LGBTQ Pride Month is here! Every year during June, many games hold special pride events, donate to LGBTQ organizations, and release in-game cosmetic items and outfits to celebrate the strength and resilience of the LGBTQ community. Players won’t want to miss out on the exciting new content and exclusive deals that this Pride Month has to offer. Not sure where to start? Here are just a few of the video games and developers that are taking this year’s Pride Month to the next level:
The massively popular 5v5 multiplayer game is celebrating Pride Month for the first time this year. Midtown, a game map set in a futuristic New York, is now fully decked out in Pride-themed decorations with rainbow crosswalks, progress flags, and confetti at every turn. Furthermore, the official Overwatch 2 twitter account posted a short story confirming two legacy Overwatch characters are part of the LGBTQ community, with Baptise and Pharah bonding over their feelings for other heroes.
Introducing “As You Are”, a new short story about identity, love, and friendship starring Baptiste & Pharah 🧡💙
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) May 30, 2023
Fans previously speculated that those two heroes were queer because of Baptiste’s flirtatious lines with Lifeweaver, a new pansexual hero, and Pharah’s close association with the flying medic Mercy thanks to their abilities to compliment each others’ playstyles. Overwatch 2’s decision to confirm their sexual orientation overcomes a tendency by creators to maintain ambiguity regarding a character’s queerness to avoid having to depict queer relationships or same-sex attraction. Therefore, the confirmation that Pharah is a lesbian and Baptiste is bisexual came as both a treat and a surprise to many LGBTQ fans that desired to see more LGBTQ characters in the game’s roster. Blizzard Entertainment also announced in May that they would be donating the net proceeds from their 2023 Pride Collection to the National Center for Transgender Equality. Though 2023 marks the first year that Overwatch 2 is celebrating Pride Month, it likely won’t be the last considering Blizzard Entertainment’s current desire to expand their LGBTQ roster. Players are also hoping that Overwatch 2‘s Pride Month event will be expanded to more countries in future years. Don’t forget to load up the game or download it for free to check out the changes made to Midtown before the map reverts to its original state on June 30th.
Dead by Daylight
Dead by Daylight kicked Pride Month off with its yearly LGBTQ live stream charity event for It Gets Better, a nonprofit organization that supports queer youth. Not only did the stream earn upwards of $15k in donations, Behaviour Interactive also promised to once again match donations up to $10k for Project 10, a Montreal-based LGBTQ advocacy group. Dead by Daylight’s Pride Month celebration doesn’t stop there. LGBTQ-themed charms can also be obtained by inputting the corresponding codes via the in-game shop, allowing players to decorate their characters with different flag charms. Dead by Daylight might be known as a terrifying horror game, but it boasts a tight-knit community devoted to making the real world a more inclusive and accepting place where everyone can be their most authentic self.
“Pride is about never being quiet and knowing that you are enough.”
— Bungie (@Bungie) June 14, 2023
Bungie, the studio behind the Destiny series, has loudly and proudly supported the LGBTQ community for years, and this Pride Month is no exception. The Trans@Bungie and Pride@Bungie teams released a heartfelt newsletter reiterating their commitment to uplifting LGBTQ characters, employees, and players, and announcing a free Rainbow Connection emote for all players in Destiny 2. The Bungie Store also has a new Pride 2.0 pin available for purchase that includes an in-game Infinite Prismatic emblem. All proceeds from the Pride 2.0 pin and donations to the Bungie Foundation go directly to the It Gets Better project. Whether in-game or out, Bungie has made it easy for Destiny 2 players to show their Pride and make a difference for LGBTQ inclusion and acceptance.
League of Legends, Valorant, and Legends of Runeterra
Riot Games is celebrating Pride Month in League of Legends, Valorant, and Legends of Runeterra with new Pride-themed icons and a return of cosmetic icons and items from previous Pride Months that players might have missed. Many of the icons and charms are designed around Riot Games’ LGBTQ characters, but players can also earn non-character specific Homeguard trails that feature the colors of different queer flags. Additionally, Riot Games worked with various LGBTQ artists for Pride Month, featuring their “Proud and Fierce” themed artwork in an official blog where the artists wrote about what inspires them to create queer art. Log into your Riot Games game of choice to claim your rewards today. Win or lose, it’s best to do it in style.
In honor of #Pride Month, Zynga is proud to announce a partnership with the @itgetsbetter Project, a nonprofit connecting LGBTQ+ youths worldwide. https://t.co/RpalaG9xKF #playwithpride #pride2023 pic.twitter.com/mEic23C9YV
— Zynga (@zynga) June 1, 2023
Don’t have a video game console or prefer to game on your phone? Zynga, the developer of some of the world’s most successful mobile games, is making pride both fun and accessible with their Play With Pride initiative. Not only is Zynga and its parent company, Take-Two Interactive, donating $50k to the It Gets Better project, but they are also sharing stories from their LGBTQ employees about the “importance of championing diversity and inclusion in the gaming industry.” Fifteen of Zynga’s game studios, including the makers of Farmville 3, Words With Friends 2, and CSR2, are introducing LGBTQ-themed rewards, cosmetics, and events in their games to celebrate Pride Month. All of Zynga’s games are free on both Android and iOS, so make sure to download the games and log on before Pride Month ends to grab all the goodies and participate in the events!
The Subway Surfers World Tour is celebrating #Pride in New York! 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️
Rain is our newest surfer to be running through the big city. 🌈
— Subway Surfers (@subwaysurfers) June 1, 2023
For this year’s Pride Month, Subway Surfers debuted a new surfer named Rain, a genderqueer New Yorker that uses she/they pronouns. The streets of Subway Surfers’ New York are also decked out in Pride decorations, and Rain is the perfect addition to the colorful and stylish world that this famous endless runner mobile game is known for. The release of this new character was also paired with the announcement that Subway Surfers now has a partnership with It Gets Better, showing their commitment to not only include LGBTQ characters in the game itself but also lend their support to LGBTQ communities. Rain is far from the first LGBTQ character in Subway Surfers, but they are a limited edition event-specific character, so players will need to log in during June to make sure they don’t miss out on adding her to their roster.
The celebration of Pride Month doesn’t stop at these in-game events. Now is the perfect time to pick up new LGBTQ-inclusive games thanks to offers and bundles that compile some of the most creative and thoughtful queer games that you may or may not have heard of. Tell Me Why, the GLAAD Media Award-winning narrative game from Xbox Game Studios and DONTNOD, is free-to-play for the month of June, and players keep the game after the month ends. Tell Me Why is the first game from a major studio with a playable transgender protagonist. The annual itch.io 2023 Queer Games Bundle is available now for purchase, granting access to 466 unique games, zines, assets, and more, all made by queer artists. Though the bundle retails for $60, a pay-what-you-can edition is also available for those who want access to the same titles at a lower cost. The Humble Bundle Pixel Pride bundles also offer fantastic games for an amazing value. A 7-item bundle (which includes the GLAAD-nominated Boyfriend Dungeon) can be purchased for $12+ while the 4-item bundle is available for $7+. Those who purchase these bundles can choose to allocate their donation to the publishers, Humble Games, and/or The Trevor Project. Play with pride knowing that your purchase supports publishers, developers, and charities dedicated to LGBTQ acceptance, safety, and visibility.