I have serious problems with games that force “me” to be male. I can play male main characters who are separate from “me”, as in typical JRPGs, with little problem, though I’d still rather have a choice. I miss the days of Final Fantasy on the SNES, when you could make any party member be the leader in town and on the world map. But in games that require the player to inhabit a character, as in Bioware-style RPGs, playing as a man makes the game a chore. I can play a woman who’s attracted to and romances another woman, though I’m not attracted to women irl, but playing a man just doesn’t work for me.
I can only remember choosing to play as a man once, to romance Leliana in Dragon Age: Origins. I would have felt more comfortable playing a woman, but the thought of turning down Alistair again (I’d already done so once to romance Zevran) was too painful. I keep intending to play a man in Dragon Age 2, because it feels silly to only be able to play women, but I doubt it will ever happen. I don’t have the impetus I did in Origins, because no matter your gender, if you’re nice to Anders, he’ll flirt with you. And you can’t say, “sorry, I’m not interested” when he does, as you can with characters in Origins — you have to either flirt back or be a jerk. That’s a problem if you’re trying to play a lesbian, too, or any woman who’s not interested in Anders. I love Dragon Age 2, but it has Issues.
Tangentially, I’ve decided that buff white forty-something bearded blood mage on the cover of Dragon Age 2 is Malcolm Hawke. Considering how important his story is to the PC’s life, I think it makes sense. Though I still think they should not have put a person on the cover.