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Purely Aestheticgender
"We just got married, men and women are really different aren't they? But I don't see much difference between male and female Pokémon."

In those RPGs where one can generate one's own characters, it is often the case that the sex of the character is a purely aesthetic choice, with no difference whatsoever in terms of in-game stats. In other cases, there will be a small difference in beginning stats, but no difference in terms of the maximum ability score that can be gained. Character stats aside, often the choice will also have minimal impact on the game scenario, perhaps affecting only the manner in which NPCs address the character. In games with romantic plots, taking this far enough leads to a Gay Option.

Of course, this is not necessarily negative, as gender differences can lead straight to Unfortunate Implications, such as males being stronger or females smarter by default. Of course, even in real life, males generally tend to be stronger in upper body strength and there are some areas of intelligence for which girls tend to be a little smarter (like verbal skills) and some for which guys tend to be a little smarter (like spatial intuition). But that's just on average, not things you expect to apply to every male or female.

In some cases, however, it comes across very clearly as the game expecting a male player and not bothering with other options. Most easily seen with romantic content - the same female NPCs, and ONLY female NPCs, will flirt with the main character regardless of how the player designed him/her.

See Game-Favored Gender as a reason game designers may do this.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Action 
  • There is no difference in female love interests in the PlayStation2 game Robot Alchemic Drive (R.A.D.).
  • Mega Man ZX's first game gives you a choice of two characters - a boy and girl, neither of which exist in the story at the same time and are more or less Distaff Counterparts of each other, each existing in their own little world. The dialogue for each is different - the boy is a Classical Anti-Hero while the girl is a Little Miss Snarker — but ultimately they play the same and have the same general story. The only differences are that the girl gets knocked back a little further but moves a bit faster, and one gender-specific mission, in which it's arguably better to play as the girl because she gets palette swapping and he just gets a usable item.
    • The sequel, Mega Man ZX Advent introduces minor gameplay changes and divergent backstories depending on which character is selected. This is likely because Grey is a male reploid, and Ashe is a female human, so the backstory compensates more for the race than the gender.
  • The new Ghostbusters game, at least for PS2. The XBOX 360 version simply omits the ability to play as a female character.
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy lets the player choose his/her gender. Male and female characters have different voice-actors, but that's it. Same stats, same reactions from other characters, and same animations. Your character even goes by the gender-neutral name "Jaden."
  • Your gender has absolutely no meaning in Divinity II: Ego Draconis beyond your personal preference of appearance. In fact, if you're not satisfied with how you look after character creation is done, there are two illusionists (one in the tutorial town, one in your tower) who can redo your whole look (including gender) as many times as you like. No one as much as bats an eye when you show up as a completely different person.

    Action Adventure 
  • The Ecstatica games allow you to choose between playing as either the returning male protagonist or the rescued princess from the first game. Due to some rushed and/or lazy programming, however, even if you choose to play as the girl all the dialogue still refers to your character as male.
  • In The Legend of Zelda BS and the sequel, you can choose to play as a male or a female. This has no effect on the gameplay or storyline, however.
  • In Saints Row 2 The Boss can be a Scary Black Man, a Silver Fox, a Dark-Skinned Redhead, a Meganekko, a morbidly-obese gender-neutral pig-human thing, anything else in between, and it literally affects nothing. Not character interactions, not gameplay, not clothing options, not even The Boss's views on stripper poles and their regular operators. Hell, returning characters from the first game will only comment on your "haircut", even if your character is female. (For that to make sense, please note that in the first game, the player character still had a wide variety of customization, but was always male.)
    • However, you can pick male or female voices, and that changes the lines from the boss.
      • It should also be noted that Word of God has stated that if you play as a female Boss in Saints Row 2, she was a woman in Saints Row 1 canon-wise.
  • The Wii action-adventure game Brave: A Warrior's Tale lets you pick between a female and male character when you start the game. However, you don't even get to play as them that often—a lot of the story is told in flashback, where you play as male character Brave anyway.
  • Initially, Terraria had no gender option, simply allowing a player to choose default features that made the character look male or female. A later patch introduced the option to be male or female, with existing characters flattening out into male. So there are a lot of crossdressers in Terraria now.
  • Gender in Gods Eater Burst determines what your clothing looks like. Note that what you wear has no effect on your character's stats or abilities. All of the voiced dialog assumes you are male. A few lines in the non-voiced dialogue do acknowledge the character's gender, but it has no bearing on the plot.
  • In Way of the Samurai male characters are the default. You can unlock the ability to play as a female character, but all but one of the NPCs will treat you exactly the same way, including calling you "he" and offering you sexual encounters with women.

    Fighting 
  • Most Wrestling Games don't have any statistical differences between male and female create-a-wrestlers (though there are huge differences between the men and women already in the game). For the most part, the only real difference is that women are not allowed to hold a World Championship, and men are not allowed to hold a Women's championship. The WWE Day of Reckoning series, however, has a much more strict restriction on female wrestlers: they are not allowed to participate in the story mode. At all. Because each game only has the one storyline, this does sort of make sense.
