Gay and Transgender Video Game Characters

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#1 Edited by crusader8463 (14427 posts) -

Bridget from Guilty Gear is a boy raised as a girl.
Video games have a long and odd history when it comes to the topic of Gay and Transgender video game characters. From the early days when Nintendo and Sega had rules in place that prevented anyone to release games that had Gay or Transgender characters in them, because it was deemed objectionable and offensive, to their gradual inclusion as Homosexuality and Lesbianism became more widely accepted by society as a whole. While still largely ignored, Gay and Transgender video game characters have slowly become a growing and accepted aspect of video games over the few years this young industry has existed.  
 
Unfortunately, even today characters that are Gay or Transgender are still largely being used as nothing more then joke characters to be made fun of or are included in games as nothing more then comic relief. An example that may be more well known amongst this community would be that of Kanji from Persona 4. He is picked on the entire game by his friends for being sexually confused, and many times his sexual confusion was the brunt of on going jokes throughout the entirety of the game. While no longer pretending Gay and Transgender people don't exist is obviously a good first step towards acceptance in the medium, most games still use Homosexuality, Lesbianism, Cross-Dressing and Transgender characters as nothing more then a joke to be used in stereotypical ways that could best be likened to the way minority roles from the early days of the film industry were almost always offensive stereotypes that were rarely treated as anything but comic relief to the "normal" white characters.
 
While my expectations to get a serious discussion on this site going are almost non-existent I'm hoping the community can show some maturity for a change and give the subject an honest discussion and have people talk about their thoughts on the matter, and to at least get a few pages in before this gets derailed and locked by the usual forum trolls.  
 
So what are your thoughts on how Gay/Cross-Dressing/Transgender characters are portrayed in modern video games? Do you think it's fine the way it is, or does it still need some work?
  

Examples of Gay, Transgender or Cross Dressing Video Game Characters

#2 Posted by phish09 (1110 posts) -

The issue is just that writing in video games hasn't gotten very good yet.  Whether people are writing gay, straight or transgender characters, I just don't think that characters in video games end up being very believable overall.  That is the issue that has to be addressed first, and then how individual sexes, races and sexual identities are handled will fall in line naturally I think.

#3 Edited by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -

Gay Tony - GTA 4 
 
he was a serious character

#4 Posted by Empirepaintball (1397 posts) -

Birdo. Nice. 
 

#5 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

What about the King of All Cosmos? I remember hearing that he's gay, and even if that's not true (I'm not sure how that would work; the guy vomits rainbows), the gay gaming community LOVES this guy.

#6 Edited by Dany (7887 posts) -

What about Dragon Age 1 and 2? Aren't some of the relationships you can have gay?
 
With Mass Effect 3 having shepard changing lanes to either be bi or gay, its curious to see how they will handle it will previous characters.
 
Yeah, I think their should be more gay/bi/transgendered characters in games and it all depends on the game on the heft it should have

#7 Posted by crusader8463 (14427 posts) -
@Dany: Bioware has always been one of the few companies to treat the subject seriously, but as a whole gay/transgender characters always seem to only be in games as jokes or comic relief. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but that has been my observation in most cases.
#8 Posted by Beforet (2931 posts) -
@phish09 said:
The issue is just that writing in video games hasn't gotten very good yet.  Whether people are writing gay, straight or transgender characters, I just don't think that characters in video games end up being very believable overall.  That is the issue that has to be addressed first, and then how individual sexes, races and sexual identities are handled will fall in line naturally I think.
I agree with this. Most video game writers are barely capable of writing a believable female character, let alone someone as complex as a transgendered or intersex. Games like Nier, which not only has one of the better written women but also manages to tastefully approach her being intersex, are the minority because of that. Also, being gay and especially transgendered is still not an entirely accepted life style in our culture, so writing those characters is a risk that most companies are not interested in taking.
#9 Posted by BraveToaster (12588 posts) -

I don't have a problem with how they're portrayed in games and that may be a part of the problem. Gamers are an insensitive bunch and most of us don't take serious issues like this into consideration. Video games have a history of putting a lot of things-- be it race, sexuality, religious preference-- in an obtuse light. It's not only video games; movies and television do the same thing. Humanity is attracted to ignorance.

