Video games have progressed massively when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation in recent years. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best titles featuring queer characters and storylines that you can play right now.
Queer people have always found escapism through entertainment, whether that’s movies or music, or theatre. Video games are no different, with characters like Lara Croft and Bayonetta often being cited as gay icons — even Pokemon is known for its huge LGBTQ+ fan base.
What’s changed in recent years, though, is that gaymers no longer have to make do with queer-coding or side characters that barely reference their sexuality – we now have fully-realized LGBTQ+ protagonists and options for queer romance in more games than ever before.
It’s not just indie games that empower and represent the LGBTQ+ community, either. Plenty of major franchises like Assassin’s Creed and even popular free-to-play battle royales like Apex Legends have begun to embrace queer characters.
To celebrate Pride Month, we’ve rounded up some of the best video games that feature queer characters and storylines. This list will no doubt evolve over time, so check back for more additions in the future.
The Last Of Us 1 & 2
Available on: PS4 & PS5
Both The Last Of Us and its long-awaited sequel are worthy of being called video game masterpieces. They offer up a bleak, cinematic story for the ages and characters that will stay with you for a lifetime – and that’s not to mention the incredible post-apocalyptic gameplay.
The cherry on top is that main character Ellie is a rare lesbian protagonist in a triple-A title that goes beyond stereotypes. Her sexuality was first explored in the DLC prologue Left Behind, before she stepped into the lead role in the incredible The Last of Us 2, which cemented her place in the gaming hall of fame.
Available on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Switch & PC
Haven follows two lovers, Yu and Kay, as they escape to an uninhabited planet called Source. Here, they must learn to survive together by defeating hostile creatures and collecting resources to repair their spaceship, affectionately referred to as their Nest.
While the game originally featured a heterosexual relationship, a free update in March 2022 added two options for Yu and Kay to be a same-sex couple instead. Even better, you can play Haven in co-op mode if you’ve got a special someone in real life.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
Available on: PS4, Xbox One & PC
It’s not the latest Assassin’s Creed game, but Odyssey is where the ability to romance same-sex characters became a major option in the franchise – which certainly makes sense, given the game’s choice-driven narrative and Ancient Greece setting.
While these relationships don’t have any significant impact on the outcome of the story, it’s enjoyable to watch them play out alongside your epic spartan adventures as either Kassandra or Alexios. We can even appreciate the cheesy dialogue (kind of).
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
Available on: PS4, Switch, PC, Mac, Android & iOS
Now for something a little different… Dream Daddy has gathered quite the cult following since its release in 2017, partly because it’s one of the few gay dating sims out there, but mostly because it’s really enjoyable, has a great art style, and is incredibly well-written.
Players take on the role of a dad that’s moved to a sleepy seaside town with his daughter, only to find that every other dad here is single (and ready to mingle). From Goth Dad to Bad Dad, there’s a dad for everyone to date – and, of course, plenty of dad jokes along the way.
Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, PC, Android & iOS
While the battle royale genre is often associated with ‘bro culture’ and toxic gamers, Apex Legends is one title that’s really put in the work when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation and making queer people feel welcome when visiting the Outlands.
The best thing about Apex’s diversity is that it encompasses multiple parts of the community, not just gay men who have traditionally been the ones represented in mass media – Seer is pansexual, Loba is bisexual, and Bloodhound is non-binary.
Tell Me Why
Available on: Xbox One & PC
While gay protagonists are becoming more common in video games, it’s still quite rare to see trans representation in virtual worlds. Tell Me Why is significant, then, for not only having a trans lead character but also for consulting with LGBTQ+ media group GLAAD to bring the story to life with authenticity.
The award-winning narrative adventure game follows twins Alyson and Tyler as they use their supernatural bond to discover the truth behind their troubled childhood in small-town Alaska. Even better, episode one is currently free to play on Steam.
Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac, Android & iOS
Critically-acclaimed indie darling Stardew Valley invites players to take things back to basics and live life in the slow lane by relocating to a countryside town and living off the land with their very own farm, but that doesn’t mean its views on LGBTQ+ relationships are regressive.
When they’re not tending to their crops or destroying monsters down in The Mines, players can romance characters of any gender in the game, eventually getting married and enjoying their own ‘happily ever after’ – or not, as queer people can also get divorced in Stardew Valley. Equality!
The Sims 4
Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC & Mac
Many LGBTQ+ people saw their first representation of queerness in entertainment while playing The Sims, a franchise that has supported same-sex relationships since the very beginning – all the way back in 2000 – and allows players to live a virtual life on their own terms.
In the two-and-a-half decades since then, the game has added the ability for same-sex couples to get married, introduced loads of pre-made characters that are already in queer relationships, and promised to introduce pronoun options for non-binary characters.
A Year of Springs
Available on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Switch, PC & Android
A Year of Springs is a relaxing visual novel that follows three young women who navigate their feelings of love, friendship, and wanting to belong in modern Japan, with storylines that explore gender identity and sexuality.
There are three short chapters to enjoy, and although it’s mostly linear, players can make several choices to affect the endings. With cozy hand-drawn graphics and a cute soundtrack, it’s hard not to enjoy the few hours you’ll spend with this adorable (and affordable) indie game.
Life Is Strange
Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac, Android & iOS
Life Is Strange is one of the few video game franchises that manage to excel in an episodic format, with characters you genuinely care about and stories that keep you engaged across multiple installments.
Every entry is worth playing, and they all have some form of representation for queer people; whether that’s a blossoming romance between Max and Chloe, or the sad story of Jacob’s traumatic experiences with gay conversion ‘therapy’.
The first two games, Life Is Strange and Before The Storm, have just been remastered, meaning it’s the perfect time to visit (or revisit) Arcadia Bay – you can read our review here.