Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

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ghostpel
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Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#1 Post by ghostpel » Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:09 pm

Firstly, this is the first time I start a topic on English community. I'm normally sheltered so this is quite and achievement...well, I'll celebrate it alone.
Also, as you may guess from my sentence, I'm not a native speaker. (I'll keep telling this until someone says "Enough! I remember your already.")

On the topic, I'm curious to know what you guy think about a character that seemingly straight but later revealed to be an opposite sex or have non-binary gender..or even they themselves still unsure of it.
Are you chill about them? or felt cheated when you find out, or it's fine as long as they aren't main character's potential love interest?
How serious can you take them? or you saw them as nothing but writing gimmick?

I am asking this because I noticed how VN creators tend to make it clear since an announcement. Even something that you won't know from their appearance.
My VN also has something dealing with this. (not in western's 'social equality' way) Kind of like 'Ijyuin Rei' from Tokimeki memorial or whose name should not be said from Umineko.
As someone who has an unhealthy obsession with a paradoxical character, gender issue is hard to not write. I intend to release it in English when my English writing is up to par so I can't help but curious to know what people in a different culture think. (One of my worst fear is having player yelling something like "you liar!" "how dare you throw this in my face!")

Any answer even "why the hell you're asking this!?!" or "lolz your grammar" will be much appreciated so feel free to leave your comment! :D
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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#2 Post by trooper6 » Mon Jun 27, 2016 11:54 pm

I don't care what people do as long as it is done well.

I would note however that, as a trans person, if the game is offensive I won't be happy. Though I'm also used to non-trans people writing trans people in offensive ways and not particularly caring what trans people think about it.
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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#3 Post by SundownKid » Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:32 am

You can do anything you want in your game, just don't expect people to be kind in reviewing your game if you have a love interest who suddenly reveals themselves to be a "trap" at the end of your relationship. People will feel cheated, unless it's done in a way that isn't mean spirited and makes sense within the story and isn't just a sudden revelation.

I would say that if you have a situation where you would have to tell the player to be wary of a sudden and unfair surprise then its probably best not to include it at all.

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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#4 Post by gekiganwing » Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:36 am

ghostpel wrote: I'm curious to know what you guy think about a character that seemingly straight but later revealed to be an opposite sex or have non-binary gender..or even they themselves still unsure of it.
Are you chill about them? or felt cheated when you find out, or it's fine as long as they aren't main character's potential love interest?
How serious can you take them? or you saw them as nothing but writing gimmick?
The first and most important question: does the reader care about the fictional person?

That said, here are some ways to approach this...

1. The character's gender does not matter. They are just another person in the story.
2. The character wants to keep their gender secret, but it does not matter in the story.
3. The character is trying to keep their gender secret. At some point, it is revealed. This knowledge affects the characters (some want to stay friends with the person, some are wondering if they are bisexual, and so on). However, this event is just one part of a much larger story.
4. The character tries to keep their gender secret, but it's eventually revealed. This is a major plot point.
4a. Perhaps the person wanted to keep their *identity* secret -- for instance, they don't feel safe telling people that they're a rich heiress.
4b. Perhaps the person has serious insecurities. Maybe they always wanted to be a girl, but they weren't good at cross dressing. Or maybe they were raised as a girl against their will, and it's affected them in negative ways.

I can think of at least a few more possibilities. Consider what options fit your story when you have time.

Should you try to shock the audience with a reveal of a major character's gender? ("Surprise! Sam was a boy the whole time!") I think it could be interesting. However, I would recommend focusing on the story as a whole, and not emphasizing sudden plot twists.
ghostpel wrote: Kind of like 'Ijyuin Rei' from Tokimeki memorial...
I learned about this character in the late 1990s, and thought that the individual sounded interesting.

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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#5 Post by Shagwrath » Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:01 am

I've been wrestling with this problem for a few weeks now in my own visual novel. I can't tell you what's 'right' but I can share the conclusion I came to.

Do what feels right. You're not going to make everyone happy no matter what you do and if your story and characters are good enough, it won't matter to the reader.