#10 Posted by TeflonBilly (4713 posts) -

As a medium we still have a looooong road in portraying even most straight characters in a truly three dimensional way. 
 
Kanji in Persona 4 was a nice step in the right direction, because he was genuinely conflicted about these confusing feelings heaped on him atop of the angst of being a teenager. When it was played for laughs, it was usually Yosuke being an immature dick about it. I was rather disappointed about the whole denouement of it though. It was all "Oh, Naoto's a girl? I guess I'm not gay then.*shrug*". I would've enjoyed it if it was left a bit more vague that he'd come to grips with his sexuality. I mean, he's still really young, so he still had a lot of self discovery left. 
 
Thomas in Deadly Premonition could've been a great sympathetic character. Here was a man who was not completely comfortable with himself, being emotionally toyed with and used. Up until he turned into a crazy harpy, I wasn't even that turned off by his stereotypical girly run and whatnot. There actually ARE people like that. The turn was just too sharp for me. 
 
Kaine's backstory in Nier is some fantastic writing. The localization team for that game did an amazing job. It's a shame it's all just presented in text format. 
And though there are only vague clues to her transgendered status, they really wrote some fantastic descriptions of her confusion, anger, sadness and acceptance as a young girl. It's a shame there isn't enough of that focused on in the game itself, but then again, it really isn't her story. 
  
Of course, a character like Poison is one dimensional no matter what. Either she's a bad-ass biker chick. Or she's a bad-ass biker chick with a dick. 
All I know is that my Haggar's gonna pick her up and piledrive her to the ground. 

When it comes down to it, a character shouldn't be defined by their sexuality in any case. I have gay and transexual friends and that's an aside when I think about them. Not their defining characteristic. Hopefully games in the future will get better as using it as an aside on characters who possess these qualities.

#11 Edited by bartok (2574 posts) -

What about Cloud from FF7?  
If I were gay I would be pissed by the way gays are portrayed in the Shadow of the Covenant series.  Each game has the biggest gay stereotype of a sissy in leather gear that you exchange gay porno mags for power ups.  I think he also hits on the male characters. 

#12 Posted by Empirepaintball (1397 posts) -

The other thing to think about is Final Fantasy. It would seem that even the males in the games come across as ladies. 

#13 Posted by thebatmobile (983 posts) -

You can cross-dress in the Fable series.

#14 Posted by Snipzor (3317 posts) -

Game writers aren't really focused on nuance or character as much as they should be, but rather the "How can we keep this game very 'game-y'". As a result, characters take less priority, sure there are the exceptions to the rule, but the rule still applies for most games. So any hope I have of getting a game portray characters well doesn't exist, so long as "Shooty shooty bang bang 76" is still in development, abandon all hope.

#15 Posted by McBEEF (360 posts) -

I probably wouldnt include frank west or chuck greene, just because they arent active cross-dressers and its down to the players judgement? rather than actual cross-dressing characters- doesnt really affect anything either-but maybe I've missed the point?  I think that while films are accepting gay/transexual characters more readily, games are kinda lagging behind a bit, and in many games the characters sexuality just doesnt come up.

#16 Posted by Mmmslash (2169 posts) -

My name is Mmmslash, and this is my favorite thread on the Citadel.

#17 Posted by Twisted_Scot (1180 posts) -

The Sims 2. You could hook up with whoever you felt like as i recall.  Crazy times at band camp.

#18 Posted by benjaebe (2783 posts) -
I thought Kanji was handled really well and wouldn't consider him a joke character at all. He gets made fun sometimes when Yosuke is being a douche, yeah, but he's treated the same as anyone else and his sexuality by no means defines his character. Naoto also had some similar gender issues. 
I still think Gay Tony in GTA was really well done though, especially when you look at the relationship between him and Luis.
#19 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5855 posts) -

Wait, Kaine is gay? I must have missed that part.

#20 Posted by Kowbrainz (923 posts) -

Kanji's character was more about being able to take up whatever hobbies you liked or have an interest in what you want without being labeled as gay or straight or whatever; his sexuality didn't matter. I don't think the game poked fun at him so much as Yosuke did, and that was just another one of Yosuke's flaws.

