ROs Gender and Sexual Orientation

What are your thoughts on set RO sexuality?

Do you dislike it when an RO can only be pursued by a certain gender?

Do you prefer ROs with an already set gender, or would you rather chose their gender to accommodate your preferences?

I don’t know if this has been discussed before, but I am curious to hear everyone’s opinion.

Also, if it is possible to elaborate on why you like or dislike a method more than the other.

Thank you all :slight_smile:

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I must admit, I sometimes find it jarring when literally every character is Bisexual. It gets even more jarring in settings where anything other than heterosexuality would be frowned upon, like historical or fantasy settings. Now that’s not saying people couldn’t be anything other than straight, the ancient greeks were famously very gay. But it would be better if it is done more subtly. For example, imagine a game where you are a royal and get married to an RO. I think it’s very immersion breaking for everyone to be supportive of a same sex marriage between royals in the setting, rather than going, “Oh no, there will be no heir.”

So maybe, it would be better for an RO not to have a sexuality, but a “preference”. As in, they have a certain gender they prefer, and an MC of that gender would have an easier time romancing them, while ones of any other gender would need to put in a little more effort.

That being said, I do prefer when RO’s have set genders, rather than being gender flippable. Feel free to disagree, but I feel like when characters have a set gender, they become more believable.

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i fully understand why people would appreciate diverse RO genders and sexuality, but me personally as a bi woman i prefer gender-flippable ROs that are bi/pan/ace (but pan/biromantic). i tend to make the buffest, tallest, hunkiest ROs women and the lankier, shorter ones men. and bi/pans ofc because i exclusively play cis women or femme enbies so i like to not be locked out of any romance route!

if a character i like is unavailable to me as a woman i will not replay as a man just to get with them no matter how much i like em! i just can’t do it! it’s why the infinity series (is that what it’s called?) is a huge bummer because you’re gender-locked male :disappointed:

sorry im rambling but yes gender flippable and available for all is my #1 pref!

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All I want to say is: be prepared for a mob execution if you don’t make their waifu a RO.

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I prefer ROs without a set gender or sexuality. I think games should be accessible to as many people as possible, and the group of players shrink every time you set something.

Don’t get me wrong, there are reasons why setting the gender or sexuality would be the right move for your story. For example, if the world treats certain genders or sexualities badly, setting their gender and/or sexuality might make more sense than ignoring it for the ROs

But generally speaking, I don’t think ROs should be set (where possible)

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This may be a slight tangent, but do you consider characters to who are romancable by any gender MC to be bisexual? Even if they don’t show interest in any other character?

I’ve always considered player-sexual ROs to be a weird middle grey zone. Like in the iteration of the story you’re reading, they can be anywhere on the spectrum. Idk maybe its just how I read it, but unless there it is stated in the text or by word of the author, I think their sexuality can be whatever you personally consider it.

For example, say you have a male MC and a male RO and you romance them, I’d consider it equally likely that they’re gay, bi or pan. If thats the only playthrough you do without any meta knowledge, all of those would be valid assumptions. Same as if you don’t romance them and they display no romantic attraction to anyone, it could be reasonable for the reader, in the context of that playthrough, to consider them anywhere on the spectrum from “attracted but not making a move” to “attracted to MC’s gender but not the MC” to “not attracted to the MC’s gender or anyone”.

If a player only plays male MCs and doesn’t code dive, they won’t know if a character is bisexual, just when a character is attracted to men.

Whenever this conversation comes up I always wonder if people consider a character’s sexuality to be based on meta (whoever could romance the MC in ANY iteration of a playthrough) or on a personal basis (taking into account only what they’ve seen or will see).

This obviously doesn’t take into account when an author states their sexuality (although if its material outside the game its unlikely the majority of readers will ever know) or when their sexuality plays a role in the story through their personal journey and/or their interactions with other characters.

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I consider ROs without a set sexuality to be “player-sexual.” In other words, they’re attracted to whatever gender the MC is

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I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, I want all characters to be bi, because I have a history of making lesbian female characters who fell in love with a straight woman (looking at you, BioWare! I’m forever salty over the fact that Morrigan and Viconia cannot be romanced by a female protagonist. Or Blackwall for a male mage protagonist. I find this possibility fascinating, but I might be in the minority here.

On the other hand, a person’s orientation is a part of their character, and I am a firm believer in the “character first - romance second” rule, so I think it is perfectly fine to have set orientations. And I did find unrequited love interesting (i.e. my female Cousland warden was head over heels for Morrigan and agreed to the dark rituals despite knowing it was … not what she should do. Then she followed Morrigan to the mirror world to raise a child - while bottling her feelings the whole time. It opens possibilities of unconventional role-playing.) I think it is wrong to force a character to be bi just to please most of the readers. It might feel unnatural. (But I understand sometimes orientations do not play a vital role in determining a person’s character, then it is fine to be a bit more liberal)

As for gender - I am fine either way. Sometimes genders play a role in personalities, sometimes they do not. For myself, I never feel belonged to a certain gender, so I don’t quite associate genders with personalities (but I also understand why people think they do). Just don’t force it.

So my verdict? Stick to the character :slight_smile:

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I said this before and will repeat it forever now and ever after all.

I believe characters should be player sexual. I also, do not believe in the excuse of ‘Oh but if it was set, it would be SO much better’, ‘But it’s not realistic!’ or any other excuse. Because that’s what they really are. Excuses.

I think limitations are bad m’kay. And I hate Limitations.

