Seven LGBTQ+ video game characters introduced to in 2023

A graphic with a swirly rainbow background that depicts several LGBTQ+ video game characters that we were introduced to in 2023

LGBTQ+ representation in video games has been a long and complicated process, but gamers saw some improvements in 2023. 

Queer inclusion in video games comes in a sensational variety of forms, from indie faves focusing on our stories, to surprising representation in big-name titles. However, it can still feel like a quest to find authentic and fully fleshed out queer characters. 

Searching through the hundreds of video games that dropped in 2023, we’ve compiled seven moments when players were introduced to LGBTQ+ characters, who made the gaming world just a bit queerer. 

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Final Fantasy XVI introduced queer characters with a love story 

Fans praised the inclusion of imperial prince Dion Lesage and his relationship with Sir Terence, his devoted right-hand man, for levelling up LGBTQ+ representation in the long-running and influential series. 

In the game, Dion is the leader of the Holy Order of the Knights Dragoon, and the Dominant (individuals who can control the power of god-like creatures called eikons) of Bahamut. He juggled struggling with his strained relationship with his father and fighting off enemies in the empire’s wars. 

A screenshot from a video game of LGBTQ+ characters Imperial Prince Dion Lesage and Sir Terence about to kiss in Final Fantasy XVI
Dion Lesage and Sir Terence were the first openly LGBTQ+ characters in the Final Fantasy universe. (Square Enix)

Against this backdrop, players got a glimpse of Dion’s feelings for Sir Terence as their relationship played out across a few lengthy cinematic sequences. The love story felt both natural and somewhat disappointing because they just don’t get a lot of air time.

But players are with them long enough to see them share a passionate kiss and some tears. 

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Honestly, too many to name in Baldur’s Gate 3 

Award-winning Baldur’s Gate 3 takes the cake as the queerest video game of 2023 (maybe of all time) with its host of LGBTQ+ characters

Romance options in the game were varied, emotionally fulfilling and thirsty, and offered a new direction on the concept of “player-sexual” – or the idea that characters are attracted to the player character regardless of gender. 

A screenshot from the Baldur's Gate 3 video game of character Astarion who is a favourite among LGBTQ+ gamers
One game-player found time to moan that there seemed to be no straight characters in Baldur’s Gate 3. (Larian Studios)

One person even whined that there are “no straight characters in this game”. Gamers and moderators shut down an “incredibly pathetic and fragile” mod of Baldur’s Gate 3 that removed all in-game queer references. 

Outside the romance options, there were other LGBTQ+ characters in the video game, including Beldron and Lunkbug, gnomish husbands held in captivity in Grymforge, as well as Sharess’ Caress cook Chorizo, who shut down a perceived admirer by reminding them he had a husband. 

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A video game about frogs but make them queer 

Frogsong probably had the queerest concept of all time: a charming and heart-felt action role-playing game based in a fantasy world of frogs. Got it. Love it.  

Among the wacky and amazing characters, there was the protagonist Chorus, a tiny tree frog with a big dream of protecting their loved ones and the world. During Pride month three years before the game dropped, the studio announced Chorus was non-binary.

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Overwatch 2’s pantheon of LGBTQ+ characters included a non-binary hero

In November, Overwatch 2 developers broke the news that players would soon have the option to fight as damage per second character Venture – the game’s first non-binary hero. 

Venture is a Canadian archaeologist who used a drill-like gun to shoot projectiles at foes as well as dig underneath the battlefield to be invulnerable for a time before dishing out damage. 

A screenshot from the Overwatch 2 video game of LGBTQ+ character Venture on the screen
Overwatch introduced new non-binary hero Venture. (Blizzard)

Players can’t play as Venture just yet because the non-binary hero is only projected to join the game properly in 2024, but the news that the series became a bit queerer was warmly welcomed by fans

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The 2023 survival horror game didn’t disappoint fans who had patiently waited for the second Alan Wake instalment, delving deeper into the titular character’s struggle while being trapped in an alternate dimension known as the Dark Place. 

A lot of the game revolved around the lives of Wake and FBI special agent Saga Anderson, the horror story character Wake wrote about to escape the Dark Place. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a little LGBTQ+ inclusion thrown into the Remedy Connected Universe. 

In the game, Anderson met Kiran Estevez, from the Federal Bureau of Control, an agent in charge at Bright Falls, and enlisted her help to find Wake. During one piece of dialogue, Estevez mentioned how “having family isn’t easy in this line of work”, and it had a detrimental effect on her relationship with her now ex-wife. 

A screenshot from the Alan Wake II video game of LGBTQ+ character Kiran Estevez discussing having an ex-wife
Alan Wake II included a small nod to LGBTQ+ representation. (Remedy Entertainment)
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Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 confirmed a long-standing character is in fact part of the LGBTQ+ community

The video game didn’t just reunite players with Peter Parker, Miles Morales and Mary Jane Watson, it also saw the return of LGBTQ+ fan fave Black Cat, aka Felicia Hardy.

Black Cat’s inclusion was fleeting, but long enough so that Marvel confirmed the character is bisexual

In the game, Black Cat opened up to Miles after the web-slinging hero tails her through the streets of New York. When he finally caught up with her, he asked why she was so dedicated to a life of crime. 

A screenshot from the Marvel's Spider-Man 2 video game of LGBTQ+ character Black Cat, who is wearing a black and white outfit, discussing her girlfriend
Black Cat was confirmed as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Spider-Man 2. (Insomniac Games)

She surprised the young crime-fighter by saying about her criminal behaviour was all for her girlfriend in Paris. Black Cat asked Miles if he’d ever done “anything for love”, and it’s truly a swoon-worthy sapphic line. 

Now, Marvel didn’t really let the queer (black) cat out of the bag with this one. Die-hard fans already knew the character was canonically queer after she locked lips with another female character in a 2021 comic

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Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores brings queerness into the elevated sci-fi core game 

In 2017, Horizon Zero Dawn found critical acclaim for its captivating story-telling and action sequences. The game also introduced fans to Aloy, a young hunter in a post-apocalyptic solar-punk world overrun by machines, and her quest to uncover her past.

Aloy’s story continued in the sequel Horizon Forbidden West, growing more queer in the Burning Shores expansion that was released earlier this year. The latest adventure included a twist for its main character: an optional LGBTQ+ romance route. 

A screenshot from the Horizon Forbidden West Burning Shores video game of LGBTQ+ character Aloy standing arm in arm with another female character who she kissed
Aloy was able to share a kiss with Seyka, a member of the Quen tribe. (Guerrilla Games)

Within the downloadable content, Aloy had the opportunity to romance and kiss Seyka, a woman from the Quen tribe that fought and explored the new horizon alongside our hero. The moment has been a long time coming in the video game franchise’s universe, with many fans having considered the character to be an LGBTQ+ icon for ages.

Predictably, some disgruntled gamers didn’t take the inclusion well. Burning Shores suffered the all-too-familiar review bombing that many games, movies and TV shows are subjected to as a result of LGBTQ+ representation. 

But for those who loved the Horizon games and Aloy, the romance option was akin to a last-minute hit points boost in a difficult fight. It’s just what was needed. 

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