I’m currently writing a game that takes place in 1800s England and am torn on the issue of gender choice. I realize there are already threads regarding gender choice, though those that I found were pretty general about the topic and/or quite old now. Sorry in advance if there was a more relevant one that I missed.
The game is currently gender locked to male. As I see it, I currently have 3 options in going about this issue.
Option 1: Implement gender choice and adapt the game around it. Characters would react quite differently to the protagonist, and the events surrounding them might even change to some extent because of that. This would be the ideal in my opinion, although to be frank, I’m currently finding it difficult enough to keep track of all the threads in the game and this would add to that difficulty.
Option 2: Implement gender choice and have nobody really react to it. This would be quite easy to do and would allow the player freedom of choice. I tried writing some scenes like this, but it just doesn’t sit right with me. Completely glossing over gender in a Victorian setting just feels like whitewashing, too clean, and glaringly obvious. One could say that, since there are supernatural elements in the story, historical accuracy isn’t important, but I’m trying to avoid going full fantasy. The supernatural elements are supposed to be juxtaposed with the mundane, not be normally associated with it.
Option 3: Leave out gender choice and remain locked on male. This would, of course, be the simplest option, but it feels like a waste. In a medium based entirely around player choice and interactivity, denying them such a fundamental and (to some,) vital option just feels wrong. In some games, the protagonist’s gender might be important to the plot, but that’s not really the case here. I’m not trying to appeal to some machismo fantasy (far from it, the player will have a rough time of it,) and there aren’t any romance options.