With the passage of time, games are getting more and more inclusive to the LGBTQIA+ community. Well-known series like Dragon Age and Assassin’s Creed have non-straight romances. Games like Undertale have a non-binary protagonist and games like Night in the Woods have major characters in healthy and happy homosexual relationships.
While those traits and games exist, there is still a long way to go. There are very few games that actually see gender as non-binary in its character creation. Many gamers have been asked all their lives at the start of their games: are you a boy or a girl?
It takes some digging to find titles that actually give the player the option to use non-binary pronouns. It takes even more digging to find games that let them use both male and female assigned traits in their character. Too often are beards, make-up, and hair gender-locked.
These games either freely allow their players to create characters outside of gender norms and/or give them the option to use the they/them pronouns. While a couple of games are well-known in the gaming community, a lot of them are more obscure.
Updated January 08, 2021 by Thomas Bowen: Representation in video games has come a long way over the past few decades with more and more developers incorporating non-binary options and characters into their games. Thanks to these trailblazers, LGBTQIA+ gamers are being represented more than ever. That’s not to say that there isn’t still a long way to go, but, with any luck, the positive reception to the inclusivity on display in these games will help to encourage other developers to follow suit. For now, though, there are plenty of great options for those looking for a way to freely express themselves in a virtual world.
Steve may be the ‘face’ of Minecraft but the game’s skin system allows players to take on whatever appearance they like. Combine this with the title’s complete lack of dialogue and it’s possible for players to take on whatever persona they choose.
This level of freedom is very much in keeping with the rest of the game, with players able to approach things however they like. Crafting may make up the crux of the experience, but there are many alternative ways to play the game as well.
14 Cyberpunk 2077
Console gamers may have to wait a little while longer to enjoy the extensive character customization options on offer in Cyberpunk 2077 due to the current state of the game. Buried beneath the many bugs and glitches, however, are a veritable treasure trove of dials and sliders that make expressing oneself easier than ever. Unfortunately, despite all of this creative freedom, gender pronouns are tied to the pitch of the voice that players select, which feels very much like a case of two steps forward and one step back.
When it comes to the game itself, much like CDPR’s Witcher titles, Cyberpunk 2077 is laden with things to see and do and has enough content to keep players busy for quite some time. With an online mode still somewhere on the horizon as well, if the developer can patch things up before interest begins to wain, they’ll really have something special on their hands.
13 Saints Row 4
Although some of the earlier Saints Row titles follow a more traditional path when it comes to their approach to character creation, later entries in the series have gone to great lengths to ensure that they are as inclusive as possible. There’s perhaps still work to be done when it comes to the way that the games handle the labeling of these options, but they remain some of the most non-binary friendly AAA titles on the market.
Players are given complete control over the way their character looks, the way that they dress, and even the way that they move. What’s more, it’s possible to continue to make changes as the game’s events begin to unfold. There’s also an option to select they/them pronouns as well as a decent variety of voices available for selection.
12 2064: Read Only Memories
2064: Read Only Memories is somewhat unique in that the player never actually gets to see what the main protagonist looks like. They are, however, given plenty of options when it comes to the character’s name, gender, and sexuality, amongst other things. There is a non-binary gender option and it’s also possible to select between a range of existing gender-neutral pronouns or even add custom ones.
The character’s personality depends entirely on the decisions that players make, allowing for a great level of freedom and variety. The supporting cast of characters are also incredibly diverse and have their own distinct mannerisms. It’s a fairly short game to play through but also an incredibly enjoyable one!
11 Robots Need Love Too
Robots Need Love Too allows players to name their robots and choose their gender pronouns. There are six to choose from in total, including zie, ey, and xie along with the more traditional options. It’s also possible to choose which robots will fall in love, paving the way for a wide range of relationship types.
The game is fairly simplistic in its design and doesn’t offer too much mileage in terms of replayability either, but it has enough going for it to provide a good few hours of entertainment nonetheless. The puzzles are well thought out for the most part, although they don’t quite do enough to set the game apart from other puzzle titles.
