League of Legends will add LGBT characters in future, reveals a developer for the popular online game. During an interview at GDC 2017, design director Greg Street said that he is sure the team at Riot Games will introduce an LGBT character “at some point.”
The hugely popular MOBA would not be the only online multiplayer game to star LGBT characters as multiplayer shooter Overwatch recently confirmed that its character Tracer is a lesbian.
League of Legends LGBT Characters On the Way
Speaking to Rift Herald during the annual industry event, Street explained that the development team “owe it to the players and, I think, to the world to [include LGBT characters]” though “What I don’t want to do is be like, ‘Okay, team, next character, whatever you do, has to be lesbian.’”
Although Street doesn’t know “which character or when it will happen,” he is “sure we’ll do it at some point.” The developer also suggested that when League of Legends does add an LGBT character it will have to happen organically and that “From the beginning, it has to be the character’s identity.”
During the interview, Street also noted that the team would have to be “careful” when introducing LGBT characters as some countries have laws against it. The developer said that “It could end up with players in that region not being able to play a game, which may be striking a blow to those players. We don’t want to indirectly hurt players.”
In Russia, FIFA 17 could be banned for its LGBT content under the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ law, so it’s understandable that Street and co. would want to tread carefully.
However one way in which League of Legends developer Riot Games could “get around” this is by featuring the storytelling – and thus the reveal of an LGBT character’s identity – outside of the game. Street said that the way Tracer’s sexuality was revealed was “awesome.” It should be noted that Blizzard blocked the Overwatch comic in Russia because of that aforementioned anti-gay legislation and to prevent the game being banned and it appears that the developer has been able to bypass the law successfully.
For many LGBT League of Legends fans, this is fantastic news as many had been calling for Riot Games to be more inclusive since the game launched in 2009. The developer has also voiced its support for LGBT rights previously, donating League of Legends eSports fines to an LGBT charity and many have said that it’s about time the developer showed its support in-game too.
Others though, will be disappointed that they are being forced to wait. From Street’s words it’s unclear whether an existing character from the game’s 100-strong character roster will be confirmed as LGBT or whether it will only be a brand new face; it could depend on whether Riot itself has ever discussed the possibility of a pre-existing character not being heterosexual, or being transgender.
Are you excited to see LGBT characters in League of Legends? Who is your favourite LGBT video game character? Leave a comment and let us know.