    • Some of the Smackdown series of games took it a step further into this trope: while you could use whichever gender's base physique you wanted, your assigned gender was male, female, or '?'. Yes, '?'. This featured as far back as Smackdown 2, and apparently stopped in the Smackdown vs Raw generation. Sadly, games further along pull further away—SvR 2007 doesn't even let you put the men in dresses anymore (so long, Gorgeous George), and nowadays most games will cap a female character's stats at an average of about 70 or so, whether you're making a petite diva or a 7ft tall, 280lb Amazonian powerhouse.
  • Soul Calibur 3's creation modes (especially Chronicles of the Sword, which gave you your own plotline) mostly ignored gender, aside from pronouns and whether you were the King or Queen of Battle and heard someone call you "War God(ess)" once. Then again, it also ignored your weapon, always citing you picking up your sword regardless of whether you were in a class that had them.
  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS has the Villager, the Wii Fit Trainer, and Robin. While their default genders are male, female, and male respectively, their opposite sex counterparts are alternate costumes. Both versions of the three of them play exactly alike, so it's up to personal preference which one to use. The same also goes for the Mii Fighters who, as customizable avatars, don't have a set gender, and are not stopped from using any of their available movesets regardless of gender.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force played this all the way through with a gender neutral name. This did not keep them from adding a hint of romance with a female team member to the ending, though, which makes Elite Force slightly more gay-friendly than the series that inspired it.
  • Perfect Dark has you playing as the female Joanna Dark for most of the game, but bonus missions let you play as male aliens Mr. Blonde and Elvis. Enemy chatter is unchanged for these missions, so your character will still be referred to using female pronouns.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 has a female version of the Boomer, but she plays out exactly like the male counterpart.
  • Rainbow Six Vegas 2 has the only differences between a male and female Bishop being their voice and being referred to as "sir" or "ma'am."

    MMORPG 
  • In City of Heroes, as in many MMORPGs, the gender of the character plays no role in terms of stats or abilities. The only real programmed difference is in badges you might earn (using "Master of..." instead of "Mistress of..." for example). Dealing with other players, however...
    • It's also worth noting that there are three "genders" - male, female, and, um, "huge". Yeah.
    • This is actually parodied in-game - one of the decorative items you can buy for your supergroup base is a set of bathroom doors, and, yes, there is a separate bathroom for "huge" characters. Either they need extra-large cubicles or they just didn't want the normal-sized males to feel inadequate...
    • Mind you, aesthetics are Serious Business in a game where players can spend hours designing the perfect costume. Gender-limitations on costume choices can be a major source of controversy - most notably in the case of a 'Gunslinger Pack' that initially only provided saloon-girl outfits for female characters, with the actual gunslinger pieces being male-only.
  • In the MMORPG Tibia, one NPC refuses to talk with females, other than that, only effect of gender comes from other players.
  • One of the bonuses of World of Warcraft's Purely Aesthetic Gender is that guys can create cute night elf babes (so as to have an attractive bum to stare at for hours on end) with no penalty. One of the problems is that this leads to not being believed if you, an actual female, claim to be so in chat.
    • Gender in World of Warcraft is not entirely purely aesthetic, as far as the story goes. Sergra Darkthorn admonishes male Horde against sexism, and NPCs at least tend to get characters' sexes right.
      • One rare example of NPCs reacting differently according to gender is a female quest-giver in Crossroads, The Barrens. Her initial greeting to a male character is a pointed reminder that Thrall enforces equal opportunity for females in the Horde and that she expects you to respect her accordingly. Her initial greeting to a female character is simply that she is glad to meet more female heroes of the Horde. However, she still gives the same quests either way.
      • Maybe the only other two examples is in Razor Hill, where a female Goblin questgiver will hit on male players, but will act very jealous of female players and warn them not to try and pick up the guys she wants. Also, the Goblin starter zone assigns the player a boyfriend or girlfriend, depending on their gender, while the other tends to function as some random jerk that hangs around (you end up killing both of them anyway).
    • The PAG also leads to the amusing Les Yay of a Succubus' Seduce spell working just as well on all women. Everyone Is Bi?
  • Both played straight and averted in Warhammer Online, Most playable classes can be played as both male and female characters. Some classes however are gender specific. Order side only have the Slayer as gender specific class (male only). Chaos side have male-only Marauder and Chosen as well as female-only Witch Elves. The former is justified by the game devs saying that they couldn't make a female Chosen model that looked scary enough.
    • Lets not forget the greenskins. Orcs and Goblins come in one gender only, which is technically neutral, but appearance wise is male.
      • Orcs and Goblins are also fungi and reproduce through spores so its more a case of Bizarre Alien Biology.
  • In the MMORPG MapleStory, the gender of the charactered used to be determined by the gender the player entered for the user's account. Gender mainly played an aesthetic role and did not affect skill, available classes, nor available quests. However, some armor/clothing is gender-specific and female clothes tended to be cheaper due to the lower demand.
  • MMORPG Mabinogi has no practical difference between males and females. There are clothing and armour which are specific to gender; but they all have the same stats anyway. The only real effect gender has is for marriage — only opposite-gender characters may get married. However, the rebirth mechanic allows the character to change gender, while retaining the married status and all associated bonuses/benefits. So it is possible to create same-sex marriages in game.
    • Only if you modify the game client models. The game does not allow for a gender change if married.
