There is One Good Thing About 2017: Lots of Queer Women In Games


#1

Mild Spoiler Warning for Dishonored: Death of the Outsider.

I've been playing Dishonored: Death of the Outsider pretty much nonstop (well, in terms of my gaming hours). Sure, there are other games I need to finish, but I'm determined to actually beat this one, since it is phenomenal. Better than Dishonored 2 phenomenal—an experience that is both tighter (with some intelligently reused assets/stages) and—for players like me, who want to see and do everything—even more expansive, with contract missions in each level. It's taking me upwards of 6 hours to finish some levels, and I am *just fine* with that.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/vb3eq3/2017-queer-women-in-games-prey-dishonored-life-is-strange

#2

Definitely agree on the quality of Death of the Outsider. I think that with each entry, Dishonored has only gotten better.

Dishonored 2 actually establishes much of this in the diaries as well, though I think most people missed it because you have to be very precise in searching out certain diaries on the boat in between missions as they are different each chapter. (I saw them, because I loved the game so much I Platinumed it.) In fact, there are potentially five or six queer characters referenced in Dishonored 2 (though some are deceased), since Arkane deliberately left the gender of Emily’s lover unstated so that players could decide for themselves.

One small reason for the change, I think, can be attributed to the change in discussion around gaming, certainly. Creators want to tell original stories, and I do think a great many of them weren’t fully aware of how uncreative their work had really become. As much as some people are averse to giving her credit, Arkane themselves said at one point that Anita Sarkeesian pointing out how little the women had to do in the first Dishonored influenced their changing approach to writing women in their game world. They talked about how it was a weakness they weren’t previously aware of and worked to rectify as early as the first game’s DLC, where they first introduce Billie and Delilah.

When the majority of developers are white, straight, and male, they are going to have inevitable blind spots. Having more diversity present in the discussion around – and certainly in the creation of – games is only going to lead to more diverse storytelling. The fact that creative people are being made more aware of how to tell better, more meaningful stories that might even resonate with under represented and undeserved groups is a big step in the process.

And really, more people should play Dishonored 2 and Death of the Outsider.


#3

I really have been meaning to play that! I feel like I SHOULD play through the first Dishonored first, but when it’s Billie that interests me, that makes it harder to power through.

I love this article. I hadn’t realized how many 2017 games featured queer women until this moment, but I have played Butterfly Soup and Before the Storm and loved both. Such good things.


#4

One of the side quest characters in Horizon: Zero Dawn, the leader of Free Heap (I forget her name), had a lot of dialogue during her quest chain that seemed awfully…flirty with Aloy. Nothing stated outright, but just these hints in tone and body language that made me go “huh, i wonder…”.

If you finish her quest and talk to her again in the lead-up to the last mission, she admits something like “I have a thing for younger girls,” so there you go.

Considering the overall nature of Horizon’s world and story, I thought that was a neat little moment. Nothing is made of it, there’s no relationship, no celebratory Bioware-ish sex scene. It’s just naturally there.


#5

If anything this a good start to keep pushing for more diverse characters and doing it right.


#6

As a trans queer woman, I’m always happy to see more queer women in games! In the case of Dishonored, it’s nice to see women more centred in that franchise after the whole ickiness with Lady Boyle and her stalker in the original game.


#7

Regarding the “palatability” of queer women, I’ve always thought the issue is inextricably intertwined with the general issue of the objectification of women in visual media and the limited scope of acceptable appearances. Thinking of those comparisons of large-cast games where the male characters have all sorts of body shapes, and even are all sorts of monsters, whereas the female characters, well. The memes and the mocking cartoons have already been made by more talented people.

Anyway, point being: let there be female characters whose designs and characterizations either ignore normative attractiveness or even actively reject it. And among this multitude let there be queer and trans characters. That is a facet. There have been improvements; there is more to reach for also.


#8

You should really check out Kindred Spirits on The Roof. It’s a wonderful, wonderful game.