5 Of The Best Characters In Video Games Who Get LGBTQ+ Representation Right
These games are moving the conversation forward when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation.
With news that - hell, yes! - Blizzard has announced that another central Overwatch character has an LGBTQ+ backstory (check out new Overwatch short story "Bastet" if you've yet to catch it), we thought it would be a pretty good time to talk about some of the LGBTQ+ characters that we reckon are changing the conversation when it comes to representation. And no, we're not just talking indie games here - we're celebrating across the full AAA spectrum, too.
Of course, no-one is defined by just their sexuality alone - we're all made up of different things and shaped by different experiences, and both sexuality and gender identity are fluid concepts that may change as we do, too - but here are some of our favourite LGBTQ+ characters that demonstrate that it's totally okay to love who we wanna love...
Ellie (The Last of Us)
While the main story in The Last of Us never really confirmed Ellie's sexuality either way, in the subsequent DLC, Left Behind - not to mention the astonishing trailer for the upcoming The Last of Us 2 - it's pretty clear; Ellie loves the ladies. If her sexuality will affect TLOU 2's story at all remains to be seen, but as one of few LGBT leading game characters, one thing's for sure; Ellie's a complete badass, and knowing she's accepting of who she is and her sexuality only makes her moreso!
Sam (Gone Home)
Not many of us really knew what to expect when we stumbled into Gone Home for the first time, but this emotional - and at times extremely sad - tale of struggling to accept one's own sexual orientation and identity hit home for many a player. It's true that we don't ever technically "meet" Sam in the game, instead playing as an older sister who finds clues about Sam's struggles as she explores her family's seemingly abandoned home, but that doesn't matter. What we learn makes her seem so incredibly real, and all the more relatable for that reason.
Oh, and while the game certainly hints at an unhappy ending, worry not - it's safe to keep playing, we promise!
Commander Shepard and all characters (Mass Effect)
Not only did BioWare's Mass Effect (not to mention its sister franchise, Dragon Age, too!) bring us our favourite game on the Citadel, it also gave us the opportunity to explore same-sex relationships in a way that never felt contrived or tacked on. Whether you choose to load up the default ManShep or make sci-fi waves with the awesome FemShep, your relationships go in much the same way in this RPG. It's utterly accepting of all choices and alien races and shows that there is clearly a way to bring LGBT representation into AAA games.
Alexios / Kassandra (Assassin's Creed Odyssey)
Before Assassin's Creed Odyssey, our stealthy assassin-y stories had always mostly been led by straight male protagonists, and the few opportunities we had to play as women - such as Bayek's wife Aya, or Evie in Syndicate - they weren't offered the same full, unfettered experiences of their male counterparts. Now, however - in Assassin's Creed's latest instalment, Odyssey - we can play as either the male Alexios or female Kassandra, and your story remains the same regardless of whom you choose to play as, or who you choose to seduce in Odyssey's all-new romance options. This means that for the very first time, players can be the Assassin they want to be and romance who they want to romance, regardless of sexuality.
J.J. (The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories)
While there's a lot of content warnings to be issued here when talking about this game - The Missing contains explicit content, including extreme violence, sexual topics, and depictions of suicide - we can't help but include J.J. on our list. Another incredibly "real" and relatable character, J.J. lived a pretty unremarkable life… well, right up until the game begins, anyway! During her story J.J. breaks a lot of stereotypes, and the game carefully and thoughtfully discusses the difficult themes of managing overbearing - or perhaps unaccepting - friends and family members.
- By Vikki Blake @_vixx