Could a Female Player Character work in DA and SITA?
It seems that every time I make a new game with new innovations, I want to go back and change my older games to add those same innovations.
One of the new innovations in Ariane in Paradise is that you can play as a male or a female. In fact you can switch genders mid stream, though this may cause odd things to happen, but it is doable.
There have been requests to do the same to Date Ariane and Something’s In The Air, and what this post is about is to discuss the feasibility of this.
Canon: Player Character is Male
Ironically, the one game that will not work with a female player character is Rachel Meets Ariane. It is central to the plot that “Ariane is mostly heterosexual” and dates a lot of men.
It is ironic, because the player character from the previous games is barely mentioned. Ariane in Paradise has a small number of scenes that echo back to Rachel Meets Ariane, and again “Ariane is mostly heterosexual” comes up.
So from the story arc perspective the player character has to be male. But that does not rule out parallel universe versions of Date Ariane and Something’s In The Air where the player character is instead female.
Date Ariane needs a lot of new pictures
Date Ariane might be the simplest of the two to do a female PC version, in fact I considered it before when it was still a web game and even created some pictures. Ultimately the “spaghetti code” of that version made it impossible, but it would be a lot easier in the Renpy version.
There are around 50 or so pictures in the game that show the players hands, arms, or “other parts” that would have to be redone with a female player model. Alternate versions of a few scenes like the vista photo shoot scene and the strip club scenes would have to be added. I could also have some fun rewriting the dress store and lingerie store scenes with a female player character shopping for herself as well.
But for the most part, Date Ariane could work with a female player character.
Something’s In The Air is a bit harder
Something’s In The Air has no pictures with player character body parts except the gymnasium workout scene, so in theory it could be easier. The problem is in the story.
First problem, is that it would imply not just Ariane, but also Rachel, Paula, Bonnie, and Veronica as gay or bi. Ariane is already canonically a hetero leaning bi, and Rachel is canonically a biromantic asexual. The sex crazed Bonnie and leather wearing Veronica are easy to reimagine as bisexual.
Paula might be problematic. Switching her sexuality would change her relationship with Rachel and might imply some impropriety. Would I also have to change the gender of the player character’s video game avatar? Millions of MMORPG players play opposite gender characters, and the revelation that “Ranger Dude” is actually a chick could be potentially funny, but it feels like a PC gender swap would need an avatar swap, too.
Second, “Dave” becomes your platonic male friend and changes that whole dynamic. Almost every “Dave” scene would have to be rewritten, and gender swapping “Dave” would not work either.
The only story that could be left “as is” is the Wendy story as it does not involve romance or sex on the player character’s part, so her sexual alignment does not matter.
Without a lot of picture changes, and the amount of dialog changes needed, I’m not entirely sure it is worth it to change the gender of the PC in SITA, especially when the gender has to be male for Rachel Meets Ariane to work.
The PC Avatar
Part of what this is about is adding a player avatar to the games that pops up whenever it is your turn to speak. Again, I added this almost from the beginning with Ariane in Paradise, and it works great. The avatar reflects three moods: serious, happy, and curious when asking a question. It also changes clothes with the story, and of course there is a male version and a female version.
Adding this to Date Ariane and Something’s In The Air would be easier because there aren’t a lot of clothing changes. Date Ariane would have two: shirt on, shirt off. SITA would have a few: shirtless, formal suit (story 1), No jacket or tie (story 1), gym clothes (story 2), nice shirt (story 2), casual shirt (stories 3 and 4). Adding female variants would be easy, but I’d have to make the story and picture changes listed above.
Since the player’s face never appears in either game, I could also add a variety of player faces to choose from. Unfortunately, what would fall under “too hard” would be to make racial variants with darker skin. It could be done in SITA, but with 50 or so pictures needed in Date Ariane, doing both light and dark skin variants of both males and females, we are looking at 150 additional pictures at least. That’s too much. And since the player character is supposed to be the same in both games, the avatar choices should be the same in both as well.
Should I do it?
