With the third (and last) major DLC of Bethesda’s “Fallout 4” coming out sometime next week, I thought I’d write this blog in honor of one of the best things to ever happen to the Fallout series
The “Fallout 4” Creation Kit – an updated version of the engine and modding software used in “Skyrim” – debuted early 2016 to the joy of gamers and modders alike. The new software allows for endless combinations, creations and modifications of the post-apocalyptic bestseller we all know and love.
Mods add hundreds of hours of gameplay to a game that already consumes my free time by the Megaton while simultaneously allowing fans the freedom to explore their own creative expression within the limits of (and sometimes even beyond) the game’s software capabilities.
And if there is anything fanfiction has taught me, it is that fans can produce some of the best content.
Unfortunately, they can also produce some of the worst.
When it was released in late 2015, Bethesda’s “Fallout 4” was one of the most anticipated games of the season. Months later, Bethesda has drawn out the game’s success through consecutive releases of DLC’s like “Automatron,” “Far Harbor” and the soon-to-be-released “Nuka World.”
But in a stunning display of marketing know-how, “Fallout 4” creators released the game’s Creation Kit in order to give fans a (legal) platform for showcasing their modding talents.
By funneling the mods through Bethesda.net, the team behind the “Fallout 4” release and the Bethesda company itself have ensured fans interested in modding return to their site, increasing traffic and keeping their name in the mind of players interested in releasing their own “Fallout” mods.
The engine itself is not always perfect and while some mods are better in theory than in practice, all are welcome and available for download on Bethesda’s website with varying degrees of actual gaming success.
Personally, I have quite a few mods installed including a hair design kit, several workshop expansions, and one allowing Dogmeat to remain a companion even while having another companion character active. While the completionist in me despairs at having achievements turned off while mods are active, I have to say the overall experience is definitely worth it, and not just because mods can provide invaluable cheat codes for enterprising players.
However, scrolling through the 2000 plus mods available online, I found a few mods that caught my eye – and not in a good way.
Remember what I said about fan-produced content being some of the worst. Well, yeah. It sometimes is.
Case in point, mods to make female characters bustier, make their clothes sluttier and even render them completely naked.
My first question upon seeing mods like this is not only why, but whyyyy? (Note the emphasis)
I understand that the whole point of mods is to enhance player’s gaming experience. That said, I cannot say I like the idea of having the breasts of all female characters enlarged for something as base as male pleasure.
But this concept of fanservice is not at all new to gaming.
Miranda from “Mass Effect 2,” Mad Moxxi from “Borderlands,” Catwoman in all her incarnations and many others all belong in this amorphous category of attractive video game women that exist simply for the pleasure of male players.
But part of the reason why I’m so disappointed in the “Fallout 4” mods especially, is because I thought we might actually be past this.
Actually, that’s a lie.
Let me make this clear: I am not advocating for the restriction of any gamer’s right to create and modify content as they please.
I am advocating for some class and just the tiniest bit of self-awareness.
By creating these types of mods, modders are demeaning their fellow female gamers, discrediting their right to play and reducing them to nothing but the punch line of a particularly bad joke.
“But if people don’t like my mods, they don’t have to play them,” these modders may say.
True, but we do have to scroll past them every time we are looking for new mods to download. And just the fact that they exist and that they are so popular – this “Sexy Mistress” mod has over 200,000 downloads and it was created less than a month ago – is a blight on the gaming community and a huge disappointment for everyone involved.
These mods are in poor taste and they make for poor gameplay, and in today’s gaming world, there’s already plenty of that to go around.
So mod carefully, my friends, and let the power of Lara Croft be with you.