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Purely Aesthetic Gender

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"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 a rare few 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, the choice will have minimal impact on the game scenario, perhaps affecting only the manner in which Non Player Characters address the character. In games with romantic plots, the hero's gender may determine the available love interests, but this generally won't affect the main plot. It is also increasingly common to see games aim to be more inclusive towards transgender and non-binary players, generally allowing the player to mix and match gendered traits to their liking, usually resulting in any distinction between their options becoming even more of a purely aesthetic choice.

But while gender equality is an admirable goal, it can still be implemented sloppily. In the worst-case scenarios, 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 them. Also evident when female characters haven't been bug-tested enough — for example, dialogue glitches referring to the player character as the wrong gender.

Contrast Game-Favored Gender.


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  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man ZX's first game gives you a choice of two characters - a boy (Vent) and girl (Aile), 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 - Vent is a Classical Anti-Hero while Aile is a Little Miss Snarker — but ultimately they play the same and have the same general story, save that Vent's story focuses more on the backstory while Aile's seems to focus on Foreshadowing the events of the sequel. The only differences are that Aile gets knocked back a little further (which can be negated entirely with the equipping of a certain chip) but moves a bit faster, and one gender-specific mission, in which it's arguably better to play as Aile because she gets palette swapping and Vent 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.
  • In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, at least for stylized versions. The realistic versions simply omit 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.
  • 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. Other than sprites and voice sounds, gender has no effect on the game.
  • Gender in the God Eater series determines what your clothing looks like. What you wear has no effect on your character's stats or abilities. 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.

  • 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 III 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.
  • In the older Mortal Kombat games, Johnny Cage's signature Groin Attack didn't work on women, under the belief that the attack wouldn't hurt someone lacking family jewels (even though the move worked on robots since the game still flagged them as male). Most women can personally attest that getting hit in that region still hurts like a mother, and the developers must have gotten the memo at some point, because starting in Mortal Kombat 9, Johnny's Low Blow affects female opponents the exact same way as it does men.

    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.
    • This applies to your team of survivors. There are two girls and six guys with zero mechanical differences between them.
  • 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."
  • Halo plays this very straight in multiplayer, to the point that male and female Spartans don't even look very different (since they both wear figure-concealing armor). Additionally, Noble Six in Halo: Reach is the same deadly Super Soldier whether you play as male or female, with the only differences being the pronouns s/he is addressed by, his/her voice actor, and some noticeable Hartman Hips on the female model. The Master Chief Collection goes a step further and replaces gender selection with the ability to choose your Noble Six's voice and body type separately, a feature also present in Halo Infinite: Multiplayer.
  • Bungie used this trope again for the customizable Guardian in Destiny, who serves as the player's avatar for both the singleplayer and multiplayer parts of the game (much like Halo: Reach).
  • The protagonist of Call of Duty: Black Ops III can be male or female, and is even fully voice acted by an actor and an actress for the two different versions. The player can swap between the gender of the Player between missions.
  • Morgan Yu, the protagonist of Prey (2017) can be either male or female depending on the player's choice. Aside from altering their voice and the pronouns they're addressed as, it changes nothing about the game or the plot.
  • The protagonist of Rage 2 can be either a male or female, with the only difference being that the character you don't choose gets killed in the following cutscene.

    Interactive Fiction 
  • More often than not, specifying gender for your character in AI Dungeon 2 will only really have an effect on how the AI generates intimate scenes. It has no effect on how strong they are, how successful certain actions are, or who they can end up with.
  • At the beginning of Infocom's Leather Goddesses of Phobos, not only do you choose the appropriate gender in order to empty your bladder, but most characters get a different gender depending on the bathroom of your choice, including your sidekick of the same gender (Trent for the male character, Tiffany for female) and the royal couple (the sultan and his wife for male, the sultaness and her husband for female). The only characters whose gender remains the same are Joe, the Mad Scientist, King Mitre and his daughter, and the titular Leather Goddesses of Phobos.
  • A bit of a difference depending on which version of Moonmist you've played: while the original game only has you optimize your character in the forms of Hello, [Insert Name Here] and Schrödinger's Gun, the PC-9801 version not only ditched the prefix in place of this "Purely Aesthetic Gender" (with an option of either male, female or "okama", i.e., Drag Queen), but it also allowed you to type in the number of your age.

