Why are there so many HGs genderlocked to male?


Yes these were sort of the specifics I mentioned. Having the character think differently probably doesn’t change the goals of the story that much.

It probably is more work to show that, yes, but it really depends if the author wants to dedicate the time for that and how much detail they want to put on it. And the reason that may be given that it involves too much work is understandable and given by some who genderlock their games.

Either way, I was more arguing the point brought by goshman, of feeling they don’t have enough experience, not really the workload. By writing a NPC of this minority one should be able to write the MC in this minority as well?


In all honesty, people do not read a story for the “goals” of a story. That’s a rough framework for everything that comes in between. A good story is maybe 2% plot by volume. The rest of it is dialogue, private thoughts, and description as filtered through the head of a protagonist. Those are all elements which the way a person thinks and the way a person parses the world has an effect on.

And that’s still something which applies to our own world, which is why people complain that playing a male courtier in Affairs of the Court feels “off” because it clashes with our own society’s sense of masculinity. In that case, the authors had a very thorny problem: because making a male courtier conform more to our idea of masculinity meant enforcing them and the patriarchal norms which sometimes underpin them, and I’d imagine they didn’t want to do that.

But in a setting where those norms are part of the setting and widely dimorphic, then a lot of work needs to go into making the player inhabit the thoughts of someone who has internalised those norms, because not only do they serve as flavour text, but they also determine win states, lose states, contextualise decisions, and lay the basic groundwork for how humans see each other. That does take experience to get right, and it’s the reason why I’m doing research for the way women in nominally patriarchal societies act think ,and speak whilst at war years in advance, and I still expect to get a mountain of things wrong on the first try.


Because it is inherently unfocused and void. The only thing you would have to work off of is the assumption you are a human being, unless you’re not, and at that point the nuances of daily life are in many ways lost. At least in my opinion. There are authors who can offer a nondescript POV character and let the reader make all the assumptions, then weave such a story before the reader’s eyes that it doesn’t get even noticed until people come here on the forums and someone mentions there was no gender choice, no description, no mention, just the story and your own assumptions.

For me and my writing style, that would be fairly difficult to achieve because of the way I approach stories. Whether I translate my intention onto the page or not, my style is such that I do want to explore very specific aspects when possible. That can be broader, such as the lack of historical accuracy in modern media when it comes to traditions or equipment of war, or specific such as a moment where someone stumbles over what to call your character when Mr. and Ms./Mrs. are off the table and what both your reactions would be over the faux pas.

It would simply be a case of artificially limiting my interests and abilities as a writer to write. On the other hand when there is a choice to be made for gender, I can then use that variable and shift bits and pieces within the story, giving both slightly different views where it seems most apt to do so, as well as change the course of an entire conversation or scene.

For your final point, absolutely! It’s always far more effective if the MC is right in the thick of it when it comes to these difficult subjects. It’s just a matter of getting experienced or confident enough in one’s writing chops to do justice to a POV character who does in fact get in the thick of it.


I appreciate both interesting replies. I wish I could answer now but I’m travelling interstate so my phone internet isn’t reliable right now. I will take a better look when I get home and maybe answer.


It could also be interesting to see whether the female authors also write stories which are more inclusive because they are more likely to experience real life instances which would exclude them (and this goes for LGBTQ members as well, etc.)


cant have said it better myself, i am one of those that loved lords of aswick since it was in my own gender, having the sequel gender locked to female was dissapointing for me, not because i dont enjoy playing as female , rather it was because the sequel was going to be with male character (until some time later @Goshman did change his mind and gender lock it to female since the story that he wanted to write was more suitable for female gender.
I dont have anything against female genderlocked , but when you play a game that will have sequels i think you dont want to be forced to play a certain gender unless it was previously stated in the game, for me low is a series that i will not buy anymore even if the 3 book is again genderlocked male.