10 Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Presently, Animal Crossing is the most well-known game to make it to this list. The series has slowly unguarded itself when it comes to gender binaries, letting anyone wear whatever clothes they choose. In its most recent game, New Horizons, the player chooses between different styles instead of male or female. You can have any hairstyle or facial hair, any eye-shape, and wear whatever accessories no matter what style you choose.
This is just one major progressive change in the series too. As this is also the first game in the popular series to let players choose their skin color.
9 The Sims 4
To fans of The Sims, this is old news. Since 2016, The Sims has given the players the freedom to make characters outside of the gender binary. Just recently, they even made their first non-binary stock character in their Island Living expansion pack. The character, Lia, has a masculine physical frame with a feminine clothing preference.
The Sims has always strived for representation, and have had homosexual relationships available to players long before other games followed suit.
8 Monster Prom
This is one of the more obscure titles. It came out in 2018 but wasn’t released on the Nintendo Switch until this year. It is a role-playing visual novel. While the player doesn’t go through a character creator like in Animal Crossing or The Sims, they do get the option of a non-binary pronoun.
The 2D dating simulation has an adorable style and won Best Narrative at Casual Connect Asia in 2017. Those who don’t even like dating sim games tend to still like Monster Prom for its charm and humor.
7 Sunless Sea
Sunless Sea is a big step away from a cute dating sim and goes into seafaring horror. There is no physical character creator, but you have the choice of pronouns that aren’t trapped in the binary. Some other games that deserve a mention and are super similar to Sunless Sea are Fallen London and Sunless Skies. Those titles also offer non-binary pronouns.
This role-playing game has a lot of choices. You even get to choose an ambition, which basically sets what you need to accomplish in order to beat the game. The world it takes place in is very creepy and would be enjoyed by any fan of horror and/or Lovecraft.
This turn-based strategy game allows players to pick a character portrait, name, and pronoun. Unfortunately, the game got a lot of trolling backlash from giving players this option. This may not be too surprising though, as wargaming and military science fiction isn’t typically the site for progressive LGBTQIA+ inclusion. However, that makes this all the cooler.
On the bright side, the game is pretty well-known and has been since the 80s. It is setting the bar for other turn-based strategies. It has a ton of spin-offs and tie-in fiction as well.
5 The Arcana: A Mystic Romance
This dating sim visual novel has somewhat of a cult following. You play the apprentice of a mystic in a kingdom and get to follow through a narrative of your choice depending on who you pick to romance. While you never actually see your character, you do have the choice of their pronoun which includes they/them as an option.
Be careful though, the game may be free but it is easy to throw money at it for the extra juicy scenes that don’t affect the story.
4 A Foretold Affair
Similar to The Arcana, A Foretold Affair is a visual novel which is very LGBTQIA+ friendly. You get to choose your characters’ pronouns and have a potential relationship with a man, woman, or gender nonconforming character. It is also a pretty long game for a visual novel and can take between five to nine hours to complete.
The story is pretty interesting too, as you play someone who sees into the future to see themselves happily married to someone they never met before. They decide to go out and convince this person that they are meant to be together.
3 Hustle Cat
Love cats and coffee? Then this dating sim may be perfect for you. You play as an employee at a cat cafe that has a little secret. There are six lovely and unique characters you can date. Like many other titles on this list, you don’t physically make a character but get to choose your pronoun with a they/them option available.
It is shorter than A Foretold Affair as going one route only takes two hours, which some dating sim fans prefer.
2 Love Is Dead
This adorable game has you and your lover reanimated as zombies with your minds intact due to the power of your love. However, the family isn’t complete without your pets. So the plot is to reunite with your beloved cat and dog in the apocalypse.
You get to choose the pronouns of not only yourself but also your partner. The story is cute, the puzzles start simple yet get harder, and the art and music are bouncy. It is definitely not your average zombie story.
1 VERSUS: The Lost Ones
This interactive novel is quite different from the rest of this list because it is entirely text-based. That’s right, no graphics or sound. However, it is full of choices and one of those choices is your pronoun. In fact, you can do more than just a they/them pronoun. You can play as intersex or transgender as well! There are tons of romance options too from aliens to royalty.
It’s definitely not for every gamer since it is much like a choose your own adventure novel, but its reviews are overall pretty positive on Steam.