#21 Posted by Mmmslash (2169 posts) -

Anyway, here are the ones I know of, off the top of my head:
 
Trevor - Phantasmagoria 2
 Jun - Persona 2
Alfred - Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Vamp - Metal Gear Solid series
Hana and Rain - Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix
Doctor N. Gin - Crash Team Racing
Juhani - KotOR
Sky and Silk Fox - Jade Empire
Bully has optional homosexuality
Sander Cohen - Bioshock
De Santa - Red Dead Redemption
Veronica, Arcade, and Rose of Sharon Cassidy - New Vegas

#22 Edited by mutha3 (4986 posts) -
@phish09 said:

The issue is just that writing in video games hasn't gotten very good yet.  Whether people are writing gay, straight or transgender characters, I just don't think that characters in video games end up being very believable overall.  That is the issue that has to be addressed first, and then how individual sexes, races and sexual identities are handled will fall in line naturally I think.

Yep.
 

@crusader8463

said:


 
Unfortunately, even today characters that are Gay or Transgender are still largely being used as nothing more then joke characters to be made fun of or are included in games as nothing more then comic relief. An example that may be more well known amongst this community would be that of  Kanji from Persona 4. He is picked on the entire game by his friends for being sexually confused, and many times his sexual confusion was the brunt of on going jokes throughout the entirety of the game. 

I think Kanji is a very, very poor example of this.
 
Okay, yeah, Kanji is very often the butt end of a lot of jokes -- But I can't recall any specific instance where any of it came due to Kanji's sexuality itself. Sure, you've got Yosuke being scared of him during the camping trip, but Yosuke is cast in an immature light in those scenes not Kanji(I even remember Yosuke being reprimanded for it by Chie at some point in the game). 
 
Kanji also isn't just sexually confused for the sake of anime hijinks, its a pretty essential part of his character. If you remove the part where he doubts his sexuality because of the things society expects of him as a male, your pretty much talking about an entirely different character. I felt P4 totally handled sexual confusion with a sense of class, and I don't think the occasional ribbing Kanji gets from Yosuke is enough to undo that.
 
 There are much better example you can pick which have transexual look pretty much like horrible caricatures for no reason other than to have them awkwardly flirt with your stupid "handsome" protagonist who treats them like freaks. No idea why you'd use a character who's sexuality actually matters in the story.
#23 Posted by mutha3 (4986 posts) -
@TeflonBilly said:
As a medium we still have a looooong road in portraying even most straight characters in a truly three dimensional way.  Kanji in Persona 4 was a nice step in the right direction, because he was genuinely conflicted about these confusing feelings heaped on him atop of the angst of being a teenager. When it was played for laughs, it was usually Yosuke being an immature dick about it. I was rather disappointed about the whole denouement of it though. It was all "Oh, Naoto's a girl? I guess I'm not gay then.*shrug*". I would've enjoyed it if it was left a bit more vague that he'd come to grips with his sexuality. I mean, he's still really young, so he still had a lot of self discovery left. 

The developers said they intentionally left it ambigious, but by the end of the game it felt prettttyyyy onesided as to what his sexuality was.
 
Still, I'm willing to let it slide, because it was a very well done exploration of sexual confusion otherwise, I felt.
#24 Posted by TheHBK (5554 posts) -

It is just that a lot of times being gay or straight has nothing to do with the video game.  And if it does, it is to serve as a way to show a personality trait or something your character has to work with like Gay Tony in GTA.  Japan doesn't help with their ridiculous portrayals and awkward characters.  Look at the FF series.

