In the Final Fantasy series, it is a common trope to had certain character races in the game to be one specified gender, or at least predominantly overflowing with that gender. For example, Final Fantasy XI (FFXI from here on out), the much older MMORPG gave us the Mithra, a primarily female race of “cat-girls” basically.
In the lore of FFXI, females were known to be more common than males by default. Among them, this was a polt line, important to their narrative backstory. While male Mithra were known to exist, you couldn’t play as them, and you rarely ever saw them as NPC’s.
Sadly, in FFXI there is only one male Mithra important enough to speak of, and merely implications of others running around out there somewhere. Due to this, it can be hard to really resonate with the Mithra depending on how you like to represent yourself in games.
This issue was corrected in Final Fantasy XIV with the new Mithra variant, known as Miqo’te. You could play as both male and female versions of this race.
Unfortunately, when the Viera were first added, they faced the similar issue as the Mithra for player representation in Final Fantasy XIV. You could play as the female form, but not the male form. During the Final Fantasy Fan Festival however, a very important announcement was made. Male Viera are being added.
This is incredible news, because gender identity is in small part a gamer’s identity. Frankly, in gaming, this really does matter in an MMORPG. For those of us in the GLBTQ or GRSM communities (depending how you identify) having meaningful representation and inclusion across all playable races allow more freedom of identifiable choice. Something we receive too little of in the “real world”.
Really, there was no reason not to have males running around before, but the distinct lack of them fed into too many negative “bunny girl” stereotypes that male Viera inclusion simply helps to mitigate. Those of us who wish to play Viera, but also play distinctly male characters can finally do it when they release, and that’s something to really look forward to.
It that can’t be understated. In an MMORPG when you can easily spend years of you life playing these characters, having one that fits how you want to be portrayed matters a lot. So, I’m excited.
One of these days, I really should dive into the confines of gender as it applies to gaming, but that’s for another post. For now, I just want to be excited for the day that we finally get to have male Viera as a playable choice.
It might not mean much for most gamers, but for one like myself, it is an inclusive step forward in a game I very much like to play. I’d never play a “bunny girl”, so I don’t identify well with female Viera, but let’s be honest, those boys don’t look half bad. I’m all for playing a male Viera, just like I thoroughly enjoy my male Miqo’te. Anyway, I am super excited for this, and wanted to share that joy with you.
This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets…
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