A Cross Player
is a person in either real life or a show whose digital avatar
or customized video-game character
is of the opposite sex.
The name comes from "crossplay," a subset of cosplay
where one dresses as a character of the other sex. It's also worth noting that crossplayers aren't exclusively men playing women; occasionally women play as male characters, the biggest reason being to be treated as One of the Boys
A crossplayer usually isn't
deceptive about their sex—many are quite up-front about their real life sex—and simply prefer avatars of the opposing sex for aesthetic reasons
, like seeing the Impossibly Cool
female version of armor models
. A common defense of crossplay is "If I have to look at an ass all day, I'd prefer a nice one" when a Third-Person
camera is involved. Less frequently, it's for the sake of role-play
Whatever the reason, crossplayers are pretty common in modern MMORPGs
, and very few people see it as a big deal. The term is sometimes used to describe someone who plays a character of the opposite sex in a Tabletop RPG
Contrast with the G.I.R.L.
, when a cross player is
actively pretending to be one of the other sex. See also There Are No Girls on the Internet
, for the (mostly) discredited phenomenon of users assuming everyone online was male.
Obviously not the same as a real-life Cross Dresser
, and also is different from Cross-Dressing Voices
Anime and Manga
- In Lucky Star Konata comments on how she enjoys playing a male character in an MMORPG (Ragnarok Online or something very like it). The character is "married" to a female character whose player is a guy.
- Tsukasa in .hack//SIGN. Not willingly either. Curiously, the voice-work of the series suggests that the game does come with voicefonts for adjusting one's voice.
- Welcome to the N.H.K., where Satou winds up falling in love with a girl he meets online who actually turns out to be his next-door neighbor who wants to convince him that he can't trust women on the internet.
- Pretty much the entire point of ˝ Prince; after getting teased about getting everything for free because she's a girl, the protagonist decides to play a boy.
- In the Chobits anime, Hideki encounters Yoshiyuki Kojima (AKA "Dragonfly") in a MMORPG long before meeting him in person. Although Kojima's avatar is modeled on his persocom Kotoko and he affects some feminine mannerisms, the fact that he does not disguise his voice makes his sex a dead giveaway.
- Shinbo Also crossplays and his Avatar looks like his cram school teacher
- In Gintama, Gintoki and Kagura each play a character of the opposite gender in an RPG called Monkey Hunter. Justified in Gintoki's case because he is Genre Savvy enough to understand that people will be more eager to help a cute girl, and proves his point by trolling Shinpachi when he first meets up with him; his voice sounding perfectly feminine up until the truth comes out, at which point it reverts to being as masculine as usual.
- In Durarara!!, Celty likes to keep a low profile by pretending she's a guy in online chatrooms. She's so bad at this that other people don't even realize she's trying to.
- In the anime of Phantasy Star Online 2, Rina Izumi plays a male CAST named SORO. Itsuki also inadvertedly discovers that one party member he was playing with, who appears as a cat girl, is actually a male construction worker.
- Lampshaded and Subverted in Sword Art Online, where all Cross Players are forcibly returned to their biological sexes when the plot kicks in. It gets explained in the novels that it was done because of research indicating that too much time crossplaying in a Full Immersion Virtual Reality game can lead to psychological problems relating to mind and body dissonance. This restriction carries over to the majority of games created using The Seed; however, it also notes that because FIVR games determine gender from a user's brainwaves, Transgender players are likely to be read as their chosen gender instead of their birth sex.
- Played with in Log Horizon as well. Players' avatars were designed based off the face of the actual player, but from there could be modified. So the female character of a male player would look like a female version of them. Unlike SAO, when The Apocalypse hit, characters stayed the same, but spoke in the players' real voice. Thus one of the first things Akatsuki did was to find Shiroe and bum a form change potion off him so she could look like her real self.
- Later, it's discovered that dying causes Adventurers to slowly lose their memories when they respawn, which means any remaining Cross Players gradually start to forget their original gender.
- Even later when a crafting guild figures out a general purpose gender change potion, one of the cross-players mentioned that their voices and mannerisms were starting to change to match their bodies.
- Yun becomes one in Only Sense Online after the game system mistook his sex and generated a female avatar for him.
- Runaways opens with Alex Wilder playing an MMORPG as several other people, playing as more famous Marvel characters (Captain America, Daredevil, the Hulk, Emma Frost, and Invisible Woman). We don't learn this for a long time, but Emma Frost and Invisible Woman are both played by a guy and Daredevil is a woman. Oddly enough, when Alex reveals he's a teenager, none of the other people believe him.
