Ellie (The Last of Us series)
Ellie is the co-protagonist of Naughty Dog’s critically acclaimed 2013 title The Last of Us, voiced by Ashley Johnson in a BAFTA-winning performance. She’s a teenager forced to grow up during the apocalypse and is racked with survivor’s guilt, being immune to infection.
She’s my favourite queer character because her sexual orientation is not her defining feature, it is just another element of fantastic characterisation which furthers the story uniquely. Ellie is many things: strong, stubborn, curious, fearless, a survivor, and a terrible comedian. You don’t even find out about her sexuality until you play Left Behind, which beautifully explores young queer love. You warm up to her just as Joel does because you soon realize that her stubbornness comes from a place of caring and deep loss. Ellie is a complex, nuanced queer character that isn’t tokenistic in the slightest; I can’t wait to see how she develops in The Last of Us Part II.
Sir Hammerlock (Borderlands franchise)
“Hunter. Scholar. Gentleman.”
Sir Hammerlock has become one of the staples of Gearbox’s looter-shooter franchise since his introduction in Borderlands 2 eight years ago. Voiced by J. Michael Tatum to aristocratic effect, his general (and very Borderlands) disregard for the lives of the monsters he studies juxtaposes the character’s gentlemanly habits for some great comedy and amusing character work. Last year’s Borderlands 3 also introduces Hammerlock as the boyfriend to Wainwright Jakobs (Jakobs like the games’ fictional brand of gun), helping to flesh out the series’ universe even further after Borderlands 2 noted his sexuality back in 2012. Hammerlock is an easy favourite, and hopefully a continually recurring side character should the series continue on past this point.