  • In the browser MMORPG Kingdom of Loathing, gender is also an aesthetic choice, as both genders can play as any class, with stats being no different. You can even use equipment that looks gender-specific (skirts for example) as either gender — occasionally as a disguise. Should you decide that you don't like your current gender, you can find the Under the Knife adventure in the Sleazy Back Alley, which will allow you to switch genders for 500 meat. In fact, you can get the "Gender Bender" trophy for doing this 30 times! However, there are a few gender differences, mostly due to Rule of Funny and mostly favoring females. The biggest example is the pair of vinyl boots, which give a substantial moxie bonus to females and a substantial penalty to males.
  • In Ragnarok Online, a (very) few items are gender specific. However, there are two classes that are split by gender and have exclusive skills and roles.
    • Bards and Dancers, a branch of the Archer class. Only males become Bards and females become Dancers. Both get different sets of support skills and some of the skills can only be cast in conjunction with each other. Bards and Dancers also use different weapons; the former uses musical instruments while the latter uses whips.
    • The Kagerou and Oboro, the progression for Ninjas. Justified in that both genders belong to different male/female-only clans named as such. Both also get three skills that are completely exclusive to their gender.
    • Interestingly, gender becomes vital if a player wishes to get married: wives have different but complementary abilities to their husbands. A Gay Option depends on the server; a few private, unofficial servers allow it as an added feature.
  • The MMORPG of Pirates of the Caribbean Online enables you to play as a male or female pirate with no penalty or bonus for either gender. However, several NPCs make tiny slips in their word choice that implies that you are interested in girls, once again ignoring the fact that sometimes gamers really are female, and not just playing as a female in order to ogle their character's assets and breastettes.
  • Temporarily averted in Age of Conan. For the first few months of play, due to a bug involving the way animation was done, female characters did less damage in melee than their male counterpart. This was later fixed to follow this trope, alongside a public apology from the game creators, as to not stand out as sexists.
    • Of course, the NPC damsel in distress you rescue at the beginning of the game will flirt with you regardless of your character's gender.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic plays this as straight as it can, and even extends into to entire species. A player's gender has no impact on stats, and the only changes between are a different voice (male or female), love interest (heterosexual only, for now), and and a few gender-specific quips.
  • Runescape plays this completely straight. Gender has no impact on stats, and while in an older version armor had to be forged for the gender of the wearer, it now molds itself automatically to whoever puts it on. There are two dwarven mining corporations with sexist hiring policies (one for each gender) and one quest requires player characters to be at least situationally female to get through a No Man of Woman Born twist, but that's it.
    • This has a lot to do with the fact that you can change your character's gender (and any other customizable characteristics) at any time for a fee of a few in-game coins.
  • EVE Online has not only purely aesthetic gender, but also purely aesthetic race and heritage. Any lingering stat differences between old characters were smoothed out by the Neural Remapping feature, which allows players to re-assign stats as they like.
    • There again, since you play the game with your brain plugged into a spaceship, there is little non-aesthetic about your physical body at all.
    • Although since the arrival of 'Walking in stations' where players can actually see their character walking around having an attractive avatar has become more important for some people.
  • Averted in Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Zero. Males and females of the same class have different stats. Gender has much smaller impact on stats in Phantasy Star Universe and Phantasy Star Online 2, though. Along with that, there are many gender-specific weapons in the series.
  • Star Trek Online plays this to the hilt, to where the Level Editor for Foundry missions doesn't even have any gender-operated dialogue tags. Justified by the long tradition of (at least theoretical) gender equality in the setting. The one exception is that male and female Orions have different racial powers.

    Roguelike 
  • In the roguelike Nethack, the gender chosen by the player for his or her character has only a few minor effects in the game. For example, men can be seduced by succubi, whereas women are seduced by incubi. (homosexuality isn't implemented, and people screaming for support for bisexuals are reminded that this would likely end up a Game Breaker.) Also, when polymorphed into an oviparous creature, females have the option to lay eggs - which, given the power of cockatrice (henatrice?) eggs, is actually quite a big difference...
    • However, while females can gain allies by hatching only monster eggs they themselves laid, males can become the "daddy" of any egg that hatches. Also, using a cockatrice egg you laid yourself offensively does dire things to your Karma Meter if you aren't very careful. Also, about 1 in 8 times you polymorph into a monster, you'll be the opposite gender anyway. The Dev Team has made great efforts to keep this fairly balanced.
    • One role (Valkyrie) must always start female. You can change gender through magic, however, and continue playing as a male Valkyrie, with your title adjusted as appropriate. Even your home village doesn't remark on how you've changed.
  • The roguelike Elona has an especially notable case of Purely Aesthetic Gender; the sex of anything but static NPCs is about as important gamewise as what they ate that morning, even in some jobs that make specific reference to an NPC's gender. It's entirely possible to get eggs and milk from a male.
  • In the rogue-like Ancient Domains of Mystery, the only difference between male and female PCs is which stat is used for shop prices. Males use Charisma, while females use Appearance.
  • In early versions of Angband the character's weight affected the chance of "Bashing" doors, chests or monsters. Since males tended to be heavier, females were given more starting cash to compensate. This no longer applies and thus this trope has returned in full force.
