Saints Row series

A femme looking person standing in a room. Character customisation screen. Text reads 'Voice. Male 1. Male 2. Male 3. Female 1. Female 2. Female 3.'.
  • Developer: Volition High Voltage Software G5 Entertainment CD Projekt
  • Publisher: THQ Deep Silver
  • Year: 2006 – 2017
  • Genre: Shooter Adventure
  • Platform/s: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC

Though imperfect (you are still required to select a gender from binary options), the character creators in the Saints Row series (minus the first title) have a lot of options that can be selected by either gender, not restricting the player to man-only and woman-only hairstyles, body types, or voices. Two respondents to the Queer Representation (2016) survey survey suggest that Saints Row 2 or Saints Row: The Third have a gender slider that can be used to denote gender on a scale.

Ruperetta, a trans woman with a long-lasting love for the Saints Row series, sent us some additional information via email:

Firstly, it is possible to make non-binary characters. All one has to do is select a gender then move the slider, which alters the sexual attractiveness of the character (enhanced breast for women, enhanced phallus for men) to the left for a man or right for a woman. In doing so, you can also create homosexual characters which can be confirmed doing an activity called "hoing". If you select either a man or woman by default, the hoing activity will be of a heterosexual nature; however, if you create a transgender character, the hoing activity will be homosexual as the game programming will register your character as the default gender you selected. In regards to Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row 4, many of the customization options that were available in Saints Row 2 have been removed in favour of other programming upgrades. While it is still possible to create a female character with a masculine voice and vice versa, the only other option for nonbinary character creation is by cross-dressing.

One other aspect of the Saints Row series, specifically Saints Row 2, that provides LGBTQ content is the taunt/compliment feature. In Saints Row 2, one of the selectable compliments is blowing a kiss. If the player selects this, the character will then appear to flirt with NPCs, and other players in co-op/online mode, and the NPCs will flirt back.

The original Saints Row features a man as a protagonist, but although character creators have a man as the default in the later titles, it is possible to play as a woman. As such, many people believe that if you play Saints Row as a woman, you are in fact playing as a transgender character. The later Saints Row games have been praised for their use of pronouns, referring to the protagonist with gender neutral titles or the pronoun 'they'. Respondents to the Queer Representation (2016) survey have said, however, that unfortunately cutscenes do sometimes use he/him pronouns, even if the player-character is designed as a woman at the beginning of the game, although I have not noticed this in my own playing of the series.

The most recent title in the series, Agents of Mayhem, has multiple playable characters and a range of sexualities. Three of the playable characters—Hollywood, Braddock, and Scheherazade—are confirmed by developers as queer. Hollywood is pansexual, and was the first queer character confirmed by developers. Braddock is a lesbian, and is in a relationship with Friday, who is in charge of coordinating M.A.Y.H.E.M. strike team missions.