Given that it is Pride Month, it would be fitting to analyze some of the best LGBTQ+ characters in gaming. Here are ten notable examples that come to mind:
Poison (Various Street Fighter and Final Fight games)
Poison, a transwoman, is introduced in Final Fight in 1989. Depending on which regional edition the player is playing, she appears as either a pre- or post-operation. In Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, she has a major dialogue in which she officially reveals that she was born with a gender that doesn’t match her ‘inner being’.
Poison doesn’t just make a mark in the game’s history because of her gender identity, however. She is well known for being a wonderful, albeit irritating to face, zoner over the course of her history. Armed with a whip and a fast flip kick, her shtick is keeping enemies off of her and at bay, where she can control the map and place them into an undesirable tactical position. She has never been the best by any means, but her dynamic is unique and theoretically strong enough to make her a threat in the right hands.
Edelgard von Hresvelg (Fire Emblem: Three Houses)
It should be noted that Edelgard’s orientation is ultimately determined, mostly randomly, by the player. The player can select female Byleth and end up entering a romantic marriage with Edelgard. She also has a large dialogue sequence with Dorothea in which it is implied the two have romantic feelings for one another. If the player does not opt to have their character marry Edelgard, her romantic relationship becomes random. This seems to make her a bisexual character.
Like others on this list, Edelgard is far from known only because of her orientation. She’s a vicious, talented warlord with a noble goal in mind that would essentially bring class and religious freedom to the otherwise oppressive regime in Fodlan. She is extremely well versed with an axe, and because her resistances and skill in heavy armor are so naturally great, she is an obvious choice for a front line tank, and one who can dish out damage almost on par with how amazingly she can absorb blows for her allies.
Ellie (The Last of Us)
Hardly a surprising addition to the list, Ellie may yet be the most popular, well known LGBTQIA+ video game character in gaming history. Over the course of two games, she enters numerous romantic relationships with other females, and it is blatantly obvious that she is a lesbian. This is confirmed by Naughty Dog developer Neil Druckmann, who has publicly stated that he wrote Ellie to be gay.
Ellie’s talent with a rifle, gun or any weapon in the face of the undead is nearly unbridled. She has matured remarkably quickly to face off against the apocalypse as well.
Max Caulfield (Life is Strange 1)
While her sexuality is never explicitly stated by the development team, and can be determined by player decisions, Max is definitely at least bisexual. Her relationship, potentially in a romantic context, with Chloe Price is pretty much the central driving point of the entirety of the game’s plot.
Max is also well known for her sudden, apparent ability to rewind time as everyone knows it. She uses this power to save lives, undo messes and, potentially, to even bring her own hometown back from the brink of total destruction.
Clementine Marsh (Walking Dead series)
Like with Edelgard and Max Caulfield, Clementine’s orientation ends up being up to player choice. Throughout the course of four seasons, Clementine has the opportunity to romance one guy in the third season, and another guy and a woman in the final season.
A character who was essentially the face of the zombie video gaming subgenre during the 2010s decade, Clementine is a very recognizable character, easily the most popular out of all of Telltale Games’ selections.
Nova (Pokémon X/Y)
Nova is a trainer who can be battled in the game’s Battle Maison. Her official trainer class is Beauty, and she tells the player she used to be a Karate Black Belt class, a class which is exclusively for male characters. She also reveals that her ‘transformation’ was due to ‘medical science’. It is thereby pretty obvious that she is a transwoman.
Nova is certainly no slouch on the battlefield. Her vicious Wigglytuff and Primeape combine to tackle a wide variety of Pokémon; the former boasts the excellent Fairy typing and a large stat and available movepool, while the latter is capable of dealing with the many Steel types that could trip Wigglytuff up. As such, she proves to be a formidable threat in the Battle Maison.
Kung Jin (Mortal Kombat X)
Kung Jin has a conversation with Raiden, in which his orientation as gay is essentially confirmed. Afraid that he will not be accepted by the Shaolin, Kung Jin’s friend Raiden comforts him by telling him that the Shaolin only cares for “what’s in your heart, not whom it desires”. Not too long after the game itself launched, Ed Boon, the game’s cinematic director confirmed that Kung Jin is gay.
Kung Jin has made a name for himself with his powerful Chakram blade over the years. He boasts excellent combo potential with a nice damage output. His Shaolin form sets him apart from the competition, giving the player a way to clutch out a tight win in a bad situation. Thus, you can never truly count him out until his health bar fully depletes.
De Sardet (Greedfall)
De Sardet is the main protagonist. Their gender can be chosen by the player, and they have the ability to enter same sex relationships with a variety of different characters.
De Sardet boasts a large amount of combat potential, as the player can choose to make and mold them into virtually any type of unit they want. From a unit heavily entwined within magic, to one who prefers the cold steel of a blade, all the way to a character who makes use of their fists to get their way. De Sardet is capable of doing it all.
Gay Tony (Grand Theft Auto IV and V)
His nickname makes it obvious, as Tony Prince is a gay man. The game does not try and hide this in anyway, hence the nickname.
He had an expansion pack as DLC for GTA IV titled “The Ballad of Gay Tony” which places him and his assistant, Luis Lopez, at the forefront of the game. He was added to GTA V in another centralizing way, a new mode that allowed the player to play as him and own their own nightclub. He is portrayed as being very wealthy and quite powerful, so he has a great deal of influence in both games he appears in.
Kanji Tatsumi (Persona 4)
Tatsumi, both a good and a bad guy, openly states that he hates women for making fun of his sewing and has a much greater interest in men. Later, he has a romantic interest in Naoto Shirogane when he thinks Naoto is a boy.
As a Shadow, he openly questions societal views of what it means to be ‘manly’ and how society decided how a conventional ‘guy’ is defined.
Kanji is both an effective party member and, early in the game, represents an entertaining boss fight. He comes with backup and mainly makes use of Ice magic to directly contribute to the fight. Those who pack plenty of Electric spells should be able to defeat him easily enough, but without that, the fight could proof quite difficult.
Happy Pride Month!