One look at your Facebook feed (or the web in general) and you may have noticed that something was going on. Images, particularly profile pictures, were suddenly much more colourful. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that the Supreme Court of the United States recently declared it unconstitutional for any state in the union to refuse to recognize a same-sex marriage.
In real talk, that means they legalized gay marriage for all of the USA! As noted in this outline of LGBT legal rights, homosexual behavior wasn’t even technically legally allowed until sodomy laws were declared unconstitutional in 2003. The fact that marriage equality was achieved a (relatively) short 12 years later is incredible, especially when you consider that this is a fight that has been waged for nearly 100 years.
Gender equality and LGBT representation is as important as ever in popular culture and the gaming world in particular as developers work to provide more choices and improved realism. This means providing a lifelike depiction of the world and its environment as well as its choices. Naturally, that includes more minority and gay characters. These are a few of our favorite games and characters who can finally get the respect in real life that they got in the game.
Dragon Age & Mass Effect Franchises
We love them both equally but decided to group them together as both are developed by the folks at BioWare. Not only were these RPGs innovative and groundbreaking in terms of gameplay and graphics, but they were also incredibly progressive in their portrayal of same-sex relationships. The most recent game in the Dragon Age series, Inquisition, was lauded for providing the option of being able to pursue same-sex relationships while featuring a prominent playable party member who is gay.
“There’s a tendency for every character’s ‘default’ to be straight, white, and male in our industry,” Dragon Age creator and writer David Gaider said. “Nobody questions that default.” The Dragon Age and Mass Effect games have done much to buck that trend.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Bethesda was one of the first developers to allow for same-sex marriages within their games and extended the tradition with the release of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in 2011. This didn’t come as a surprise to fans of the games, because the developer had made a point of including gay marriage in its games since Fallout 2 way back in 1998. We expect the same options to be available in Bethesda’s next much anticipated project, the recently announced Fallout 4.
Fire Emblem Fates
The hugely popular Fire Emblem franchise is also celebrating another first, and it’s just in time for the very apropos SCOTUS ruling. It’s been reported that the latest installment will allow same-sex marriage. Fates is the 12th game in the series, if you don’t count remakes, so this news has been a long time coming for fans. Its first game was released in 1990 and became much more familiar with American audiences following the inclusion of its characters in the Super Smash Bros. franchise.
Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix
Remember this one? This 2001 action-adventure game for the original Playstation was a critical darling upon its release and far more progressive than anyone gave it credit for. For many gamers, particularly those now in their late 20s and 30s, Fear Effect very well may have been one of the first times they were introduced to a lesbian relationship through the romance between protagonists Hana Tsu-Vachel and Rain Qin. While a bit ham-fisted and lacking much of the subtlety and nuance of the portrayal of LGBT characters today, Fear Effect was revolutionary for its time. It was also was an important step for the portrayal and acceptance of homosexual characters in games.