after saying this, i still can understand the reasoning behind that change and even if i will not support it, i wish him the best luck.
(a person that moves by his/her own ideals is a person to admire not to hate :wink:)


Something I’ve noticed here is that a lot of people say that there would be just as many women as men playing games like Call of Duty and the like if they marketed towards women more. That may very well be true. But what does marketing towards women even entail? In the context of the thread the only thing I can guess is making the PC female. That seems odd to me for a number of reasons. The biggest of which is the implication that people normally only play games in which the player character is the same gender as them. That would involve ignoring the fact that Matroid and the Lara Croft series have an extremely sizeable male fan base. I’m not completely sure on the exact number but I recall hearing that men made up the majority of their fan base. That would contradict the notion that making a female character the main character would result in a large amount of female players comparative to males. But that may not be what people mean when they say developers should market more towards women.


Okay what did I do now? Would it help if I take a leaf out of our current PM’s playbook and just say sorry in advance?

Oh, I see, again I apologize if I struck a wrong tone. But as Cata says more eloquently here, my preference is what it is, I came here to play games/stories where I could, for the most part, play an unashamedly and unabashedly gay guy and still be the protagonist and still be successful and get the boy in the end.

Personally it might result in me buying it, if I can be a gay man in it again.
Though to date Golden Eagle remains my unquestioned favourite of Goshman’s works. He stopped working on it right before the good bits, where we presumably got to romance the cute cadet for real, last time too. :disappointed:
On a more positive note, the more writing experience he gains of off writing another Aswick game the better Golden Eagle is most likely gonna be if and when work resumes on that. With the revisions I’m still holding out hope that we can get to know theater boy a lot better too. :wink:

In any case, I digress.

Good world-building is 50% of the work in that regard, eh? As well as having the skills as a writer to then present that world to a contemporary audience in a way that most can feel free to immerse themselves in it, which requires a lot of finesse. Which is why I’m still excited how @Havenstone is going to present that for his very dystopian but also very different world going forward into the installments where the player get beyond the starting point in the backwards backwoods.


I am not saying that there would be as many women as men. However, there can still be a significant number of female players to make the option worthwhile, something that EA and other companies realized, some sooner or later.

And it is funny to mention Call of Duty. While the Story mode is normally male only (though there are a couple exceptions depending on the year), the recent multiplayer has allowed for creation of females.

Something else to bear in mind…the numbers of female players has increased in those genres typically dominated by males in years past, which leads back to my point being substantial enough to make it a worthwhile investment.

As for the CoG line of games, I don’t know if they were able to get reliable numbers on the gender breakdown, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 50-50 (or close to it)

And if you were looking for numbers? Just recently it was posted that in the overall top 10 HG sales, as far as I can tell, no gender locked male made it. So if you are extrapolating for financial reasons, then being inclusive makes more sense.


I’m not disagreeing. I’m simply questioning the thinking that female PCs will lead to women being interested in the types of games that I mentioned.


For some women? The answer is yes. Of course, I can’t give you any specific numbers, and any evidence I have would be anecdotal at best. However, I have met women who picked up playing games like Overwatch because of the female cast available. Some picked up the Assassin’s Creed set in London when it showed a female assassin could play for some missions. The same with the Saints Row example mentioned above.

And this need not entail special marketing, just having the option there.


The question then is if those women comprise a significant number of female gamers. If so, then we have to question why games like Metroid and Lara Croft are male dominated. I’m not opposed to female PCs by any means but it seems odd to me that the sex of the main character is the deciding factor as to whether or not you play a game that you’re interested in and I’d like to see studies done on this.


Some of that goes back to when Nintendo first entered the market, and who games were initially marketed too. Inertia does account for a lot of things, but the numbers of female gamers have increased. In a way, it would be interesting if Twitch/Youtube could provide some of their own numbers on Let’s Plays, etc.

