Question: Are gay characters enough to make you buy a new game? For example: You've never played God of War, but the next GoW game gives Kratos a male lover for some reason. Would you become more interested in the franchise?
If I bought games just because there were lesbian characters in them then I'd be the proud owner of every "yuri" game they've recently released on the Switch. Yet somehow I have resisted this temptation. I wonder why.
What I want in terms of representation is authenticity; lesbian representation on my terms. I'm not interested in a game that's just intended as a fantasy for straight guys. Yes, I can tell the difference. Easily.
oooh! Lemme guess, is it because.....those games are terrible?!
and honestly, I think the best representation is when it's not made out to be a selling point (not doing it for pandering points), not overt (mocking), and not so subtle that it's just there for some checklist. I think one of the best examples of LGBT relationships in any media is...and stick with me here...Deadpool 2. Negasonic Teenage Warhead had a female lover and it wasn't ever mentioned in any of the marketing, it was never super duper in-your-face, they didn't seem to be trying to rub it in anyone's face (Though I think some people need that), and even in-story it was never really brought up as a big deal. wade/Deadpool was like 'you two are cute together', and the most friction came from NTW herself, expecting Wade to be bigoted and preempting his snark only to realize...no, to Wade their love was love. who they loved was irrelevant. as a man who had recently lost the love of his life, he saw they loved each other and their genders/sexes never even seemed to register to him.
The characters were realistic lesbian lovers who simply existed within the world, and their sexuality - while a present part of their character - was never the crux of their personality or identity. Yuukio was cute, NTW was protective and badass, both were friends to Wade (in a manner of speaking) and allies first.
As it should be.
That said, I think that any artist/writer/storyteller of any medium should be able to tell the story they want. I think what matters more is how successful the art is mixed with the intent. If, in the god of War example, they chose to make Kratos gay for whatever reason, they'd have to have a good reason to do so. He has been portrayed as clearly straight for the entirety of the franchise...but he was also a greek god killer and yet the best entry in the franchise happened in the north. If it fit the story and was told tastefully or appropriately, I'd be fine with Kratos being gay as fuuuuuuck.
IF they made him a flamboyant, limp-wristed stereotype (which I'd expect if he was in, say, Bayonetta...which would be awesome), then I wouldn't respect that on the surface as it would not be accurate to the character and seemingly more of an insult to the past than anything else.
It all relies on execution of intent. Because now that I think about it, a bayonetta/Kratos crossover where Kratos is gay as hell and over-the-top like Bayonetta would be an absolute riot. I'd love to play that game, him whippin' dudes on the ass with his chains, throwing his axe to behind his lover and recalling it to force said lover into his arms, shit like that. I'd play the hell out of that game. but it'd have to be either deliberately over-the-top or tastefully done. tone, intent, execution, and so many other factors go into making a game's artistic expression work.
duke Nukem forever was poorly done, and the humour didn't work because it seemed juvenile and immature. Yet, other similarly juvenile and immature comedy works wonderfully because it's done well. Deadpool is a great example. anchorman is a great example. dumb and Dumber is a great example.
The idea of raging against an 'idea' baffles me. Like, remember way back when the Witcher Netflix series was going to have a potentially non-white Ciri and people lost their fucking minds because 'ciri is white, stop with this SJW crap'? they argued that since the author was polish and polish people are white, that the characters should all be white. that, since the prior adaptations always made her white, that she should be white. None of that mattered - it was just attempts to justify or rationalize bigotry by people who didn't realize that's what they were doing - because the character ended up being white. but you know what? I don't think the character's skin colour was ever relevant to the character. Race is plenty discussed in the world of the Witcher, but it's usually like, humans vs goblins vs elves or whatever, not skin colour. given the comparisons, wouldn't it have been relevant to play with that?
Remember when Samuel L Jackson was cast as nick fury despite the character always being white in the comics? Guess who's the most iconic nick Fury now...
The 'idea' of addressing those themes in this different way COULD be good. it could also be bad. in the end, it's all about execution and tact and intent and all those various other factors. if you don't like the idea of something, that's fine. you're allowed to be cautious or against something that sounds bad to you. Likewise, you're allowed to like what you like and guide your purchases by whether you feel a game represents you. Everyone has their own criteria. I just don't personally see the value in buying OR boycotting a game just because there's LGBT+ characters in it.
Politics are tough. You don't win when it comes to politics. At best, you get your way, temporarily.
but yeah, like, I've never bought a game because of representation, but I've never avoided games for that reason, either. I buy games that are good, and while devs being progressive in their views certainly is a factor, it's never been the tipping point when it came to making a purchase.
I need to sleep. I write too much.