  • 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.
  • World of Warcraft has NPCs occasionally refer to players' gender and they usually get it right (occasionally they don't, for comedic effect: also there are instances of NPCs misidentifying other NPCs). It does not affect the quests they offer or any other aspect of gameplay (including stats). The character's gender does however affect all of their animations and gestures and how equipment appears (sometimes with hilarious and/or disappointing results). Some titles also change where appropriate (but hilariously, King of Dire Maul does not. Presumably, because the ogres are too stupid to realize what gender you are).
    • One rare example of NPCs reacting differently 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.
    • In Razor Hill, a female Goblin quest giver 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.
    • 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).
    • A Succubus' Seduce spell works equally well on women. Put it down to her sex appeal being supernaturally augmented. The Shivarra, a race of demons who look like beautiful women with lots of arms, also flirt with the player regardless of gender.
  • In the MMORPG MapleStory, the gender of the character 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.
    • Even the price difference in armor between genders became largely irrelevant with the introduction of unisex endgame armor.
  • 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.
  • In 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.
  • 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 in the initial storyline, same-sex options in the expansions), and a few gender-specific quips. It also used to have females receive the stylish, revealing outfits like Leia's (only as optional armors), while men were limited to a special invisible torso armor. In later editions, this was corrected and men have only a slightly different dancer armor. In the end, not too unbalanced, because even those armors are purely aesthetic - putting mods and enhancements in them make them as effective as anything else.
  • Runescape plays this completely straight. Gender has no impact on stats, and while in an older version armour 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. It also plays the "only female NPCs are attracted to the player character" part straight with Zanik and Zu Zu.
    • The change to gendered armour has produced a effect where many male player characters of lesser financial means will wear high-level plate armour skirts rather than the trousers of the same set - the skirts give the same stats, but are in much lower demand.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • FlyFF mostly follows this. While each gender gets their own armour sets, the only difference between same-level equivalent armour setsnote  is aesthetic. Similarly, costumes have male and female versionsnote , with the differences being aesthetic. Males can get a box with scrolls to keep items from breaking while you upgrade them, while females can get a costume hat that increases their movement speed, with neither the scrolls nor the hat being tradeable. However, there's nothing stopping you from trading a female character's equipment to a male to enhance, nor is there anything stopping you from using male storage alts to get scroll boxes, while using the female hat can cause you to miss out on a Set Bonus from other costumes.
  • Your character's gender in Kingdom Hearts χ is irrelevant to the point that the Unchained version lets you change it whenever you like. There's one scene in the Cinderella world where the Duke will ask your character if you're The Girl Who Fits This Slipper if you're female, but that's the only difference.
  • Player-character gender makes absolutely no difference in Nexus Clash, and clothing obviously fitted to one gender can be easily worn by the other with no difficulties or questions asked. Since it's a text-based game (aside from player fan art) there aren't even purely aesthetic aesthetics to look at.
  • Played with in Perfect World. As of the Wings of Rebirth expansion, there exist a grand total of fourteen character classes among six playable races. Two of these are all-male (Barbarian and Edgerunner), two are all-female (Technician and Venomancer), and for the remaining ten (Blademaster, Wizard, Archer, Cleric, Seeker, Mystic, Assassin, Psychic, Duskblade, and Stormbringer), gender is aesthetic. The four gender-segregated classes follow a Guys Smash, Girls Shoot dynamic.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, The Warrior of Light can be either male or female, and it will have no effect on their stats whatsoever. Although races have a few (negligible) points of difference in starting stats, there is no stat difference at all between genders. There's a few pieces of cosmetic gear that can only be worn by men and some that can only be worn by women, but these are all at Level 1 and only for the purpose of glamours.