#25 Posted by mutha3 (4986 posts) -
@Beforet said:
I agree with this. Most video game writers are barely capable of writing a believable female character, let alone someone as complex as a transgendered or intersex. Games like Nier, which not only has one of the better written women but also manages to tastefully approach her being intersex, are the minority because of that. Also, being gay and especially transgendered is still not an entirely accepted life style in our culture, so writing those characters is a risk that most companies are not interested in taking.
That's actually kind of almost undone by the fact that her character design is fucking stupid.
#26 Posted by TeflonBilly (4713 posts) -
@mutha3 said:
@TeflonBilly said:
As a medium we still have a looooong road in portraying even most straight characters in a truly three dimensional way.  Kanji in Persona 4 was a nice step in the right direction, because he was genuinely conflicted about these confusing feelings heaped on him atop of the angst of being a teenager. When it was played for laughs, it was usually Yosuke being an immature dick about it. I was rather disappointed about the whole denouement of it though. It was all "Oh, Naoto's a girl? I guess I'm not gay then.*shrug*". I would've enjoyed it if it was left a bit more vague that he'd come to grips with his sexuality. I mean, he's still really young, so he still had a lot of self discovery left. 

The developers said they intentionally left it ambigious, but by the end of the game it felt prettttyyyy onesided as to what his sexuality was.  Still, I'm willing to let it slide, because it was a very well done exploration of sexual confusion otherwise, I felt.
 
Yeah, it's more a fault of them not being good enough at making it feel ambiguous. The intent and everything throughout the game was great. 
As you said in your other post, the only "ridiculing" of Kanji I truly felt in P4 was Yosuke being an immature dick about it. Any other humorous moment concerning it (Usually involving Naoto or Teddy") was just innocent fun.
#27 Posted by RFeynman (14 posts) -

It'll be even better when the day arrives that no one cares if a character is gay in a video game

#28 Posted by mutha3 (4986 posts) -
@TeflonBilly said:
@mutha3 said:
@TeflonBilly said:
As a medium we still have a looooong road in portraying even most straight characters in a truly three dimensional way.  Kanji in Persona 4 was a nice step in the right direction, because he was genuinely conflicted about these confusing feelings heaped on him atop of the angst of being a teenager. When it was played for laughs, it was usually Yosuke being an immature dick about it. I was rather disappointed about the whole denouement of it though. It was all "Oh, Naoto's a girl? I guess I'm not gay then.*shrug*". I would've enjoyed it if it was left a bit more vague that he'd come to grips with his sexuality. I mean, he's still really young, so he still had a lot of self discovery left. 

The developers said they intentionally left it ambigious, but by the end of the game it felt prettttyyyy onesided as to what his sexuality was.  Still, I'm willing to let it slide, because it was a very well done exploration of sexual confusion otherwise, I felt.
 Yeah, it's more a fault of them not being good enough at making it feel ambiguous. The intent and everything throughout the game was great. As you said in your other post, the only "ridiculing" of Kanji I truly felt in P4 was Yosuke being an immature dick about it. Any other humorous moment concerning it (Usually involving Naoto or Teddy") was just innocent fun.
And to add to that: 
 
I remember a couple of scenes mid through the game (after the camping trip, somewhere) where Yosuke was making fun of Kanji's bathouse escapades and Kanji snapping at him and running off, which led to the part where Chie reprimanded Yosuke(Something along the lines of"Yosuke, cut that out! you know he doesn't like being reminded of that").
 
Unfortunatly, they never seemed to build on that after that scene. Always felt a little odd. Maybe they were originally going to address Yosuke's dickishnes it and that dialogue was left in? He became less of a dick towards Kanji as time went on, and it just felt a little odd without a scene to accompany how that change came to be.
#29 Posted by pawsoffury (123 posts) -

You've missed out Makoto from Enchanted Arms.  

Who I found incredibly poorly written considering it's a JRPG with plenty of opportunity for exploring depth of character.  All the same it was still an interesting choice that they had a male be the one with the 'wacky crush' on the main protagonist rather 
than a genre convention young ditzy female. Then again Enchanted arms had far worse problems then just it's character development, so perhaps that's a moot point?

#30 Posted by mutha3 (4986 posts) -
@crusader8463 said:
@Dany: Bioware has always been one of the few companies to treat the subject seriously
Oh, I missed this.
 
Come on, dude. You had lady lesbian options in ME2, but none for the male and don't even get me started on that retarded elf thing in Dragon Age.
#31 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

I think it's worth noting that one of the reasons "gay" is treated differently in Japanese releases is because the american concept of "gay" is a very much a social construct.
 
