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The comments were made by League of Legends executive producer Jeremy Lee in an interview with Sky News, where he admitted that the company replaces words such as “lover” with “partner” in countries hostile to LGBTQ+ rights.
Lee said that he was “very proud” of K’Sante, the game’s newest champion, who is both League of Legends’ first black LGBTQ+ character as well as the first to have his sexuality featured in the game.
However, he admitted that “each region can localise and publish that story in what they feel like is best for the players.” When pressed by Sky News if this meant that the company makes changes or omissions to characters were made to suit the regime in the country in which it is published, global public relations lead Hanna Woo replied: “Yes, I would say we do.”
Both Lee and Woo added that these storylines can be found on the game’s website, which is localised separately. The game itself is the same globally, and features almost entirely word-for-word translations.
Woo said that the in-game characters are there for players to interpret themselves, adding: “Even if it’s not explicit, even if it’s not direct, even if there are changes made, or things are just not as much in the forefront of that character’s identity, it’s like you are meant to see them.”
Twitch streamer Ben Austwick told Sky News that he was “sad, yet not surprised” at the admission, adding: “Video games are part of culture and should be at the forefront pushing boundaries, especially in places where LGBT+ oppression is rife.”
“The straightwashing of queer characters from games in countries with a poor record of LGBT+ rights is sad and proves that there is nothing more important than making the most money.”
In other gaming news, Netflix has announced Stranger Things VR, a game where you play as season four villain Vecna.