And Steph's voice actor loves her as much as we do.
Life is Strange has never shied away from queer characters and content, though protagonists like Rachel Amber or Chloe Price fit quite nicely within the “evil, dead or pregnant” trope that our very own Alice Clarke has previously detailed. Thankfully, Before the Storm side character Steph Gingrich doesn’t fall into any of those motifs, and that’s certainly one of the many reasons she’s resonated so strongly with fans.
“There’s a lot to her,” Steph’s voice actor, Katy Bentz, told Stevivor. “But I think that the main connection people made [with Steph] in Before the Storm was [with] this really relatable cool person that seemed to know exactly who they were at 16.”
Perhaps more importantly, queer players and allies found a warm, caring, optimistic soul — or as Bentz puts it, a “nerdy, tabletop DM lesbian” — who they could instantly connect with.
Through her work as Steph, Bentz said she understands that “the LGBTQ+ fanbase… [looks] for that representation in video games… [and] media in general” and that True Colors offered “two really, really prominent characters” in Gingrich and in the bisexual Alex Chen.
Bentz’s understanding came, in part, through fan interaction.
“I remember back when Before the Storm came out, I would receive letters from fans stating how much Steph meant to them, just as that secondary NPC character,” she said.
“There’s multiple people that wrote me letters saying that Steph gave them the courage to come out, and come out to their friends and their families and to start living that life that they truly wanted and felt was their life they needed to live. That was just incredible and so I’m just so honored to be able to… breathe breath into this character so that she can continue to hopefully inspire people.”
Deck Nine Narrative Designer Mallory Littleton told Stevivor that Steph and her postitive representation were absolutely intentional.
“I think one of the reasons that [this representation] was most important to me is that of the few queer characters that we do get to see in media — and particularly in games — it’s not often that they are doing well and that they’re getting what they want or figuring themselves out,” Littleton said.
“For Steph to be gay and also so cool and also have such a loving community and sort of see how she creates that for herself is really important.
“She’s living her best life.”
Our full interview with Bentz and Littleton can be watched in full above.
Steph Gingrich appears in Life is Strange Before the Storm, Life is Strange True Colors, and True Colors‘ connected DLC, Life is Strange Wavelengths. All of the aforementioned titles are playable on Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5 and Switch.
10 September 2021
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