Female vs Male game protagonists

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  • A real classic here, but really, why did you decide on the gender you did with the protagonist in your game(if applicable)?

    Its an interesting question i think. How do you game designers make your decision, and how do you think it impacts your target audience?

  • Not much thought with The Kid in IWBTG. His sprite existed before the game even had a title. For the Brave Earth stuff I'm working on in Construct Classic, I settled on a woman because I just liked it better. It's what I tend to draw more and in a way, something I sorta relate to better. Feels like something I can put more heart into. Ultimately it was just a matter of my own taste. The only thing I can say about audience is I think the only audience it can adversely effect is young boys, who tend to whine about female characters a lot. It certainly changes perception in other groups, but more stylistically. Considering my target audience is old school gamers, it's hardly a concern.

  • I think art style and direction impacts the audience more than the gender of the protagonist. I mean, how many dudes like Metroid and how many ladies like The Legend of Zelda? I don't think the gender really matters.

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  • Yes you're probably right - it may not have that much of an impact on the target audience.

    By the way, check out this presentation by Penny Arcade on female game characters. Its an interesting take on the subject :)

  • All depends on your approach. When thinking about the story, you probably want to choose based on which gender you think can convey as of the story as possible. It could be the gender the designer connects best with, or whichever gender better portrays the character's personality.

    If you think about the target audience, then you usually think about how they relate to the character. All that's I said previously can apply here, but more centered around the consumers.

    The stereotypical sex-object characters are often criticized. But Samus in Metroid wearing skin-tight tights under a manly battle suit is more well-received, as is handsome Link in Zelda games, which are puzzle-adventure genre games with story mostly about other characters. It all depends on what what you want your game to aim for.

  • era,

    it is a very interesting question indeed.

    i chose a female character because the game is about 'issues' that girls deal with in life. it is also meant to show young boys, that one of the problems that girls encounter...is them.

    i've received very mixed opinions about the game, especially from men. they tend to not 'like' it, but they can't put their finger on 'why'.

    my favorite review on the apple store was " this is the worst game to ever be put on the app store, it should be removed..." - a male reviewer from italy.

    i'm going to be updating the game, using c2, and i look forward to pissing off more confused men/boys...lol.

  • Use an octopus - then you don't even need to decide <img src="smileys/smiley16.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

  • Use an octopus - then you don't even need to decide <img src="smileys/smiley16.gif" border="0" align="middle" />


  • When coming up with the main character for Dungeon Buster (a lying, glory stealing, alcoholic knight who has fallen from glory) it seemed more apt to cast a male, but honestly I didn't put much thought into it.

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