- Knights of the Dinner Table: A tabletop rpg example. Gordo Sheckberry routinely plays female pixie fairies in his campaign which occasionally creeps the other players out. The eponymous Knights themselves were forced to play opposite gender characters as part of an experiment when Sara took over the game. They immediately abused their feminine wiles to rough up johns instead of engaging in the plot then turned themselves male as soon they got ahold of an artifact, all except Bob who got a little too attached to his character.
- In Vivian Vande Velde's User Unfriendly, everyone in the main character's party is a real-life friend of his, but he doesn't know which person is behind which character. He seems to have it all figured out early on, but his assumption that the character's sex must match the player's turns out to be wrong.
- A variation occurs in Warrior Cats. ShadowClan are defeated by ThunderClan in a major battle at the end of the novel Fading Echoes. In the next novel, Night Whispers, the ShadowClan cats decide to roleplay the battle and figure out tactics they can use to counter ThunderClan the next time they fight. Oakfur, a tomcat, is chosen to act as the ThunderClan she-cat Hazeltail for ShadowClan's roleplay.
- In Ready Player One, protagonist Wade has a best friend Aech, who is really a girl playing a guy, even though this isn't supposed to happen in the Oasis (the VR game they play).
- One of the best visual gags in How I Met Your Mother involves a scene showing WoW. Ted met Blah-Blah online while playing WoW and the scene cuts to two characters conversing. The hulking draenei vindicator saying "we should meet up sometime..." was the girl. Ted was the one playing the scantily-clad female human clothie.
- In Community the gang plays Dungeons & Dragons and everyone hastily grabs the character sheets Abed had made. This leaves Annie stuck as a character named Hector the Well-Endowed, which Abed had intended for Troy.
- Mac does this in CSI: NY 'Down The Rabbit Hole', where Mac investigated the death of a Second Life cosplayer by going into the game with a female avatar (with help from Adam creating it, since Mac was clueless.)
- The Big Bang Theory: One episode had Howard's girlfriend break up with him after she finds out he had virtual sex with a female character online, who turns out to be the university's male janitor.
- Dice Funk: Austin Yorski (male) plays Anne the halfling cleric (female).
- Dungeons & Dragons has the "Reincarnation" spell, which can sometimes result in a sex change in addition to the usual species change (depending on the edition and GM), leading to this trope occurring at random.
- .hack// has done this a few times.
- Tsukasa in SIGN, although this isn't revealed until late in the series and the person in question doesn't believe it at first, having been afflicted with Laser-Guided Amnesia. The individual had serious gender identity issues thanks to a father who forced her to act like a boy.
- The "Let's Meet Offline" extra attached to the tasogare no udewa densetsu anime has Hotaru as a Cross Player. This is definitely not the case in the manga and the rest of the franchise, and is one of the reasons that the udeden anime is the first major of the Series Franchise not considered canon. (There are others)
- Sakubo of the GU games is a pair of fraternal twins playing the same(female) character. Except it turns out the girl died when they were born and the boy developed a Split Personality as a result of his loneliness and his mother's verbal abuse.
- Gord and Saburou of Roots are also cross players though the latter ventures into GIRL territory due to their instance they are female. The former is female but plays a male character but it's not touched upon in the series proper.
- In Left 4 Dead and its sequel, at least one person will be assigned Zoey/ Rochelle, most likely at random if they are joining a game in progress. A lady joining in has a 75% chance of falling under this trope (assuming character picks are at random).
- EVE Online:
- An update has actually made it somewhat harder to ID crossplayers (but aided anyone who's a G.I.R.L.) thanks to the introduction of "voice fonts" for the in-game voice chat (TS, Vent, and other voice chat users are out of luck). Even if they don't really work, they should make it harder to tell if it's a guy using a female voice font, or a girl using a female voice font.
- The Devs once published some statistics drawn from their account records indicating that both player sexes played characters of either sex equally on average, leading to roughly even character sex distribution. Since the playerbase is still predominately male, the chance that a male character is played by a guy is still quite a bit higher than a female character being played by a girl.
- Second Life added a similar feature.
- Shiro in RE: Alistair.
- In Vindictus the character classes are canonically single individuals, and so they're gender-locked. Anyone playing a DPSer will be a guy, and anyone playing a mage or tank will be a girl, (Lann, Evie and Fiona, respectively), regardless of real-life gender. Also, when the archer and Mighty Glacier (Kai and Karok) are released, both of them will be guys.
