LGBTQ+ rep in video games


as a bi dude I honestly feel really conflicted on the notion of “playersexuality” and hate the term even though there’s definitely a bad, lazy version of the thing it describes. a big part of my discomfort comes from what certain games are or aren’t built to do.

like, Stardew Valley would fit the definition, no? every dateable character is, generously interpreted, pan. but I’m fine with this setup there, because SV’s core fantasy is fundamentally about escaping from the city to the countryside, making a life and a home for yourself, meeting the person of your dreams and settling down with them.

and idk, as someone who wants to make a game in this genre, I’d feel real shitty about telling a player hey, I know you’re all ready for this rural escapist fantasy but the cute sculptor girl is never gonna kiss you because you ticked the wrong box at character creation. it’s definitely not capital-r Rep to simply take the question of character orientation off the table but I think this choice in the right game can be inclusive in a practical way

or to put it more crassly, video game characters are fake as hell and don’t actually feel or want things. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to prioritize what your player wants ahead of whatever attributes you’re assigning to these characters. obviously if player agency ain’t as much of a priority and actual LGBT narratives are, this wouldn’t be the route! I just hate seeing this design foreclosed on just because some cishet designers use it poorly


Some rapid-fire small good inclusions of LGBTQ+ characters in games

  • Undyne & Alphys were v cute in Undertale.
  • Tracer coming out as gay definitely feels like a “Word of God Made It So After The Fact” bs, but I can’t deny that it’s really exciting that the mascot of one of the most successful games of the past few years is gay.
  • Kung Jin coming to terms with his sexuality is handled quite well in Mortal Kombat X
  • Danganronpa 2, coming off the mishandling of a trans character in the previous game, actually has quite a few LGBTQ+ characters, though none of those aspects of the character are put in the spotlight quite like Chihiro. Teruteru is the worst example, being pansexual but predatory. But there is Nagito, who backs out last second from confessing to Hajime, the protagonist, in a heartbreaking last hang-out event. Then there is Mikan who, once they have their full villain breakdown reveals that they are madly in love with Junko Enoshima, the antagonist from the first game, claiming their love is mutual (though knowing Junko, she was likely being used). Lastly, there is Ibuki, who flirts with and is attracted to both male and female characters in the game.
  • Guild Wars 2 has several same-sex couples and at least one (that I recall) transgender character in Sya.
  • GrimGrimoire is about a cute gay witch girl who finds love while also saving the day through groundhog day style time manipulation.


As a cishet guy, I prefer more to read this thread and absorb the discourse. But there’s a game out there that I only saw for a little bit - the title of which escapes me, and if you know it, get at me - which had a male-female slider in the character creation menu. I think that’s a fantastic concept that should be more widely adopted.


I’d agree with this 100% - games like Stardew Valley can only benefit from this “playersexuality”


The latest entry in the Sims has all different kinds of options for how you want your sim to present

And iirc as well of all games to have some kind of masculine to feminine slider some of the Saints Row games have them

Love to see it catch on more but I’m unaware of other games that do this currently


especially for me, since I aim to put my game in space, with aliens. I feel like it’d be exceptionally cruel of me to make a fucky alien cyborg boyfriend and then go “sorry boys, ladies only”


Saint’s Row 2 way back in 2008 did this. Think it was called Body Shape or Body Type and was a slider rather than a binary (you could apply a present that would put the slider at each end but could go in and tweak it).


This is pretty much how I feel about it. And that’s not to say that think the criticism of everyone being bi is invalid but I also would rather see more games that focus on romance as major plot points then see Bioware take a stab at it as their games have always been more light genre fare (fair?) that has romance as a side element. It could stand for improvement especially after Andromeda. Though they are at least trying to address it now which is more than I can say about Nintendo or Atlus. And actually I think Inquisition was a pretty good step in the right direction overall for them. Still it’s not 2011 anymore and they need to move forward. Preferably by hiring some good trans writers


Going to add Borderlands 2, Borderlands PreSequel and Tales of the Borderlands to the list. Axeton is playable bi-male character, and I believe it was Athena who’s playable and gay in PS, and has a nice supporting role in TotBL.

Also I’m very much a fan of how Tracer’s sexuality was handled, even though I GET all the criticism and will not try to argue with anyone who wished it was apparent since day 1.


I need this fucky alien cyborg in my life


I am both grateful for Tracer but also wary of how they handled the whole thing. So yes, I have mixed feelings, but that doesn’t mean I won’t catch myself randomly thinking “wow, this poster child for a huge game is a lesbian” and smiling instantly. :blush:


I honestly don’t blame them tooo much for tracer just because the amount of in-game backstory is so limited with all the characters. I guess they could have put it in the one of the videos she’s in, but none of the characters have any kind of in-game relationships.

I’m overall really pleased with the amount of diversity in Overwatch overall so I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.


Also… just look at the protagonist from Persona 5. Like, (as noted about Bioware’s straight female romance options recently) sure he’s straight? Dude looks to have definitely been very straight while, for example, reading some Proust in the library while a boy friend does something totally not gay under the table. I’m certainly not the only person to have commented on that vibe.


Judging if a character is gay or not by looks is a slippery slop to go down for me. I spent a lot of time not admitting things to myself because I thought gay had to look a certain way. And while there’s something to be said for the way making a character look gay coded with out going all the way is appropriative in the case of P5 I’d be especially wary about applying western standards of what gay looks like.


I don’t like to give atlus too much credit tbh, sadly. As much as I love their games. Videogames being made by most AAA devs do not translate to irl queer experiences. Though what you personally get out of it, cool, but… yeah.

I hope I put that well…


Gay doesn’t have to look a certain way but (as with Bioware) it’s not exactly hidden a lot of the time where there are influences and connections. As with P5, as with Zelda, these are products of large teams who are very aware of the global community in which they are going to be sold and how echoes of local cultures reflect around the globe. I know “horny Twitter” is often jokingly talked about but TBH, in spaces with what seems a weirdly overt lack of representation (vs reality) then I think we should go out there and openly talk about our interpretations.

If you’re going to make a AAA heteronormative product then I really don’t think there’s an issue with reading into the designs with a queer lens. There is no massive powerful queer force of cultural imperialism at play to be concerned about.


Yeah, I like Atlus but I kinda shiver when I think about their writers trying to earnestly tackle a queer relationship.


What do y’all think of Robert Yang’s games? I think they bring some much-needed explorations of sexuality into a gaming sphere that otherwise shies away from them.


Robert Yang is a legend.


Not only am I really glad they’re being made but I’m also really glad they’re able to penetrate into spaces like the Steam store, even if Amazon/Twitch are refusing to stream them.