Andy's Top 10 LGBTQ+ Friendly and Inclusive Games for PlayStation

Andy's Top 10 LGBTQ+ Friendly and Inclusive Games for PlayStation

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Jeremy and Andy
Life, Love and Travel
  • Tomb Raider
    Shadow of the Tomb Raider


    Jeremy and Andy

    Going back to the start, ‘Tomb Raider I’ was one of the first games I ever got on PlayStation. Seeing a strong, fierce, unforgiving female character fighting mythical monsters, and beating men into submission was eye opening. As a kid who was unsure of who he was, it was reassuring to see a character in a game that wasn’t sitting in line with those you saw on TV. 

    The most recent reboot (Shadow of the Tomb Raider) shows a more vulnerable Lara, but no less strong. The rebooted franchise hasn’t sacrificed the strength of the female protagonist it has long been credited for creating, but it does delicately feed in a narrative of loss, grieving, and how this affects one’s mental health.

    Tomb Raider breaks the gender stereotype that women are hyper emotional in a way that cripples them. This inaccurate depiction is rebutted by Tomb Raider which has always sought to show women as powerful and complex where their emotional intelligence is key to their success, rather than their Achilles heel.
  • LEGO Star Wars
    The Skywalker Saga Blue Milk Luke Deluxe Edition


    Jeremy and Andy

    This is a weird one. I’ll be straight with that. What Lego has done in converting extremely popular movies into games is nothing short of brilliant. The humour, the accuracy of the story while adding in almost sub-story elements and the very well navigated line that means these games definitely have something for adults, not just kids, is nothing short of excellent.

    My favourite franchise is the Lego Star Wars series. Not just because of those points I’ve just mentioned, but because of the way it challenges subtle gender stereotypes. Whereas some of the older movies place female characters as damsels to be saved, the games reverse that narrative. When watching back the older films, the diversity of characters in-game shines. Seriously. Lego Star Wars. Do it!
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
    Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition


    Jeremy and Andy

    Now, having already admitted my ‘Team Lara’ status as a gamer, it’s no surprise I was excited to see Guerrilla Games’ post-apocalyptic offer. The game is simply stunning. From the geekery of the graphics of the landscapes and machines, to the ease of the gameplay, it’s got a lot to offer. But it also offers up a female lead in protagonist ‘Aloy’ who isn’t an extreme of any particular subset of protagonist. 

    She’s not weak and feeble, nor is she a completely closed off 'strong' female. She is a perfect balance of the two, making her realistic of any person, regardless of gender. While I’m a guy, it’s small things in stories that make a difference for LGBTQ+ gamers. In Horizons, it’s little things like Guerrilla Games choosing a female lead although an integral part of the story revolves around machines and engineering. 

    It’s things like that which add extra depth and attracts a diverse audience. Diversity and inclusivity take very different shapes, and what might seem like small things to some, have fairly big subconscious effects. You can see why Horizons is one of the best-selling PS4 games – I can’t wait for the sequel, coming out later this year.
  • The Last of Us
    The Last Of Us Part I & II


    Jeremy and Andy

    For any gamer who clicked on this article and saw it was about inclusivity in gaming, they no doubt expected to see these two games on here. The Last of Us series has been widely acclaimed, praised and awarded across the board. Not only does it have a highly developed storyline that tugs on all your emotions, but it also features a leading female LGBTQ+ character; Ellie. 

    The first game is more subtle on the LGBTQ+ theme but certainly hints at it. While the second game is upfront and unapologetic about it – but normalising it so that it’s not just being aggressively equal. Normalising LGBTQ+ characters is so important. Ellie is a complex character, who battles zombies, militia groups as well as her own emotions.

    I have never played a game where you are so emotionally tied to a story and characters like this. For those new to these games, I would strongly recommend starting with the original rather than cutting straight to the sequel. Also, the latest game has full accessibility support, which is something that is next level and opens up gaming to so many more people.
  • Ubisoft
    Assassins Creed Odyssey


    Jeremy and Andy

    Again, probably quite a random one to include for many, but bear with me. AC is now an incredibly well-established franchise, expertly rehashing history to make you almost believe some of the greatest historical turning points were due to people jumping off buildings with blades up their sleeves. But the reason I’ve included AC Odyssey in this list is because of the refreshing depiction of the lead character. 

    Firstly, you can choose whether you want to play the story as a female or male (something more games are allowing you to do), but secondly, the fact the game offers unapologetic sexual fluidity. Regardless of your character choice, your storylines aren’t closed off – and you can have love interests and sexual encounters with men and women across ancient Greece (and sometimes even Gods). 

