Xbox has always been a fan favorite console for hardcore gamers. Microsoft’s cutting-edge machines have often been associated with a less savory part of the gaming community, but the company has shown its commitment to marginalized players by funding the first trans-focused AAA game and making Minecraft a safe haven for everyone.

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The gaming landscape has changed a lot since its inception and development studios are understanding the importance of inclusion in their multi-million dollar titles. With such an overwhelming amount of resources and influence, games have the ability to shape the perception of identities in popular culture. Here are some shining examples of LGBTQ+ representation that’ll challenge both your gaming skills and viewpoints.



6 Overwatch 2

Some of Overwatch's main cast looking triumphantly towards the camera against a backdrop that resembles earth in space.

People became fascinated with the world of Overwatch ever since its first reveal trailer, depicting Pixar-like animation showing the heartwarming backstory of the game’s leading female fighter, Tracer. The popularity of these character reveal trailers and an overall focus on mascot advertising led Overwatch to form a diverse player base. This carries over to the gameplay which focuses on different roles within the team-based environment, opening up the game to audiences that may be put off by other shooter games.

Multiple characters, including the mascot herself, have been revealed to be as diverse and colorful as the game’s visuals through popular subsidiary content. Speaking of which, Tracer is a lesbian who is happily in a relationship with her partner Emily — this was revealed in a Christmas comic where the two kiss after giving each other gifts.

Other characters confirmed to be LGBT+ in official works include Soldier 76, whose gay roots also came in the form of a comic. He was previously married to a man named Vincent, before realizing that his commitments to the job overshadowed his relationship. Pharah came out to close friend Baptiste about her female-oriented sexual preferences in a short story. Blizzard confirmed that Baptiste and Lifeweaver were bi/pansexual in interviews and social media posts, the former of which being pretty unsurprising given that the character’s voice lines towards the rest of the cast seem flirty in nature.

5 Apex Legends

The cast of Apex Legends all together, posing in iconic fashions that show a part of their personality. They're posed against a red and white backdrop that shows off two of the game's maps.

Easily one of the most queer battle royale games on the market, Apex Legends, from the very start, has provided a diverse cast of LGBTQ+ characters to its ever-growing roster of gun-welding legends. Each of these characters has extensive backstories showing the reasons why they decided to enter the Apex Games, a competitive televised event where players are encouraged to scrap it out in a high-stakes deathmatch. The first lineup of characters included the non-binary hunter, Bloodhound, who explored their gender identity after overcoming traditional family values.

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Lesbian soldier Balgalore was revealed to have a crush on one of the game’s other female characters, and gay scientist Gibraltar learned compassion and supportive skills by saving his boyfriend from a mudslide. Luckily it doesn’t end there, as updates have consistently brought more representation to the game. Catalyst is the game’s second trans character, developed alongside charity GLAAD, is a great example of someone whose gender identity doesn’t define their personality. There was also a comic featuring a lesbian story about Loba, Valkyrie, and mainstay Bangalore overcoming an awkward relationship. Fuse was also confirmed to be bisexual and in a relationship with Bloodhound through social media posts.

4 Mass Effect Legendary Edition

Mass Effect 3 - The Citadel party

Mass Effect made waves in 2007 for its epic sci-fi narrative where every choice could lead to earth-shattering consequences. Despite the game’s unprecedented scale and technical achievements, people were more focused on the fact that same-sex and interspecies relationships were possible as dialogue choices often led to a lot of intimate scenes between the player-controlled spaceship captain and their crew. Legendary Edition packages up the trilogy of interconnected games into a remaster that seamlessly allows relationships to blossom over multiple titles.

There are simply too many gay, bisexual and lesbian characters to list off, but the inclusion of all these personalities may have contributed to the biggest queer push in the gaming industry, and, for the most part, these examples still hold up well. Many love interests have well-written, personal stories that give a lot of dimension to each character’s desires and struggles. The focus on otherworldly species with high levels of intelligence also helps teach the alien concept of outside-the-box relationships for those looking to explore new avenues.

3 Borderlands (Series)

Borderlands 3 promo image for the DLC, Guns, Love, and Tentacles. It depicts Alistair Hammerlock and Wainwright Jakobs holding hands and looking into each others eyes lovingly, surrounding them is a magical pink portal and a bunch of tantacles.

The Borderlands series, with its striking, colorful art style and rebellious approach to world building, paints a surprisingly queer depiction of settlements across planets. Its cast of vault hunters is constantly diverse in their journeys, designs and identities. Over the course of the series, there are no less than ten well-rounded LGBTQ+ characters that are often expanded upon across multiple games. This makes later titles bloom with a wide array of representation.

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The examples in Borderlands go further than other games too, as it includes identities and implementations that are almost absent from the medium, like Maya, who has a notably absent amount of sexual lines as she is asexual. Other unique examples include Lor, who transitioned during the course of multiple games and FL4K, a playable non-binary robot who was conceived by a non-binary staff member at Gearbox. The in-your-face writing the series is known for makes it almost impossible to hide any aspect of the characters’ personalities and identities, which helps to clearly define these traits.

2 Telltale’s The Walking Dead

Promo image from Telltale's The Walking Dead showing series protagonist Clementine at different stages of her life, walking infrint of a tree with a tire swing attached.

Deadly scenarios often make people self-reflect and express their views in a more concise manner, as being aware of your final moments gives a newfound urgency to actions. It would make sense, in a zombie apocalypse, for lots of people to come out, as the window of opportunity to form relationships and feel gratified becomes ever present in day-to-day life.

Telltale took this approach when developing the world surrounding their critically acclaimed, narrative-driven horror games. The Walking Dead makes protagonist Clementine bisexual, allowing her to become romantically interested with a selection of male and female NPCs, which is already a good start.

In terms of a more nuanced queer story, James, in the final season, (spoiler) reveals that he’s gay. In previous episodes, James disclosed that he once had a relationship, but was unsure how Clementine would react. This scene only comes up if you choose not to react to a charged debate in an earlier part of the game, forming trust in the coming out story.

1 Hades

Hades' entire cast of mostly queer gods smooshed up against onme another for a stylised group photo.

Based on the sexualized world of Greek mythology, Hades tells the story of a son trying to escape the clutches of his father and the unruly underworld that he runs. The overprotective father appoints the help of other gods to keep Zagreus in his place, these characters all have exuberant personalities that are explored as each god is defeated for the first time, revealing their less aggressive sides. These dialogues are what makes Hades stand out from other roguelike titles, and it’s safe to say that the game lives up to the free-flowing nature of ancient Greek culture.

Dusa is the characterization of one of Medusa’s heads, who feels shy and lonely being separated from her host. She’s very sweet and enjoys the company of Zagreus a lot, but when asked about dating, she reveals herself to be on the asexual spectrum, possibly due, in part, to the lack of a body. The two end up forming a platonic bond with one another. Asexual options are also available for all dates should you choose. Megaera is protective, serious, and has an unknown history with Zagreus, leading to lots of interesting interactions that show a risqué part of the community in action. Thanatos is a brooding gay god who’s hard to chat up at first, but falls for the fiery, passionate personality of Zagreus as they both appreciate the qualities each other lack.

The great thing about Hades is that it doesn’t hide these queer personality traits behind a dating gate. These gods, and many others, with tons of power, don’t need to bow down to social pressures. Instead, they freely flaunt their traits during one of the most prideful characterizations of LGBTQ+ culture in modern media.

Next: Best LGBTQ+ Games On PS5

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