  • Magic Shop: The gameplay's exactly the same no matter what gender you pick. The character's title as they rank up may be different.
  • No matter which gender you pick for the player character of The Pedestrian, the gameplay will not change.

  • In 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.
  • Elona: The sex of anything but static Non Player Characters 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.
  • 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 Pokémon your hero can become, and has absolutely no effect on the gameplay (all Pokémon are considered genderless in this regard) or dialogue (they avoid bringing up the hero's gender entirely).
      • Sometimes, you might get a news flyer that mentions the player's gender.
    • In Explorers, it actually has a significant effect, as Pokémon 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 Pokémon. It still has zero influence on the story related dialogue, though.
    • Gates to Infinity plays it the straightest of all, with all Pokémon 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).
  • In Liberal Crime Squad, gender affects exactly two thing: if the Gender Equality laws are Conservative enough, women must have a sufficiently good disguise skill to enter the high class bar (which you need to have anyway if you plan on infiltrating the place since the entire area is considered hostile territory and is full of enemies) without shooting their way in, or if the LCS has a bouncer as a sleeper agent (making disguise optional since you can use stealth instead), and the response given by the CEO if you try to seduce him and fail: Women get "I'm happily married, sweetie", men get "This ain't Brokeback Mountain, son".
  • Faster Than Light offers a female Palette Swap for human crewmembers. Neither males nor females have any additional skills or weaknesses, and can even end up with a non-indicative name if chosen randomly.
  • Starting Sunless Sea you immediately choose how your character is addressed - as Madam, Sir, Citizen, My Lord, My Lady, or Captain - with a note that your actual gender is up to you. Regardless of what you chose you can select any of the portraits, which range from feminine to androgynous to masculine. Your character can romance anyone without restriction, and if they have a sweetheart in port the time may come when you get the choice to send a letter with the news that your character is pregnant, or receive one of two letters from the sweetheart, one that they've adopted and the other that they are pregnant. What's more, the child can address them as Mother, Father, or Captain.