I'm not saying that there aren't men who are attracted to other men, but everything that goes along with it in American culture and is wrapped up in the package of "gay culture" is just that. Cultural.
 
In Japan being gay and being effeminate or two entirely different concepts. Also, because many japanese men have what are typically considered female secondary sex characteristics (slight build, hairlessness, prominent eyelashes, etc), the concept of gender bending is much more in their cultural zeitgeist than it is in america.
 
It really is feasable, over there, to have a character who can't be determined to be male or female like Ferris in Final Fantasy 4 or that one guy in Tekken 6. In America that concept comes across as much more ridiculous because men and women over here have a greater disparity in secondary sexual characteristics.
 
I think it's treated as a joke in a satirical way moreso than in an american "gay bashing" kind of way.

#32 Posted by pieman32 (164 posts) -

The japanese will make gay or trans very stereotyped. The west has a better chance of making something good. 

#33 Edited by mutha3 (4986 posts) -
@JazGalaxy
Trans-sexuality is a big thing in Japan, y'know. These ultra-flamboyant characters who look like burly men dressed in skirts with very soft voices(like circus freaks basically) is just a very disturbing dig  at the "okama" lifestyle. These people also tend to be attracted to men, or at least that's the stereotype.
 
No, its equally disgusting/disturbing in Japanese games most of the time
#34 Posted by Beforet (2931 posts) -
@mutha3 said:
@Beforet said:
I agree with this. Most video game writers are barely capable of writing a believable female character, let alone someone as complex as a transgendered or intersex. Games like Nier, which not only has one of the better written women but also manages to tastefully approach her being intersex, are the minority because of that. Also, being gay and especially transgendered is still not an entirely accepted life style in our culture, so writing those characters is a risk that most companies are not interested in taking.
That's actually kind of almost undone by the fact that her character design is fucking stupid.
I feel, when taking everything about her character and backstory into consideration, that the silly design is excusable. She is still well written.
#35 Posted by NickLott (793 posts) -
@mutha3 said:
@crusader8463 said:
@Dany: Bioware has always been one of the few companies to treat the subject seriously
Oh, I missed this.  Come on, dude. You had lady lesbian options in ME2, but none for the male and don't even get me started on that retarded elf thing in Dragon Age.
There will be gay male romance options for Male Shep in ME3 according to Casey Hudson. 
#36 Edited by EpicSteve (6495 posts) -

I always thought it was super weird when people question the lack of a specific type of person as a protagonist in media. Regardless, the bulk of gamers wouldn't take Halo seriously if Master Chief made it apparent he was into dudes. It's like these conversations are brought up for the sake of having a serious conversation. Good protagonists are supposed to be relatable. Gays are an extreme minority. I mean this without being disrespectful to homosexuals, but being gay is considered abnormal to most people. Abnormal behavior is easy to make comedy with. And you defiantly won't see a transgender protagonist as a serious role in the foreseeable future. I've never met anyone that accepts that lifestyle. 

#37 Posted by NickLott (793 posts) -

There was a transgendered character in Yakuza 3 that was part of a side quest. It was the victim of Sega of America's many cuts to the game for local release which is unfortunate because it was supposed to be one of the more interesting side quests.

#38 Posted by mutha3 (4986 posts) -
@nicklott said:
@mutha3 said:
@crusader8463 said:
@Dany: Bioware has always been one of the few companies to treat the subject seriously
Oh, I missed this.  Come on, dude. You had lady lesbian options in ME2, but none for the male and don't even get me started on that retarded elf thing in Dragon Age.
There will be gay male romance options for Male Shep in ME3 according to Casey Hudson. 
Well, yeah, I'm glad to hear that.
 
But that doesn't change that ME2 only had female same-sex options.
 
That' was just.......wow. Talk about knowing who your audience is.
#39 Posted by Damodar (1460 posts) -
@Kowbrainz said:
Kanji's character was more about being able to take up whatever hobbies you liked or have an interest in what you want without being labeled as gay or straight or whatever; his sexuality didn't matter. I don't think the game poked fun at him so much as Yosuke did, and that was just another one of Yosuke's flaws.  
 
