If you thought that gamers could be normal about two queers sharing a passionate kiss in 2023, then you would be very wrong. Horizon Forbidden West’s new story DLC, Burning Shores, contains a scene in which Aloy can choose to kiss a woman named Seyka, and it seems some PlayStation fans were not happy. Indeed, some players were so offended at being given this choice that they mass review-bombed the DLC on Metacritic. While the Metascore, which is based on critic’s reviews, currently sits at an 82, the user score is at just 3.2.
Burning Shores is a DLC that, for technical reasons, is only available on PlayStation 5s. It brings significant quality of life improvements such as easier looting, though it’s apparently details like the better-looking clouds that rendered it a PS5 exclusive. The update also provides players with the opportunity to have Aloy pursue a romantic relationship with someone nice, which has been a fan request for years. And I’m happy for her. Seyka seems like a nice lady, and Aloy deserves to open up to someone after running around and saving the world for two consecutive games. The main people who are mad right now are the homophobes, who seemingly can’t stand the thought of any gay content in the Horizon series at all—even if whether or not Aloy acts on her feelings is fully optional.
The bar is on the floor, y’all. But it doesn’t stop bigots from running face-first into it. Recent players complained on Metacritic that “homosexuals” were putting forward a “dirty agenda” that “sabotaged” what could have been a beautiful story. Nearly all of the reviews with a “0” score complained that they shouldn’t be forced to see gay women exist in the world of Horizon. One player called the game “woke propaganda” for allowing Aloy to fall in love with someone she just met—as if that isn’t how human romantic attraction so often works. “[Guerilla Games] retconned the main character for LGBTQ nonsense,” bemoaned another so-called fan who seems to have completely missed that there were sparks between Aloy and Petra in Horizon Zero Dawn. “Aloy never showed signs of being a lesbian,” complained one player who seems to have played a completely different game.
This is not the first time that a PlayStation first-party franchise was attacked for featuring openly queer characters. This February, homophobes review bombed The Last of Us on HBO because they were forced to endure the unbearable sight of queer tenderness on television. Hopefully with enough repeated exposure, gamers will come to realize that queer video game characters are here to stay. Because culture is moving on, either with or without them.