The lead designer on League of Legends has said that the reason bosses decided to include an LGBT character in the game is as a “reflection of earth in 2017”.
Online battle game League of Legends will introduce an LGBT playable character, its developer confirmed last week.
The game, developed and published by Riot Games, has millions of players around the world.
Speaking to fansite the Rift Herald, design director Greg Street confirmed an LGBT character will “definitely” be added to the game in a future update.
He has now responded to a question from a fan on Tumblr who asked about whether game developers feel pressure from “liberal politics
“For some players (like me), it seems really weird when a game doesn’t acknowledge that the real world of other gamers or the fictional world of game characters are diverse places with different religions, genders, skin colors, and economic statuses,” Street wrote.
“Having an openly gay character or punishing a player for calling another player a racial slur doesn’t feel political to me. It’s just a reflection of Earth circa 2017.”
In a blog post, Street wrote that the series will feature a “canonically LGBT character”.
He did go on to say that the team behind League of Legends needs to ensure that it would continue to be available in other countries when the add the character.
Speaking to the Herald, he said: “We definitely want to do it. We owe it to players and, I think, to the world to do something like that.
“What I don’t want to do is be like, ‘Okay, team, next character, whatever you do, has to be lesbian’. I don’t think we’ll end up with something good there.
“The character has to be conceived from the very beginning — which, I don’t know if Tracer was or not. I assume she was. But from the beginning, it has to be that character’s identity.
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“I’m sure we’ll do it at some point. I don’t know which character or when it will happen.”
The designer added that there would be issue with a gay character in some countries where League of Legends is popular due to censorship laws.
They said: “There are countries whose laws around things that we consider pretty normal at this point in the U.S. are not the same way.
“One way you can get around stuff like that is by having some of the storytelling outside the game. You can be like, ‘Look, within the game itself, we don’t talk about it. Outside the game, it’s something else’.
“There are also times when it’s worth having that battle. We just have to be careful, because it’s not necessarily just about a game company taking on the government of some other country, which may be very exciting for players.
“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.”
Even in the West, video game fans can be abusive about LGBT characters.
A video game developer recently spoke out about tides of horrific personal abuse – after the inclusion of a transgender character in an expansion pack.
League of Legends recently took a strong new stance to homophobia – and it worked.