From our partners over at The Cube.


I would love to have more LGBTQ characters in our games. Not only because of the aspect of representation, which, albeit by some still answered with the "Why are you making a big deal out of it if you think it is normal?" treatment, is still immensely important and desirable, but also because of the attached design choices and freedom. Yes, freedom. Let me explain what is behind this.

What makes a gay or trans or queer character different from one that is not? Well, firstly not much. It might sometimes be relevant, maybe even for plot points, but overall it just should not be a big deal. Nonetheless, it would still help if mentioning it became a more natural and frequent thing. Although often immediately labelled as trying to shove sexuality in people's faces, a gay character should be allowed to express their desires as freely as a straight character.

There are plenty of examples where a character would make remarks that point to them being straight, especially in a typical fantasy setting where "men are men" who need nothing but "beer and a girl". I am grossly exaggerating here on purpose, because as ridiculous as some of those remarks may be, we have come to accept them as part of that very culture. It should not matter that some backwards thinking individuals get offended by a character displaying behaviour aside from that cliche, and we do not want to stereotype the other side, either, but it would already help a lot if it became just as normal as its more socially indoctrinated counterpart. Let the D&D dwarf be gay just one time for heaven's sake.

Also yes, I would certainly feel represented by a trans and/or lesbian woman and it would probably make it easier to identify myself with that character, but that would be just an added bonus. Being a game designer myself, I am way more interested in the ways LGBTQ characters could bring some fresh ideas and perspectives into character design, giving us new motivations and background stories that amount to more than "my parents are dead" or just give an additional layer of depth to already well-written characters. If we (sub)consciously shy away from writing characters with certain traits, we needlessly limit our design choices.

Not everyone needs to like every character, in fact, there are many that are hated by the community for a plethora of unintended reasons. This becomes painfully obvious for example when we take a look at older or more mature gamers and how hard it can be to appeal to them with characters that desperately try to be "hip" and "cool". The writer probably just intended to make an authentic and compelling character but obviously, they cannot please everyone, and certain groups are just less likely to respond well to certain types.

We should try to use that. If you write a character that some people might not approve of because of their sexuality or gender identity, ask yourself how you can use that as an advantage. Can you be even more daring? Be bold, be radical, be extreme. The people that will get upset would have been upset anyway, but everyone else might be more open to certain ideas if they come from a specific type of character. When you are writing a character, do not be afraid of angering some people. Try to make the character as deep and interesting as you can while maintaining their authenticity.

Acceptance is important. When looking at Bioware games, for example, I see a lot of characters that are just casually gay or bi. This is great, but still lacking. While I appreciate the notion, it still feels tacked on in some cases instead of being a natural part of the character. I am not asking for it to completely define their personality as that would be just as nonsensical, but it is kind of sad when it does not impact anything at all except that I can sleep with that person. Let it show in the small things, or let it maybe be a hidden side of a character, but give some meaning and reasoning to it.

I really enjoyed interacting with characters whose sexuality manifested in some way without becoming overbearing; it felt natural. Let us try to make this the norm instead of supporting the idea that everyone is straight if they don't hit you in your face with their "differences". Speaking of differences: I am still waiting for major characters with a transgender background. Again, not only because of the representation aspect but also because a transgender person can offer perspectives and ideas that are highly unique.

I am thrilled to see what talented writers and designers can make of the opportunity that presents itself with those types of characters, be it gay, lesbian, bi, queer or trans in some way. Every gamer would benefit from the increased range and depth in design if we get more LGBTQ characters, and that is why I would like to see more of them in gaming.


From our partners over at The Cube.