Recently two interesting examples of modifying an existing game character's gender came to light. Artist David Stonecipher recently drew a series of gender-swapped game characters, both male and female. This was done just for fun.
On GameCareerGuide, on the other hand, SMU Guildhall masters student Shaylynn Hamm shared a more robust look at the same idea, in her project The Aesthetics of Unique Video Game Characters.
The aim of the project was to examine how female characters are created for games, what purpose they serve, and how they could be designed to stay true to the spirit of an exisiting character while offering a new experience that might appeal to a broader audience, and making sense in a real-world context.
Hamm examined existing female characters in games, conducted a survey of gamers, and then devised a scheme to meaningfully adapt two of Team Fortress 2's characters from male to female.
How would profoundly changing the main character of a game change the adventure? As designers, your job is not to work on the visual design of the characters in a game world, but on how that world works from a gameplay and story perspective. What challenges would a female Kratos face that the God of War hero wouldn't otherwise? It would change the story of the original game -- maybe make parts of it impossible.
Game Career Guide challenged its readers to recast an existing game with a female lead, and to explore the new gameplay possibilities this change would involve.
What follows are the best and most original entries we received. Here are our top picks:
Jennifer Sandercock, Melbourne, Australia, Leisure Suit Larissa (see page 2)
Jennifer Sandercock reimagines Sierra's bawdy Leisure Suit Larry series with a female main character, resulting in gameplay that focuses on finding a mate suitable for a lifelong relationship.
Enrique J. Gil Izquierdo and Elendil "Shin" Cañete, Princess of Persia (see pages 3 and 4)
Both Izquierdo and Cañete contribute entries that put a new spin on Prince of Persia, each remaining true to the original game's setting and plot while adding new and intriguing elements.
Ryan George, Game Design Student, Columbia College Chicago, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (see page 5)
Ben Horwood, Swindon New College, Silent Hill 2: Mother's Love (see page 6)
Lu Qian Zheng, Assassin's Creed (see page 7)