For the first time in the show’s 30-year history, the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Awards feature a category for video games. The Outstanding Video Game Award recognizes five games for their “authentic and impactful LGBTQ characters or storylines.”
The 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards will take place during the Sundance Film Festival in Los Angeles, CA on March 28, and in New York on May 4.
The nominated games either released in 2018 or received a major content update or expansion in 2018. Here are the five games nominated for the Outstanding Video Game Award:
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
- The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset
- Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire
- Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
- The Sims Mobile
All five games feature positive LGBTQ representation, and many with LGBTQ romance options. Summerset added a major questline involving helping a trans woman reunite with her sister, while Pillars of Eternity 2 lets you enter into same-sex romances with party members.
There’s a bit of controversy surrounding the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey nomination, however. While the base game does feature fluid sexuality for either the male or female protagonist, as well as several prominent LGBTQ characters, the most recent DLC, Shadow Heritage, forces the main character into a heterosexual romance that feels inauthentic to the characters.
Fans have complained about this jarring decision. In response, Ubisoft has recently released a statement apologizing and pledging to change “a cutscene and some dialogue” so players can choose a non-romantic storyline. They will also be renaming the associated trophy/achievement.
GLAAD issue a statement commending Ubisoft for the change, but stressing that the nomination of Odyssey is specifically for the base game and not the DLC: “While undoubtedly marred by its DLC, the original game remains a major step forward for representation in games—one that was courageously undertaken and defended by Ubisoft initially. If we want to encourage developers and publishers to continue to make these types of bold moves in the future, we must allow for growth, acknowledge that missteps do occur, and give proper credit where credit is due.”