  • In Rogue Legacy gender plays precisely zero part in the platforming or stat-building sections of the game. This actually becomes quite humorous since the defining visual trait of a mage-type character is a long, flowing white beard. Yes, even on the women. The only distinction between genders in that case is a pink bow on top of a female mage's helmet.
  • The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series uses this in each game to varying degrees.
    • In Rescue Team, the only thing it influences is what Pokemon your hero can become, and has absolutely no effect on the gameplay (All Pokemon are considered genderless in this regard) or dialogue (They avoid bringing up the hero's gender entirely).
    • In Explorers, it actually has a significant effect, as Pokemon do have genders, which will influence their fighting ability (Males have higher critical rates, females have higher accuracy) possible evolutions, susceptibility to gender based moves and abilities, and dialogue in dungeons, as well again influencing the available choices for your starter Pokemon. It still has zero influence on the story related dialogue, though.
    • Gates To Infinity plays it the straightest of all, with all Pokemon again being considered genderless for gameplay purposes, and the choice of gender for your hero and partner affecting absolutely nothing. They actually removed the option to pick the hero and partner's gender for the releases outside of Japan for this very reason (Though annoyingly, the translation refers to your hero and partner as male on multiple occasions, whereas the original dialogue avoided it).

    RPG 
  • The Fallout games are an example of the former kind of game, where starting statistics are identical regardless of the sex of the character. The choice does have some noticeable impact on the game world, particularly in the second game, where it can affect the fate of one of the game's cities. Playing a female character also gives the player the option of offering sexual services to solve certain problems, which would require the use of diplomacy or violence for a male character.
    • And at least once, this last point is reversed for male characters. And some sexual activities just ignore gender, even at one point allowing a player to rape a female NPC regardless of their PC's gender. The dialogue leading to this event is rather ambiguous, making it possible that the player doesn't know what's going to happen until it's too late, and an entire town turns hostile as a result.
    • Fallout 3 has a perk (Lady Killer/Black Widow) that lets you do extra damage against characters of the opposite gender and get some extra dialogue options. This is much more useful for a female player character, because the bulk of your enemies are male.
    • Fallout: New Vegas compensates for this by adding an equivalent perk (Confirmed Bachelor/Cherchez La Femme) that gives you extra damage against characters of the same gender. Note that all factions except two (the Legion and the Powder Gangers) have both male and female combatants, so the combat value of the male-damage vs. female-damage perk isn't quite as significant here. However, the majority of all human combatants are still predominately male, especially considering that the Legion is one of the two major storyline factions in the game, and they only consider women useful in their capacity for making babies. Non-human creatures do not count as either gender for any of these perks.
      • Note that New Vegas also treats these perks as indicating sexual orientation, so Confirmed Bachelor lets you advance quests and other get extra dialogue by hitting on gay NPCs.
      • A lot of characters change their dialogue a little so that everything is gender specific, However a few have entirely different reactions to meeting male and female characters. Corporal Betsy of the first recon for example will act standoffish to a male courier but will but is perfectly nice to a female courier, and will even flirt with a female character with high enough charisma.
    • Male PC's can also compete in the Legion arena if they wish, which female PC's cannot do.
    • In Fallout's predecessor Wasteland, gender affects exactly one thing: which restroom you can enter. Male characters can only enter the men's room, but female characters can enter both. Truth in Television, to an extent.
  • There is no statistical difference between male and female characters in Baldur's Gate. It does affect which characters may become your love interests, however, with the male character having far more options.
    • And there is at least one (female) sexist innkeeper in Shadows of Amn who'll react quite differently based on gender. In the first game, however, there are no romances and no-one that reacts differently. There are even a handful of female NPCs who seem confident in their ability to manipulate a female PC by being "seductive" just as they do with a male one.
      • Shar-Teel, a female evil potential party member with an intense dislike for males, will comment on the composition of the player's party, and will compliment the PC if it's an all-female party. Notably, she can only be recruited in the first place with a male character.
  • The "life partner" one chooses in the Summon Night games are the same for men and women, although dialog will be different.
    • This produces highly amusing dialog in Summon Night: Swordcraft Story. One of the guardian beasts, Sugar, wants to marry the player character. This story event occurs no matter what gender the player character chooses, because her former partner (the main character's father) promised his unborn child would marry her - apparently ignoring the fact that the kid could be a girl.
    • Not to mention a line obviously meant for men: "A hammer forges a woman" is also pretty funny.
    • As well in the sequel when Lynn said she wanted to pay you back for a favor with a kiss, and a mermaid very briefly falls in love with you after defeating a monster in her home. The dialogue for the latter does vary a bit; if the PC is female she will point this out, and the mermaid says she doesn't care.
  • The Pokémon games work like this: The genders of the Pokémon one collects often has more effect on gameplay than the main character does, as which traits are passed on in breeding is determined by gender, some moves and abilities are affected by Pokemon gender, and some Pokémon evolve according to gender, but as of Generation 3, all non-breeding effects of gender are based on if a Pokémon's gender is the same as or different than the target.