Yup. Pretty much what I got out of it too.  I don't think he was ever personally previously conflicted about his sexuality. I think he knew that he was straight, but everyone teased him for being interested in and adept and things like sewing, assuming he must be gay. Which sort of fueled a reactionary tough guy act to show he was a man. I don't think he really questioned his own sexual orientation until Naoto came along. And yeah, I don't think the game really made fun of him, it was pretty much all Yosuke being fairly homophobic. It was actually kind of an ugly character trait, but flaws like that definitely help character depth.
 
I think Kanji is way up there as one of the most interesting characters in that game. I guess, a bit like in the game world, I think he's maybe misunderstood by some of the people who play the game?
 
But I'm getting kind of off topic.
 
I guess ultimately, it's difficult. Video game writing often isn't as mature as you may find in a film or a book. There are exceptions, but they're the minority. Plus, it's a tough subject. Especially when you get in to things like transgenders, that a lot of people, myself included, don't really know too much about. I'd be interested to play a game with a character that could give me a better insight in to something like that, but would the writer need some experience with that subject to capture it well? 
 
I definitely think BioWare do a good job of it. It's just there as an option. If you want your Dragon Age character (and soon to be Shepard) to be gay, then you can do that and it plays out similarly to the straight relationships. So I guess there's two good ways I can think of to approach that sort of subject, between actually having a well written character who has some sort of message to communicate about being gay etc or just treating it normally, like BioWare. 
 
I dunno, just kind of mindfarted out some thoughts, this is probably drivel.
#40 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -
@mutha3 said:
@JazGalaxy: Trans-sexuality is a big thing in Japan, y'know. These ultra-flamboyant characters who look like burly men dressed in skirts with very soft voices(like circus freaks basically) is just a very disturbing dig  at the "okama" lifestyle. These people also tend to be attracted to men, or at least that's the stereotype.  No, its equally disgusting/disturbing in Japanese games most of the time
I don't know if you're understanding what I'm saying.
 
I'm saying there really isn't any "good" way to portray that lifestyle becuase culturally there is no consensus as to what that lifestyle is. It's like white people watching a movie about black people in the UK and being like "this isn't very realistic because this isn't the way I know black people to act".
 
The popular culture of black people in the UK is different than the popular culture of black people in the US. There's overlap, sure, but lots of differences.
 
I think people see Japanese depictions of homosexuality and think it should equate to what they know of homosexuality in american culture and i think they have to understand that it's a much more nuanced concept in Japan than it is in America. Specifically, I think the concept of the "pretty man" or the "you can't tell if it's a guy or a girl" are used in anime and games frequently and have no association with homosexuality at all. They're just a cultural joke because that kind of situation presents itself more in Japan than it does in America.
#41 Posted by craigbo180 (1739 posts) -
#42 Edited by Trachalio (14 posts) -

That's an excellent point JazGalaxy, and not something I'd really thought of before. Awesome food for thought! 
 
[Edit]: Also, isn't there some debate as to weither Zangeif is gay or not?

#43 Posted by mutha3 (4986 posts) -
@JazGalaxy said:
Specifically, I think the concept of the "pretty man" or the "you can't tell if it's a guy or a girl" are used in anime and games frequently and have no association with homosexuality at all. They're just a cultural joke because that kind of situation presents itself more in Japan than it does in America.
Yes. I don't think anyone in their right minds ever suspected someone like cloud or sephiroth to be representation of homosexuality. Nor the dumb OMG HE LOOKS SO MUCH LIKE A GIRL BUT IT IS A DUDE????? anime trope gags.
 
What the OP is talking about  is the horrible, bigoted portrayal of transsexual and homosexual characters. Japanese media has that in droves.  And one of the character mentioned earlier--
 
 

 
 
...Is a perfect example of that.
#44 Posted by crusader8463 (14427 posts) -
@EpicSteve said:
I always thought it was super weird when people question the lack of a specific type of person as a protagonist in media. Regardless, the bulk of gamers wouldn't take Halo seriously if Master Chief made it apparent he was into dudes. It's like these conversations are brought up for the sake of having a serious conversation. Good protagonists are supposed to be relatable. Gays are an extreme minority. 
I can't speak for anyone else about the main character being the gay character, but I'm just referring to gay characters period. Whether it's a shop keeper, a big bad boss, or a throw away character standing in the background, I just find most of the time them being gay is treated as the stereotypical flamboyant gay guy that prances around and trys to fuck everything that moves, or a butch girl. Very few instances of games just treating them like people who happen to be gay. It's like them being gay needs to be the only depth to te character, and that's it.  
 
