Can you recommend any games with well-defined protagonists? By which I mean “who they are” is locked in stone in the story/game. So, a game about a white lesbian mother or a black male cop, etc. Who you play as is defined, as opposed to being fleshed out based on questions to the reader.
ahem Well, it’s a trifle self-serving, but…
My story has two set protagonists you can choose between, a male smuggler named Alexi Beaumont and a female government agent named Fiorella Branford. It’s $2.99 and also available on iOS, Steam and Amazon.
There are some others, though admittedly it’s a minority of the CoG/HG offerings (mostly because the majority of people are not as fond of set protagonists).
Samurai of Hyuga book series where you play as a drunken ronin trying to protect their charge would be my first answer. The Ronin’s background is locked in the story, but you can make them undergo character development throughout the series, I would say. For instance, if you choose to use the fish rather than your sword near the start of the game, you’re given the option to make the MC reflect that they’re different now.
Pendragon Rising allows gender choice, but otherwise you’re King Arthur.
A Study in Steampunk comes to mind, where you play a man who is essentially Watson (doctor, army background) to a Sherlock Holmes.
Apart from the ones already mentioned, a few more
Submitted but not released (demo is still up if you’re interested though) The Saga of Oedipus Rex where you play as Oedipus from the Greek tregedy.
Divided we fall follows the story of 4 specific people in the Spanish Civil War.
Not sure if this is quite what you’re looking for, but in 3Games you control various members of the party from chapter to chapter in a hunger games like story.
Edit: WIP shout out to Donor where you’re a girl with anxiety issues that’s been trapped by two vampires. (Some cutomisation, but other things like the xanax habit and how that affects what happens is mandatory to at least a degree.)
Fallen Hero is another! You play as Sidestep, the former hero of Los Diablos, and your choices dictate your path down to villainy. (The link is to the book 1 demo; book 2 is currently in development).
Another WIP that comes to mind is Guenevere, where you play as… well. Guenevere, the wife of King Arthur in the Arthurian legend.
@malinryden really deserves some praise for how the subject is handled in Fallen Hero, where the protagonist is indeed more defined than is typical for choice games but we are not locked into preset genders, orientations or stereotypes.
Great Tournament … where you are define as a farm boy who is embark on a journey to win the Great Tournament and becomes the first Knight of Magincia …
I believe there is also the Infinity Series , which start with Saber of Infinity , when protagonist is a Male minor noble who start his journey as a Cavalry officer to involve in an ongoing War …
There is “The Courting of Miss Bennet” , you play as Eliza Bennet, from pride and prejudice.
Thank you for all the wonderful feedback. After watching Bandersnatch back-to-back with Sorry to Bother You, I’m very interested in what’s possible with IF/text-games as social commentary. Specifically, the kind of social commentary that doesn’t allow for an undefined protag. So this is all really helpful. I’ll be looking in to this.
I’m also excited to learn about the multi-defined-protag, like Divided We Fall.
In Choice of the Deathless: The City’s Thirst, you play as a magician who is also a veteran from a war that killed the world’s gods. EVen though the game allows for plenty of choices, the protagonist’s experiences and their trauma (which are always set in stone, but in different ways) also play an important role in the story.
Other than that, I think Samurai of Hyuga is the closest you can get to having a protagonist that’s already formed when the story begins. You can pick up characteristics, but the character as a whole already has a role in the story that you can’t really deny or replace.