  • In 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.
  • Mari And The Black Tower: Although Abbie was canonically cloned from a girl, Abigail, the player can choose Abbie's gender. Abbie's sprite will change based on both their chosen class and chosen gender.
  • Neverwinter Nights is the same as Baldur's Gate in that gender usually makes no difference, although a few missions in the original campaign either change or aren't available depending on your gender.
  • 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.
  • Tale of Food: The young master of Kòngsāng is either male or female, but this leads to no changes in plot or character interaction (leading to much Ho Yay if they're male) aside from minor changes to some dialogues.
  • 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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 and hidden abilities. 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. This results in 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. (Alternately, it could just be that Leaf is so hot Even the Girls Want Her.)
    • 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 (excepting Generation 7), 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". The protagonist-turned-NPC may have some personality differences and dialogue changes depending on their gender, but this has no effect on the story.
    • 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 Pokémon, the Pokédex will nonetheless record the male/female forms of every single Pokémon 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 very slight difference in their starting statistics; the men have slightly better physical stats and the women have slightly better magic and agility stats. However, the game lets you choose any job you want for any character, and so the minuscule starting advantages have very little impact on anyone who isn't trying to meticulously maximize stats.
    • Notably, the female character who initially pretends to be male (Faris) has average physical stats.
  • The story in Yo-Kai Watch is pretty much exactly the same regardless of chosen gender. Like Pokémon, the opposite gender player appears in the story as their own character.
  • 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.
  • Final Fantasy XIV continues this. In the initial release, the only noticeable difference in gender was that Miqo'te (XIV's equivalent to XI's Mithra) could only be played as women, while Hyur (regular humans) Highlanders could only be men - and even this restriction was removed in a patch. While a later expansion added another set of gender-restricted races (male-only Hrothgar and female-only Viera), gender otherwise only restricts what you can wear - which comprises almost nothing except your starting gear, some pieces of PvP armor (which only get minor differences in appearance between the gendered versions and otherwise grant the exact same stat bonuses), and novelty gear from the Gold Saucer (the vast majority of which was also made available to both genders in a patch).
  • Dragon Quest:
    • In the original version of Dragon Quest III, there is no difference in sprites between a male or female Hero. Many characters don't even take into consideration your gender (and when you're forced into becoming King, a female Hero even has a moustache). The remakes lampshade the original version in this regard.
    • Dragon Quest IV: Played straight in the original game, where there are virtually no differences between Solo/Sofia only. Averted in the remake: the dialogue changes notably depending on your gender, and certain equipment options become available or unavailable.
    • 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 superboss fights (it gives heavy resistances to most elements), while the bikinis are no slouch either, and you can obtain 2 (cosmetic) titles only with a female character (there is only 1 that is male-exclusive).
  • Ultima:
    • In the older 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 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.
  • Wizardry 8:
    • 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 this trope, 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 that 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 woman under your armor.
    • Some of the endings were also gender exclusive. Both the male and female had a few.
  • Zig-zagged in the Fallout series. Your gender doesn't affect your stats at all, but certain perks (Black Widow for female characters and Lady Killer for males) will open dialogue options for your characters.
    • If you play as a female character in Fallout 2, a lot of men you run into will immediately try to seduce you, and a few quests can be completed much quicker than usual for taking them up on that offer. On a much, much, darker note, a meeting with Myron as a low intelligence woman will result in him drugging and raping her. On the male side of the sex spectrum, you can have sex with either a crime lord's wife (who will do you regardless of gender) and daughter (who refuses to talk to you if you're a woman.) If you don't have a condom in your inventory, it affects the outcome of New Reno, where either the tribals arrive and take over, or your son becomes the ruler of all four crime families.
    • Fallout: New Vegas: although Caesar's Legion will treat female couriers differently (such as disallowing them from fighting in the arena), your gender will not affect your ability to side with them at Hoover Dam. As in 3, gendered clothing (such as Vera's Dress in Dead Money) will change to match the appropriate gender. Two unique perks, Cherchez La Femme and Confirmed Bachelor, will give dialogue options for homosexual couriers, although they are different from those given by Black Widow and Lady Killer for the opposite gender.
    • Fallout 4: although Cherchez La Femme and Confirmed Bachelor were removed, Sole Survivors of both genders can pursue a relationship with companions of both genders, further invoking this. Furthermore, male or female Sole Survivors can wear gender-specific clothing without it changing to the opposite gender (for example, gents can wear the Powdered Blue Dress and ladies can wear the Fancy Suit).
  • In Soul Nomad & the World Eaters 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.
  • 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.
    • From Harvest Moon: A New Beginning onward, the player's chosen gender for their farmer still affects if they end up being able to marry male or female love interests, but it removed 'restrictions' on clothes and hairstyles. The player can now choose to play as a female farmer while altering their appearance to look like a stereotypical male character, and vice-versa.
    • Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town did away with the marriage restrictions entirely, meaning there is almost zero difference between a male and female player character.
  • Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology plays this straight in its first installment, and the only one that was released worldwide. No matter if the player chooses to create a male or female Descender, there will be a heavily-implied, romantic note in Kannono's interactions with them. Averted in the later installments, where playing as a male or female Descender led to some minor dialogue changes.
  • 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.
    • 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: 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.
    • Fates is the same as Awakening in this regard, with the exception that it's now male avatars that have the issue of needing to marry a blue-haired main character (Azura) to have two children instead of just Kana.
  • 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 character herself is not merely a Gender Flip of the male protagonist, but a brand-new character who takes his place in the plot if chosen. This gets discussed in Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, where she meets the S.E.E.S. led by the male protagonist and is distressed when no one recognizes her, while they wonder who this strange girl who claims to know them and knows everything about them is.
    • 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 exception 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 protagonist.
    • 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 Fusions 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.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The only major difference between Shepard's sexes is their available romance options. Other than that, there are a few different pieces of dialogue for each sex in some scenes, and Kasumi's heist mission has Shepard infiltrating Hock's party in a future-tux if male, or in a Little Black Dress if female.
    • Handled a bit differently in Mass Effect: Andromeda, where the male and female versions of Ryder (the new Player Character) exist as siblings in the same universe, rather than being gender-swapped versions of the same character like Shepard. While their stats and abilities are unaffected, the developers have said male and female Ryder will have slightly different responses and tones in their dialogue and interactions with NPCs due to their differing personalities In-Universe.
  • The Dragon Age games normally avert this trope, as there is no difference in stats between male and female characters. However, there are some minor differences in story and dialogue, as explained below:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins; the two biggest changes in story are:
      • In the City Elf's origin, you get married, but a racist noble will crash your wedding. If your character is a man, he'll kidnap your bride and you have to storm the castle to rescue her. But if your character is a woman, you get kidnapped, and your groom dies while mounting a rescue. Fortunately, one of his party manages to slip you a weapon, after which you simply rescue yourself.
      • Morrigan reveals that she can prevent the Grey Warden from having to die with the Archdemon after killing it by getting pregnant and absorbing the Archdemon's soul into the baby. If your character is a man, she'll offer to have sex with you to conceive the god-baby, with different dialogue if you're in a romance with her. But if you're playing as a woman, you'll have to get Alistair or Loghain to do the deed instead.
    • In Dragon Age II, while almost every potential love interest is bisexual (with the exception of Sebastian, who can only be romanced by a female Hawke), the romances will have slightly different dialogue and reactions depending on Hawke's gender. For instance, if you romance Anders as a man, he'll confess that his dead mage friend was actually his lover, and if you romance Isabella as a man, she'll reveal that she can't have children and fears you'll reject her, but this conversation is obviously skipped if Hawke is a woman. Also, if Hawke is involved in a same-sex romance, Uncle Gamlen's response will either be derision if it's two men ("I guess I don't have to ask which one is the girl...") or lecherous perving if it's two women, despite one being his niece.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition: Cassandra has a moment with a friendly female Inquisitor, remarking how much she respects the Inquisitor for being a woman who is shaping the world and leading a powerful organization. Also, your available love interests once again depends on gender, with some being straight, bi, or gay. If you get too flirty with Cassandra, Cullen, Dorian, or Sera as the wrong gender, they'll gently turn you down.
  • In Fate/EXTRA, not only is there no difference in stats but even the dialog (including suggestive lines) remains totally the same. There are certain conversations with your Servant that you can only get depending on whether you play as a boy or girl, though.
  • In Diablo III, each class has a male and female option, but the gameplay is unchanged between the two genders.
  • 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).
  • In The Elder Scrolls series:
