Even by CRPG standards Witcher 2 is a huge deal to me. The lack of loading once the game starts up (on PC at least I forget if this was changed on 360), and having the middle act be so completely different just based on that one decision was great at a time - a time that was the peak of “why bother making content the player might possibly miss” era of AAA game design. Tons of RPGs have quests with different resolutions but having that much of the game change instead of just a conclusion or an ending is great. I think Front Mission 3 is the only other game that really comes to mind where it happen to that extent.
I was going to mention Demon’s Souls’ character creation too. I appreciated that while it asks you to choose between being male or female, it then on top of that has a slider from “masculine” to “feminine” that you adjust after making that choice, which honestly blew me away. The slider’s results don’t overlap based on the initial choice either.
The requirement that all games today gotta be fully voiced and have super real 3D graphics has always hurt character customization. It hurts dialogue and quest branching a bit too, and it’s part of the reason both have suffered a bit in general after Alpha Protocol and Dragon Age: Origins did their best. Or hell compare New Vegas and even Fallout 3 to Fallout 4.
I am willing to give CD Projekt Red the benefit of the doubt and hope that their “maybe” means “yes but technically it’s too early to say yes because it’s not there yet.” After The Witcher had been out for a bit they didn’t just remove the sex cards, they actually completely re-translated and re-voiced the entire game to be better (this is the “Enhanced Edition” that I think is the only one you can get now. And The Witcher 2 also, one of the gameplay clips they put out a few months before the game came out involved Geralt rescuing a woman from a dungeon, and the woman is topless during the escape. They mentioned they wanted to indicate that she was sexually assaulted while imprisoned and, when people talked about how stupid that was, they (much to the chagrin of the same crowd that would later metastasize into GooberGate) changed the dialogue and the character model well before the game was released.
Then with Witcher 3, again much to the chagrin of the “historical accuracy in my take drugs to enhance undead demon child communication simulator” crowd they made the cast more diverse in its DLC. And again there wasn’t a particularly huge blowback against them over the whiteness of the main cast at the time, even most articles where you see it brought up, it’s brought up as a minor nitpick in what people were calling their favorite game of that year - but they still listened and I respect that.
So now, I think if people keep requesting this of them you’ll see it despite that toxic part of their audience still being around.
THAT said, with Witcher 1 and 2, I cut them some slack because they were a relatively small studio making the games with a not huge budget. You just wouldn’t know it from the game’s presentation because (like GCS/4A as an example) they basically dropped all of their resources into developing the game rather than marketing or swanky office spaces.
So much has changed between 2007 and now, though, that it’s obviously going to be a huge disappointment if they don’t allow for gender fluidity with the game’s character creation, even if the game’s themes deal with more typical mainstream “cyberpunk stuff” it’s going to be lame as hell to not have. This is a game that’s going to have huge megahype and mainstream visibility but with CD Projekt Red self-publishing it so they can literally do anything they want with it and it will still be successful and people will eat it up just based on the reductive elevator pitch of “The Witcher 3 but first person and cyberpunk.”
It would also be a huge disappointment because of how technology has changed since when the games featured in this article were made. Like when Cyberpunk 2020 was new it did the thing where the more stuff you get implanted into you the more messed up you could get. But getting metal stuff implanted into your body was the only “futuristic” way to change yourself in pop culture, genetic modification wasn’t quite there yet in the public eye. Then like right after these games came out you got Jurassic Park coming out and X-Men getting super popular and so on. Later editions of these games take this into account so it would be surprising for a video game that’s going to position itself as The Cyberpunk Video Game for this generation of hardware DOESN’T have it.
Speaking of Witcher 2 and that other part, that reminds me, Witcher 2, Outlast, two others I’m too stupid to remember right now, like did Hostel 2 set off a micro-trend where you gotta show your game is serious by having male genital mutilation?