Unnamed Victorian Era Game

gender-locked-male

#1

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.


#2

After all it’s up to writer to choose which. But i think if gender is not a big issue in the game, for example if it’s not just a historical plotline that you play a king or something, gender-choice should be given (IMO). Even though it doesn’t make any difference to the plot, it gives the reader the opportunity to play as who they are and i know a lot of people who gets turned off because of gender-lock.

Also i don’t see a reason to change any reactions depending on gender if you don’t want it to influence your game, and my opinion is on the side where your gender shouldn’t be effecting anything at all (though there are lots of other opinions on that matter). If you give the gender choice, all you need to do is to set pronouns properly and some grammar + interaction issues. I don’t know the RO’s but you might gender-flip , go all bisexual , or just have locked NPC’s (might have more options that i can’t think of rn). But either way, you’ll see one option that works for someone doesn’t work for another. So in the end, the choice will be up to you.

P.S: But i would love to see it becomes not gender-locked.


#3

Depends on how much you want to pander to people. And in the end there’ll always be a complaint. One size does not fit all. Ultimately it’s your decision and where you want to take the story will probably hold the mot weight in that… Although you don’t seem too keen on pleasing everyone considering you already decided on forgoing romance.


#4

Choice of Games titles are typically option 2.

I’m not sure why this is an issue. Not having NPCs react to a PC in a context where a woman or nonbinary person might be “historically” out of place is not whitewashing anything. It allows non-male PCs to experience immersion, and feel represented, rather than be othered.

However, Hosted Games can be genderlocked or do whatever with gender, so :woman_shrugging:.


#5

Number 1 deffinetly 1


#6

Number 1. It would make for a more immersive story. But only if it any influence to the plot or you think it will give a better “flavor” to the story.


#7

If your game is going for complete historical accuracy with added supernatural themes, then I would suggest having gender choices but having it affect the story. If you aren’t actually aiming for historical accuracy, then I would go for the nobody reacts version, because it’s more comfortable and you’re not going for historically accurate anyway.
With the last option, you’d just be locking out people who just don’t want to play as another gender-locked male character, and the excuses seem pretty flimsy (“I know there’s magic, but women??? That’s just a little too historically inaccurate for me.” or "It’s too hard to write a female main character :pensive: " are the most common ones I’ve seen).
That’s my personal take, at least. Not that it’d matter for me because I only play male characters anyway.


#8

Yeah, to be honest looking back at the options I feel a little ridiculous since with the first it just boils down to “Should I spend more time adding gender choice? On the one hand it would give more freedom, on the other hand it would be hard.” Don’t really realize that until you put it in cold hard text and then come back to it, just got a little overwhelmed and the thought of adding more elements was intimidating.

Still, interesting replies so this thread hasn’t just been me whining. I’ll probably plow ahead with the gender lock for now and return to it once I have a more solid foundation.


#9

I like option 1 but I get that it’s a lot of work I personally don’t mind gender locked characters so long as there is a reason for it.


#10

I would think option 1 would be the best, but option 2 would be good to.


#11

This will sound weird, but I actually want to be challenged as a female. All the other games like this have a preset reputation/ respect on the reader or they complete don’t acknowledge it till when it’s needed. A female going out of the normals in that Society was almost unheard of. And frankly I’d like to turn some heads, plus I love proving someone wrong.” (Heh, give me pants option and I’ll go crazy!)


#13

I vote for option one. (or maybe option 2)
If there is no specific reason (something like writing in the POV of a certain historical character) for a genderlock than all you do is losing some readers and all that just bc you are afraid of the extra work? I’m pretty sure the popular games out there ARE popular bc the author wasn’t scared of the extra work.
Anyway tbh I’m one of those people who probably wouldn’t even try your game if it was genderlocked to male (not sure why I even decided to check out this thread).


#14

How realistic do you want the historical world of this story to be?

If you aim be as historically accurate as possible, being a female protagonist in nineteenth-century England would severely limit the MC’s actions and that should be reflected in the story. If that seems a bit unsatisfactory then definitely keep the MC gender-locked to male

But this is still a work of fiction so you could make other characters oblivious to it if you wish, as you’ve already stated.


