I actually dislike this. Even if I’m playing, say, a lesbian character, it doesn’t mean I don’t want any of the meaningful characters to be male. Non ROs tend to be bland in most WIPs, and I find it unrealistic for all developed characters to share a gender.
Hmm, I get what you’re saying, though for me as a writer I think it would be interesting to work with. I think while gender and how a person is raised can influence them, it shouldn’t define them, and I try to write my characters based off this belief.
For example, I guess if Mira, one of the ROs was male it wouldn’t really change his motivations or character traits. He’d still disagree with his father and his sister and the running of the gang he left. He’d still be a hacker and in charge of his own fringe gang in a smaller district. He’d still have long black hair, brown eyes, and a caffeine dependency.
As this is a passion project I’m working on in my spare time, I would also personally not be opposed to writing a new male character to take Mira’s spot in the story, as a gang leader, but different motivations and backstory, I guess more similar to an early game branch.
I’d definitely agree though that people have varried opinions and since I’m going to be doing the work at the end of the day I have to love the work I’m putting in, otherwise it’ll never get done. I personally have to admit I’m surprised that people would prefer gender locking characters completely, predominately, in my case it means the story would appeal to male attracted people as only Mira and Cherry were originally girls
Personally, I haven’t played through all of Wayhaven, but this was one of the turn-offs for me, I didn’t know everyone was going to be set based on my sexuality question and I felt a little like I’d fallen into an Ouran Host type club, lol
Now I actually want to not give the option to select the ”default” genders for the ROs in the story I’m writing, just to see how they read as to the readers
I think that might be interesting too! I feel like a lot of the debate around a “default” gender might have something to do with how biases work, like maybe if a default is specified, the other might seem shallow in comparison?
I also dislike this, because one of my MCs, I personally imagined him identifying as bi, but the game has to think he’s gay because I wanted him to romance Adam and not Ava. I think it was Fallen Hero that gave the option before the game even started (so it didn’t even halt the story to ask) to set the gender-selectable characters as one gender, randomize, or decide to select them as you meet them. Something like that.
On the subject of Wayhaven
I prefer these two, but the gender selection part of Wayhaven has lead to some homophobia towards mlm (among other -isms towards characters like Mason) in the fandom, so I don’t mind gender-slectable ROs but I prefer they just be set characters (with few exceptions for certain tropes)
For me, it reminds me of when a romance game has a “true ending” or “true RO.” It just sounds like the writer saying, “Fine, I’ll give you a choice, but you’re playing it wrong.” And makes me wonder why they bother with a choice at all if they’ve had one set thing in mind all along.
Well, it could, for example, be that the story started as a non-interactive one, so the default genders would be what characters were in that.
Good point! I don’t want to give those kinds of impressions, I usually really hate the “true” endings in visual novels anyway. Like I said earlier in the thread I don’t believe any of the characters would change in motivation if their gender identity changed.
I definitely do want to give players the option of having ROs that appeal to them/ their MC though, I want the game to be accessible to LGBT players, like myself.
I’d forgotten about that! Probably since I like to select as I go but I could definitely have this and a random option for people who don’t like to be interrupted.
Another quick question I’d appreciate some feedback on. When it comes to names, do you prefer the names to be similar, like Nate/Nat in Wayhaven for example or different like in Fallen Hero?
Personally, if you’re just doing gender flippable characters, I’d prefer different names altogether (and with enough differences so that it feels like a different character, albeit similar to the opposite gendered one). It’s all about immersion with me, and I feel it’s more immersive to make it feel like different characters, even if they are awfully similar.
Naming every significant character in the narrative feels too much like writing my own story. And overly customizable “blank slate” characters are just not a thing that I can get interested in.
NPCs with set names and genders are good. NPCs with customizable genders are okay, providing there are not too many of them, and that the setting for the story supports that kind of gender-neutral characterization.
Hmm, that depends. For example, in Tally Ho, there are two gender selectable ROs, one who is the same gender as the MC and one who’s the opposite gender to MC. The gender selectable ones are Haze (short for Hazel if female and Hazelnut if male, which I found hilarious) and Valentine, whose real name is later revealed to be Gertie if female or Gus if male . I think that’s a good approach - less of a pain to code, but still introduces a slight different between the male and female options. One thing I do dislike, though, is when a gender selectable RO has a non-Western name which is exclusively masculine or feminine, but sounds gender neutral to English ears. I always choose the “authentic” gender then, and feel deprived of a choice. Or when characters have different names depending on gender, I sometimes just choose the name I prefer.
