Celeste’s creator Maddy Thorson has confirmed that Madeline, the protagonist of the hit platformer, is transgender.
“Well, yeah, of course she is,” Thorson wrote on their Medium page. But while Thorson says this fact was “painfully obvious to a lot of trans people,” the story behind Madeline is less straight forward.
“During Celeste’s development, I did not know that Madeline or myself were trans,” Thorson added. “During the Farewell DLC’s development, I began to form a hunch. Post-development, I now know that we both are.”
Thorson added that Madeline’s story is “unknowingly written from a trans perspective”. They also explained the reason Madeline’s gender identity is not explicitly stated in the game is in part because Thorson simply hadn’t realised yet, and in part to avoid it becoming a “gimmick”.
The reason Farewell hinted further at Madeline’s gender identity without revealing it entirely, Thorson noted, was to afford the characer her “privacy”. However, Thorson said that if they got the chance to write Madeline again from scratch, they would “probably” write her differently.
Thorson described Celeste as “a game written and designed by a closeted trans person who was struggling with their gender identity, scored by a trans woman, with art and code and sound and other labour from their inspiring and irreplaceable friends”. They later added that “Madeline’s transness is one part of that.”
Thorson is pulling no punches with toxic players either. “[If] Madeline being trans ruins [Celeste] for you,” they said, “I would take that as a sign that you have some transphobic beliefs to work through.”