The existence of LGBTQ+ video game characters has far too often been only heavily implied or hinted at via flirty dialogue and vague suggestion. Queer video game content is also often only the meager result of a game allowing the player to create a male or female character and not limiting NPC romantic preferences. But the best queer video games offer rounded characters who romance, live, fight, and investigate while also being lesbian, trans, gay, or actively bisexual because they were written that way.
Although a lot of the LGBTQ+ games on this list focus on romanceable players, some of them paved the way for their franchises and games in general. Being able to marry Miria when playing as a female or Davin while playing as a male in Fallout 2 might seem like nothing nowadays, but in 1998 it was groundbreaking. In the same way, the first Mass Effect's introduction of the mono-gendered asari race seemed like a weak way to introduce bisexual characters, but the franchise has since grown to include male and female bisexual characters along with a full cast of LGBTQ+ character representation, including trans characters.
From the complicated romances of Dragon Age: Inquisition to the more playful and simple relationships and identities of Steven Universe: Save The Light and gay and lesbian-themed games like Dream Daddy and Gone Home, the world of LGBTQ+ games is constantly expanding. There are even non-binary characters, including playable characters, in games like Undertale or 2064: Read Only Memories, filling out the spectrum of identities and people in the gaming world to match the world of players.
Which queer games deliver the best LGBTQ+ content?
In this romantic visual novel and dating simulation, the player's character is a single dad who moves into a small town full of very romanceable other single dads. Charming art and an abundance of dad jokes round out the playing experience.
Developer: Game Grumps
Genres (Video game): Visual novel
Publisher: Game Grumps
The range of NPCs that are romanceable is vast and offers bisexual, gay, and lesbian options. The world itself is rich in LGBTQ+ characters, including a relationship between female human Empress Celene of Orlais and female elf Briala that the player's character can help mend. The male mage Dorian is romanceable for male playable characters and fully fleshed as a being, who will enter into a relationship with the male qunari Iron Bull if neither are romanced by the player. The game also includes Cremisius "Krem" Aclassi, a trans man who is BioWare's second trans character in a non-romantic role.
Genres (Video game): Action role-playing
Publisher: Electronic Artssee more on Dragon Age: Inquisition
With a wider range of romanceable possibilities than earlier Mass Effect games, the player can build a romantic relationship with NPC's the male human Kaidan Alenko, the female humans Kelly Chambers or Diana Allers, and the asari Liara T'Soni or Samara, regardless of their character's gender. Samantha Traynor is only romanceable if the player character is female. Lieutenant Steve Cortez is working past the loss of his husband and is only romanceable if the player character is male.
Developer: Straight Right, BioWare
Genres (Video game): Third-person Shooter, Action role-playing game
Publisher: Electronic Artssee more on Mass Effect 3
The hinted-at relationship between Chole Price and Rachel Amber is at the forefront of this prequel, though it is not the primary storyline.
Developer: Deck Nine
Genres (Video game): Graphic adventure
Publisher: Square Enix, Feral Interactivesee more on Life Is Strange: Before the Storm