2017 was a great year for LGBT visibility in video gaming. From Mass Effect: Andromeda to Life Is Strange: Before the Storm, Agents of Mayhem and Dream Daddy, LGBT characters are becoming more commonplace. But there’s still a lot more that the games industry can do to make this billion dollar industry more LGBT inclusive in 2018.
Although some of the industry’s biggest titles have LGBT characters, most often they’re on the side lines, or in optional, non-canon relationships with the player. In 2018 queer protagonists should be given the spotlight and the chance to play as the hero. Give us our gay Ezio, let us see more of Tracer’s personal life in Overwatch. I’d even settle for a gay Crash Bandicoot.
Yes there are more LGBT characters in the world of gaming nowadays, but that’s not to say that these characters aren’t, well, problematic. Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and more recently Persona 5 have featured gay characters – or gay coded characters – as being a threat or as lecherous beings. Developers should write a more diverse range of LGBT characters, representing the diversity of the gaming community.
There’s something beautiful and utopian about the way NPCs accept same sex relationships in games such as The Sims or Stardew Valley. Nobody bats and eyelid and there’s no awkward coming out to parents or colleagues.
If video games are to include same-sex relationship options, then straight gamers who choose to ‘play gay’ should experience the same difficulties many of us in the community sadly have to face. Not only will it help to educate straight gamers on the struggles of coming out as gay, but it will add real emotional depth to the gameplay. Plus it means you could then throw a massive coming out party in The Sims! IMAGINE!
“Are you a boy or a girl?” Sorry Doctor Oak, but gender is a thing of the past and games developers need to keep up!
Many games allow us to pick whether our protagonist is male or female then customise their appearance to our liking. While the intention of this tool is to help us forge a personal connection with the character and project ourselves onto them, it can potentially isolate non-binary gamers. Why? Customisation options are tethered to specific gender norms, leaving little room to create a character that goes beyond the typical ‘strong male’ or ‘sexy female’ archetype.
In 2018, games developers should introduce non binary character customisation allowing us to create characters that truly match our identity whether cis, sissy, or non-conforming.
From the moment Mimi Imfirst picked up India Ferrah during their iconic lipsync in RuPaul’s Drag Race season 3 I have been dreaming of a classic drag queen beat-em-up! Imagine the costumes, the special attacks, the shade they’d throw before each battle. Seriously, someone make this happen!
Want to share your thoughts on LGBT gaming in 2018? Comment below!