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3 years ago
I think if you went through with this it'd be a huge mistake.
On the one hand, we all understand at this point that this new Mardek will be a fresh start, a new vision of the concept done in a completely different way. On the other hand, big changes like this push the game in the direction of being more of a tribute of the original.
You also mention that at least some of your reasoning lies behind wanting to attract more women to your work... I really don't think this is the way to do this for a few reasons;
1) Mardek was never really that manly a character anyway - it adds more to his character that he isn't a guy with those traits. Turning the character into a woman would require some rethinking of how the character works, otherwise I can imagine some people thinking you were writing the stereotypical "dumb blonde" type, which would put people of both genders off really, especially women.
2) You have a fairly strong chance of alienating the fanbase you currently have. For those of us that have been here throughout the series as you released the games, we've grown to Mardek as a character, as well as the rest of the cast.
You've already mentioned that you've changed a lot of the cast around which could be interesting depending on how it's done, but such a major change to the main character itself could end up pushing people away.
3) Your reasoning for this is to get more people interested, specifically women. Whilst I can see why you'd want to get more people interested, I can't agree with the method. I've been a gamer all my life really and I've watched so many games and companies lose their way through trying to make compromises in order to attract people that they wouldn't normally.
The thing about your games up to this point is that they undeniably have a certain vibe to them - you have a distinct personality that comes through in your games and it adds a lot to them. I can't help but worry that changing things just to try and get more people interested will get you making decisions you wouldn't normally and lose some of the soul of the game as a result.
I'm still interested to see where this project goes either way, but I'm hoping that you decide to not change Mardek's gender.