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Choosing main characters gender?

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I've decided to create a steampunk themed game as a side project. But I'm stuck on whether to have a female protaganist or a male one.

So that got me thinking 'why not both?.' You get to choose what gender to play as. And both characters will have different personalitys, just to make it that bit more different.

 

So is this an idea that you would find interesting in a game?

Edited by Mirage88

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I like playing as female characters myself, but I kinda think choosing your gender ends up in a kinda weird place for me. Usually, it is done so that either A. The gender choice doesn't actually end up impacting the story or gameplay in any meaningful way, or B. the two gender options are practically different characters.

 

If A is true, it's usually a result of an attempt to let the player feel like they are the main character, which can result in a mute hero with very little personality. Plus, unless there is a character creation system, and sometimes even with one, it's usually not truly representative of the player, it's still a character in the story that is not really quite who you are, maybe a different race, maybe one that makes different choices then you would like.

 

If B is true, then usually there will be an attempt to codify different things rigidly into strict gender roles. Usually the male may be an idiot hero, or at least use a sword, the female will usually be more passive and use more magic. This isn't necessarily always the case but often is. And really, this is a perfectly reasonable way of designing some characters. It's just kind of disingenuous to make "gender" the defining difference between what is in essence two completely divergent main characters, and basically would end up having two mostly the same story lines.

 

I think what I would rather do is either do something like Final Fantasy 6 that had one story line with multiple main characters of both genders at different points (or maybe didn't have a main character at all), or do something like some of the Romancing SaGa/SaGa Frontier games where you can choose from multiple scenarios with different characters of both genders (and in Saga Frontier, some with no gender at all, though Riki is kind of referred to as male sometimes and T260G actually has a female-based personality as a crashed startship's computer core, but both are actually genderless).

 

I hope this wasn't too SJW-like of a post though, I didn't really mean it to be that way. Though it might be funny as a cyberpunk game to have the main character be more or less a brain case or AI that can choose a male or female body, or non-gendered body even, and actually have gender roles in a world where you can switch genders like that whenever you want be explored. :P

Edited by KilloZapit

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 or do something like some of the Romancing SaGa/SaGa Frontier games where you can choose from multiple scenarios with different characters of both genders (and in Saga Frontier, some with no gender at all, though Riki is kind of referred to as male sometimes and T260G actually has a female-based personality as a crashed startship's computer core, but both are actually genderless).
 

I've never heard of Romancing SaGa, I'll have to look it up.

 

I wanted to do something similar to Persona 3 portable or Dragon age, execpt the characters won't be the 'silent hero'. So the character you choose won't have much impact storywise, but will change how certain characters react to you, or which party members you'll be able to romance.

 

So I guess it's a mix of A and B?

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I always tried both if there is gender choosing. Yes, I always found it interesting.

When I feel like a guy or want some manly stuff, I choose male.

When I feel like I need a little eyecandy, I choose female.

It's better if it has character generator so I could design my fave girl / woman type ~ <3

 

Adding gender choose itself raise the replay value in my opinion

So, yes... it's interesting!

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Personally, wherever there's an option, I play as a female. Except in Fire Emblem Awakening, because Sully's my waifu. I like to pretend I'm a female anyway. I can't really explain why I do this. I just tend to have more fun playing as a girl than a guy.

 

So if you want both, why not have two lead characters? Maybe start the game with two scenarios to choose from, one for the female, and one for the male. Each lead will get a small party and certain items, and then they'll pool everyone and everything when they meet. You might need some scripts for this, but I'd say it's a good middle ground.

 

Or the other middle ground is having the lead be androgynous or transgender. I'd love this, but I'm not sure how many others would be on board with something like this.

Edited by SpookyMothman

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It truly depends on tha game but as a male game I tend to find myself creating girl characters more than boys partly cuz id rather see girls that guys visually and partly cus I play the same games as my siblings who make guys usually. Now if there is an expansive story like mass effect or dragon age then I create a female first then a male to represent my choices but if it is a game where gender controls skills and jobs then I usually pick what I like

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A good example for this is Persona 3 Portable, the gender selection greatly impacts the games story and gameplay in terms of weapons, costumes and social links. Yep, choosing male has a different story as well as characters to do social links with. And choosing female also affects the story and characters to social link. So I highly recommend you to see it ^~^ The MC regardless of gender is a silent protagonist but the conversation choices and events differ on both genders but still follows the main story of Persona 3 which is the Dark Hour/ Tartarus Story ^~^ Hope that helps