    Something that was widely accepted and historically accurate of that period – well, minus the God part. That aside, the game is stunning, and fun to play. Now, one thing to note is the game is very long, and even more so if you have the expansion packs. I’d strongly recommend it, but you may need a second game just to break up your gameplay – otherwise, it risks becoming quite repetitive. 
  • Ubisoft
    Assassin's Creed Valhalla


    Jeremy and Andy

    Valhalla is the latest offering in the AC franchise from Ubisoft. Set in the Viking era, it’s primarily based in England. It continues the same inclusive themes from the previous game (Odyssey) – a character choice, and fluid romances, but with a slightly different take. Though sexual encounters are less common, it does allow you to develop same sex relationships – something I’ve not seen in many games before. 

    It’s refreshing in some ways; depicting same sex relationships as something more than just sex-based by allowing you to go on dates (in essence) and to have the ability to return home to a significant other. I’m currently in a long term relationship with a baker. This wasn’t a thing when I was a kid – same sex game relationships, I mean. Bakers were a thing.
     
    While it’s a great evolution from Odyssey on inclusivity and the depiction of same sex relationships, overall, I don’t like the game as much as Odyssey, or even Origins before that. The story has almost lost its Assassin’s Creed theme, and the missions are quite repetitive. It’s not a bad game, and I certainly give it points for representation, but when compared to the rest of the franchise, I find it wanting.
  • Marvel
    Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales


    Jeremy and Andy

    I’ve recently started playing the Spider-man games, and I’m thoroughly impressed by both of them. However, I’m calling out this game for its diversity. Beyond its superb graphics, the reason I like this game is because of the leading character, Miles, who offers us a very real representation of a family dynamic and person of colour (minus the web-swinging).

    All too often we see characters who are black or Latino being forced by game developers into the same predictable and damaging stereotypes. In 2021, the world doesn’t need to see depictions of black or Latino characters constantly in gangs or treating women disrespectfully (think Grand Theft Auto etc). 

    Those stereotypes are damaging, unfair and archaic. Miles is none of those. He isn’t in a gang, nor has he ever been, nor is he committing crimes and all the female characters in the game he is hugely (and notably) respectful of. He is a normal, young guy, living in New York, from a diverse family, fighting crime while wearing latex! Again, it’s the small things in games and media that make a big difference.
  • Sony
    Ghost of Tsushima


    Jeremy and Andy

    In 2021, diversity and inclusion are more than just one single thing. As the list has probably shown so far, there’s more we’re looking for in games. And cultural sensitivity is definitely one of them. Gaming history has largely been western based – with lots of American, British, or European themes, stories and representation. 

    Ghost is very different and follows a samurai trying to protect his home during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. It’s widely acclaimed as a stunning piece of art, but aside from the story and game being great, the depiction of Japanese culture is sensitive, educational and refreshing. 

    What’s more, the developers made the game to play in English, or Japanese – with some pretty amazing settings to change up the gameplay to become more like an authentic, old Japanese movie. Now, there are moments where the game is a bit linear – for example, there’s not a wide array of side missions, but Sucker Punch should feel pleased which what it’s created. 
  • Square Enix
    Final Fantast VII Remake


    Jeremy and Andy

    Final Fantasy VII is my favourite game of all time and I’m not alone. FFVII is widely claimed as being one of the best games of all time, regarded by many as a landmark and credited with the success of PlayStation. Across three discs it had an open world well before most others with deep character development, stunning cut scenes, a thoroughly detailed story, really emotional themes, fun fight scenes and so on!

    A big reason for my extreme fanfare of the game is that I loved the diversity of the characters. The lead character, Cloud, is extremely complex and there are strong signs that he struggles with his mental health – something that people weren’t even speaking about in the ‘90s! 

    More recently, Square Enix has started re-releasing the upgraded game on PS4 & PS5. However, while fans almost exploded at such an exceptionally loved game being remade, the new instalment was very clever. It offers even more to the story we love – but Square Enix has managed to blindside everyone with a huge twist we didn’t expect.
  • EA
    The Sims


    Jeremy and Andy

    Now any young LGBTQ+ gamer will have the same story of their early days in gaming. We all had The Sims, and we all made two same sex characters fall in love. The brilliance of The Sims is that it genuinely allows you to shape whatever you want. So, in essence, the game’s foundation is inclusivity. Gaming aside, The Sims is quite important for a lot of kids struggling with their identity back in the day. 

    While Maxis probably didn’t realise that when the game was developed, the fact they allowed you to fall in love with whomever you wanted in the game was so forward thinking. Even in the original games you could marry someone of the same-sex, which was during a time when that wasn’t possible in most countries. But there it was, in a game. 

    As a gay kid, it really (and probably weirdly) helped me with my confusion around my identity. Even now, I think it could do the same for any young person who likes gaming but may also be struggling with understanding who they are. Other than the inclusivity around sexual orientation, seeing the diversity of what men and women could do was also refreshing. 

    You could get whatever job you wanted (within the parameters of the game or expansion pack) regardless of gender. My hope is that The Sims will continue to be a leader on self-identity in gaming, and maybe start to introduce more options for people who are non-binary and trans - although it has recently changed Create-A-Sim to be more inclusive.

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