As mentioned already, I guess you can throw it in with video game writing just not being good enough yet, but I think that's a bit of a cop out because there are some really great characters with good depth in video games. Maybe games just need to mature more before we see things like a characters sexuality just being a part of them, and not their entire reason for existence. 
 
@mutha3 said:
@TeflonBilly said:
@mutha3 said:
@TeflonBilly said:
As a medium we still have a looooong road in portraying even most straight characters in a truly three dimensional way.  Kanji in Persona 4 was a nice step in the right direction, because he was genuinely conflicted about these confusing feelings heaped on him atop of the angst of being a teenager. When it was played for laughs, it was usually Yosuke being an immature dick about it. I was rather disappointed about the whole denouement of it though. It was all "Oh, Naoto's a girl? I guess I'm not gay then.*shrug*". I would've enjoyed it if it was left a bit more vague that he'd come to grips with his sexuality. I mean, he's still really young, so he still had a lot of self discovery left. 

The developers said they intentionally left it ambigious, but by the end of the game it felt prettttyyyy onesided as to what his sexuality was.  Still, I'm willing to let it slide, because it was a very well done exploration of sexual confusion otherwise, I felt.
 Yeah, it's more a fault of them not being good enough at making it feel ambiguous. The intent and everything throughout the game was great. As you said in your other post, the only "ridiculing" of Kanji I truly felt in P4 was Yosuke being an immature dick about it. Any other humorous moment concerning it (Usually involving Naoto or Teddy") was just innocent fun.
And to add to that:   I remember a couple of scenes mid through the game (after the camping trip, somewhere) where Yosuke was making fun of Kanji's bathouse escapades and Kanji snapping at him and running off, which led to the part where Chie reprimanded Yosuke(Something along the lines of"Yosuke, cut that out! you know he doesn't like being reminded of that").  Unfortunatly, they never seemed to build on that after that scene. Always felt a little odd. Maybe they were originally going to address Yosuke's dickishnes it and that dialogue was left in? He became less of a dick towards Kanji as time went on, and it just felt a little odd without a scene to accompany how that change came to be.
I get what you are saying about it just being immature characters being immature for their age, but I seem to recall everyone acting weird about it and making fun of him about it when he wasn't around and the topic came up. It's been a long time since I seen P4, but I seem to recall several scenes where people other then Yosuke made fun of him because of his sexual confusion. I think it might have been during the camping scene, but I can't recall.  
 
I was kind of let down later on when it just became about guys can like stuff only girls "should" be into too, and that the only reason he was confused was because Naoto was dressed like a guy and he was into her. Kanji was one of my favourite characters of the entire game because at the start he looked like he was going to have some depth to him, but they kind of white washed it away by the end. 
 
@nicklott said:
@mutha3 said:
@crusader8463 said:
@Dany: Bioware has always been one of the few companies to treat the subject seriously
Oh, I missed this.  Come on, dude. You had lady lesbian options in ME2, but none for the male and don't even get me started on that retarded elf thing in Dragon Age.
There will be gay male romance options for Male Shep in ME3 according to Casey Hudson. 
I agree that that was bad on them, but as said they have gone on record as saying that in ME 3 they are going to finally let him get with guys. Other then that one instance though, I found Bioware has always touched on the topic in their RPGS before it was generally accepted as being acceptable.
#45 Edited by mutha3 (4986 posts) -
@crusader8463 said:

I get what you are saying about it just being immature characters being immature for their age, but I seem to recall everyone acting weird about it and making fun of him about it when he wasn't around and the topic came up. It's been a long time since I seen P4, but I seem to recall several scenes where people other then Yosuke made fun of him because of his sexual confusion. I think it might have been during the camping scene, but I can't recall.  
 
