Is 2022 the year gaming really does become for everyone?
Hello! We're going to start the year off with a handful of pieces looking forward to 2022. Sometimes we'll be looking at trends we've spotted or themes that will probably be continuing to define things in games for a while. Sometimes we'll just be thinking about things we've enjoyed and where they could lead. Have a lovely new year all!
Gaming is, and should be, for everyone. But that's not always been reflected in the characters we get to play as, be they created by developers or for ourselves.
Slowly, though, change is coming. 2021 not only saw a diverse range of characters in games, we saw authentic, normalised portrayals beyond a box-ticking exercise.
Yes, plenty of games added rainbow badges, especially for Pride Month. But the likes of Unpacking, Life is Strange: True Colors, Boyfriend Dungeon and Unsighted brought LGBT+ narratives to the fore in sometimes subtle ways. Battlefield 2042, Rainbow Six Siege, and Apex Legends added queer characters to online shooters. Heck, even Guardians of the Galaxy could be interpreted a certain way, even if Star-Lord isn't openly bisexual like he is in the comics. After all, it's about a group of misfits in a found family fighting religious zealots converting the galaxy.
With Deathloop, a game of the year contender for many, we had a rare example of two authentically created Black protagonists with Colt and Julianna. The latter was one of many examples of well written, determined women in games, from Returnal's Selene, to Lady Dimitrescu and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart's Rivet, who also offers an example of disabled representation.
There's more of this to come this year, from AAA titles to indies. 2022 sees the return of Aloy and Bayonetta, two immensely popular leading ladies. Yet more interesting is the promise of women's teams coming to Football Manager, bringing greater representation to a typically male-dominated space.
Redfall and Forspoken both include Black female leads (though the latter appears to have some worrying stereotypes), while Thirsty Suitors and Venba feature South Asian representation. And there's the hotly anticipated God of War: Ragnarok that includes a Black Angrboda and a plus-sized Thor.
In the queer space, Behaviour has promised to include their first ever LGBT+ character in Dead by Daylight - a game that's already proven hugely popular with the community.
Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list of what we've seen and what's to come. It's a mere snapshot of how representation really is improving in gaming, even if there's always room for growth.
Better still, where all this representation converges is in character creators. Beyond the set characters of developers' imaginations, games allow us to create ourselves. And increasingly, character creators are becoming less and less restrictive. Rejoice!
In 2021 Monster Hunter Rise added authentic Black hairstyles, something Animal Crossing: New Horizons did in late 2020. More and more games included pronoun options, including Forza Horizon 5. Excitingly, that game also allowed for prosthetic limbs to represent the disabled community.
That's all set to continue in some of the biggest releases of 2022. Bethesda has confirmed Starfield, unlike Fallout or The Elder Scrolls, will include pronoun options, while Maxis will finally add pronoun options to The Sims 4 - a much requested feature. OlliOlliWorld will allow skaters to be whoever they want to be. Hogwarts Legacy will allow for trans witches and wizards, in a move that sets the devs apart from the author. Even Nintendo is removing the gender binary from Splatoon 3 and will instead allow players to choose a 'style' for their squid or octopus kid.
Restrictions are lifting, then, which means games are getting ever closer to that dream of reflecting everyone through diverse characters and inclusive creators. As Halo announcer Jeff Steitzer said last year in an interview with Gaming Bible when asked about developers supporting marginalised people: "don't be such p*ssies".
We want to make Eurogamer better, and that means better for our readers - not for algorithms. You can help! Become a supporter of Eurogamer and you can view the site completely ad-free, as well as gaining exclusive access to articles, podcasts and conversations that will bring you closer to the team, the stories, and the games we all love. Subscriptions start at £3.99 / $4.99 per month.
Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.
Ed is Reporter at Eurogamer, with an interest in streaming, people and communities, and giving a voice to marginalised people.
Feature | This console transition period has been a mess, and will continue through 2022
Spoiler-free Spelunky 2 tips for new and returning adventurers
With the Xbox and Game Pass versions arriving today.
EGX Birmingham 2022 tickets on sale now!
Fortnite returns to iPhone and iPad next week via Nvidia Geforce Now
Will also be streaming to Android devices.
Ubisoft's The Settlers reboot launches in March
Valve says Steam Deck still on track for a February release
"Global pandemic, supply issues, and shipping issues notwithstanding".
Dying Light 2 showcases console comparison video and co-op gameplay
In final livestream before launch.
PUBG: Battlegrounds developer Krafton is suing Apple and Google over app store clones
Lawsuit also targeting YouTube for hosting videos.
PlatinumGames' Kenichi Sato steps down as president and CEO
Head producer Atsushi Inaba moves into roles.
EGX Birmingham 2022 tickets on sale now!
Premium only | Off Topic: Is there a more cinematic space than the elevator?
Premium only | The Eurogamer Podcast: unpacking Unpacking with creator Wren Brier
Thinking outside of the box.
Premium only | Off Topic: Hedra's astonishing page layouts revel in their giddy sense of invention
Premium only | The Eurogamer Podcast: a final sit-down with departing Editor Oli Welsh
Premium only | Off Topic: An end-of-the-year miracle!
Buy things with globes on them
And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!
Subscribe to The Eurogamer.net Daily
The 10 most popular stories of the day, delivered at 5pm UK time. Never miss a thing.
Bad puns and video games since 1999.
This site © 2021 Gamer Network Limited, a ReedPop company. All Rights Reserved. No part of this site or its content may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder.