While LGBTQ+ representation in the video games industry still has a long way to go, we have witnessed incredible progress in recent years. We’re not talking only about sexy video game characters that gaymers around the world can maybe relate to or crush on—we’re talking big, mainstream games that now include openly gay characters or allow for same-sex relationships in their romance systems.
Long gone are the days when you were exclusively forced into heterosexual romances in your favorite video game. Now, LGBTQ+ players get to explore fantasy worlds as their authentic selves, and we have compiled our top list of LGBTQ+ friendly games to play this holiday season, next Pride Month, or whenever you feel like it!
The Sims 4
The Sims series has always tried to imitate real life in all of its complexity—until you run into vampires or try to romance the Grim Reaper, that is. Ever since the very first game in the series that came out in 2000, players have been able to start same-sex relationships between Sims and create gay households and families, which meant and still means the world to LGBTQ+ gamers around the world.
The Sims 4 continued along that path of LGBTQ+ representation by allowing same-sex couples to marry and have children—just like everyone else in the game. This part of the series also eventually introduced more Sim customization options that let players create Sims without restrictions on hairstyles or clothing, and you can even specify your Sim’s pronouns thanks to Patch 129 from May 2022.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
This game won the Game of the Year award when it came out in 2014, but that’s not the reason why it’s on our list. Dragon Age: Inquisition is an RPG title that made history for Bioware by including their first transgender character Krem in addition to its open romance system, where you get to win over other characters regardless of gender or race.
While the Dragon Age: Inquisition romance system allows for a whole set of different mix-and-match possibilities, LGBTQ+ gamers appreciate that some characters are exclusively gay—for example, Dorian, who is only a romance option for male Inquisitors.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
With the big reinvention of the Assassin’s Creed series that moved these games more into the RPG genre, players got a chance to explore different romance options and seduce historical or fictional characters regardless of gender.
While Origins kept the focus on the main love story between Bayek and Aya, Odyssey approached romance much more freely, with the inclusion of possible gay storylines—quite appropriate for its Ancient Greece setting. Whether you decide to play as Alexios or Kassandra, you get to choose if your Assassin will respond to romance prompts as a bisexual, gay, heterosexual, or even asexual character.
The Last of Us 1 & 2
These two games have easily become a must-play thanks to an incredible zombie apocalypse story and gameplay. On top of numerous other qualities these games possess, they are also staples on any LGBTQ+ video game list due to the main protagonist’s openly disclosed sexual orientation.
As a win for already scarce lesbian representation in the media of all kinds, The Last of Us games take a special place on this list because players don’t get to choose (or avoid) Ellie’s sexuality via some dialogue option—her coming out is an integral part of the story, which is a major shift for mainstream big-budget titles.
Tell Me Why
This game is another important title for trans representation as it features Tyler Ronan, the first trans protagonist in a mainstream game. Written in consultation with trans creators and GLAAD, Tell Me Why handles matters related to trans identity beautifully and puts them into focus as much as any other element of the game.
No wonder the game received numerous accolades for diversity and authentic representation of this marginalized group.
We look forward to more inclusiveness in video games and new titles that will bring much-needed representation to a new level. While we wait to see what Dragon Age: Dreadwolf or The Sims 5 will bring in that regard, you can give the games from our list a go or explore our recommendations for the best dating simulators on mobile devices. While you’re at it, you can check out our selection of the hottest Zelda characters as well!