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WoW Shadowlands Marks Beginning of More LGBTQ+-Inclusive Storytelling

'There's a place for you in this world'

Poorna Shankar Posted:
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In an interview with TechRadar, World of Warcraft Lead Narrative Designer Steve Danuser, noted how the team is using Shadowlands as the start of more LGBTQ-inclusive stories.

This actually seemingly began earlier in their Shadows Rising book and a story arc there which included Flynn Fairwind and Mathias Shaw. Fans began writing a story about a relationship between the two, and as, Danuser notes,

“We just really liked the chemistry of these characters. It kind of spoke to us. We could have had them just be friends if we wanted, but we felt like man, they have a much deeper connection, and it’s something that could feel like a really genuine relationship. It just felt really right for these characters.”

The NPC, Pelagos, was also touched on. Pelagos is a transgender character having lived his mortal life as a woman, yet appears as a man in the afterlife. For players, this opens a dialogue option to ask Pelagos if he remembered his past life. If they ask, Pelagos responds, informing the player of his female form in life, but he continues that he struggled with that identity. Once he arrived in Bastion, he took on a male form and felt comfortable and that others could see what he felt inside.

Blizzard received feedback regarding the pronouns used as described by Johnny Cash, Senior Game Designer and LGBTQ+ Advisory Council member for Blizzard,

“We got similar feedback across the board, that no, it feels like the way you’ve written this character that he would prefer he/him pronouns instead of they/them. And hey, is this something we can change? And of course we can. And so we made the change.”

Danuser added,

“We have a team that has a lot of different people with different viewpoints and backgrounds, so it’s important to us to tell stories that we care about, that reflect our concerns, and also make Azeroth a place that is representative of lots of different points of view, and very welcoming. Whatever your background is, there’s a place for you in this world.”


Poorna Shankar

A highly opinionated avid PC gamer, Poorna blindly panics with his friends in various multiplayer games, much to the detriment of his team. Constantly questioning industry practices and a passion for technological progress drive his love for the video game industry. He pulls no punches and tells it like he sees it. He runs a podcast, Gaming The Industry, with fellow writer, Joseph Bradford, discussing industry practices and their effects on consumers.

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