Op-Ed: Gender Locking of the Races and Clans

Undoubtedly, one of the longest standing requested additions to Final Fantasy XI was the Male Counterparts to Mithra.  Sadly, we never got that choice and instead we were all given a bit of tease by Square-Enix. They added a single lone Male Mithra NPC in the FFXI: Wings of the Goddess expansion.  A few fans felt betrayed, some shrugged it off, but a majority continued to ask for them, and saw a glimmer of hope with the announcement that races from XI would be redesigned and used as the basis for the races of Final Fantasy XIV.  The murmurs for Male Mi’qote have been getting steadily louder once again, every time information is released about races and their lore people instantly jump to the conclusion that Male Miqo’te or Female Roegadyn could exist within the confines of Squares Established Lore.

Even more recently it was confirmed that Male Mi’qote and Female Roegadyn existed in Final Fantasy XIV, but at the same time players may not get to play as one – leaving many dedicated players wondering “why?”  Why bother to create the artwork and graphics for them if you aren’t going to let the players utilize it.  We see this going even further in FFXIV, with Square Exni announcing that the Highlanders (a Hyur clan) – a clan seemingly comprised entirely of muscle bound men – lacks a female counter-part.

Sadly, Square Enix hasn’t been the only Developer with a penchant for gender locking races and classes in an MMO, a Genre where you are supposed to be able to play the character of your choice, recreating yourself in an online world.  The MMO based off of Warhammer, claimed lore as an issue for why certain classes were locked out for one gender, even though many fans constantly brought up various counter-arguments from Warhammer Novels, Rule Books and Character Figurines.

Why should we care?  Because some may want to play as a a tall, stalwart, strong, hardy, stout and sturdy female Roegadyn, and some many want to play as a lithe, agile male Mi’qote.  Even if there are only a few who would prefer these combinations, why not allow people the freedom to chose?  Especially if, as here,  it doesn’t negatively impact other players.

What are your thoughts about gender locking and/or gender stereotypes?  Good?  Bad?  Indifferent?

Thanks to Temporal_Illusion for helping me Co-Write This.