One territory very few games have explored is that of gender identity or fluidity. Welcome Kainé of Square Enix's NieR Replicant (at this point, there remains confusion over the fact that there appear to be two titles, and this one would be a PS3 exclusive). The game's protagonist, NieR, will have an AI-controlled partner in the form of a futunari, a female-bodied character with a penis. According to the game's mythology, demons are in the practice of growing a penis during possession, as that's how Kainé was presented with such.
It's a bit too early to tell where this character is headed, though sources such as Kotaku have posted magazine scans (one to the right) and stated:
Her, his, itsKaine's attitude and manner of speech are manly -- but she/he/it emphasizes her female qualities through her racy fashion style.
While we are facing a character that may question the status quo along the lines of sex, it does seem that any difference in gender is still along essentialist binary terms (guys, you can't be interested in fashion; girls, don't be gruff or assertive in speech). At the same time, it's nice to see a character present who doesn't conform to only one set of personality traits, especially in contrast to how NieR himself appears.
Proceed past the jump for more.
Unfortunately, but as is to be expected, in many of the comments I've read on various sites concerning this character, the automatic assumption is that we're dealing with a hermaphrodite and it seems pronouns are something with which everyone is wrestling. Your interpretation may vary, but until Kainé tells me what Kainé prefers to be called, I won't be making any assumptions.
Considering games' lack of intersex (including hermaphrodites) or trans people, this could be a step in the direction of more diversity in games. Then again, Kainé, based on these initial scans, is very sexualized, and we may be dealing with a fetishized representation, a stereotype many trans and intersexed people seek to eschew.
What of yourselves? Concerns? How would you address Kainé based on the sparse information given thus far? Does this strike you as more trans or intersex? Perhaps you have a more appropriate term for this particular person? Please, share your thoughts.