Hi, I am currently developing a small RPG title for the PC. Here is a snapshot: The player has to solve a mystery to free a village from a curse. In place of action is character interaction (between the PC and NPCs). So you can liken it to a visual novel without the static graphics (meaning there are branching paths and multiple endings).
The dilemma I have is deciding whether I should write a pre-defined protagonist or a blank slate protagonist into the story.
I know that some players don't like to feel limited to a small group of characters whom they may not like or relate to (effectively breaking immersion through the player-character disconnect). On that note, there is diversity to consider. A common issue that is still prevalent in modern video games is the male-female ratio of characters and, more importantly, how many of them are playable protagonists with equally engaging backgrounds and storylines. Quite a few games circumvent this problem by leaving "blank-slate" protagonists to be defined by the player.
What I am trying to figure out is how I should factor this into my game design. Which do you prefer? Should a role-playing game be one way or the other? Which is more immersive? Finally, do you feel this decision is relevant to the type of game I am developing?