One of my favourite gender-neutral names is ‘Ariel’.
And Disney ruined it
One of my favourite gender-neutral names is ‘Ariel’.
This seems to be an unpopular opinion so far, but it doesn’t bother me when people refer to ROs by the first letter. Words are just a combination of symbols that we use to convey the meaning that we attach to them, so it’s easy for me to mentally replace A with Adam and so on. Referring to the character as “A” doesn’t make me feel like they’re not a real character and doesn’t break my immersion when talking about them. And if someone, for example, speaks about how they enjoyed Ava’s romance, I can relate to that statement and wholeheartedly agree, even though I never romanced Ava, because I romanced Adam instead, but I know it’s the same character (unless the writer states that the female and male versions are somewhat different, like I believe is the case with Jun and Junko).
But that’s just me, I know that people’s brains work differently, just offering a different viewpoint.
Yeah I am kinda the same with Nat, since I have no interest currently in playing the games as a female detective, but I am sure dating Nate is an equally similar and pleasant experience. I don’t see any of the four ROs in Weyhaven as male in my runs so I always equate the letters to mean the female versions.
I usually love this kinds of games because, the bad thing about the customizable gender RO is that normally the gender roles are forgotten because, obiously, is so much work to create two personalities for one character, two forms of view the world, interact and social rules.
The bad thing is that (for my tastes) when authors makes gender neutral, they usually makes their sexually specific too (that can be awesome too, in some cases, like I, the Forgotten one, where there is one RO for heterosexual —male and female— MC and one for gay male MC and is great because the way is shown the tabus of sexuality between men) so in that way you can play with the roles and social rules, the bad thing is like, no always this happen and, well if there will be no differences in the relationships if (in my case) if my MC romance a male or female, then, why makes the sexuality of RO specific? It’s more fair to put all playersexual if, in the end, doesn’t matter
But yeah, it depend of the approach you want, if you want deeper characters, you can make them a specific gender so later you can play with the gender roles, if you want more diversity and the social rules are not that important in the story, then you can try with the variable ones
PS: Sorry if I make some mistakes, english is not my mother tongue
Is that a mixture of established male and female characters or are they all gender selectable? Both approaches seem reasonable, though as I said previously three female ROs that are romancable for a straight male reader is my personal sweet spot. Most modern BioWare games manage that I find.
I’m in same boat as you - I even substitute characters’ names with [c1] or somesuch while I write, until I come up with a name I like (and no, I can’t just pick gender-neutral names. I know no gender-neutral Scandinavian name that means “swan warrior”) and that doesn’t mean they’re any less real to me.
Mixture for me. Most recent example of such a split and what I consider perfect in terms of romance numbers was PoE2: two males, two females, all bisexual, all their own characters.
Personally I much rather prefer gender-locked characters over the alternative because it does allow for the character to have more depth. As much as I support the idea that we’re all equal, the reality is that as a woman myself, I know that my experience and views will differ from those of a man. Dating a woman versus dating a man is also different, and being able to take those differences into consideration when creating a character allows for greater character depth.
I like how The Golden Rose did it, the two main romance options you meet in the beginning are gender locked and the female romance option is by far one of my favorites in all of the games I’ve played in the last decade.
It’s okay/valid to acknowledge the differences that people experience growing up in certain roles and lives. As an immigrant child growing up in a country not my own, my experiences will differ vastly from someone who grew up in their hometown their whole lives. One isn’t better or worse than the other, they’re just different experiences that are both valid. Our experiences make us who we are, regardless of how we may feel about them. When it comes to writing or reading a character, the more they’ve experienced as a person will make that character feel more “real.”
Gender, whether we like it or not, shapes our experiences greatly and our personalities as a result. I am thankful to everyone who has shared in this thread, it’s helped cement my own thoughts and views on the subject going forward for my own writing.
I believe that the differences between genders are influenced by social pressure to follow gender roles. People of all genders are capable of having any characteristics, any personality traits, any interests; they aren’t inherently different. I would rather not have such limitations in fiction, I’m tired enough of this in real life. When it comes to gender in fiction I will always side with a more escapist approach: It’s such a relief to finally be free of all the expectations and pressure of society. I want to judge characters by who they are as individuals, not by how they identify themselves.
People often bring up The Golden Rose as an example. My experience with this story wasn’t that successful. I quit reading it after male MC forearms was described as veiny and muscly, while female MC’s as delicate. Really? Men can’t be delicate and women can’t be muscular? Women don’t have veins…? Stuff like that is really annoying to me as someone who’s tired of all this gender stereotypes nonsense.
