in ancient Asia (sorry, forgot the title), where you’re a prince, so your father is local Asian, but you can select a mother from another country to establish mixed ancestry. That’s the only instance of an ethnic ‘lock’, but it was entirely logical that royalty of a country would be at least half the local ethnicity. I think there are some casual mentions of you looking like your mother if you choose to be mixed.

I usually mix it up, and I don’t usually find myself unable to select a ‘look’ for my standard character archetypes.

It seems like the consensus so far is that a good depiction is a depiction that focuses on shared or historical oppression. Seems like that’s the only “referenced meaningfully” that people can come up with.

Then the question is: how do you do that in a world were certain things did not occur?

At least I didn’t mean “profound”. I mean that there’s a reason I had to click an option on that screen. I can only remember once that a hair color was mentioned (in a mirror) after the character creation process. Why is hair color a frequent option if it doesn’t matter?

That’s why skin color is kind of awkward. There aren’t a ton of reasons the story would treat skin color as important that wouldn’t be unpleasant for readers who don’t want suffering bigotry in all our escapism material.

Well, if it’s a low-tech setting then people can react to your skin color because it identifies you as being from far away. Like if you’re in 7th-century Constantinople and Chinese.

‘far away’ would take clothing more into account than anything, and those were pretty similar between countries of that time…

Yes, but you can obtain clothing locally if it is desirable to blend in. Also, yes, some people did migrate long distances and settle in other cities, but if you’re Chinese and you’re in Greece and it’s 700CE, people are likely to think you’re a Silk Road trader.

Can and Do are different things in this industry. I can barely remember a handful of times color/ethnicity mattered in-game like Strength, Ranged Weapons, etc.

I suspect most authors shy away from writing different interactions and plot points for different races. Maybe they should. My only point is that I almost never think it matters when I select ethnicity/skin color. So, is kind of a weird stat to bother having for me.

Writers should want to, in my view, include different interactions and plot points. The trouble, however, is the extra workload it brings and tying everything together. So I can fully understand why people don’t give different options/plot points for race etc. Only the author, at the end of the day, can say whether they’re willing to do the extra work and whether it’s best for their story.

Personally, I wouldn’t include race (or any option at all for that matter) if there was no difference. shrugs With Red Dead Redemption 2’s release, I had thought that a western story which includes racism would be good, but I’m naturally drawn towards social commentary. It’s my interest in writing, covering flaws etc.

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Yeah, I don’t always want really heavy social issues from real life in my distraction entertainment, but there can be light-handed ways of including some variations based on ethnicity or culture. One that that just came to mind was a WIP about being taken as a Roman slave. Ok, that sucks. But your opportunities after that were influenced by which languages you spoke, which were tied to your culture. I liked that treatment.


I get that.

I don’t think all art should serve as more than simple entertainment, as it has its place, but I’m more of the literary type. I want to push buttons and make people think. shrugs

On the other hand, and I apologise for the off-topic here, I did see two videos that have brightened my day some. One about an old man who was waiting to die because he’d lost his wife, but a 4 year old girl reached out to him out of the blue and they now see each other weekly, with the mother accompanying the little girl. I also saw a video about a dog that’s two years old which was scared of everything, then it eventually wagged it’s tail for the first time after several months and overcame its fear.

Those stories I find equally interesting (and touching), and I do like to write about that sort of thing as well. Those stories would probably be boring to most, but . . . shrugs

Was that Rome story written by Carolyn or someone with a similar name? I can’t remember the work’s name nor the author’s name, but I remember an author with a name similar to that writing a Rome story. It was several years ago though.

The Gladiator: Road to the Colosseum

i think this is the story they’re talking about


Thanks. I’ll have a look.

Thanks for the link!! I’m glad you guys liked it (:

I think with issues like these, the key is to acknowledge the differences and bringing them across realistically while moderating effects so that its still playable!

There’s a difference between a game being discriminatory and the in game characters being discriminatory - the first would probably leave a bad taste while the second helps with immersion, esp when done tastefully!!!

I think it does help when writers include race specific content, but I do agree that it can be tricky sometimes and extra care needs to be taken not to fall into stereotypes as a writer!!

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