The future of solo queue's draft system wasn't the only thing that Greg Street, League of Legends' Design Director, had to talk about during the Game Developer's Conference. In an interview with Polygon, Street answered questions about the diversity of League of Legend's cast, as some portions on the fan base have long had a burning question: Will League of Legends eventually introduce a character that openly doesn't identify as straight?
Turns out, the answer is a somewhat noncommittal yes.
"We owe it to the players and, I think, to the world to do something like that," said Street. “What I don’t want to do is be like, ‘Okay, team, next character, whatever you do, has to be lesbian.’ I don’t think we’ll end up with something good there.... From the beginning, it has to be the character’s identity. I’m sure we’ll do it at some point. I don’t know which character or when it will happen.”
This news has been met with...mixed approval. The community seems split between players for whom such an answer is too safe and those who are against such a character in the first place. Interestingly, this announcement from Ghostcrawler seems to confirm one of the League's more fabulous champions is straight, despite all appearances to the contrary. Taric being homosexual is as much a fact as Garen and Katarina's ersatz relationship, yet this statement seems to claim that one of the most openly gay characters in all of the MOBA genre is, in fact, straight as an arrow.
Considering one of League of Legends' biggest competitors, Overwatch, recently revealed that a fan favorite character identifies as lesbian in an out-of-game short story, Street's decision might be motivated by a desire to keep up with the competition, as Overwatch's revelation was met with wide acclaim. Street commented that Overwatch's way of handling the revelation via out-of-game content was a brilliant move that Riot was looking to potentially emulate.
“You know, both League and Overwatch are global games,” he said. “There are countries whose laws around things that we consider pretty normal at this point in the U.S. are not the same way. One way you can get around stuff like that is by having some of the storytelling outside the game....
“There are times when it’s worth having that battle. We just have to be careful, because it’s not necessarily just about a game company taking on the government of some other country, which may be very exciting for players. It could end up with players in that region not being able to play a game, which may be striking a blow to those players. We don’t want to indirectly hurt players.”