    • In the second generation when genders were first introduced, individual Pokémon with lower attack genes are female (Attack IV determines gender, rather than the other way around). This was done so the system could tell them apart, as unlike the later games, Gold/Silver/Crystal doesn't have its own variable for gender; this, in turn, was done in order to allow backward compatibility with the earlier games. Shiny Pokemon also had straight 16 IVs in everything for the same reason. This was fixed when the data structure was overhauled in Generation 3, which made "gender" a separate variable, independent of stats.
    • The most obvious exceptions to Gender Is No Object in the Pokémon franchise are where the male and female are different enough to be considered different Pokémon with different abilities, such as the Nidoran family.
      • Interestingly, Meowstic is a Pokémon that has both male and female variants, but unlike the other Pokémon with male and female variants (such as Tauros/Miltank, Volbeat/Illumise, Nidoking/Nidoqueen, etc.), both male and female Meowstic have the same stats, with the difference being their movepool. The male is a better support Pokémon, while the female is a better offensive Pokémon.
    • In the original Red/Blue/Green games, the player character was always male, which causes a problem when, in FireRed/LeafGreen, the player character has to visit the Grass-type gym, which is full of giddy young girls; they freak out at the intrusion of a male, and blushingly crush on him after he defeats them. The dialogue of these trainers was left alone, which means that a female player character turns the gym into an insular lesbian commune.
      • Alternately, it could just be that Leaf is so hot Even the Girls Want Her.
      • The dialogue of the girls in the gym isn't really all that flirty unless you really squint— but on the other hand, there are some quotes that stand out if you're playing as a girl: one trainer says that only "real ladies" are allowed in the gym, and another questions if you were staring at her before. There are also a couple of female trainers on various routes that accuse you of ogling them or warning you against trying anything funny toward them.
    • From Crystal onward, players could choose their genders, and it did not affect the story save for the gender of a rival character (Crystal, FireRed, and LeafGreen excepted); that's because in Generation 3 and onward, each player character model (male and female) is also an established character; whichever character you're not playing as becomes your rival. So in Ruby/Sapphire, for example, the boy character is "Brendan" and the girl character is "May". But only one of them ever appears in a given playthrough, because the other's sprite-set is instead used for your character.
    • There are minor dialogue changes between some of the main characters depending on your gender.
    • Oddly, even though there's absolutely no gender differences for most of Pokemon, the Pokedex will nonetheless record the male/female forms of every single Pokemon from Diamond and Pearl onwards (Which will likely give perfectionists a headache).
  • Final Fantasy V has four starting characters; two male and two female. There is a a very slight difference in their starting statistics; the men have slightly better physical stats and the women have slightly better magical stats. However, the game lets you choose any job you want for any character, and so the miniscule starting advantages have very little impact on anyone who isn't trying to meticulously maximize stats.
  • Final Fantasy XI has five races, one of which is male-only, one of which is female-only, and the remainder allowing both genders. While there are differences in starting stats and stat growth between races, males and females of the same race have entirely identical stats and abilities.
  • Dragon Quest III has a rather amusing dialogue mishap: although you can choose the main character's gender, the king refers to you as "Ortega's son", no matter which you choose.
    • Parodied/subverted in the remake, where he instead refers to you as "Ortega's son... I mean, daughter" if you choose to play a female.
  • Disgaea averts this by having both male and female versions of creatable units, each having varying effects on gameplay. You also freely transmigrate a generated character from one sex to the other ...
  • In 3E Dungeons & Dragons, females and males are identical, except for the random-height-and-weight generators you can optionally use which, still have no direct effect unless you planed on engaging in mounted combat (female's lower weight is helpful on your mount's encumbrance) or attempting to crush enemies with your weight (where males preform slightly better). There are, however, several female-only prestige classes. Meanwhile, the only male-only prestige class is the "Eunuch Warlock."
    • Drow have their favored class based on gender (Wizard for males, Cleric for females), for societal rather than biological reasons. In 3E (but not 3.5), female Drow also had a considerable stat bonus where male Drow had a penalty.
    • In 2001, a particularly facepalm-worthy Flame War broke out in the letter column of the official D&D magazine sparked by one putz who said that in his games, he gave all female characters a penalty to Strength in exchange for the "ability" to get pregnant. Oy vey...
      • in the 1978 first edition of D&D, men and women had different maximum Strength scores (Men could go to 18/00, while women were limited to 18/50).
  • Ultima:
    • In the older Ultima games (and many other computer RPGs) a female character got a strength penalty, which was sometimes but not always offset by a bonus to another stat.
    • In the newer Ultima VII Part II, characters have no stat differences based on gender. In the first city (Monitor) you can have a short love subplot, which does involve a different partner depending on your gender, and has little relevance to the game (If you go to bed with the other party, they will reward you with a cloak useful for protection from cold later in the game). In the third city (Moonshade), you must have a love subplot with the mayor's wife to move the plot along, and this scene is no different at all if your character is female, making it a Gay Option for an NPC.
    • In Ultima VIII, the female main character was dropped in production because of there was not enough space on the floppy disks to include her sprites. There wasn't even enough space to include the male character's face, for that, and the planned CD version (which may or may not have had the option, thanks to increased space) was cancelled. The CD version that did come out did not have the option of making the character female.