- The MMO Metal Assault has "gender-locked" characters in which differ in size and statistics. The female characters have higher SP, MP, and speed thresholds, while the males have higher HP and balanced stats. You do the math.
- Gears of War 3 has medals for playing as females in the multiplayer, which give XP bonuses and are required for 100% Completion.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, some players do it on purpose when siding against Caesar's Legion due to their Stay in the Kitchen mentality.
- Pokémon. In the grand scheme, there's no difference between picking a male or a female character. However, female characters tend to be more popular than male ones (usually because of character design) so a lot of men do play as the female character. In Pokémon X and Y, you have the option to announce to the world that you really are a guy or girl despite playing as a female or male character on your PSS (Player Search System) profile.
- In addition to X and Y, females have a much larger selection of clothing to choose from, causing players who chose a male character to complain about how they're being treated unfairly in that department.
- Despite the player base being predominantly male, recent statistics showed that over 60% of the characters in Phantasy Star Online 2 were female. While there are stat differences between male and female characters, it's extremely minor, meaning it's probably done mostly for the sake of visual appeal (Especially considering how much freedom you have in designing your character's physical appearance).
- In Megatokyo, all of Piro's videogame and MMORPG characters seem to be female. "Piroko" and "Pirogoeth" are notable examples who appear to have distinct personalities. Miho's character m0h (or Niho) also counts. There is an awkward moment early in the comic when Piro and Miho meet for the first time IRL, considering that Pirogoeth and m0h had a, well, intimate relationship in-game (though according to Piro, not that intimate). Due to game mechanics, this was not entirely by Piro and Miho's choice.
- It may have been entirely by Miho's choice; it's implied that she and Largo were among the few players to discover and manipulate the hidden relationship values (although they did so in pretty much opposite ways).
- Another reading is that Piro knew about the hidden values, and was even pretty adept at manipulating them, but Miho was better. Even so, that relationship wound up being m0h's downfall, whether or not Miho planned it to happen.
- Also, we later find out that Piro's claims that the in-game relationship wasn't that intimate were Blatant Lies. About as far from the truth as you can get, actually...that's one realistic game world.
- Tedd of El Goonish Shive uses a female chatroom avatar; unsurprising, considering his penchant for Gender Benders.
- Dan's Author Avatar used to appear as a female anthro squirrel; he switched to male when Elliot was Genderbent.
- Dave, one of the secondary characters in Real Life Comics, is at one point chided about his preference for playing female MMO characters. He responds that he would much rather spend an MMORPG's requisite hours looking at the back half of a female avatar than a male one.
- a 2004 arc of PvP had Francis Ottoman playing a catgirl character for many of the same reasons as Dave, above. Ironically, one of his co-workers started to hit on Francis's character before stopping himself, as he already knew it was a Gender Bender character.
- Ian of Mac Hall and Three Panel Soul crossplays fairly often, most notably his World of Warcraft character Cherabim and (unwittingly) his Morrowind character Ren. Also Risu from City of Villains or APB. Matt's characters tend to be male, buuuuuuuut...
- Both Jim and Annie in Darths & Droids provide examples of this trope, playing Padme and Anakin, respectively in the game versions of the 2nd and 3rd movies of Star Wars. Unsurprisingly, Hilarity Ensues quite often. Ben's little sister Sally tends to play male characters (she takes over whoever the GM needs her to for a given scene) and Pete plays R2-D2, whose "gender" is really a matter of pronouns. (On which note, it's not actually clear whether Sally considers C-3PO to be male, although the other characters she's played certainly are.)
- It is heavily implied that Drowbabe (and her Suspiciously Similar Substitute Yodette) is played by a guy.
- If Minmax is to be believed, Forgath is played by a girl. He uses this as a justification for kissing him.
- Tycho in Penny Arcade is famous for only playing as women in Role Playing Games.
- Marcus in Chainmail Bikini starts out with a female elf cleric. After she gets a bridge dropped on her due to the party's trapmonkey screwing around, he switches to a nearly identical female elf bard. In strip #6 he tries to explain this predilection as "exploring gender roles within the context of a role-playing environment".
- Angels 2200: Whiskey's online avatar is male.
- Larp Trek has several, including O'Brien and Keiko (who decide it would be cute to play each other).
- In the modern-day timeline of Arthur, King of Time and Space, the characters meet in an online RPG where both Guinevere and Tristan (who's a girl in that timeline) play male characters.
- What Happens In Carpediem: Chris is a guy IRL, and plays a cute female avatar.
- Prevalent in Survival of the Fittest, as in 'Applies to almost every single person on the board', prevalent. Almost everybody has characters of both sex. Some handlers are better known for their characters of the opposing sex than of their own, though not everybody can pull this effectively. It shows.