    • For about 99% of each game, gender is completely aesthetic. In the pre-Skyrim games with character attributes, the starting attributes are slightly different between genders of the same race, and there is the occasional quest (or set of quests) only available to (or is slightly different for) one gender, but these are only a very small minority. Really, the gaming experience is the same regardless of your character's gender. In Skyrim, thanks to Everyone Is Bi, every single marriageable character can be married regardless of your character's gender.
    • In Skyrim there are only two significant differences regarding gender: The Speech perk "Allure" increases the value of trade by 10% with a merchant of the opposite sex, and an obscure quest perk gives a 10% damage bonus against humanoid enemies of the opposite sex, and since most of the enemies you fight are men, this benefits a female Dragonborn far more than a male.
  • 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.
  • Monster Hunter gives you the exact same game whether you make your character male or female. Some armor will look different across the two genders, but that's about it.
  • Fallen London lets you play as a male, a female, or an individual of mysterious and indeterminate gender. There are absolutely no restrictions that prevent males from wearing dresses or females from wearing suits or no differences between them seducing characters of the same or different gender as them. Your gender used to only affect how NPCs address you — after an update, now it doesn't even affect that, as your form of address is now chosen directly through a storylet with the Urchins faction.
  • Minecraft: Story Mode: The player may choose Jesse's gender at the start of the game (and will be voiced by either Patton Oswalt or Catherine Taber depending on what you picked). The story will not be affected by this decision and characters will treat both male and female Jesse the same way.
  • The "Soulsborne" franchise of Action RPGs - Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Elden Ring - all feature a customizable Player Character, and in all of the games, gender has absolutely no effect on stats. Though Demon's Souls features a small number of Gender-Restricted Gear (and thus isn't a pure example), the later games allow you to wear any armor as any gender, and (other than a few obscure abilities in Dark Souls II) even aesthetically this doesn't change much. Most outfits conceal your face and general shape, and even the few that look gender-specific don't change appearance if you crossdress. You'd be forgiven for forgetting what gender your character even is were it not for their grunts and death cries and the occasional reference to their gender in dialogue. Elden Ring even lets you change your appearance as soon as you find the Roundtable Hold, as many times as you want.
  • Granblue Fantasy may or may not play this trope straight depending on several circumstances. Story scenes will always have the same end result even if the Player Character's gender is somehow put into play (which may enable a few Ho Yay moments if an NPC shows some degree of affection). But depending on your party composition, gender might become relevant, as there are a few characters that get more Attack if more females are in the party or apply a stronger Status Buff to males, for example. A later update to the Valentines/White Day events even allows you to give and receive from same-sex characters, though the game still treats you as male/female for the accompanying scenes.
  • In GreedFall, the only difference between playing a male or female De Sardet is whether you can romance Aphra or Kurt. in fact, De Sardet's gender is so cosmetic that some conversations weren't even changed for a female De Sardet, resulting in her constantly being referred to with male pronouns.
  • Gender impacts almost nothing in Wildermyth aside from the character's basic body type. Advancement works exactly the same, and heroes can form romances just as easily with characters of the same gender as they can with those of the opposite; any hero in a romantic relationship is equally likely to have their children join the party regardless of their gender or that of their partner. Female heroes can even be customized to have facial hair, though the randomizer won't give it to them.
  • Loser Reborn: The player can choose which sex the protagonist reincarnates into. This has no effect on gameplay other than having a separate ending achievement and CG. This works in favor of the protagonist if they decide to fight the Cultist since their soul originally belonging to a male makes them immune to the brainwashing and MP depleting effects of headpatting.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: V can be either male, female, or mix traits of both. Other than a few inconsequential voicelines (like Jackie refering to masculine V as "mano" and to feminine V as "chica" or Johnny likening his and feminine V dynamic to an Old Married Couple, while he compares his relationship with masculine V to "old geezers arguing on a park bench") and romance options (Judy and River for feminine V, and Kerry and Panam for masculine V), they're treated without any real difference.
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole allows you to set your gender through a talk with Mr. Mackey, as opposed to the previous game that only allowed you to be a boy. Not only can you choose between male or female, but you can choose between being cis or transgender, or choose a variety of alternate gender options beyond the male/female binary. No matter what you choose, however, the story will proceed the same, with only minor dialogue changes (i.e. the first exchange with Call Girl, the only other female superhero). Despite a warning that people will treat you differently based on your gender, the bigoted rednecks will declare that they hate you no matter what your identity is.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: Gender Is No Object in the setting, and the playable characters' genders don't affect their stats, gameplay, or romantic options. There is one sex-specific story element: if the Red Prince is in the party, he can impregnate Sadha and meet his child later.