  • This is mostly the case in Wizardry 8, as the only real difference in character creation (with one exception) is having a different set of voices to choose from. The exception is that one of the character classes (Valkyrie) is female-only. Additionally, while it holds true most of the time during gameplay, there are a few items that are female only, including a rather useful necklace of stamina regeneration. On the other side, there seems to be only one male-exclusive item. Additionally, there is a male-exclusive quest option involving a demoness (which is possible with an all-female party, but without some amusing dialogue).
    • There's also a case of dialogue not quite matching up. If a player allies with the Umpani military, the characters will usually be referred to as "ladies" by Sergeant Balbrak, regardless of sex. It's clearly intended to be an insult, but against an all-female party, it doesn't have the same effectiveness...
    • The Lord class is male-only.
    • Females could become Lords in the prior two games in the series, though there honestly wasn't any point in doing so, except for starting equipment. Valkyries learn all the same skills and spells as Lords, have easier entry requirements, and gain levels faster.
  • Legend of Mana gives the main character a Purely Aesthetic Gender, which only makes two differences to anything (besides the hero(ine)'s appearance): After various quests with a team of pirates, the captain will congratulate the hero(ine) as being a "true man of the sea", with another pirate protesting the captain's claim if the character is female. Another difference is when one of the characters remarks on your appearance as being phony (he believes you to be a thief). The male hero gets "Stupid Hat" while the female hero gets "Crazy Needles".
  • Gender in Achaea is utterly irrelevant to gameplay, except for when it comes to 'bloodlining' (declaring a family relationship with other player characters) which is treated as biological rather than adoptive, so characters cannot have same-sex parents. However, marriage is gender-irrelevant. There are also two single-gender races, Sirens and Satyrs. (It's stated in the game documentation that the child of, for instance, a Siren and a Human would be Human if male and randomly Siren or Human if female.) Oddly, gender is the only aspect of a character which can't be changed under any circumstances - even though characters can change species at will.
  • In the original Ogre Battle, the male and female Lords were basically identical... to the point that it's apparently common knowledge that the female Lord is interested in other women. (One area boss basically accuses you of being jealous of his power letting him get all the women, regardless of gender. As well, if you spare Deneb [who when you first face her, says you're pretty good looking], one of the towns will say you just did it because she was a cute girl.) The one time the gender matters outside of the overworld sprite seems to be a single town that mentions you are an ordinary women under your armor.
    • Some of the endings were also gender exclusive. Both the male and female had a few.
  • In Soul Nomad your name is Revya. Your gender's only mechanical effect (Revya always considered male for items) is that one dialog option right at the start will increase your Relationship Values with Gig 2 points if you are female instead of 1 (which only changes what ending you get). Your choices however, do matter. Non-canon cameo appearance seems to suggest that Revya is canonically female, although only maybe because Most Gamers Are Male.
    • The female appearance in Disgaea 3 might be a compensation to the fact that stat-wise, the female Revya used to be male in the original game, being affected by male boosting/reducing items, not by female affecting ones.
    • Or it has to do with the fact that Revya was male in her original incarnation (the one in Soul Nomad being the second), also the potential relationship between female Revya and Gig is just more interesting, and played with slightly in Disgaea 3.
  • In Mekton Zeta, the only difference is that females have a slightly higher chance of having Psionic powers if those rules are used (due to Humongous Mecha anime having more female ESPers than males)
  • In Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords, the only differences between male and female characters are dialog-based: characters will refer to you as "lass" instead of "lad", etc and Princess Seraphine will openly flirt with your male character and refer to herself and your female character as "like sisters" (Both options annoy your character). The sequel, Galactrix, removes even the dialog changes: no one refers to you by name or by gender - it's all "you" or "kid".
  • Player characters in the Avernum and Exile games are built with the same stats; the player determines their gender with names and icons.
  • While the indie RPG Eschalon Book 1 doesn't even provide the option of playing a female character, Book 2 has a + 1 stat bonus on strength for men and dexterity for women. While this bonus is so minor it gets insignificant even in the short run, it led to a minor Flame War around this subject.
  • Gender is purely aesthetic in Guild Wars, but boy does the aesthetic difference have more importance than usual. Given the impressive amount of attention given to character appearance, customizing armor styles, and the like, gender is very important, as most armors look markedly different depending on the gender of the class wearing them.
    • It bears mentioning that the armors in Guild Wars don't look different based on gender as they typically do in MMOs. Females generally do not wear half the clothing that males do, except in the case of the Elementalist, and that entire class is out to look pretty.
    • The same goes for Guild Wars 2, and the Sylvari, a race of plants who only mimic the human form, take it a step further: they have absolutely no concept of gender as anything but an unimportant physiological distinction.
  • In Eclipse Phase gender is a VERY aesthetic choice. The gender of your mind is separate from the gender of your current body and you can switch almost at will (the limiting factor is money). So the gender of your morph is one piece of the puzzle telling the other people what kind of person you are.
  • Later Harvest Moon games have allowed you to choose between playing as a male or female character. While these change who your potential Love Interests are, nothing else changes. Your female character can even become a Pregnant Badass (of a sort) by digging into 100-floor-deep mines while being the in-game equivalent of 8 months pregnant and suffer no ill effects!