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A good example for this is Persona 3 Portable, the gender selection greatly impacts the games story and gameplay in terms of weapons, costumes and social links. Yep, choosing male has a different story as well as characters to do social links with. And choosing female also affects the story and characters to social link. So I highly recommend you to see it ^~^ The MC regardless of gender is a silent protagonist but the conversation choices and events differ on both genders but still follows the main story of Persona 3 which is the Dark Hour/ Tartarus Story ^~^ Hope that helps

Played it ^^ one of my fave games. It was just one of the games that inspired me to try out choosing two different protagonists. I liked how both were silent heroes but still had differing personalitys, the female MC seemed more friendly then the Male MC since her responses tended to be more cheerful. I think the direction I wanted to go was pretty much a mix of P3P and dragon age 2.

 

 

I always tried both if there is gender choosing. Yes, I always found it interesting.

When I feel like a guy or want some manly stuff, I choose male.

When I feel like I need a little eyecandy, I choose female.

It's better if it has character generator so I could design my fave girl / woman type ~ <3

 

Adding gender choose itself raise the replay value in my opinion

So, yes... it's interesting!

I love character geneerators! I spend more time making my character then playing the game lol. Have you played Dragons Dogma? The character creation is one of the most extensive I've ever seen. Sadly there's no character generator in this game since I'm using characters from the Frontier works future heroes pack.

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I would typically like to play as the female character, because I like to feel like I am the main character. 

If you have ever heard of or played a game called Misao, The creator first made it so you played as the female character (Aki) by default until you finished the game and then as like a bonus, you'd have the ability to play through the game a second time with the protag being male (Akito). that was until the update that the creator made. Now you can choose between the male or female character on the first play.

The problem I had with this was that both characters had different personality's, and while the females character had a very vibrant (and maybe a little violent) personality, while the male character had sort of a flat personality. It also depends on if the story is dependent on the protag being a certain gender as well.  (Just a small opinion I thought Id post, sorry if my grammars kind of crappy.)

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I completely agree with KilloZapit that being able to choose a gender does tend to either make little difference or make too much of a difference with annoying stereotypes.  I have been concerned about this feature in my own game.  I would rather give the player a choice because I don't want to be all "you have to play a male protagonist because I'm male and assuming most other gamers are male as well," but the amount of work that would go into making sure all the text had the appropriate gender pronoun based on your choice seems like a lot considering you're going to be a silent protagonist, and I'm not about to use gender neutral pronouns (ze, zemself, etc.).  And as far as the art you have to look at, the small RPG maker sprites aren't exactly eye candy anyways (and first-person battles), so I don't think you'll have a problem, lol.  I don't know, maybe I could make a totally gender ambiguous protagonist named Sam and never have anyone use pronouns or make references to your gender the entire game.  I don't know if people would appreciate that or be annoyed by it. 

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I think the trick would be to make them both perform the same in combat(such as have them both have whatever class your hero is tagged to), but have the differenced be in the story and the character's mentality... maybe even have the character who join them change somewhat to compensate.

 

I tend to pick the female character, because if I get too immersed into a game I can play for days without realizing, and having the protagonist being the opposite gender helps to stop that from happening.

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I completely agree with KilloZapit that being able to choose a gender does tend to either make little difference or make too much of a difference with annoying stereotypes.  I have been concerned about this feature in my own game.  I would rather give the player a choice because I don't want to be all "you have to play a male protagonist because I'm male and assuming most other gamers are male as well," but the amount of work that would go into making sure all the text had the appropriate gender pronoun based on your choice seems like a lot considering you're going to be a silent protagonist, and I'm not about to use gender neutral pronouns (ze, zemself, etc.).  And as far as the art you have to look at, the small RPG maker sprites aren't exactly eye candy anyways (and first-person battles), so I don't think you'll have a problem, lol.  I don't know, maybe I could make a totally gender ambiguous protagonist named Sam and never have anyone use pronouns or make references to your gender the entire game.  I don't know if people would appreciate that or be annoyed by it.

 

I would probably end up writing a script to do automatic pronoun substitution myself... I already wrote a weird accent generator script and stuff. There is a ton of interesting things you can do with text substitution. I used to play MUCKs and programed elaborate procedural descriptions, shapeshifting scripts, and text filters. Think I had as much if not more fun programing that stuff then actually RPing. :P

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