  • 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 effect 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.
      • And now with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, changing your gender in the wardrobe does absolutely nothing to your looks and treatment on the island.
  • 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.
  • Stardew Valley lets gender make no difference to your abilities, and nobody treats you differently if you're a boy or a girl. You can even romance and marry any one of the twelve eligible bachelors/bachelorettes, as apparently Everyone Is Bi. (More accurately, Leah is always of a compatible orientation since her ex Kel will be the same gender as you, while everyone else seems to fall under If It's You, It's Okay.) The only notable change is that same-sex marriages receive their children through adoption rather than conventional pregnancy.
  • In the My Baby series, the player or the titular baby’s gender don’t impact much of the core gameplay; the only changes aside from aesthetics are what pronouns the baby is referred to, and, by First Steps, if the baby calls the player “mama” or “dada”.
  • Monster Legends describes its monsters as individuals instead of species, thus their descriptions give them genders. However, any two monsters can breed as long as they are not opposite elements.
  • House Flipper has options in the menu to play as either a male or a female, but since the only thing you ever see of your character is their arms, that mostly just controls whether said arms are hairy or not. There are also options to play as Santa, a zombie, or two different variations of cyborg.
  • My Child Lebensborn lets the player chose whether they want the titular child to be a girl named Karin or a boy named Klaus, but the choice ultimately impacts neither gameplay nor the story. The most obvious change to the story is what happens during a specific encounter between the child and a hostile stranger: Klaus will be told that he has "traitor-blood", while Karin will be called "a whore like [her] mother".
  • Idol Manager: The Player Character and their story mode rival can be made male or female, but neither choice affects gameplay.