    • Magical Melody was an exception, but the only difference that came with pregnancy was your stamina dropped faster. And on another note, a weird, NPC-variant this trope occurs that's taken to further extremes: the rival farmer Jamie, whose gender is always the opposite of the player character, doesn't even have an aesthetic change between male or female, i.e. they just made him/her look androgynous so he/she could pass off as either one. Purely Informed Gender?
    • In the Sunny Island games (Island of Happiness and Sunshine Islands), the character model of the gender you don't pick becomes an NPC that you can court and marry, unlike other games in the series where the opposite gender's model is unused.
  • Fable II allows the protagonist to be female, and this doesn't affect any specific gameplay. It does affect who's attracted to you and certain dialogue; in the gladiatorial arena, for example, the commentators may yell out "Ooh! Took that one like a man! ...even though she is, actually, a woman.", and NPCs react to the player using the "wrong" gendered title (for example, a female using the "King" title). There's also a sidequest ("Till Death Do Us Part") where the giver is the same gender as the player, and the target is the opposite gender.
    • Fable III also allows the protagonist to be female, which introduces mostly cosmetic and dialogue changes (for example, you'll be referred to as "the Princess" instead of "the Prince", and the flavour of taunting gnomes' sexist jokes will differ depending on the character's gender). In addition, however, some gender-specific NPCs will be reversed, such as the couple in the "A Marriage of Inconvenience" sidequest (Similar to the "Till Death Do Us Part" in Fable 2), and your childhood friend in the prologue (who will always be of the opposite sex).
  • Fire Emblem has this technically. You can't actually create your own characters, but many preset characters will join your army. Differences between units is based solely on their class and their growth rates, so while there might be equipment that is class exclusive, there are no gender exclusive weapons. There are some growth tendencies among units (males usually have better strength, defense, HP and constitution, while females usually have better skill, resistance, magic, and speed), but many units break those rules.
    • Note that there IS a difference among genders: caps. They tend to be pretty minor and not all games have them, but it's there. Also, Mystery of the Emblem had a sword that could only be wielded by females.
    • Blazing Sword does this for its tactician. Then again, the tactician is pretty irrelevant, only serving to forward Lyn's story, and does not show up in battle.
    • New Mystery of the Emblem has a customizable lead character who half-embodies, half-subverts this trope: some classes are gender-exclusive, but stats are only relevant to class and thus not directly determined by gender.
    • In Awakening, while your created avatar's stats aren't affected by gender, their romantic possibilities are, which also affects the abilities of Morgan, their Kid from the Future. Also, Morgan will always be the opposite sex from the avatar.
      • However, a female avatar has the issue of only being able to marry Chrom if they want two children instead of just Morgan, since Chrom and the male avatar are the only men who have children pre-assigned to them.
  • Statistically, female characters in Dragon Quest IX are exactly the same as males, but have additional equipment options such as dresses and skirts. Outside of a few exclusives that favor females (blue panties are surprisingly cheap and effective leg armor in the early game; the boxers you can buy early are equal to your default equipment in stats) that the differences are so minimal (and females can wear the trousers anyway) it doesn't matter... until you hit the post game, where the "Magical Skirt" is awesome for most Bonus Boss fights (it gives heavy resistances to most elements), while the bikinis aren't a slouth either, and you can obtain 2 (cosmetic) titles only with a female character (there is only 1 that is male exclusive).
  • The PSP re-release of Persona 3 adds the option to play as a female main character. While played to trope in actual combat, there are changes elsewhere:
    • The social links (and social situations) play out differently, including certain characters not appearing at all and others taking their places.
    • Relationships are automatic for the male main character, but have to be manually started by a female main character, with the excpetion of Aigis, who is in love with the main character regardless of gender, and Elizabeth, who is implied to fall for the protagonist even if they're female, although in this case it's not as explicit as it is with the male protagonit.
    • All of the Fanservice clothing available to female characters like the Battle Bikini is equippable by the main character. This is acknowledged in game by the other party members.
    • The weapons usable between male (one-handed sword) and female (naginata) main character are different, though the game handles this by only allowing the correct type.
  • In the Digimon universe, especially the games and handheld toys, the monsters have no set genders. This means Angemon can evolve into Angewomon, who can then evolve into Seraphimon, or even in some versions, Beelzebumon.
    • In Digimon Frontier's and Digimon Xros Warss universes, however, digimon do separate between male and female, and they can have babies. The latter even has male and female versions of digimon who traditionally appear as one or the other.
  • In Dragon Age II the only difference is Hawke's voice actor/actress. Every potential love interest is bisexual (with the exception of Sebastian, who can only be romanced by a female Hawke), and the romance paths are largely exactly the same regardless of Hawke's gender. (Anders has some extra dialogue if you romance him with a male Hawke, but that's about it.)
    • Which is unfortunate considering its predecessor Dragon Age: Origins subverts it. There are many characters and comments by NPCs that will treat you differently depending on your gender. Stat-wise, there is no difference.
  • In Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader gender is entirely aesthetic (doubly so if you're playing an alien), although Dark Heresy does have one women-only career path (and a couple of women-only options for other career paths). However, all Deathwatch characters are male.
  • In Fate/EXTRA, not only is there no difference in stats but even the dialog (including suggestive lines) remains totally the same.
