Okay but motherfreaking shout-out to Fallout 4 for letting me dress up my Sole Survivor in stylish yet badass and practical combatwear. Given Bethesda’s recently history with practical armor on ladies has been bizarrely hit-and-miss (*COUGH weird out-of-place ebony boobplate in Skyrim COUGH*), mad props for finally hitting it out of the park.
Almost every outfit is exactly the same on every character regardless of gender, and the only outfit that falls into “post-apocalyptic bikini” is the cosplay of a character in an in-universe comic that’s an homage/parody to Conan, and looks appropriately and deliberately ridiculous no matter who you put it on:
I mean, hell, the outfit literally entitled “Corset” looks A) like how a corset WOULD fit on a human body, and B) not even that sexualized, like it’s less “sexy” and more “check out my sweet biceps before you get dunked on” Though that may be my bias towards sweet biceps talking.
Long story short, in a medium full of awkward, poorly-designed outfits for ladies that are primarily designed for titillation purposes over actual narrative and characterization, props to the art teams at Bethesda for giving us some clothes that have personality without sacrificing practicality.
Fallout 4 has been rather awesome in terms of providing gender equitable attire for badasses and has, as far as I can find, avoided the usual Bethesba problem of making attire magically reform itself based on the wearer’s gender.
Unfortunately, I am reluctant to endorse it without condition because this equality seems to have come at the price of a weird sort of passive aggressive display of contempt for those who want to play as a female Sole Survivor.
Below the cut contains mild spoilers regarding the introductions in Fallout 3 and Fallout 4.
The traditional Bethesba opening, as per pretty much the Elder Scrolls series, was that you were a prisoner who was being released and now had to start your own life. Your race, gender, etc were all insignificant as you’re separated from who you were and need to start all over.
In Fallout 3 they broke this pattern by having be a child in a Vault, with a father and you leave the Vault pretty much before you get to establish your life in any sort of meaningful way – so again, all your identity is more or less irrelevant.
Fallout 4 sets up an opening with a married couple in the pre-war Fallout world. The intro specifies, regardless of which gender the player chooses, that the husband (who narrates the opening video) is a war veteran and the wife is a homemaker with a law degree she earned at night school (no mention of if she ever worked or passed a bar exam).
Some have argued this makes them equals – but the problem is that the game treats the player as a war veteran regardless of who you take. You’re a trained shooter who can operate power armor and never mentions anything about law or related studies.
The pushed assumption that you really want to play as a man is particularly bad given that whichever option you don’t take meets an ending before you even finish the basic tutorials and is more or less forgotten about shortly after the start of the game proper.
So while the costumes are great – it’d be nice if Bethesba could combine them with the old fashioned game/role equality they used to have in their games… right up until Fallout 4.