Here a fine example:

Player: Ohh the game has romance! I think I’ll pick Estelle for this run.
Game Creator: No no no. Sorry, but you can’t just Pick a romance like it is a buffet!
Player: Why not?
Game Creator: Because 1) they are gender locked and Estelle is Hetero, 2) It is not realistic. Look over here, you can romance Bambi! She is a Lesbian!
Player: So…I can’t decide who I like, but you get to force onto me who you think I should like?
Game Creator: Just go for the lesbian I made for you!
Player: Screw you…

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I would love to see more gay and lesbian ROs, but honestly, I don’t mind if everyone is bi. It’s not unrealistic to have a small group of people with shared sexuality, especially because LGBTQ+ people tend to stick together. If we had like 50 ROs it would be strange, but four or so bisexuals in one group makes perfect sense to me.

I personally don’t like playersexuality, it feels like unnecessary bi-erasure to me, why not just make them canonically bi/pan if they can be attracted to any MC. It would break my immersion if I read on the forum about someone romancing male RO as a woman, while in my game he identified as gay.

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Now that would be a sight to behold.

I don’t personally much care either way, I’ll just make a suitable character. (Making my ROs canonically bi though.)

because player sexual is neutral and bi/pan isn’t.

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After playing through a chunk of gender variable games, my opinion is that if you’re going to let the player control both MC and RO gender, and you are going to write love scenes, then you need to write variants that reflect that. What I see more often than not is this attempt to generically needle thread those moments where it’s obvious they’re trying to be gender neutral (for lack of a better term) in the prose, and it falls flat every time. If you’re going to make the romance options robust then the writing for those romances needs to be equally robust. If not, then you are better served locking characters in terms of their gender and romantic inclinations. It will make the relationships that occur there sharper and better written.

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I prefer romances that sex is already set. I just find a set sex, adds to that character’s personality. Because I believe at times, the writer will have to be more ambiguous. Instead of focusing on more detailed descriptions in their writing. I personally have no issue with a RO’s sexuality being set or not. Though having every character be “player sexual” is nice, because it’s just more options for everyone.

But I think when writing ROs like this, the writer have to be careful. You wouldn’t want the player to feel as though every character is thirsty for them. Especially if you’re writing in a way where the ROs are the first to begin the flirting, and not the player.

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I’m not a huge fan of playersexuality for the same reason :handshake:
You would think bisexual representation is very strong in IFs but it’s very rare for characters to be explicitly bisexual. That’s why I love games like Blood and Runes.

What do you mean by that?
Seems like you neither want gay ROs in IFs nor bisexual :thinking: It doesn’t seem to be about “limitations” anymore.

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This could potentially lead to characters behaving in stereotypically gendered manner, which makes it hard to play as gender nonconforming characters. The only way to do it correctly is to write variants and make them available for every gender and sexuality, rather than coding it so male MC automatically act one way, while female MC the other.

Also RO treating my MC differently based on gender leave a bad taste in my mouth, because I often prefer the other version of the same interaction and it’s unfair that I can’t get it just because I play as a “wrong” gender (for example, my male MC can’t sit in RO’s lap because it’s apparently not manly or something).

Edit: Or did you mean sex scenes specifically, and not any romantic scenes? Sorry, English is not my first language. Anyway, it doesn’t change my point, because sex scenes could also be written in a stereotypical manner, but I can’t go into details because it’s not an adult thread, lol.

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player sexual is outside the pool of gender identity, therefor its gray, its neutral.

It doesn’t matter to me. What matter is who I would like in the game, and setting orientation create limitation.

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Let me open by saying I don’t believe there should be a solution that fits all games. I’m okay with ROs with locked gender and sexuality, and I’m okay with playersexual gender-flippable ROs. I wouldn’t want all games to conform to one or the other, I much prefer what the author thinks is best. I’d also like to disclose that romance is not a big draw for me and I don’t particularly play these games for the romance, so whether they are available or not has little impact on my experience as a player.

That said, I believe the ideal would be to have all RO available to all players while acknowledging the character’s default preference. For example, if playing as a man and trying to romance another male character that was “meant” to be straight, have this character struggle a little to come to terms with his new budding feelings. I think this would be a lot more interesting than have everyone attracted to everyone else without batting an eye.

Again, I don’t think every game has to be like that, but I don’t think I’ve seen it implemented like that even once.


Slightly on the tangent. I also like when the story challenges you a little. It doesn’t have to be traumatizing or triggering. For example, if it’s a medieval setting and you’re the heir to the throne in a gay relationship, have someone point out concerns over lineage, because unless this is a fantasy setting where you can solve the problem with magic, this would be an actual concern, not at all bigotry. For me, having the story point that out feels more validating than brushing it aside and pretend it’s a non-issue.

The same goes for any other aspect of the story world. If a character has been a farmer their whole lives then suddenly become a fighter, having someone point that out makes it more realistic and enjoyable than pretend that a farm-boy can suddenly swing a sword like a pro.

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Everyone is bi/pan doesn’t create limitations though, all ROs are equally available for all MCs, it works the same way as playersexual (RO is attracted to all MCs). The difference is that in case of bi/pan it’s because they’re canonically attracted to all genders, while playersexual means they’re attracted to your MC’s gender (so they could be seen as someone of any sexuality depending on MC’s gender).

PS: I understand that we have different preferences in regard to this topic, so I’m not trying to change your view, I’m just explaining my own.

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For me, RO gender is not as important as what the RO does to the PC. This determines whether or not and to what extent the story is enjoyable.

Of course, it depends on the author’s preferences and what story you’re telling. Normally I would prefer that you choose the genders of the NPCs as you go along- background information required though.

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