Why are there so many HGs genderlocked to male?


As a gamer of many years, I had to hide the fact I was a girl for years, especially in shooters, MMO “hardcore” dungeon raiding or PvP games of one nature or another. For a long time, I refused to speak on Vent, or other VOIP apps because once I did, there would be a bias that wasn’t there otherwise.

Yes. Many don’t really do it seriously, a few disbelieve what they find and some are overruled by publishers who come to the table with their own preconceived ideas and notions.

My testing guild has over 300 members in it and it has people in ages from teens to those in their 70’s but at times, developers refuse to listen to those outside their “targeted” audience. It is quite sad after a while because you realize that gaming could have been so much more if but they had listened to a more diverse set of testers.

With me, it is the simple fact that over time, my tolerance has grown more and more resistant.

When I first PvP’d in MMO gaming, I had am assassin/rogue character named Gouge who was known as a badass, a guy with a killer instinct and a person who was recruited for the top PvP teams of the server. Once it got out that I was a girl, everything changed. I had to prove myself all over and even had to be better then I was.

Nevertheless, over time, a few developers actually listened to feedback and expanded their content to be more open to gender choice. These developers and publishers showed that not only was it possible to make games with strong female roles in it but that they sold as well as the ones insisting otherwise.

After years of pushback from those insisting it can not be done, I grew tired of dealing with them and I find myself washing my hands of trying to open their eyes.


the market is more gender neutral and inclusive when it comes to certains game, if you look at otomes games and compare them to some moebait as you say… you can guess why the outcome of the general games being more to one specific gender.


This keeps being brought up. Tbh I wouldn’t have played that game if it wasn’t free, since I didn’t have to pay for it I was like “why not? Whats the worst that could happen?”. And I still regret that I bought Choice of Cats.
Vampires and demons even animal/human hybrids are close enough to humans so I’m okay with that.
About race: it was nicely summed up by @Lotus so…


First I want to give @Eiwynn a shout out for her explanation to this question, I agree with pretty much all of her response.

Obviously, I’m only speaking for myself…normally gender locking isn’t a game breaker for me by any stretch. Hell I’ve been playing since the Atari 2600 days…and it was actually more inclusive then. It was only when the video game bubble burst in the US, and Nintendo actively sold their console to boys that the whole ‘boys as gamer’ stuff really came to the fore.

But when it comes to Choice of Games…well, we are talking about a company who’s official company line talks about inclusive. That’s fine, I appreciate it, and one reason I got into their games.

However, with Hosted Games…well, this is where I start to have bigger expectations. Now, I know Hosted Games allows people more freedom (like gender-locking) and that is fine for them.

The problem is that in this case Choice of Games actively promotes those same games on various storefronts like Steam. In cases like that, to me it is tacit approval that they are fine with gender locking, despite their official line. Nowhere is Choice of Games required to promote the Hosted Games (after all, the poor selling ones aren’t on Steam as an example). Before anyone takes me to task, I understand why they back certain Hosted Games; they proved to be money makers, and CoG is ultimately a company and wants to make a profit.

In a way, this is sort of like the Choice of Steampunk I mentioned before. Only official Choice of Games titles were allowed to have ‘Choice’ in it…so by including the male gender-locked Choice of Steampunk, once again it seemed to get official endorsement.: Correcton: The title is A Study in Steampunk: Choice by Gaslight, but the sentiment is the same.


That’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be gender neutral and inclusive in only some categories.

Games on the market and the willingness of various demographics to play those games aren’t mutually exclusive factors with no overlap. Shooters can appeal to women. Visual novels (even visual novels created specifically with women in mind) can appeal to men (as evidenced by my download history on itch.io, unless I happen to be a mutant of some kind). The biggest thing is, it takes a conscious effort by the developer to appeal to women.

Take Supergiant games, for instance. In their first game, the only woman in the entire game which wasn’t trying to kill you was Xia. Transistor upped it by having the main character be a woman (and no less badass for it), with another woman as the best boss fight in the game, and several prominent female background characters. Finally, Pyre – though the female characters are still outnumbered by the male characters – gives everyone a detailed backstory and nuanced personality. Including my personal favorite from the game, Sandra.

I could go on with things like Overwatch’s appeals to diversity and the fact that you could actually choose the gender of your character in Halo’s multiplayer, but I feel like this discussion is derailing the thread.


But isn’t it called study in steampunk? The very reason it got shunted across to HG rather than an official title was I believe because it was gender locked.


I need to correct my post slightly since I misremembered the title. However, it includes the appellation: Choice by Gaslight, which still implies ‘official’ endorsement, even if that isn’t the case.

And I realize that Choice of Games has tried to differentiate itself from the Hosted Games label. However, for many consumers, they view them as about one and the same (once again, look at promoting certain games based on their success).

About 2 years ago, there was a big push, at least by forum posters, that Hosted Games needed to be moderated a little better when a few very badly English written games got by. The argument was in a way similar, even though Hosted Games was meant to be more free from rules, it still represented part of the company in the minds of many consumers…and a bad product could lead to a bad image.

Is that necessarily fair? No, but fairness doesn’t necessarily change peoples’ expectations or wishes (just speaking generally in this line)


I’ve never seen them as one and the same, but I’m a crotchety old man that remembers when Popcorn, Soda and Murder was new, and the switch from an ad-supported model to a fully commercial model was major news.


Nods I see where you’re coming from with the similarity. I think the only thing that COG reserves is “Choice of…” so I think HG’s can use “choice” in their titles like steampunk has, its just no one else has used it. I know they’re a similar entity and there’s been talk of different logos etc, differentiate HG and COG. As you brought up, there is little moderation unless the games contain obviously sexist/racist/etc language, and this is still the case now. From a purely selfish point of view, I hope HG doesn’t get divorced from COG, you do get more variety and experimentation with forms and stories due to that freedom, but there’s a good chance the label would die without the exposure it gets through the official games.


Just dropping by. A tiny thought, and then I’m off:
Gender-locking is not half as bad as “sexual preference”-locking, regardless of whether any romantic content is included in the game or not. Roleplaying as a man I can deal with. Being forced to casually leer at a female npc’s cleavage - not so much. (I’m simplifying, of course, but…).:unamused:


And you can play as male, female, or nonbinary. I was so excited about that.

I don’t really care what gender a protagonist is, unless they can be nonbinary (and then that’s exciting)—however, I do tend to find that genderlocked games, whether locked to male or female, tend to cover subjects that are less exciting to me personally.

I was the same way with books growing up, actually; I read nearly any sort of fiction, but I tended to find books specifically targeted at boys (sports, action) or girls (romance, slice-of-life) deadly boring. Not that there’s anything wrong with them—on the contrary—they just weren’t for me.

@Jacic And yes, I’m at least as likely to imagine myself in a book, though not necessarily as a main char (or even a pre-existing char) as I am in a game, maybe even more so. I feel a bit odd admitting that, but since you asked. ^^;


It is probably because I consider gender as one of the identities of the protagonist who I play as. It is not a “game-breaker” but playing the game with a protagonist of my gender makes it so much better.


Now you admitted what I was too embarassed too. XD If I really like a book then I also like to come up with OCs for the book that or trying to imagine that I appear in that world and how I would adept to that.
But what I said before still stands. I wouldn’t imagine myself in the protagonists place.


I have no idea, honestly. It just feels wrong. :sweat_smile:

Spiderman and Batman gets a pass (as would Superman and the Flash) because somehow they are out of this world and awesome and, to me, very well known and established.

But to elaborate a bit - it is the interactive part that makes this an issue for me. Books, films and other passive media is one thing, but when you ask me to put myself into a story, then yes, I ‘need’ my gender. :grimacing:


Similar here, although I can’t stand PvP - gimme co-op! :smile: But yes, I hid. ‘Nah, no mic’, ‘nah, it’s broken’ and so on if pushed on the subject. :no_mouth:


I just like to figure out a character based on min/maxing out the stats in that particular game. And yeah, they’re usually guys. From there, I just pick what would make sense for that character, I’ve never actually played as ‘myself’, come to think of it. :confused:


Well if you can can adapt to playing as any gender than I see how it wouldn’t be that much of a deal. But romances can be choosen right? I mean you can choose to play a game without doing any romance subplots?


I don’t think it’s at all an odd thing to be doing, but then again, I’m full of strange questions for people sometimes :grin:


You can say SoH. It’s alright. LOL XD


I think you’re conflating race and culture. While someone from a different culture can adapt the cultural and national identity of their adopted homeland, that doesn’t change the physical characteristics of that person as pertains to their race, and while race is an arbitrary category based on a series of relatively minor biological traits which inform how other people treat us, so is gender.

Although a setting may exist in a place where we are told that racial discrimination doesn’t exist, that doesn’t mean that setting is unmoored from our real world, especially one where the presence of certain ethnicities (like my own) as “protagonist” groups in certain genres (like high fantasy) are vanishingly rare. Personally, I do feel uncomfortable at times playing in and working with settings where “humans” as a whole are coded to a vague western european standard, and “everyone else” is either “foreigners” or replaced by some kind of non-human species.

Phenderson Djeli Clark writes a lot about this (though obviously the sidelining of black people in fantasy is different from the sidelining of east asian people) and I do see the idea of “racelocking” to a white default to be accepted more prevalently among WIPs here than say genderlocking.

Obviously “racelocking” isn’t a gamebreaker for me. I’ve made my own “western european fantasy” setting where I play around with the “humans are white” and the “non-human PoC” tropes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem when accepted uncritically.