Over the last two console generations, creating your own character and customizing him or her to unprecedented levels has become the standard for many action games and especially RPGs. Now, some people might always create the same character, and that’s fine.
Others might like to spread the love between both and play some games as a male and other games as a female. Just a simple question then. For each of these popular games, do you create a male or a female character? How about other popular ones that I don’t get around to mentioning?
I’m only doing games where I have specific reasoning behind the decision. Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Skyrim, Fallout, and every MMORPG out there allow for both male and female builds, but I have no logic when it comes to choosing one or the other in those games. Usually, I just choose a male.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse
Ron makes: A female
One of my favorite characters in Dragon Ball has always been Chiaotzu. This stems from my love and preference for the earlier comedy days of Dragon Ball over the action packed romp that Dragon Ball Z would eventually become. Plus, he’s also named after one of my favorite snacks!
There’s always a weird question about what race Chiaotzu is, though, because he clearly isn’t human. At least, not entirely. I wanted to make a character similar to him, but decided that his race obviously needed females if they were looking to reproduce and exist. White skin, no nose. Sadly, his telekinetic powers and red cheeks weren’t an option, but I liked the end results.
It was a lot more fun than being “just another Super Saiyan,” and watching her smack around the series’ biggest villains was a blast.
Dragon Quest (3, 4, 9, 10)
Ron makes: A male
When it comes to certain Japanese RPGs, I like to feel that it is my quest, not the main characters. Cloud, Terra, and Tidus are fine protagonists, but they aren’t me. Dragon Quest taps into players’ imaginations far better than every franchise in the genre by placing a silent protagonist as the helm of its adventure, one who will never force an imposing personality onto you journey.
To date, four mainline Dragon Quest games have allowed players to determine the gender of their character at the start of the game, and in all three I’ve played (10 hasn’t released in English yet), I’ve picked male. They are also all named Ron, too, which just further proves my JRPG tendencies.
On a side note though, I do like the female design for Dragon Quest IV’s hero better than the male’s since he is the biggest, most outlandish fantasy dork in the whole series. I couldn’t go through with it, though.
Ron makes: A female
I am 100 percent FemShep all the way! My very first playthrough of Mass Effect back in the day was a male Shepard build designed to look just like me since that’s how BioWare hyped it. It didn’t exactly turn out like me at all, and the whole experience felt off.
With my second playthrough, and every subsequent playthrough in the sequels, I tried FemShep, and it all fell into place. FemShep’s voice actor was cooler, seeing her in action was far more thrilling. I enjoyed her sit-down pep-talks with Dr. Chakwas a lot more, and I also felt a lot more heartache through the female role during the romance sub-quests.
In Mass Effect 2, I painfully abandoned a romance with Thane Kios because it didn’t feel right for the character. I just wanted the achievement, and I used his terminal illness as an excuse to let him down easily. I genuinely felt bad about my dishonesty, like a real break up. Afterwards, in Mass Effect 3, my Shepard swore off of love in the face of galactic destruction in the third game, prioritizing her job of saving civilization. That came back to bite me with Liara back in my crew, wondering what happened after we split following the first game.
Awkward! And I never got the romance achievement in the third game either!
Of course, Mass Effect 3’s ending leaves nothing open to imagination about what happened next, but I like to think my FemShep has an Asari baby roaming the galaxy somewhere. If I play through the trilogy ever again, I’ll definitely be pick a female Shepard again. In Mass Effect: Andromeda, I haven’t decided which of the twins I want to be yet.
Ron makes: A male
Same logic here as Dragon Quest. When I set out on a JRPG quest with a silent protagonist, I always go with a male. This is my journey, and I try to make the lead character as similar to myself as I can.
With the character customization additions made to Pokémon X and Y and carrying over into all subsequent games, making my character look like me became easier than ever. Reddish-blonde hair, blue eyes, awkwardly cramming myself into stylish Japanese clothing, pale skin, and, yes, picking a male. I have to do this because otherwise, I feel like I’m playing somebody else’s Pokémon adventure.
Pokémon also comes loaded with social consequences not found in Dragon Quest. When people confront me in battle, I want them to see me staring them down across the arena. Not somebody else.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Ron makes: A female
This is just how it all works out. I guess I see myself as an adventure hero, not an action star. When controlling a 16-bit JRPG character, I always go with the male option, but with the ass-kicking action games, the female option is the way to go. As I’ve said throughout the other games, it all depends on how involved in the experience I want to be. And here, on this creepy alien world, I was quite content with watching the events unfold from a distance.
Plus, I really liked the female design options that Monolith Soft. made for Xenoblade Chronicles X. There was an uproar from some fans over Nintendo taking out the bust adjustments, but that wasn’t what pushed me in this direction. It’s all in the eyes, which are far removed from reality and downright creepy in their lifelessness. I hated them at first, but as I saw them more and more, I began to get used to them.
My female was green themed, with green hair and green pupils. It was a fun aesthetic to follow, but one problem I found with Xenoblade Chronicles X is that it doesn’t allow players to adjust the color schemes of their armor. I would often ditch armor for looks in this game, ignoring stats if it clashed against the look I wanted.
I also found the first few hours of the game interesting in that I had zero males in my party. The first two party members in this game are female, and with the player controlling a female, it creates a different kind of dynamic. Not quite Final Fantasy X-2 levels of absurdity, but I did feel a subconscious emotional weight to how people addressed my team.
What genders do you go with in your favorite games?