Why are there so many HGs genderlocked to male?


I role play for instance and even if I can role and usually make male characters as well. As woman is for me easily connect with females. And in games where main stuff is create your character based in imagination that connection is key that in a set of stone normal video game.
Then add to injury 90% video games are thought planned and with sole focus of man and only male to point that even if protagonist is woman is sexualized and pointing to man really blatant that I almost feel in a Sexist stereotypes campaign playing some of them . Still here most of genderlocker games are good and have reasons to be so. And others well If they are good I will play anyway


Erika from FE:SS Not sexualised. Most games that sexualize women also do so to men. (Queue body builder physique.) Story is more important to me than gender of character and the writers probably are avoiding making more issues for enjoyment of the stories.


Actually this is a misconception because, well, straight men generally aren’t very educated about sexuality, but that body builder physique is also meant to appeal to straight men.

Also, the hallmark of someone who has literally no idea what they are talking about. “Not making a political message” is making a political message. Straight/white/male is not the default.


In AAA games or similar, you are not building the story of the game, the story is mostly linear and you go along it.

But on IF games, the main appeal is that you get a say on how the story develops, you can build your character and give them a personality that fits you better, and when you have all this options and choosing your gender is missing, is a big turn off for a lot of people.

So I think is better if we don’t compare any other type of games with IF, since they are in very different positions and is, simply, not relevant.


So white man protagonist has to be the default by default? You can’t make stories in vacuum. The gender setting and what you choose as background is consciously or not a political and ideal portrayal and talking about author prejudices. For instance I have noted that myself I tend to writing bold sarcastic characters and probably a tendency to them be white even without I notice when planning.

So I trying to defeating my own stereotypes and trying to avoid using terms as blushing or descriptions that assumes race. I think that same as gender as an opportunity to growing not as an annoyance. I am not the most clever people in the world and certainly not a good wrter. However, I think all in our capabilities have to strive for get better and include people and that in our working and that is a plus not a shackle. But who knows I am not the most bright of the bunch. So I could be totally wrong


Here is a question I have.

There are what, over 100 CoGs and HGs, when you put them all together…are there any games in either library that allow for Main Character gender selection where the gender selected makes any difference to the actual story?

I’m not talking about pronoun variables or gender-flipping the NPCs…I’m talking about an actual difference in the narrative, different descriptions of the MC, or different interaction choices. Actual story elements.

(edited to add: in my view, this question, and its answer, doesn’t really advance any side’s positions in this thread; I just thought it would be helpful to have a relevant area of factual agreement.)


If there is a gender difference most probably is in games in general used to abuse woman and be edgy with women normally to arouse cis male. I am not talking about cog or hosted as here there is a better environment place. But outside that everytime I read Different storytelling for male and female. I say o no another Women is mistreated glorify game. 99% time is just that or worse… literally worse.

Here is all more safe still I personally will looking that with hard suspicion as different by gender seems to some people mean. Discrimination and abuse of women because realism…


Not that I remember. I feel like some stories might have had some flavor text (I’m not sure if this counts as a narrative change) but no real gameplay changes. That being said, it still helps me with immersion when my character is called a “he”.


I like this line of thought presented by @Eric_Moser because it makes it clear that without any actual substance, pronoun flipping is something akin to a “skin” in Fortnite.

Sure, it may make your character look different, but without any differing lines of dialogue, development, story elements, etc., then this appears to be a cosmetic change.

That said, I am not trying to diminish the desire for, or importance of, cosmetic changes. People pay big bucks for skins in Fortnite. From a purely capitalistic point of view, why not give the people what they want to pay for?

If well-written characters truly have the power to transcend boundaries of gender, then, as capitalists, why don’t we just look at it as a cosmetic change and be OK with letting the player pick whatever gender they want to? All we need to be concerned about is writing good stories.

So thank you for helping to advance the argument. :slight_smile:


But does it even matter if it’s just a cosmetic change when the vast majority of people wants to have the option regardless?

I just feel like most of the male players who says gender doesn’t matter, would not play more than half of the games they like so much if they were forced to play as a straight female.


I’m not sure how that would work unless the MC is basically a set character. Appearance has a lot of possible permutations that get complicated even before you throw in gender presentation.


The current answer to this would be no. A few games do have some flavor text differences, or a little additional stuff (like if you romance Maria in Tin Star and she admits she didn’t expect to feel an attraction to a female MC).

However, that doesn’t necessarily change how the reader/player feels. If they envision their character as female, and they suddenly get a pronoun calling them male…if this happens enough, this can ruin their enjoyment of the story.

That said, I know I would like to see some stories where it could have a bearing, even if it is just a small subplot or two. Of course, this then has the problem that some gender/race/etc. might find the story a bit…harsher…than they want in their game (and this is totally a valid concern if you play a game for escapism).

In such a circumstance, I think the current status quo probably works best. Additionally, if you put in extra scenes based on a specific gender, that might be more work than you want to do. I mean, even games with different flavor text, all of that is time/coding/etc. that has to be done extra.

On a personal level, I would actually enjoy playing a game as a female character in such a setting because to come out on top would feel more fulfilling if there were more difficulties. Of course, this is again at odds for people who don’t want to see such stuff in their games (and an opinion I can agree with as well).

