‘Strafe’ Says Fuck You to Old, Archaic Views on Gender

Good idea, but poor execution. It genders voice pitch and doesn’t include people who aren’t on that spectrum. Agender, Bigender, Genderqueer, etc.

agree w what’s been said. It’s prescriptive still.

would people’s preference be to have it say “Select your gender”, then a list that lets you check a box … male, female, genderqueer, male and female, no gender, then provide the voice slider thingy? what does the ultimate gender selection thing look like?

Just have the voice slider and don’t gender the player character imo. If the character is meant to be a cipher accessible to anyone of any gender then people will fill in that blank themselves. Clearly there aren’t any writing hoops in this game that they’d have to jump through to account for the player’s gender.


Just don’t have gender selection period maybe?

correlating higher-pitched voices with a gender of “female” is part of what leads trans people to feeling like we need to modulate our voice to pass IRL. and that’s so frustrating, like the more i think about it the more this choice frustrates me. i get the intent, and i appreciate it, but it’s still in a place that doesn’t work for me and my experience of gender


Whoof… I just had a flashback to every conversation I’ve ever had with trans friends who fucked their throats up trying to sound “like a girl” or “like a boy”. This isn’t as revolutionary as they think it is.


They are trying - that’s great. Representation of a gender spectrum - that’s great. Linking it to voice pitch - that’s not great. Have they done more harm than good? I can’t judge being a straight cis male. Gender is complex, and, importantly, non-binary - attempting to wrestle with it in games is good but you should be more thoughtful about it.

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Personally I’m happy they at least tried something, it always helps having some choice in who or what you play. If it’s true that the pitch defines your gender however then we’re kind of back to square one.

Am I miss-remembering or did Saint’s Row 2 and 3 (haven’t played 4) let you create your character however you wanted AND pick a voice actor to voice them, regardless of the voice actor’s gender? If true it was probably implemented as more of a joke but I seem to remember appreciating it nevertheless.


I’m on this same boat of things. It’s a net positive even though it could of been thought out a bit more.

I’m willing to give the team credit since it’s something to start with that can be further refined in the future. Not to mention it might be their first try at looking for ways to show a (small) spectrum of gender without the usual “Chainmail Bikini” trope. (Also, THANK YOU for not using the Blue/Pink scale)

I think that would help in another update is to have a modifier on that scale as well. (ie, octicve/ptich up and down with the slider as well?) So that female isn’t high pitched only. Maybe add agender to the center of the slider as well to better show to the crowd that non-binary is an option too.

Overall though, I feel that not having symbols on the slider would of caused the usual issue of “They’re all dudes unless otherwise stated” problem. There are better options but this is a good start at representation without being completely problematic.

i don’t know if you read like, anybody else’s posts in this thread but this is absolutely just going to make its problems worse

I think literally just removing those “gender symbols” would be a step in the right direction. uncouple the conception of a voice pitch belonging to a gender and you’ve done some good.

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I have, but the part that worries me is that no gender usually defaults to male in FPS. ><;;

It’s a very complicated problem but one where we need to nudge the common player to seeing that their character isn’t just a dood by default. Our group here can state many of the problems with this option, but people on the outside are not going to understand the issues unless there’s other parts broken down first.

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I think an unmarked voice slider would be enough to fix this problem. I feel like if there was a high to low voice pitch slider, the average player would probably still read that as “oh, I’m choosing between playing a [cis] man and a [cis] woman,” without the game explicitly stating that all men have deep voices and all women have high voices (or implying that all non-binary people somehow have voices exactly in the middle of the two ends of the spectrum).

‘No assumed gender’ defaulting to ‘male’ in the FPS genre isn’t a problem that can be fixed by a voice slider anyway. If someone wants to see their character as a man, then they will until blatant evidence is given otherwise, and that sort of evidence usually requires a PC model that’s more than just a pair of hands, and sometimes actual Word of God.

The issue, I think, is that you’re implying that this slider will help break down barriers of understanding between a certain demographic (cispeople who don’t know anything about the gender spectrum) and trans people, but that’s not really true. If a cisperson who played video games actually wanted an understanding about trans people, they could do better by looking up resources on the internet or actually talking to trans people willing to explain things they don’t understand. A slider like this isn’t going to do much to break down barriers, and I don’t think they should be patting themselves on the back for an idea that, in the end, is still binary.

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I agree, a slider is as much of a barrier-breaker like a paper bag can be used to hold water. My stance is more on the side that this game’s general demographic never heard of holding water in the first place.

I use this water analogy since one of the bigger issues in the gaming space right now is that the usual voices are heavily cis-male dominated. As such, the community that usually appear around these games are not going to go out of that circle. Much like seeing a word or a sign used often without context, it can spark enough of a question in people to find out that the world is much much bigger.

It’s a small step, but something that lead others to bigger ones in the future for people who don’t seek out the other voices/perspectives in games.

Yeah, except this slider doesn’t lack context. It has the well known symbols for ‘male’ and ‘female’ on either end. When you slide it to ‘female’, it goes up in pitch. When you slide it to ‘male’, it goes down in pitch. That reinforces the correlation of high-pitched = girl and low-pitched = boy.

Could it maybe lead to someone looking up why it became a slider, finding this article, and maybe looking up some things? Sure, but there are better ways to learn about this sort of thing if they were willing to put some effort into giving a damn. I’ll go as far as to say that anyone who’s managed to avoid knowing that trans people exist is, at this point, demonstrating willful ignorance. Granted, a lot of the more well-known trans celebrities follow the binary, but we’ve been all over the news and TV lately. If anyone needed a jumping off point, that would be it.

What you’re positing is only maybes. I’m straight-up stating the fact that this negatively reenforces a stereotype that’s harmful to actual, living trans people, and that the devs shouldn’t get to pat themselves on the back for it when queer developers are doing more and getting less recognition for it.


I mean, if this were a cis person’s intro to the idea of gender being more complex than just a simple binary, then they’re being introduced with a fundamentally flawed idea that’s divorced from the actual experiences of trans people, which is kind of a problem.

I think their hearts are in the right place for sure. The character’s ambiguous appearance as pointed out by Alex Zandra is actually pretty well done and I take the devs at their word that they want this to be more inclusive than “big muscle boy shoot a gun.” But the voice gender thing is a pretty bad misstep that could have been avoided through like, running it by a few trans fans.


I think that’s the part I was missing here.

Most of the comments against this was far on the side that nothing would have been better. There’s a big flaw here that could of been better implemented, but I really wanted to leave that bit of hope of how things could be expanded/fixed in the future.

I feel like “just have the slider but without gender symbols” would be about as good as I’d want it to be for a game like this. “why do fps games default to male protagonists” and “how to introduce gamers to the idea that gender isn’t just A/B” are for sure interesting questions to explore in a video game, but I don’t know if STRAFE would be the best territory to do that?