 

Honestly, not trying to be facetious here, but I really don't remember Kanji's sexuality ever being lambasted by his friends.  I've been kinda rewatching the ER lately and the camping scene at least had none of that business. Just Yosuke being an immature dick like always.
 


I was kind of let down later on when it just became about guys can like stuff only girls "should" be into too, and that the only reason he was confused was because Naoto was dressed like a guy and he was into her. Kanji was one of my favourite characters of the entire game because at the start he looked like he was going to have some depth to him, but they kind of white washed it away by the end. 


Did you finish his S-link? I dunno, I think you put  too much stock in scenes which are not meant to be taken very seriously like the camping trip, or the cultural festival. Yeah, Kanji has a thing for Naoto before and after it turns out she's not a dude, but you pretend like there was some kind of scene where Kanji and his friends go all like: "OHHHHHHH so THAT's why I/he was  sexuallly confused about liking men! DOHHHHH shucks, thanks for proving it Naoto!"
 
^that never happened. At worst all it did was show that Kanji was at least Bi. Which was already obvious at that point because of the affection he displayed towards the other girls. Kanji's sexual confusion persist on until the end of his game, and it ends at his rank 10 S-link by him going like"you know what? I don't care! it doesn't matter and I'll just go with what I feel."
 
I don't feel they white-washed him at all. It would have been nice if Kanji turned out to be a indisputably gay character, but the developer have given their reasons for making his sexuality ambigious, and though one of those reasons might have been "we didn't wanna make the game unpalatable to immature fucks", it still doesn't take away from Kanji characterization in the end. 
 
Kanji was tearing himself apart about why no one ever seemed to accept the way he acted and talked. So he lashed out at society with violence.  By denying an aspect of his personality(whether that's his sexuality or just his mannerisms is left up to you to decide according to the devs-- but evidence points to both, I feel, and especially the former moreso) and purposefully trying to act as far away from the stereotype as he could, thinking he was "sticking it to the man" by showing them he wasn't anything like that....Even though he was basically doing exactly what society pressured him into. 
#46 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

I feel like bioware gets undeserved crap for this. They had gay characters in Jade Empire, but because nobody played that one and just started playing with Mass Effect, they're holding Bioware to a fire they invented for themselves.

#47 Edited by mutha3 (4986 posts) -
@crusader8463: I think Bodega wrote a pretty nice article on it a long time ago:
http://www.giantbomb.com/profile/mattbodega/kanji-tatsumi-a-look-at-sexuality-and-gender-in-persona-4/30-34201/
 
I do disagree with him on that Kanji wasn't meant to be bicurious, but I feel the core message of the game definitely didn't get lost either way. And Kanji's character is indeed also an exploration of gender-issues withing Japanese society.
#48 Posted by Meowshi (2911 posts) -
@EpicSteve said:
I always thought it was super weird when people question the lack of a specific type of person as a protagonist in media. Regardless, the bulk of gamers wouldn't take Halo seriously if Master Chief made it apparent he was into dudes. It's like these conversations are brought up for the sake of having a serious conversation. Good protagonists are supposed to be relatable. Gays are an extreme minority. I mean this without being disrespectful to homosexuals, but being gay is considered abnormal to most people. Abnormal behavior is easy to make comedy with. And you defiantly won't see a transgender protagonist as a serious role in the foreseeable future. I've never met anyone that accepts that lifestyle.   
I don't see any problem with making video game protagonists more interesting and dynamic.  I'm not even necessarily talking about making them gay/transgenders/whatever.  Give them something that isn't immediately "relatable" or "cool".  I'm tired of the common tropes; I'm sick of spiky-haired adolescents and balding space marines.  It's boring.  I understand that video games are mostly childish power fantasies, but that doesn't mean they have to be stupid.  
#49 Edited by PenguinDust (12603 posts) -
#50 Posted by crusader8463 (14427 posts) -
@mutha3: I get what you are saying, but for some reason I just recall some scene somewhere when Chie and Yukiko make fun of him for liking guys in the early game as well, and it always stuck out to me. Might be making it up idk.

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