- Valkyrie in The Guild plays at least two different female characters. Codex makes a half-assed attempt to make fun of him for it, though in her webcam she eventually asks herself why she's making a big deal out of it, probably as acknowledgement of how common a practice it is.
- Several authors of the League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions.
- In The Gungan Council, many writers, notably those of Phylis, Relen, and Jessan, frequently write the opposite sex. It's more common for women on the site to write males, as well.
- Equestria Chronicles naturally has this because, well, it's based off a girl's show and most of the players are guys.
- YouTube Let's Player Naka Teleeli is known for playing female characters most of the time when he's given a choice in the games that he plays.
- That Dude in the Suede outed JewWario as this in a crossover review. Most likely as a joke.
- Mario Party TV: Steeler's signature character is Toadette, while Holms often plays as Peach or Birdo and Ky plays Daisy.
- In Noob, Omega Zell gave it a try to see if it would make getting into a Pick-Up Group easier at some point. The possibility has also been used for quick gags, notably the male avatar to which Omega Zell has been gloating about hating woman turning out to have a female player or the female avatars to which Valentin was speaking to turning out to be that of male players.
- Jack Pattillo of Achievement Hunter often picks female character models, most notably in their Grand Theft Auto videos. His reasoning is that if he has to look at a character's backside all game, it may as well be one he wants to look at.
- Also on YouTube, omegaevolution tends to play a female avatar when the game he's playing gives him the option.
- Kyle is seen playing as a female human in the South Park episode "Make Love Not Warcraft".
- Just pick ANY MMORPG. Even much more if the game do not have Purely Aesthetic Gender since you will have to play as that sex for a particular class, but even if they do, it is still extremely common. In fact, in later games (such as World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online, etc), most players will assume the new person they meet is a male behind the PC unless you can convince them you are not (either via voice chat or otherwise).
- It's common enough that MMORPG has been humorously Backronymed to "Many Men Online, Role-Playing Girls"
- A common explanation is "If you're gonna spend hours watching someone's ass while they're running around, you might as well make it an ass you want to stare at for hours."
- Another explanation is being the result of Alt-itis. That is, a player starts with a character of their own gender, but eventually start new ones that they decide to try different combinations of character traits with, including gender.
- A new trend in the genre is tying the player characters more closely to the storyline by having them be specific individuals with pre-written backgrounds and Canon personalities. Naturally, this locks their gender as well.
- Quite common on Stargate: Aftermath. Most of us play multiple characters and a lot have characters of both sexes. Particularly glaring example is SG-6, a team of three men and one woman. All played by women.
- According to Word of God, Penny Arcade's Jerry Holkins, like his cartoon alter ego "Tycho" (see above), prefers to play female characters in Role Playing Games.
- Also pretty common in single player RPGs where you create your own character. Many modding communities are built around catering to guys and increasingly girls who want to sexify up their Distaff Avatar.
- Any game with character creation modes for both genders falls into this, really. Shepard's gender in Mass Effect, for example, is entirely the player's choice.
- Many Mass Effect fans have admitting the use a very simple method to determine whether to play a male or female Shepard by playing the opposite gender from the one they took on their last play-through. (Their Shepard's class is also determined by using a similar metric: they use the next one on the list from their last play-through.)
- Some games such as the Diablo series have a specifically-sexed sprite for each character. Want to zing fireballs around? You've got to play as a female Sorceress. Want to summon the dead to do your bidding? All necromancers are male, sorry. Diablo III, however, has moved away from this trend by allowing players to choose their gender for all classes.
- Some Nexon-produced games, such as Dungeon Fighter Online and Vindictus, are also genderlocked. DFO is starting to move away from this, however, with the Female Gunner and recently the Male Fighter, although each gender still has significantly different playstyles in most cases.
- Gold Slam, a Korean- (and for a brief time, American-) produced tennis game had the same idea with only 5 tennis players with their own distinctive looks and biographies to choose from. Want to stay at the baseline and hit the ball really hard? You'll have to be a male character. Want to be unpredictable and quick on your feet? It's a female character for you.
- Some appointed that on average, 40% of the players of either sex Crossplay.
- Gamemasters. In an interesting subversion-inversion-double standard, while a Player may have their motives questioned when playing a cross gender character, most don't even give it a second thought that a good gamemaster is expected to play realistic, believable, interesting and even entertaining characters of ANY gender.
- In Game Grumps, as a Running Gag, Arin always picks a female character if given the choice.