I hope I didn’t sound offensive, it’s just a topic that I have a strong opinion about. No hate for The Golden Rose too, I’m sure it’s a good story, it’s just not for me. At the end of the day, it’s just my opinion, and for some people being a man, woman or enby is very important in shaping who they are, maybe I just don’t understand it because it’s not important for me personally.
Honestly, in most settings gender should only matter as a reaction. Maybe someone will be kinder to a girl and harsher to a man, maybe it’s the opposite, maybe someone is surprised to see a woman in a dangerous situation and would rather help out a man than a woman.
Shoving in something like “you show him your dainty / manly hands” just feels lazy and assumes that your character looks a certain way.
And i dont like rhat because it almost always boils down to homophobia, and nothing else.
This is something I’ve never gotten. Why do you want to play a game with that in it? To me, these games are entertainment. Why would a gay guy want to play a game that shows the taboo of being a gay guy? Unless it’s a theme or an essential part of the plot, why would that be included?
Some people like to read about relatable experiences. What makes us different will stay with us no matter how much one “escapes” through fiction - and it’s sometimes nice to feel seen. It can make the experience more powerful. It can help you think.
Of course, I’m not defending bad writing and sloppy additions of homophobia.
I totally understand what you say, because in a way, you have all the reason XD, but as the other comment say, that makes the game more realistic and, at the same time, does not hidde the ugly things of reality, unfortunately, a series of values continues to be taught that can go against some collectives. And if im reading about (for example) the Middle age, with all its ugliness, with the class division so clearly marked, with sexism, death sentences and so on, well, it’s kind of shocking that in a society where having children and heirs is so important (blood) it is seen with good eyes unions, not only for love and for politics but also queer, where if you want heirs you would have to adopt (which goes against the rights of blood)
And at the same time, in that way is like, the author show the struggle people in real live need to bear, i dont know if im making myself clear
As I’ve said in other threads, it’s not even based on actual history. Prior to the Reformation, the Church was mostly fine with homosexuality, generally seeing it as something worthy of chastisement at most. (There were even Brotherhood ceremonies that were often used as a form of gay marriage.) There were definitely exceptions, some of them pretty bad, but they were pretty few and far between. The main problem for gay men would be from social pressure to marry and have children, and that would only really have applied to the eldest son of rich families. The only reason we think the Middle Ages were homophobic is because the post-Reformation Renaissance was actually homophobic, and we see the earlier times through the lens of the later ones.
But more than that, I really don’t want to play a game that turns my sexuality into a difficulty switch.
Ah, that’s really the reason why I prefer playersexual romances. I just don’t care about supposed relatability factor and I don’t want stuff to be relatable, I want it to be interesting.
I don’t need to be represented as a clinically depressed bisexual with bad eyesight, I want an interesting story, interesting romance and interesting character interaction in said romance. Something being supposedly relatable also often falls flat because I’m Russian and I don’t relate to something that’s supposed to be relatable. And honestly, why must relatibility even matter over a good and fun story? Playing as only myself quickly gets boring.
Relatability is not a zero-sum game, not everything will be relatable to everyone and it’s not a matter of blatant self-inserts either - it can take many shapes. And then it might even be “interesting” and “fun” and “good” too. One can exist with the other.
I believe most people are capable of relating to experiences that don’t 100% match their own.
It came up in another thread, but it’s something like just different forms of escapism people enjoy. Like some, presumably you being included here, like it when there just isn’t the bad stuff from reality in games, but some like myself like to be able to react and fight against the bad stuff in the safe environment of a game. So like an ideal where it doesn’t exist in the first place versus a sort of power fantasy where you can fight back against something you really can’t irl (at least not always safely). Personally I love being able to take shit out on misogynistic or homophobic or transphobic characters or like aggressively challenge their views, just as like a sort of release. Can’t really do any of that irl as a socially anxious little weirdo who never leave the house, so spitting in the face of bigotry feels really good to me.
It often feels like it is. I often see the push for relatibility and it feels fairly alien to me. When I get immersed into works of media, I imagine myself in the frameworks of that world. It doesn’t need me to relate to it, it needs me to immerse myself in it.
I think that although these kinds of discussions can end up overlapping, things are moving off topic. Please try to keep to the topic of the thread, which is about gender-locked or gender-selectable romances and whether they appeal.
For reference there are a lot of forum threads about depictions of sexism, homophobia and other discrimination, including:
There are so many discussions about customising the player character and playing as “yourself” that it would be hard to list them all but here are a couple of recent ones:
Finally, the topic of this thread is a fairly well worn subject and it’s worth taking a look at other past discussions such as the one below to see the similarities and differences to discussions happening now: