Thursday, 26 September 2013

Gender in Games

Been talking with a few peeps on the portrayal of gender in games (see here if you're interested) and one post managed to extract from me some ideas I've been ticking over for a video game. I thought I'd share the posts here too; just for the hell of it.

so really in games, gender is either changeable and does nothing or is unchangeable and defines the character.

Is this a bad point in the discussion to say that I'm sketching out the details for an FPS game where 'normal' mode has you playing as a guy and 'hard' (once you unlock it) only makes one change, namely that many (but significantly, not all) of the characters --including yourself-- are gender-swapped. It's an exploration of what it means to be a guy/girl in differing situations.

what do you mean by that? is the gender swap simply a swap in textures or does it change the game in anyway?

Seeing as I said it's 'hard mode' I'd suggest it's probably more than just textures. >_>

Specifically, the game is set in the middle ages in the ottoman empire and has a heavy emphasis on solving in-game situations dynamically. Possible solutions to obstacles/challenges (which might be getting past a group of thugs in an ally as much as it might be negotiating the complexities of high [or low] society) include: passive/active social interaction, dialogue, stealth, combat, or finding an alternate obstacle to confront that yields the same result.

Determining factors in any solutions a player might use are based either (A) on what your character is/does, or (B) on what others think about what your character is/does. An obvious example of (A) is that, generally speaking, unless females have undergone physical training they are physically weaker than males; which means that straight up combat (which is primarily hand-to-hand weapons or unarmed) is something that needs to be more carefully considered. An example of (B) is that NPCs will respond (or fail to respond) differently according to how they perceive men/women within the context your interaction/dialogue is taking place in; so if you're a woman in a setting that's normally male dominated you will be seen as 'out of place' and NPCs will respond as such. Both of these examples show how the game could present more of a challenge for those using the female PC.

It's a long way off from actual development, but it's something I've been fleshing out in my mind for the past few months.

Been pretty busy with work and trying to get the house ready for people whomightbuyitsowecangolivewithfamilyyay! to come inspect. That said, I've a few more posts sitting on the edge of my frontal lode, so you can probably expect more from me soonish.

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