Horizon Forbidden West DLC brings a surprise breakthrough moment for Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact
(Image credit: Hoyoverse / PlayStation)

Brief story spoilers for Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores ahead. If that bothers you, go on, get out. Get! 

Are they gone? OK, cool. 

Genshin Impact isn't short on homoerotic subtext, but despite a wealth of flirty dialogue, it's never openly confirmed that any of its playable characters are actually gay, bisexual, or otherwise LGBT. Thanks to Horizon Forbidden West's new Burning Shores DLC, it doesn't have to, because Aloy – the only character in Genshin who's not from Genshin – is now technically the game's first playable LGBT character. 

If you haven't heard, Burning Shores finally gives Aloy a proper love interest: Seyka, a warrior she meets on her new adventures along the titular shores. Fans suspected Seyka might become more than a friend, and the kissing scene between her and Aloy leaves no room for doubt. 

This brings us to the realm of Genshin Impact, where Aloy resides on some sort of multidimensional holiday that's still weird as hell since she's the game's singular crossover character. You can't actually unlock Aloy in Genshin Impact anymore since her crossover event ended well over a year ago, but she's still playable for everyone who claimed her back in the day. She's even got her own exclusive bow on PlayStation. 

While Aloy's Genshin Impact debut obviously predates Burning Shores, canon is canon, so she is still technically a trendsetter among Genshin's playable characters. Gacha games like to couple their characters almost as much as fans do, so it seemed inevitable that this kind of relationship would become more than a fan theory at some point – players have been rooting for Beidou and Ningguang for years, for example – but it is surprising to see a crossover character as the first to break the mold. 

I specify playable characters because Genshin Impact does have some LGBT NPCs, perhaps most notably Jeht, an Eremite girl who suffers all manner of cruelty in a quest chain involving an extremely racist talking lamp. Jeht is one of the few characters with unique dialogue for Genshin's male and female protagonists, Aether and Lumine. If you play through Jeht's quests as Lumine, you'll find she's much more affectionate, attached, and direct about her feelings – not as direct as Aloy kissing Seyka, though. 

Meanwhile, Genshin Impact players are getting pulverized by neon dinosaurs in update 3.6. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.