  • In contrast to Demon's Souls with its large collection of gender-specific armor, gender in Dark Souls has no effect whatsoever.
  • Fossil Fighters Champions, unlike its prequel, allows you to choose between a male and a female PC. Although the difference is purely aesthetic for the most part, it does influence one part of the early game: As a secondary starting viviosaur, boys get a T-rex while girls get a Tricera(tops).
  • Played straight in Skyrim, where gameplay is identical regardless of gender, right down to the choice of love interests, but averted in the other Elder Scrolls games where men and women have different starting stats, typically making men stronger and giving women a bonus in either speed or a mental attribute. That said, this only affects your starting attributes, and there's nothing stopping you from maxing any or all of your stats as you level up.
  • This is the case in The Tomb of the TaskMaker. The player can choose to be male or female, but the only differences are in graphics and sounds. The character creation box even makes note of this.
  • Dragon's Dogma subverts this. Some monsters are more likely to attack one gender over the other. Most don't discriminate however.

    Simulation 
  • The Sims is very close to having this. Clothing and hair options are obviously different, and only female Sims can get pregnant, but for job interaction, skill building and social interaction the two genders function exactly alike. Also, all Sims in the same age category are the same height. Then again, it's kind of justified, since The Sims is supposed to be a simplified, idealistic version of real life.
  • In Animal Crossing, you can pick your character's gender at the start. There's no real affect on anything to this—characters hardly ever refer to you by gender, even!
    • There is one change of dialogue in the beginning, before the gender is even possibly chosen. When you tell Rover your name, you have the option of saying "Isn't it cool" or "isn't it cute". If you say the former, he assumes you're a guy, and if you say the latter, he assumes you're a girl, but you can object to either assumption.
  • Similarly, Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times (an Animal Crossing clone) does something similar. Since this game includes wearable skirts and dresses, you'd think it'd have an effect—but no, even males can wear the Princess Dress. However, it does affect who your Love Interest(s) can potentially be.
  • Monster Rancher 2 allows you to input your gender at the start of the game. However, since your character is The Faceless (and even implied to just be you), this has little effect. The only real thing that changes is that your assistant Colt will make a comment about how nice it is to work with a fellow female monster breeder for once.
  • The Simulation Game Wandering Willows lets you choose between male and female characters, but they still act the same. Males can even wear dresses, skirts, and other "girly" clothes. This is actually a plot point, because one later mission has you making dresses for local Wholesome Crossdresser Art.
  • In the Tropico series choosing a female avatar has no effect beyond changing El Presidente's appearance and voice: other characters will still refer to you as male, one mission involves an identical twin brother, and the "womaniser" perk is unchanged.

    Sports 
  • In Tony Hawk's Underground 1 you can play as either a guy or a girl, the only effect this has on the game is what your rival Eric Sparrow calls you at the end of the game. If you play as a girl you still have to pick up "chicks" for a party by impressing them with your skate skills, meaning all the women you run into must be conveniently bisexual.
  • The NHL games have included female characters as a possible custom player option. There is no difference between genders.

    Strategy 
  • In Culdcept Saga you can change your character's base appearance after you've beaten the game once. If you make your character female (or another species) they still have the same voice and love interest.
    • In Culdcept for PS2, an apparent glitch makes it such that your gender has so little effect that everyone still refers to you using male pronouns.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic has heroes of both genders for all races, but with the exception of important story characters in V, they all share the same (male) model. Knights and Demon Lords at least wear concealing armor, Necromancers wear hooded cloaks but everyone else apparently has very masculine-looking women. And of course, the gender doesn't matter gameplay wise (unless you count the hero specialty).
    • Heroes IV at least has different male and female models for each faction, but with the elimination of specialties, everything about heroes of the same faction is purely aesthetic.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Duel Transer (and possibly some other Yu-Gi-Oh video games), your gender affects what deck you start with, but other than that you have the same potential.

    Survival Horror 
  • In Nanashi no Game, your choice of gender has a slight impact on a few early-game events, such as whether you meet a Yandere Bride/Groom and which of your friends is secretly pining after you. Beyond that, there's no difference.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In GURPS gender is a zero point feature but depending on the culture it may qualify one for a social stigma.
    • Though males are at a slight disadvantage, being vulnerable to Groin Attacks.
    • However, males possess an advantage when it comes to radiation exposure: their offspring are less likely to inherit defects as a result of genetic mutation.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • In Mass Effect the only difference between the sexes is romance options, except for a few minor dialogue changes.
    • The same goes for the sequel, with one addition: in the Kasumi DLC, when infiltrating Hock's party, male Shepard gets a future-tux, whereas female Shepard gets a Little Black Dress. There's also the issue of insulting dialog thrown at a female Shepard in one case where no such equivalent exists for the male character.
  • In Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, the PC's gender does not affect their stats, although the female can be a Third-Person Seductress.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • The player character in Minecraft is intended to be a genderless representation of a human being despite Word of God saying his name is "Steve?" and has a human male-like appearance. Players can change the skin of their characters to look like anything imaginable including female characters but they will always retain the same blocky human shape and changing the skin doesn't affect anything else in the game.
  • When creating a character in Starbound, you can choose one of two genders for each of the six races. However, gender has no effect on the actual gameplay.


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