Triple-A videogames featuring gay protagonists are a long ways off, according to Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon writer Lucien Soulban.
In an interview posted to the Ubiblog, Soulban—an openly gay man himself—was asked about his thoughts on the depiction of queer characters in videogames, both in terms of a AAA protagonist one day being gay as well as their presence in games altogether.
“Not for a while, I suspect, because of fear that it’ll impact sales,” Soulban responded. “So either we’ll see a bait-and-switch like the original Metroid with Samus Aran where we’ll find out damn near after the fact (PS: And Dumbledore was gay), or it’ll come out of left field with Rockstar, Valve, Naughty Dog, or Telltale, perhaps. But when it happens, I hope it’s a serious take on it and not played up for jokes.”
According to Soulban, his biggest concern and frustration about the portrayal of queer characters in media is when they’re treated like “a one-off joke,” citing Javier Bardem’s character from Skyfall as an instance in which people point toward diversity that’s actually “stick.”
“You look at Javier Bardem in SKyfall, his character’s sexuality was total stick to satisfy one scene,” Soulban said. “Otherwise, he was a narcissist with mommy issues and a pedophile to boot. His ‘seduction’ of Bond was nothing more than vanity because Bond was his reflection, the new ‘him.’ Yay. So it bothers me when I hear people using his performance as a benchmark for diversity in entertainment, and I have heard it being bandied about.”
Soulban points to Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Skyrim, and Borderlands 2 as examples of games that don’t “announce” their gay characters. Without any fanfare, these games better establish the normality of their queer characters, something Soulban hopes to and think we’ll see more of in the future.