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Edited by Brodehouse

It's not necessarily new to survival horror.
Silent Hill 2.  You play as James, leading around Maria. 
Silent Hill 4.  You play as Henry, leading around Eileen.
Resident Evil 4.  You play as Leon, leading around Ashley.
Resident Evil 5.  This one actually has co-op with Chris and Sheva.
Fatal Frame 2 is the only thing I can recall that has two females.

Posted by ttocs
I love the male and female combo for co-op (or even non co-op) games.  As the OP said, it gives a lot of depth and the intimacy (which doesn't exactly have to be romantic) is a great way to add depth to a story.  
Posted by JasonR86
@Slateboard said:
I think the male/female pairings in co-op are just a way to appeal to female gamers.
This.  It gives all players the opportunity to identify with their character of choice.  Plus, if it is used for story, it allows for sexual tension, love interest, or whatever else they writers want.
Posted by Slateboard

I think the male/female pairings in co-op are just a way to appeal to female gamers.

Posted by Trylks

It depends, how is hunted when played by one single person? (I guess it's possible, in the screens you can see one character in the middle of the screen and then the other one appearing partially and so, so I guess the other character is still there)
I was tempted to include Baldur's Gate II because that's the way I played it, but there could be two males too, or one single character, so it's not. Also the new tomb raider, and beyond good and evil, but since you are alone sometimes and the male companion changes I was unsure about stretching the description.

Posted by buzz_killington

Hunted doesn't really count because it's actually co-op. Games like Enslaved, Knighs Contract, and Prince of Persia don't let you control the girl.

Posted by Trylks

For sure that makes for a good co-op, and when creating characters that are different for specialization and a richer gameplay gender may be very handy, but I couldn't help to notice that it is becoming a quite important trend and only in few cases it involves co-op gameplay. I wanted to link some games, that's why it is not a short notice in my profile...
Well, since this is a blog post let's try to analyze further. Why is this interesting? Why is it becoming a trend?

  • Two is the minimum amount of people possible for the main character not to be alone and having some depth in the story. The minimum is a special number with a higher likelihood.
  • It gives a good chance for co-op, which is not usually the case but contributes to statistics.
  • Male and female are immediately recognized as different, covering a range of characteristics, them all according to the philosophy behind yin and yang and all that stuff.
  • That also provides sexual tension, romanticism, allows to introduce some love background story without introducing a gay story.
  • When stretched it covers way more games, like Zelda Ocarina of Time (Navy is female) but let's keep it in the most reasonable terms (actually I'm stretching it with Halo, but just a little bit, right?).
And in the end it is to a big extent coincidence, but somewhat odd, I guess. 
Beside of that, some games use this to create a gameplay that uses the secondary character as an extension of the main character, while some games have two fully playable characters and even co-op mode. Do you have any preference wrt this? because for me co-op is a much more preferred feature for the game. Sometimes both options may be combined, I'd like to see how is it done in Hunted.