That is why, after I get a couple projects done, I do hope to explore something like this in the future. I’ve had very great back and forth with @Eiwynn on a Civil War era game about incorporating a ‘female disguised as a male’. And yes, this included the idea of having a minor scene or two where the player has to reinforce their male persona such as if they get wounded, and must try to convince the doctor to keep the secret (or find some other means).

For that matter, a future game I’m also working on will allow female characters to start the game as pregnant. I did get some complaints about this from people who asked “What about male characters?” This was an instance where if the character already had a child at the start, then both genders would be eligible. However, this is different from the actual idea of someone being pregnant…while in a hostile environment.


The above are examples of what I would consider “potentially differentiative content.”


And there is people like me that hate the mere idea of have a children inside me is what defines me as women. Being a women doesn’t have to be designed and defined by the number of children in your womb.
The school I went tried hard to inculcate to all female in center since 4 years that only perspective as woman is or nun or mother. Segregating certain play hours were women had to play mother with babies and learning how to attend babies and sew baby clothes. And later how control birth is evil and only reason women id on earth is to have babies.

I know a game about pregnancy is not same the ideas nuns tried to inculcate on me. However The idea of women pregnancy only goal and differences with male is there.

Edit No saying Is a bad Idea you should not following. Just that is a idea should be taken with care. But you are a professional so you could do it.


Great post.

I too would enjoy some stories where the gender of the MC affects the story in some ways. Heck, I would even embrace more set characters. I think it could give authors more tools to make characters more well-defined instead of blank slates. Not everyone “self inserts” in these games (I sure don’t).

I’ve read comments saying that the core of IF is creating your own character. I don’t see that as being a true statement. Most other IF companies do NOT let you create a character out of whole cloth. The majority of them that I’ve seen let you control/influence a character, but you don’t ‘make’ the character you. This is more of a CoG/HG thing.

But as you point out, the devil is in the details. HOW can the author have the gender matter in a way that won’t offend/piss off anyone? That’s obviously an impossible mission. People will complain about anything. Even if 90% of readers dig a change, there might be a vocal 10% who complain louder than the 90% cheers.


It is impossible do that. In moment you add something that differences there will be complaining about why and how. I probably will be first of complaining lol Still i understand your point. Still why I bought cog ? Because I can create characters and role playing. I don’t bought many of competence because has absolutely no choices whatsoever and they bluntly say so Saying what is perfect score and GOOD ENDING the only ending who carries over.
I think it could be a compromise creating two or three background selectable for player but still heavy story focus and determined .


The drawback is that many of those other companies as a result very rarely let you play gay male heroes and certainly not ones who are not heavily stereotyped. :unamused:
Which is why I’m glad CoG and many HG’s allow me to play non-closeted and unashamedly and unabashedly gay male protagonists.

Lastly many of them also allow me to vicariously step into a tall guy’s shoes.


I would put forth the argument that the reader makes the more set character “theirs” by influencing, controlling and/or directing the character. Some titles that do this, do so successfully but others fail miserably and as a consequence, they normally get slammed as failures.

I do think developing a project with this approach will be both involving a lot more work that won’t be compensated for and it will require a much better execution then is the norm for whole-cloth MC projects.

That extra work and effort to succeed is one of the main considerations that @Lys and I have concerning the Civil War project - with our respective backgrounds and experiences, we are confident that we can pull such a project off but if someone has less experience dealing with more restrictive character development while still granting player agency, I would not be as confident.

@MultipleChoice’s Samurai series and A Study in Steampunk: Choice by Gaslight are the two published games that do not let you create characters out of whole cloth in the sense you mean here. In both cases, they have a lot of fans that really enjoy the games. At the same time, because of authorial decisions made regarding the main characters, they both have lost audience as well.

I’d agree that, once again, the publishing philosophy and mission of CoG as a company dictate this “formulaic” approach for the CoG titles but this is where HG tries to differentiate itself from CoG.

The HG titles can have more leeway and I know of a couple of WiPs that actually have more set characters for the MC. @jeantown’s Guinevere project and @Shawn_Patrick_Reed’s Monsters project both come to mind.

The main issue for more set MC stories being made is to figure out if the loss of audience from CoG consumers cross-over (those expecting or wanting the same features in HG stories as they have in CoG stories) is worth the “artistic freedom” of writing more set MC characters.


I think we’re just dealing with semantics here. I 100% agree that readers/players can very much make pre-set characters “their own.” In fact, I am arguing that the connection to a preset character can be just as strong, or perhaps even stronger, than the connection between a player and a blank slate MC (everyone’s mileage will vary here).

I just differentiated because the reader/player is not literally creating the character, but basically “grabbing the steering wheel” of an established character.

I’m pretty sure readers have been fangirling over their “sneaky Gwen” or their “ambitious Gwen” or their “kind Grew” with the Guinevere WiP for what, 5 years now?


Yes. Still achieve that level of quality is far far more difficult with a preset. Is like buy a car made in a factory or make a car yourself. You can make a better car than a factory. Yes… It is that normal, no.