The LGBTQ+ experience is rarely explored in games, and that’s especially true of the biggest titles. To get the lay of the land, we’ve looked at Game Award nominees from 2003 until 2018, and games that have won awards at E3 shows from 1998-2018 (Best PC Game, Best Console Game, Best of Show).
Only 11% of GOTY nominees and E3 winners offer up significant LGBTQ+ storylines. The vast majority ignore the topic altogether.
Games with significant LGBTQ+ storylines are on the rise. From 2009-2018, there’s been a 300% rise in games featuring proper representation when compared to the preceding ten years (1999-2008).
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Odyssey feels like a watershed moment for Assassin’s Creed. Not only is it the first time the series embraces the conventions of the role-playing genre, it also lets you enter into a relationship with anyone you please.
The original people simulator deserves credit for taking a progressive stance to sexuality. Sims (read: virtual humans) are free to enter relationships with whomever they like.
Though her sexuality is never scrutinised in The Last of Us, we learn more about Ellie in the DLC expansion Left Behind. Here, Ellie is portrayed as having entered into a relationship with another girl, Riley. It’s a tender moment handled with care. The Last of Us 2 is set to put Ellie front and centre. It’ll be one of the very first games to star an LGBTQ+ lead.
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator lets players be either a cis or trans man and captures a reality of the gay community I haven't seen before in a game. Not every game can be Dream Daddy – and not every game has to be.”Alayna M. Cole MD of Queerly Represent Me
Paladin Danse is the helmeted, armour-clad member of the Brotherhood of Steel. He is also, surprisingly, a romanceable gay character. Danse’s portrayal pays lip service to the idea that you don’t need to mine stereotypes to bring LGBTQ+ characters to light.
Gamers hankering for queer representation should look no further. Life is Strange explores a number of well-written gay characters, but perhaps none are as convincing as Chloe Price, a nuanced character whose interior life is in stark contrast to her tough, tattooed exterior.
How do the best of the best represent women in games? We’re looking at E3 winners and Game Awards nominees/winners to find out.© Capcom
Hosted by Goff Keighley, The Game Awards is a glitzy annual celebration of the very best games of the year.© Blizzard Entertainment