Unfortunately, there aren’t very many video games with good asexual representation. While researching games that would qualify, I found a few where characters were “coded” as ace, and there are a few games where characters are referred to as ace in material outside the game, but this is not shown within the game, but everywhere their identity is shown for all players to see. There are two characters we’re going to focus on this time: Parvati from Outer Worlds and Jocasta from a Dream of Shadowlands.
Parvati is asexual (also called “ace”), a detail given to her by L’Etoile. Dollarhyde, who is also ace, gave Parvati a more “personal voice.” Dollarhyde described feeling “lucky” that she was able to “inherit” the writing duties for this character due to this. One of her lines, where Parvati talks about how others treat her as a robot, mirrors Dollarhyde’s own experiences. Both Parvati and Dollarhyde are both asexual, and she similarly puts herself into the writing by making Parvati similarly apprehensive about speaking to the person she likes. When writing the romantic elements of Parvati’s story, Dollarhyde approached this with the perspective of a friend giving advice and “facilitating good experiences” to those they care about. The details of Dollarhyde’s sexuality became more widely known as a result of interviews due to Parvati (and by extension Dollarhyde’s) popularity, which she outed herself during. When Parvati reveals her asexuality to the player, Dollarhyde intentionally prevented players from having the option to behave bigoted towards Parvati. Dollarhyde explains that this is because she did not want players who related to Parvati to have the “rug [pulled] out from under them.”Parvati was chosen to be introduced to the player early on due to her being a “unique case of a character.” Dollarhyde cited how the other Companion characters were more “worldly” than her, and thus Parvati is able to act as the “voice of surprise and delight and horror” for the player as they both see what the world is like, neither being very familiar with it. Other people involved in the creation of Parvati include concept artist Hannah Kennedy who helped design her model, and quality assurance tester Ariana Tavantzis who provided “a lot of” feedback.
Jocasta is my OC, and I’ve included her with Kitty’s permission in The Dream of Shadowlands, an indie horror game inspired by 90s anime style artwork. You meet Jocasta first in chapter 2, but it is not until chapter 3 that it made explicit that she is ace. This is shown with a pin she wears on her jacket in the player’s second encounter with her. I did say this article would list “a couple” good examples, and if not for the one that I influenced myself, we would had just one. Gaming industry, you have to do better!
P.S. South Park: the Stick of Truth allows you to play an asexual character, which is awesome. Was made aware of it at the last moment, but I would definitely count this game as having good ace representation. Good job, South Park!
Neira is a BLM activist and also the author of YA/NA suburban Goth girl horror novels like Raven’s Dream and the upcoming Lola’s Haunter.