  • 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.

  • Artery Gear: Fusion: The avatar that you select to represent you in-game has no effect on the plot and interactions with the girls.
  • 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.
  • The main protagonist of Symphony Of War can be either a male or a female, with no restrictions on their class or difference in the overall plot of the game, though each gender can have Bonds that the other doesn't.
  • 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. Males are at a slight disadvantage, being vulnerable to Groin Attacks, but they possess an advantage when it comes to radiation exposure: their offspring are less likely to inherit defects as a result of genetic mutation.
  • In The Dark Eye, this is usually played straight, as the main countries you start out in have no sex-based oppression going on. The game mechanics don't make any difference whatsoever (except for some non-humanoid races), and if you don't have a nasty GM, pregnancies will not be a problem for female characters, either. Homosexuality is accepted as normal, so if you play a male character and want to seduce the male guardsman, go ahead - there are rules for how not being the preferred gender reduces your chances, and all variations of this are considered possible.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
  • 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.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Played straight in 4th and 5th editions, where there is no direct relationship between character game mechanics and their physical descriptions besides non-gender-specific racial modifiers. Moreover, they remind players that the settings are fantasy Constructed Worlds whose attitudes towards gender needn't have anything to do with real-world biases.
    • Although 3rd Edition treats gender as more or less purely aesthetic, other Sourcebooks include a few male- and female-restricted Prestige Classes, like the evil Eunuch Warlock and the virginal, unicorn-riding Beloved of Valarian. One rare racial exception is the Drow, whose theocratic Matriarchy grants women stronger racial attributes and a different favoured Class than men.
    • Earlier game editions had supernatural effects that target specific sexes and the now-infamous ruling that made female characters take a malus to their Strength score, as detailed in Game-Favored Gender.
  • 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.
  • Classic Traveller originally made this explicit. Later on, the Aslan, K'Kree and Sword Worlds were stated to more defined gender roles.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • The first Rebel Assault lets you decide whether Rookie One is male or female, which just changes the character's voice actor. Its sequel The Hidden Empire lacks this option, since Rookie One now appears in FMVs, and retcons the character as being male.
  • In Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, the PC's gender does not affect their stats, although the female can be a Third-Person Seductress.
  • Splatoon allows the player to use a customizable female or male Inkling (and from Octo Expansion onwards, Octoling) who are both completely identical gameplay-wise.
  • Gameplay is exactly identical in Sunset Overdrive whether you play as a male or a female, though in a nice exception to most of the games listed here each option is fully and separately voiced.
  • The Division for the player-controlled Agent. He/she doesn't even vocalize throughout the entire game.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Reaching an ending of Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed (or with the help of DLC) allows the player to select a new character model for the protagonist, including female options. However, they will still be considered males, and subjected to Nana's various "bro" nicknames. Additionally, while there is gendered equipment, the ability to crossdress becomes available midway through the story.
  • The very first Grand Theft Auto had no less than 8 playable characters to select from, 4 of whom were women, and a pretty ethnically diverse lot at that. During actual gameplay, however, the diversity is limited to differently colored sprites.
    • In Grand Theft Auto: Online, there is some variation with the cut-scene dialogue depending on your character's gender, and the clothes your character can wear can range from full combat gear to swimwear. Other than that, there are no stat differences between male and female player characters.
  • In Saints Row 2 The Boss can be a Scary Black Man, a Silver Fox, a 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 The Boss's views on stripper poles and their regular operators, not even which voices can be assigned to them. Hell, returning characters from the first game will only comment on your "haircut", even if your character is female (in the first game, the player character still had a wide variety of customization, but was always male). Word of God has stated that if you play as a female Boss in Saints Row 2, she was a woman in Saints Row canon-wise.
  • 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.
    • In the Bountiful Update, they have added a female default (aptly named Alex?) with the big change being... Removing one column of pixels from the arms so they're skinnier. But like Steve?, you can still apply anything you want.
  • 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.
  • In Planet Explorers, a character's gender has no effect on their stats or capabilities. However, armour and clothes come in men's and women's sizes, with some minor differences for the female variants. Women's armour is no less effective than men's armour, though.
  • Scrap Mechanic lets you choose to play as a male Mechanic, or a female Mechanic, but there's no gameplay difference between them - both are badass Engineers capable of building an endless variety of machines out of repurposed farm equipment.
  • In Terraria, you can choose to create a male or female avatar, but aside from some slight visual differences between male and female armour and clothes, stats are completely unaffected. Hairstyles are also unaffected, allowing avatars to have anything from a long beard and mustache to a curly ponytail if you want, no matter which gender they are.
  • In Cereal Soup, gender is a completely aesthetic but customizable feature as players can type in whatever they want into their character's profile and it would have no effects on stats or appearance of their character in-game. The game even highlights it by filling in the empty bar with "Male/Fem/Agender/etc." text to encourage players to go crazy with it.
  • In No Man's Sky, not just the gender but even the race of your character is purely aesthetic. So much so, that choosing your gender is reduced to merely switching to a slimmer or buffer body type.

Non-Game Examples

  • Famously, in the original Alien script, the crewmates were all deliberately written gender-neutrally, because the developers were looking for Ability over Appearance from their casting choices. Of the seven members (excluding Team Pet Jones), five ended up male, two were female, and one of those two ended up being The Hero.

  • In the Goosebumps novels, the main protagonist is just as likely to be a boy or girl, but since they're always 12 years old, it's generally understood that the character isn't yet dating or going through puberty, thus gender differences are minimal. R. L. Stine's books for teenagers, such as Fear Street, are more likely to include such things.

  • Erfworld: Not only does gender have no effect on stats, it has no effect on reproduction. A Ruler simply decides they want a child and orders their capital to begin popping one. It doesn't matter if the Ruler is male, female, single, or a virgin. The idea of having two parents is alien to the world. We have only a single example of a unit that might, arguably, have two parents; Jillian's son Albert looks a lot like the man she was sleeping with at the time, and even shares one of his rare specials.

    Western Animation 
  • Inside Out: The animators didn't know at first whether to make the main character a boy or a girl, so they came up with a gender-neutral name (Riley) and the kid's inner emotion characters were both male and female, whereas the parents' emotions were based on their gender.