Should my ROs be gender-flippable?

I’m in (very) early development for my first COG, with four ROs (+1 secret RO). I’m torn on whether their genders should be based on the player’s preference, or if they should be pre-determined.

I was originally planning on preset genders (1 non-binary, 2 male, 1 female) but since the four characters have very distinct personalities, it might become a limitation for straight/homosexual players who end up wishing a certain character could’ve been a different gender & hurts their enjoyment as a result.

On the other hand, I think gender’s a pretty crucial part of creating a well-defined character, especially with perceived gender roles that can affect their motivations/behavior and whatnot. It’d help me as an author to understand my own characters better.
*Not yet sure what to do with the fifth RO if I go with completely pre-set genders. Would probably be female to even the playing field, but seeing as their route’s in the second of 2 main paths, I want the full experience to be available to everyone, which includes their romance—though obviously you can choose not to romance them as well. I don’t want to make them non-binary, to avoid stereotypes.

The original plan was to make the now n-b RO and the secret RO gender-flippable, with the remaining 3 as 2M1F. I still like the idea, but it might be odd that out of the main 4, only 1 in particular is gender-flippable. This could also have players wishing for the function to apply to all the characters, since making some ROs gender-flippable does show the story’s capability to allow players to choose an RO’s gender.

(On a different but related note, should I do 2 males and 2 females instead? It might suck if someone if who only prefers women ends up disliking the only female RO, but I also feel comfortable writing in a n-b RO—and that’s sort of the identity that that RO has taken in my head. I’m very open to opinions, though.)

Sorry if this is long and ramble-y! Thoughts?

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14 posts were merged into an existing topic: Gender-locking ROs, gender flipping, and importance of gender in relationships

Moved this to a bigger related thread to keep all this good stuff together.