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rvalenzuela 05-11-2012 08:38 AM

Writing a story for everyone with a GLBT protagonist
Hello Everyone.

Nowadays the GLBT presence in games is becoming a common thing, with games like Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Persona and The Sims letting you choose a same-sex partner.

But I've got a question of opinion

How would you direct a story where the protagonist is GLBT with no choice of being straight and still be appealing for everyone?

I know this is a hard question to answer since there's still a lot of people that don't accept this "way of life". But still I would like to know your answer.

NewfaGames 07-25-2012 12:50 AM

Re: Writing a story for everyone with a GLBT protagonist
The reason the games you mentioned relate to everyone is because they give you the choice, to decide for yourself. Homosexuals wouldn't be able to relate to a game with only heterosexual decisions, so the designers give them a choice to choose either sex.

By making your character a homosexual, you are inherently cutting heterosexuals off, making it so they cannot relate to the game.

There's ways designers make the character the player. I.e. In a lot of games the main character never talks, so it doesn't say or think anything that disagrees with the player. At the beginning you are allowed to name yourself, so that you are addressed as your name. You are allowed to customize your character, to give yourself an identity. You can choose your evil/nice pathways in quests, side with different people, make different decisions that make you your own person.

Having both the goal of relating to a character, and the goal of having a homosexual character's sexuality is in contradiction with itself.

rvalenzuela 09-07-2012 07:37 AM

Re: Writing a story for everyone with a GLBT protagonist
I don't think that's entirely true, then you would be saying that homosexuals can't relate to heterosexual characters.

For instance in movies, how people can relate to the character if the spectator is not the character and is not molded to the viewer.

Taking this further into games, there are people that many times feel related to the characters in a game, even if the player and character are not from the same sex, ethnic, sexuality or even country. For example, I really felt related to the character of Papo & Yo and I didn't have an abusing father, neither a female love interest or I didn't live in my imagination as child.

I think you are talking mostly about RPGs, and as my answer above I think that if an homosexual can relate to heterosexual characters, then an heterosexual can relate to an homosexual character. The thing is how to present and beat this challenge since of course, we are living in a "heterosexual world"

SpaghettiWeegee 12-13-2012 02:00 PM

Re: Writing a story for everyone with a GLBT protagonist
As has been stated previously, it's really a manner of presenting the character. In a game where the script rather than player actions is the driving force behind story progression, then a GLBT character probably wouldn't turn many players off because said character wouldn't be asking players to identify with them.

However, in the case where the protagonist is meant to be a shell for which the character projects themselves onto (in the case of many player driven RPGs), then of course having a GLBT is going to alienate audience members. Giving a player-controlled character any semblance of personality has the potenetial to backfire (as gloriously exhibited in the fan reaction to the depiction of Samus Aran in Metroid: Other M).

This does sort of bring up a much bigger question, though, and that is where do the limits of player projection lie? What's the most different type of person a player can relate to? Why can a player relate to a criminal (as in Grand Theft Auto) easily and not a GLBT person? Perhaps it has something to do with empirical access. Everyone is capable of crime, but not everyone wants a same-sex romantic partner.

Is race a limiting factor? Probably not, actually-- I mean, The Elder Scrolls (at least, recent installments, I'm unfamiliar with the series as a whole) allow players to parade around as lizard people and still feel a connection to that character. But I feel as if gender and sexuality more often are, when made relevant to the story, at least, because there are some things that GLBT (and men/women) just do differently than other people.

I mean, my methodology when approaching things like this is that unless I'm making a dating sim (which I don't plan to do), sexuality and gender are two things usually irrellevant to the story, or at least irrellevant enough to not interfere with player connection. Certainly a (male) protagonist could have a male significant other in, let's say, an adventure game, but as long as the story isn't explicitly about their relationship, then I doubt players are going to feel disconnected from that character (in fact, it may allow the character to be more well liked, by being more interesting than the average protagonist). It's a detail that doesn't really alter the fundamentals of a character with depth, and as such shouldn't cause players to feel disconnected.

But I will say, though I hate how it makes me sound, there is a limit to how gay you can make a character before it just stops being compelling. But that's more about fault of emphasis. In this scenerio, the character's homosexuality would become a character all of its own rather than being a part of the character's background information (which, sadly, tends to happen a lot to GLBT characters depicted in media for some odd reason).

So, yes, it does depend on the game. But it also depends on the game's focus. If the game has no or little focus on romantic love, then I'd probably say that even a player-driven RPG could involve a GLBT protagonist.

Just as long as it's not a dating sim.

TomQuicknutt 04-24-2014 09:45 AM

Re: Writing a story for everyone with a GLBT protagonist
It would be ok, I believe that as long as you have some common ground with the character people will still be able to relate to them, take Lara Croft for instance, one of the most famous gaming characters and is a female, then why do males still play tomb raider, and don't say boobs, for example I am asexual and yet I like tomb raider and am male.

tsloper 04-24-2014 10:44 AM

Re: Writing a story for everyone with a GLBT protagonist
TomQuick, this topic had been dormant for 16 months. It's very unlikely that the OP still needed further responses after all that time. Please do not "necro" long-dormant topics. Closing.

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