Everyone before me had really good advice.

But me personally? No. I don't care at all, if it makes sense in the story then go for it.
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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#6 Post by MoonByte » Tue Jun 28, 2016 5:59 am

ghostpel wrote:I'm curious to know what you guy think about a character that seemingly straight but later revealed to be an opposite sex or have non-binary gender..or even they themselves still unsure of it.
First of all, these things are VERY different.
The first would be a transvestite, the second transexual/hermaphrodite/androgyn/genderfluid.
I would feel cheated by the first, because if they ARE the opposite gender, then they do just dress-up. I would expect them to break their "role" once they realize that I get really serious with their alternative persona. But the latter?
Honestly, i have seen plenty of media that have no issue in guilt-tripping the androgyn or transexual person as being "responsible" for not wearing a sign around their neck a la "Btw, on my birth certificate it says MALE" and I find it absolutely disgusting. So I will take it as serious as the media itself treats it. And so far, I never felt serious because they are either a side-character to stir some drama and be the "asshole/whore" that "deceives" everyone or the badly made comic relief a la Evil Stepsister in Shrek.
I am asking this because I noticed how VN creators tend to make it clear since an announcement. Even something that you won't know from their appearance.
I guess, because there ARE plenty of transphobes out there and they just wanna chase them away from the start? A game idea of mine also has a transexual character. I would never mention in any thread WHO it is (the game may reveal it), but I would do so to avoid assholes playing it and then acting like the poor victims that deserve to know what others have in their pants.

Anyway, go for it, if you plan to treat it respectfully. If not and you will just add one more fictional character that is the butt monkey and HAHA SO FUNNY, then do it, but I will not care for it.
Transexuals and Genderfluids get murdered almost weekly for who they are and treating them like some fun writing device that serves no other purpose than excisting to make others feel better is like the black guy in horror flicks that always dies first: it's ignorant, outdated and offensive.

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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#7 Post by RotGtIE » Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:05 pm

ghostpel wrote:or you saw them as nothing but writing gimmick?
This.

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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#8 Post by n0tgin » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:55 pm

Honestly, there are a lot of ways to write characters whose gender identity/orientation remains hidden. Ultimately you should do it if it fits your story best and you execute it well and not just randomly throw it in there for the sake of drama.
Personally, I wouldn't care if that character turns out to be a love interest, it doesn't really matter, if their relationship to the main character is something I like, it wouldn't change if something like their gender/orientation was revealed.
However, I'd say that you should do it because you feel it is important to the story/your character, it is kind of a dick move to use someone's gender identity/romantic or sexual orientation as a plot twist and as a gimmick.

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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#9 Post by ghostpel » Fri Jul 01, 2016 2:13 am

Thank you guys for all comment!
Originally, I was going to write a lot in respond but that's better suited for Idea threat or WIP.
So all I could say is I'm really glad to see you stand on the same ground (at least, closer) more than I though.
(I have been worried that what I perceived as 'respect' would be different than more open community.)

This may be a weird thing to say here, the way I created the character...It's more like they got spawning from the core of story on their own.
Sometimes they're a straight individual, sometime not, and they will burst my head if I don't do their story justice. When I change something about them It's likely because I understand them more, not 'people won't like this , I'll change it'.
What I scared is writing them without knowing the outside world's sensibility will do them harm. ^^' (In that case I must sit and talk to them like, 'Your premise is interesting..but you'll only get attacked ')
Now I can return to them and says 'you can exist, and I'll do my best to put your story out there'
gekiganwing wrote: ghostpel wrote:
Kind of like 'Ijyuin Rei' from Tokimeki memorial...


I learned about this character in the late 1990s, and thought that the individual sounded interesting.
Her execution maybe a bit cheap but he's really ahead of her own time...and still better than whatever Konami come up this day. ^^''
Also, 170cm height beauty in High school setting in that time is sure the bold move. ^^''
Only real downside is...
there's no chance to dig deeper into her dilemma since It only reveals her identity in the ending... Reminds you how Tokimeki is Dating-Sim after all.
The whole scenario is like dating (going out) with the hottest guy in the school where his girly-side got thrown out now and then. After surprise reveal I end up playing once more time and appreciate how cool she really is....still, feel sorry to her school girl fan club. If it's otome game, it surely won't not end well.