There are no promises either way, and definitely no time table on this. It is something I am just thinking about, and thought I’d open up a discussion.
It might be fun, but at the same time I have pointed out every reason why it is not necessary and probably not worth it.
Then there is a easier middle ground I’m considering: Do a female PC variation for Date Ariane, but leave Something’s in the Air as male PC only. That way I avoid all the rewriting problems. Unfortunately, it might lead to complaints: “How come I can use a female avatar in DA but not SITA?”
My other consideration is a potential game 5, which would bring back the player character from the first two games. Right now I’m imagining a male PC, but since it hasn’t even been written yet, I could change to make it work whatever I decide.
Well… If you have time after the release and bug-testing of your current project,why not on a case-to-case basis?
A lot of good ideas to consider.
As for how to still make the plot of SITA work with a female character?
I have a few suggestions of my own:
1) It didn’t go as far as the bedroom. But, Dave briefly dated the female player character. It concluded with just being friends.
2) You can still have the Paula story. But…what if you ask for permission from Chaotic for using one of his/her characters from his/her virtual date games?
Then you could have another teacher or a student character as a dating option…who would ultimately meet up with Paula with the player and also be helping Paula in the end of her story.
I know that sounds kind of crazy. But, if you and Chaotic had time to work on it together…it wouldn’t seem so crazy. Would it?
I would say that it is best left without female characters in SITA and DA. This messes up the character arcs you have created for the exsisting characters. In AIP, a female character could work as it references the events of Rachel and Ariane but before that, Ariane’s character would be heavily changed. Best to leave it as is and concentrate on new ideas. A Fifth game could be a great place to implement things like a female character.
I’m actually starting to think along the same lines. I actually made some test male player character avatars for use in SITA, and decided it messes with the “head canon” of the player experiences too much.
I’ve been working on an update to SITA on the side of finishing AiP, and my current thinking is no female player character and no player avatar.
Date Ariane may eventually get one however. If I do it, it would be “just for fun” and would not take into consideration the rest of the games.
I’m a bit biased, but I’d like to think that an alternative female protagonist is possible in the previous games.
If the essential part of the canon is that Ariane dates mostly men, then the female protagonist could just be someone she dated because she was trying it out. After all, depending on the things she’s done in SITA, Ariane lists her experiences with Lydia and Rebecca when she’s trying to explain herself to Rachel. You could just alter the dialogue and say that there was even one woman who was bold enough to try asking her out to a second date, but that it fizzled out because of reasons. It’ll help the build up to Rachel and Ariane because it gives more reason for Ariane to be interested in Rachel initially. (On a note of She can then claim that she’s tried giving an emotional involvement with a woman a shot, but it did nothing for her. But Rachel is different, etc. etc.
Or, you can keep the canon as is, but sort of finesse the alternative female characters in anyway by creatively inserting her into the universe, at least with regard to SITA.
As you mentioned, this is the easiest one. You’d probably just have to create variations of some of the events.
In terms of finessing your female main character into the canon, one thing you can do is exploit the already-existing women Ariane has encountered in this universe. The female character need not be an extension of the character from the first game (who can be relegated to being one of the many people Ariane has dated), and instead be either Rebecca or Lydia. If you select the female option, your day can start in the gym. Or in bed like before, if Paula and the others are still to be in play. It’ll just require substantial alterations of certain events, but it will require minimal canon-changing in terms of Ariane.
I mostly play as female when it comes to these sort of games. Lesbian one of my favorite adult genres, the second being female masturbation.
I’m very interested about a new version of Date Ariane containing the gender feature. I think the game is perfect for that kind of implement. It’s a great idea!
About Something in the Air, I understand the difficulties that the change would bring to the canon. There must be ways to fit in the new feature to the story and I’m sure it would end up great as well, but I agree with your concerns. Perhaps Date Ariane is the more feasible venue for the implement at this time.
I love your work. Ariane in Paradise looks great!
I think the gender choice option would be more suitable for Date Ariane, while for SITA, you can have the male character be canon while the female character be someone completely new.
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