Yall, I saw a Destiny Take today. It touches on an interesting conversation, about blind optimism as opposed to an actual push for change to accompany it.
The Take in question, claims that it is Capital B Bad that Destiny, with all it’s flagrant disregard for real science (no land on Titan, the Sun is Rocks, Actual Magic, Etc), still only presents 2 genders in it’s character creator. But, that’s all it is. That’s the end of it. Now that in particular is interesting to me, because while it should be obvious that yes, the rigidity of gender in games absolutely needs adressing, taking issue with something for NOT doing something that has never really been done before in a game of it’s scale feels off, like a half measure. I can’t fault the thaught behind the statement, but it speaks to a disconnect with the realities of actually DOING what it suggests.
And this is a conversation we all need more of. Because takes like this are extremely common. There a whole bunch of legitimate reasons why any particular game could choose not to break new ground in this area, and top of all of those reasons is that nobody has overcome any of those other reasons in a way that can be used as a benchmark yet. I’m sure there plenty of games that have tried new things, or even done them well, just as there have been for the similar and related issue of body types in character creators. All it would really take is one game on Destiny’s scale to do something simple, easy to understand, and more imporantly, easy to COPY, to make these kinda of things windespread. Then we can have something to point at when a game DOESN’T do it.
And this isn’t about excusing devs, far from it. Development is complicated, and it would take forever to communicate exactly what barriers exist to everything that everyone wants from games, so there’s no real point in going on and on about why nothing is That Simple. What we all CAN do though, is change the conversation from Why Not, to How. Why Not, is a question devs will often know the answer to, but for one reason or another won’t be able to communicate. How, is a question that almost everyone who plays games can contribute to. In a broad environment, it’s a question that relevant voices can make themselves heard, and in a way that can actually result in change. Why Not doesn’t put any pressure on devs to actually do anything, How means a constant stream of ideas that devs WILL see, and WILL listen to.
So with all that preamble, what ARE you all wanting from Gender in character creators? More flippant stuff like Strafe’s pointless gender slider? A third, gender neutral character option in games like Pokemon (already tested in fanmade Uranium)? Simply let the player choose pronouns and leave the rest as body type customisation? What are the little things that you’d need to get right? And lets not limit this to just Sex/Gender, as mentioned above there’s other things that desever the same notice. Not every game can pull off a Dragon’s Dogma, so what’s something more managable? I’m quite fond of Dark Souls’s solution of tieing body type to your armor, to an extent.
And as a final aside, it may be odd that even robots in destiny have gender at all, but if they didn’t I wouldn’t be able to play as my cute robot mage lady, so I’m willing to accept this.