Thanks again! because I can't end my post without second thanks! ><''

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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#10 Post by TheJerminator15 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:03 am

I don't know about others, but for me personally I never really care about this sort of thing. As long as they're written decently then I see no problem with it. As for my own writing I usually add those thngs as an afterthought, as in I'll flesh out the character than just deicde what their orientation and such is, which shapes some of the dialogue, attitudes etc.

The main problem with this is that it usually ends up just being a gimmick, used as comic relief etc which is quite offensive to people of that demographic.
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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#11 Post by Katy133 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:46 pm

Undertale and Super Solvers are both excellent examples of video games with agender (re: Undertale) and androgynous (re: Super Solvers) protagonists. In both games, the protagonist is just presented matter-of-factly (it's not highlighted in-game that their agender/androgynous), and in the Undertale example, other characters refer to the protagonist using the singular "they/them" gender pronoun (instead of the more gender-specific "he/him" or "she/her").
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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#12 Post by TheGreatTheorist » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:00 pm

I think it's going to be hilarious when they are discovered, something like "suddenly she followed me into the bathroom and stood in front of the urinary, right beside me." Well, that will be a good comedy material, no matter how cliche it is.
trooper6 wrote:I don't care what people do as long as it is done well.

I would note however that, as a trans person, if the game is offensive I won't be happy. Though I'm also used to non-trans people writing trans people in offensive ways and not particularly caring what trans people think about it.
Yes, trooper6's comment is the best. Being not offensive is difficult, especially on stuffs involving gender, race, religions, etc., just never poke where it hurts most.
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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#13 Post by Shinoki » Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:45 pm

I can be kind of biased, in a jerk-way, but I'd like to answer the question anyway.

I'm more or less fine with a character with ambiguous or deceptive gender as long as the character's not a love interest.

Well, the thing is though, I tend towards games where the love interests are female, and I would honestly prefer yuri games (though, most of the games I've played are galge).

If in a yuri game, your female love interest turns out to be a cross-dressing guy (especially if he doesn't even identify as female)... then, well, that's rough since I'd be playing to date cute girls.

In a galge, I'd rather not have someone suddenly turn out to be the other gender. A lot of those that I've played have 18+ scenes, ecchi scenes, and it would honestly be an amazingly awkward turn-off if your personal sexual preferences don't match anymore once the big reveal of --the truth is I'm a guy/girl-- is revealed.

However, on the other hand, you did mention Umineko. Ahhh, that child (not really a child considering the age, but still). S/he was very well done.

Taking Umineko into mind, I would honestly be totally A-OK with characters, even love interests, with ambiguous/deceptive gender. Except, the big thing is, it has to be love interests in less the way of: character I go after (like otome/galge) in game AND more of: the character that the main character of the story has a romantic story with.

I'd just say: everything is based off execution. I think? Uh, this is just my trashy opinion.

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Re: Character with ambiguous gender or outright deceptive

#14 Post by Frullo » Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:54 am

Katy133 wrote:Undertale and Super Solvers are both excellent examples of video games with agender (re: Undertale) and androgynous (re: Super Solvers) protagonists. In both games, the protagonist is just presented matter-of-factly (it's not highlighted in-game that their agender/androgynous), and in the Undertale example, other characters refer to the protagonist using the singular "they/them" gender pronoun (instead of the more gender-specific "he/him" or "she/her").
My project (also my first VN) will have an agender protagonist, something like Undertale. This will be tough to write and manage though, since I will firstly write in my mother language (italian) and it won't be easy to deal with pronouns and adjectives since almost everything is declined for genders.

Although romance won't be a big topic in the story, I think that I will write romantic endings with at least a male and female characters. The idea is that the reader could sort of identify with the protagonist whatever their gender/sexual orientation. Hope it won't feel forced.

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