Well, it was inevitable, considering we’re doing a romance game and you gotta go out there and romance some folks. We need to figure out how we’re going to handle sexual orientation.
I mean, we KNOW how we’re handling it — we’re not. You can be boy, girl, or non-binary. And you can still date anyone in the game you want to, regardless of whether they’re boy, girl, or non-binary. Basically every character in the game is “playersexual,” they’re oriented towards the player, no matter what form the player takes.
This gives us maximum coverage and no restrictions. I mean, don’t you hate it when you really wanna date someone in a game but they decide to lock out half the romances based on which gender option you picked at the start? It sucks.
But… at the same time, lockouts reflect reality. Some people are just not going to be into you. They’re gay and you’re not, they’re straight and you’re not, whatever. And having a “playersexual” approach, while very free and open and fun, does hang a big ‘ol obvious lampshade on the unreality of it all. It can break immersion.
So, we’ve been discussing back and forth how we want to handle this in-game. We have a few options, and I’d really like your feedback on them. Or if you can think of something we haven’t!
1. Don’t Even Mention It. Sexual orientation just never gets mentioned. Ever. This means not even offering a token explanation for why nobody’s concerned about this, which is a bit awkward, but also avoids the awkwardness of trying to explain it at all. It lays bare the conceit of the game, which could break immersion for you, but if talking about it at all would break immersion for you then this is the way to go.
2. Mention It But Assure That Everything’s Cool. We can have a moment where the player character asks Iris “Well, what if they aren’t into a guy/girl/person like me?” and Iris just says “Don’t worry, I already checked, we’re good.” This is a token explanation which leaves the sexual orientation of OTHER characters up in the air, while confirming the ONE you’re after is definitely your type. This locks in one but leaves the others a mystery.
3. All Character Sexual Orientations Change Based On Player Gender. Whoever you approach, if they’d accept your love, they’re suddenly gay or straight or whatever they need to be. If they’d reject you, they were never gay or straight or whatever in the first place. This is a bit like #2 but more defined, saying straight up “This character is gay” or not. But that means that on repeat playthroughs, their orientations may change. Which is a large lampshade to hang. Normal humans don’t work that way.
Which of these approaches do you prefer? Do you feel that not talking about the elephant in the room makes it too obvious and weird? Do you feel talking about it at all makes it too obvious and weird? What’s your preference?
We really, really, really, really, really need your feedback. You can post in the comments below, tweet at me, drop me an email, whatevah. Thanks!