There’s been a lot of hubbub about the latest installment in the Fallout franchise. Just released on November 17, Fallout 4 is being lauded for more than its engaging story and challenging game play in a post-apocalyptic wasteland: it’s now one of the most progressive games by a major studio out there.
This is especially amazing given that we live in a world post-Dragon Age Inquisition, a game that actually educated players on how to refer to transgender people.
But this game has done it.
Not only are you allowed to enter into queer relationships with characters in the game, but you also have the option of cultivating multiple consensual romantic relationships.
That’s right, they allow both queerness and polyamory in a video game.
This goes one step further than Dragon Age, which would require you to break up with a current partner if you developed a romantic relationship with someone else. Fallout doesn’t treat relationships that way; all of your partners know about each other, and everyone is fine with it.
This adds another, more intriguing aspect to role-playing games. It’s one that’s been missing, yet could have been a possibility for some time.
The relationship models are receiving mixed reviews. For many, it’s a welcome addition and it’s a huge step forward from a major video game producer (namely, Bethesda, better known for their Elder Scrolls titles). Others are screaming about how it’s pandering to “social justice warriors.”
What this game does is present an alternative relationship style, without the fanfare of saying, “Hey, look, we’re including relationship models outside of the social norm! WE ARE SO PROGRESSIVE!” Instead, it’s an innocuous part of the game.
More importantly, they allow for people to be bisexual. You can pursue any human in the game… only humans, though. That means no dating the super mutants that you run across in the wasteland.
Cupcake Games founder Rukia Brooks, who is transgender, said about the game’s relationships, “One huge aspect that I have always had an issue in games is the idea of being bound to a character. I remember specifically in Dragon Age: Origins having a soft spot for Leliana but also Alistair. So it was rather crushing that I couldn’t romance and have a polyamorous relationship with both.
“I think the fact that Fallout 4 has the option to have multiple partners is wonderful, but I wish there was actually dialogue to reconcile the fact of your character being polyamorous.”
This is a huge step forward from companies that have otherwise played it safe by catering to straight, male gamers.
Jimquisition has an interesting video about it (fair warning, it isn’t safe for work):