LGBTQ+ in games

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).

© Naughty Dog

Data analysis

The biggest games often ignore LGBTQ+ issues

Only 11% of GOTY nominees and E3 winners offer up significant LGBTQ+ storylines. The vast majority ignore the topic altogether.

That said, the situation is improving

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).

Read all about the scoring system methodology on our About page.

Games in Focus

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

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.

© Ubisoft
The Sims

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.

© Electronic Arts
The Last of Us

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.

© Naughty Dog

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
© Game Grumps
Fallout 4

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.

© Bethesda Game Studios
Life is Strange

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.

© Dontnod Entertainment

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