I think as long as any romance setting system doesn’t result in a player with a specific gender and sexuality preference only having one option, most systems have their merits. Three to five LIs for each is the sweet spot for me. Just two or only one feels limited whilst six or more starts to run the risk of being confusing or overwhelming.
Out-of-game discussions are easier when there is a simple way to refer to all versions of a character: e.g., goes by last name, shared first name, shared first letter.
That’s not to say wholly dissimilar names are bad, but expect to confuse at least one tester into thinking Tiffany and Bartholomew are different people.
That makes sense. In this case, using Mira as an example the name triplet if I were to stick to the same letter would be Mira/Mischa/Miro. Regardless they’d also continue to go by Koko, which is used when they’re running their gang.
At this point, I’m looking at 5 ROs, none of them gender locked to an MC, 4 that can be m/f/nb, and one nb. The one nonbinary one is always nonbinary and uses they/them, but you can choose whether they prefer to present mostly masculine or mostly feminine
Im late to the party on this…and also in the minority I guess, but I love the idea of being able to name and customize characters or atleast have it be an option so people that dont want to deal with that can just play a set way. Feels like im actually working with the writer to make the story too which to me is great! (It doesnt take me out of the story to be asked what method I want to go with either in game) I also will never really be a fan of orientation locking, (Gender Locking too I guess? Though I still can enjoy stories with these.) because it tends to be too limiting for me in alot of CoGs/HGs and kind of gets in the way of making whatever type of character I feel like playing at the time.
I also disagree with majority of people saying choosing things would make the character more bland or empty. I feel like thats usually down to the skill of the writer imo. Most characters I love in games are for how well they are written, personalities, and the things they do or have done and I dont think that should change if they were a different gender. All that changes is whether or not they can be romanced and the player getting to experience that aspect of them and I feel like people shouldn’t have to miss out on that because they happen to be a gender that the player, or in my case sometimes, my MC at the time isnt interested in.
I feel like the only time preset genders or orientation are important is depending on the world of the story and different things that a specific gender or orientation would have experienced that factors into how the character was forged/raised. Its all down to what story the writer may want to tell or not tell but thats just me. I hope I made atleast some since in my rambling.
This absolutely makes sense to me! Don’t worry about rambling, I appreciate long replies.
For my particular story there’s no orientation locking, I feel like it’s added work that I’m not particularly interested in adding to the code, and additionally as a player, I personally hate having to backtrack when the only RO I personally like doesn’t like my MC. So all RO options will be romanceable by any gendered MC (m/f/nb). There will be some references to the ROs own experiences, which may change based on MC gender, but this is meant to be flavor text, and doesn’t impact their willingness to date you.
Additionally, all RO, except for one will be gender identity selectable. The one that you cannot select will always be nonbinary and go by they/them, as it ties into their optional friendship questline, with some differences if you choose to romance them in the storyline. As a player, you will be able to decide if they prefer to present mostly masculine or mostly feminine.
I plan to give each RO a little sidequest arc, with availability being locked to your friendship status.
I’d also love to be able to code an optional “living world” variant that when on will allow ROs not being pursued by the MC to develop their own relationships with other characters depending on circumstances.
I would suggest doing something similar to the odessa dating games, in which the prince is customizable but you can opt out of it and have him default to the authors choices. I personally would love to be able to do more customization of RO’s, but not if it’s at the expense of any depth added to their character.
I prefer if the ros already have a set name and a set gender (I’m alright with choosing their gender), but letting the reader customize a lot of things about the ro will make me feel like they’re a character that I made rather than a character from the story
Honestly, I just like to have options. If it were up to me, all options would be available. I don’t care about balanced genders or nonsense like that, realism be damned. Also, it’s not like anyone here in the forum can see my playthroughs, so I’m not sure why some people would act like breaking some of these traditions is such a big no-no. I’m also in the minority, but I have huge respect for any author that breaks traditions, or play with mechanics. Adrao, Lucid, Jim Dattilo and Lucas Zaper just to name a few, is what I call true customisation lords. Otherwise, I would say just do your thing and don’t worry too much about it. Ultimately, your game will find its rightful spot regardless.