#17

Well I would say that it depends on how far into the game have you written and how you wish for the plot to evolve, but I would suggest you do not go with option 2 as, in my opinion, it would break the immersion


#18

I’ve said this before and I’m going to say this again. Dollars to doughnuts, none of you are History Ph.Ds or have any specialized knowledge to justify/establish your claims about these times and these peoples. What you think of as “history” was written through the lens of the imperialism/chauvinism/racism/misogyny of the past 150 years; it is couched in political myths. Therefore, arguments about “immersion” and “accuracy” and such nonsense are political arguments, not arguments based in fact. Excluding genders from a game based in a historical time-period is a political decision, not a decision about verisimilitude. (Which is not to say that including genders isn’t also a political act, but recognize that either way you’re making a political decision, not a historical one.)

Actual historians and archaeologists are making discoveries every month that put the lie to these political myths.

And no, we’re not going to re-litigate this here.


Interest Check { possibly controversial}
#19

The thing is, you’re not going to find the unbiased here, or anywhere else on the internet, because everyone likes to have the "history agree with them"
Like heck, on demon mark thread I’ve legit seen people saying that old rus’ might have been a tolerant and progressive paradise amidst the medieval inquisition and burning witches malarkey. You should judge things for yourself.

Also, do whatever you feel is better, it’s live and let live, despite people here throwing big words like racism, unpolitcorrectness, misogyny and so on.


#20

To be fair, it’s not as if we’re discussing an ancient society in some remote location that no one has the slightest clue about. This the nineteenth century( a relatively well-documented time period) in what used to be one of the world’s greatest cities. So I’m pretty sure anyone who has a basic understanding of the Victorian period can say with a degree of confidence that women’s rights and cultural identity weren’t exactly ideal back in those days.

Unless you have some historical discovery which would convince us otherwise?


#21

Honestly I don’t mind being gender locked male so long as I can be gay.

Like as a bi woman, I don’t really relate to a forced cishet male player character very well, but if I can make him gay, or at least acknowledge an attraction to the same sex, then I’m set.


#23

My personal preference is option 2.

To be perfectly honest, I think option 1 would be more jarring historically. As for option 3…I have zero interest in gender-locked male games.

I think option 1 would be more jarring because what we think of as history is rarely as historically accurate as we suppose. Even recent, well-documented history is full of omissions and inaccuracies due to limited viewpoint, politics, bias, and misunderstanding (among other reasons).

The history that ‘everyone knows’ is a construction built from school text books, novels, movies, and so on. The problem is that this construction is very limited. It doesn’t have room for people like Lady Hester Stanhope, “Princess Caraboo,” or Isabella Bird. The past is so much messier, more interesting, and weirder than the history everyone knows.

This construction (the history everyone knows) is also distorted by focus–what do people look at? The more you focus on something, the bigger and more important it seems. It squeezes out other ways of viewing a period in time. If you focus on the Great Men, then, after a while, it seems like the Great Men are the only things to focus on.

I fear option 1 wouldn’t provide actual historical accuracy, but would really just serve to reinforce this limited construction of history.

Besides, you are creating a protagonist. Protagonists break rules. If their behavior is truly shocking, then it should be shocking regardless of their gender. I assume my female character has acted in ways before that her just being her is no longer a great shock.

That said, if you want to compromise between 1 and 2. Instead of having everyone comment, just choose a couple pearl clutchers or particularly conservative people and give them a line or a moment of hesitation. This lighter touch lets you show that gender roles did exist, but doesn’t deny the protagonist their agency or reinforce an idea of history that isn’t completely historical.


#24

I’m gonna say either number 1 or 3, but I’m partial to option 1

Considering the historical accuracy, I know you don’t want it to be very accurate (after all, it’s historical fiction), but for a setting like this, I think immersion is very important for the reader/player. They want to feel/read a Victorian setting, so you have to meet their expectation.

But again, it doesn’t have to historically accurate. The beauty of historical fiction is that you can play with the setting by inserting some element from present time, but not too much of course.