Wow. Just wow.
If someone had told 13-year old Aimee that she would be seeing someone just like herself in video games soon, she probably wouldn’t have believed you. But no, yesterday blew that line of thinking completely out of the window and I can’t feel any happier than I do right now.
For those who miraculously didn’t manage to see the new The Last of Us 2 trailer, I’ll state the facts: Ellie, the pseudo-daughter figure that you looked after in the first game, kissed a woman named Dina. When I put it like that, in such a simple sentence, it doesn’t seem like such a big thing at all, does it?
But that isn’t entirely true. While queer representation has gotten a lot better thanks to games such as Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Life is Strange, Technomancer and of course, The Last of Us: Left Behind, we still have a long way to go. However, what some may not realize is that the inclusion of The Last of Us 2 kiss has opened up a whole new set of expectations for queer representation in video games.
As much as I love the games I’ve mentioned above, I personally can’t name a single company that has included a lesbian kiss for their protagonist in a video game trailer – not even DontNod or BioWare. No matter how inclusive studios may be, people have always tried to hide queer people in the background, always slapping the word ‘option’ on their queer content to try and help ease any uncomfortable homophobes out there. It’s a clever move, even if people disregard it and go bananas at LGBT content being included in the first place, but it’s also a damning one.
Ellie’s kiss with Dina sticks a big, old middle finger up to that kind of marketing. And while I don’t know the specifics of that relationship just yet, aka it’s a possibility that ‘Bury Your Gays’ may happen (if it does then be aware I’ll have something to say about that too,) it’s undeniable that this move by Naughty Dog will be the new standard for queer gamers everywhere.
And while this doesn’t mean queer gamers want to grab 100% of gaming content, it does mean something as simple as this: if Naughty Dog can include us in a trailer during the biggest gaming event of the year, then what is stopping queer protagonists and characters being shown off becoming a standard thing to include in promotional material?
The answer is nothing.
Naughty Dog has upped the game by including this lesbian kiss, but will others follow? I hope so, because it’s what LGBT gamers deserve.