1. Ellie - The Last Of Us
Naughty Dog was already a massive studio when The Last Of Us launched, with the success of Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter and Uncharted under their belts already.
Any new franchise is a risk though, and the zombie shooter could’ve easily been crushed by the weight of expectation. No one would have blamed them for playing it safe.
From the opening few cinematic minutes of The Last Of Us though, it’s clear that playing it safe isn’t on their minds. Having Ellie as a lesbian is exemplary proof of this. Not only did her being gay signal the rise of a more inclusive spectrum of protagonists, it also added a wonderful wealth of depth to her tale.
Lesbians in fiction have often been either overly sexualised, heavy masculine, or in some cases, both. Ellie, a young teenager who can handle herself but comes with all the vulnerabilities her age brings, is neither of those things.
It’s the exploration of her relationship with Riley in Left Behind that truly elevates her though. In one of gaming’s finest ever DLCs, we see Ellie sweet, innocent and very much in love. She’s the poster child for LGBT representation, and hopefully we’ll see more characters like her soon.