The other reason there are more males, are what I would term Gatekeepers, those who want to keep elements (whatever it may be) out of their ‘community’. You do see it happen in all groups, not just gaming, obviously. I don’t know how many times I would get hit with a ‘you are a fake gamer’ even if I am better at the game, know a hell of a lot more of the lore, etc.

And others have listed above various reasons why they may masquerade as males, especially in online games, because of the nonsense they dealt with in the past.

This also would lead to females actually taking a majority share in other genres because they were given a space there…Hidden Object Games actually come to mind.

Of course, there can be other constraints as well. When people have children, they often cut back on their gaming a large portion. And if you are a single parent? Good luck finding time.


Well, I’d say both Lara Croft and Metroid make sense in so far as that Lara, especially in earlier titles, very much appealed to the male gaze. Short top, big chest, long legs. I myself held off on playing the games for a long time because I didn’t feel all that comfortable with her appearance.

As for Metroid, while I never played the games, it took a few installments for Samus to be revealed as a woman, didn’t it?


I couldn’t comment on that. I’ve never been one for communities or multiplayer gaming so all I have to rely on is second hand stories from others. Some fandoms are better than others and so forth. I can’t comment much further though than that.


It would require them to make women more than eye candy and have some relevance—not just “here’s some hugely endowed woman who often needs a man’s help when it switches to story cutscene” kind of character. I watched a playthrough of a shooter game a few years ago, which I can’t remember the title unfortunately, but they had one woman on the team. And when the cutscenes came, somehow, she always managed to need help (tripping, getting surrounded, etc.). It was tiring. Why couldn’t some of those things happen to the guy’s BFF or the other 2 men on the team? Why always the woman?

Lara Croft falls under the eye candy part. So yes, characters like her have a large male fanbase, but mostly because when she was first released, she was pretty sexualized. It’s not until later installments that her character was even fleshed out.

What we don’t want to see women written as:

I think the main point is that women and other minorities are just people with fears and dreams and goals like anybody else, so not seeing them included in a game where it can easily accommodate them can be frustrating, and that is why some of us don’t bother with going after gender-locked male protags.


All true but that doesn’t explain why we don’t see a significant female following of those games nowadays. The numbers still show that men play those games more than women do. I don’t see it as good or bad, just wondering what a female PC would do to get women more interested in games that previously they had comparatively little interest in.


Self-identification can generate interest in participating things, not just apply to gaming. There are many people now who write sci-fi/fantasy who didn’t at first, and many admit to hesitating trying it out because they had no one to really identify with…or if there was a portrayal, it was usually in a negative light…look at the trope of the ‘bad guy being gay’ on TV and movies.

Of course, massive change isn’t going to happen overnight…but if you compare to the numbers of girl gamers today in those genres compared to 10 years ago, it has increased a lot. 10 years from now, the numbers will be bigger, even if not balanced. By the same token, you do also see male gamers playing in areas that female gamers may be in the majority (once again, Hidden Object Games come to mind)


I see what you mean and don’t necessarily disagree. It just seems odd to me, as an outsider looking in, to avoid games because they don’t cater to your exact demographic. While it may be a WIP, Guinevere is an excellent game. I couldn’t imagine avoiding it simply because the main character is a woman. The story is interesting, the characters enjoyable, and it leaves enough mystery to keep me on board. Of course I’m not everyone but it’s a shame to miss out on games because the PC isn’t as similar to you as you would like. I’d like to see more female characters, yes, but that doesn’t seem more likely to happen by avoiding communities centered around games that have male locked PCs.


This is just supposition on my part, but most women like me did play games where they took on a male avatar, and don’t think nothing of it. After all, there wasn’t a lot of choice at the time.

However, for some people, they may reach a point in their life when it is like ‘enough is enough’. Only by voicing your discontent may change happen, otherwise you stick with the status quo. That is one reason some companies did make changes…well, that and because people obviously would pay for it.

Of course, as this thread shows, there are also male players who won’t play female characters for similar reasons some don’t want to play a male gender-lock.