Video games and parents often do not go hand in hand. They are often put on the back burner, if their existence is acknowledged at all. Sure, sad-dad games like The Last of Us or God of War (2018) received acclaim, but they’re the exception.
Parents who aren’t the protagonists of a contemplative journey with a younger person get an even more raw deal. Protagonists often have seemingly absent parents who are likely to leave them orphaned. This applies even to the recent Final Fantasy 16, where protagonist Clive’s parents are quickly taken out of the picture.
This is where Starfield breaks some ground because Bethesda’s latest popular RPG lets your parents be around. They can be out there somewhere, in a space as expansive as Starfield‘s, and they deserve a visit.
Coming home from the stars
Not every player can visit the ones who raised them in Starfield. The Kid Stuff trait is required to have a healthy visit home. It outlines that your parents are in good health, but you send 2% of your credits to them every week. Picking this trait is more or less the equivalent of paying your loving parents back for raising you well.
The best part is that they always have their door open for you! The protagonist’s parents reside in New Atlantis, a city that is also the first hub players visit. Finding them is easy, as players will get an objective to check on them after joining Constellation.
Adding to the cozy feeling having a healthy family visit brings, they live comfortably in a nice apartment. Both parents are successful in their respective fields and happen to be incredibly supportive of the player. While the initial meeting begins rather awkwardly, as they had no idea the protagonist left the gig at Argos, they are still happy to see them. Surprise even turns into excitement when the player announces they joined Constellation.
A sweet moment in this first meeting is that they immediately believe, and are excited for, their child. The surprise is still there, but they did not doubt that their child would be something special in life.
Starfield‘s character creator does invite role-playing life history
While your parents go unacknowledged in most games, some series go out of their way to exclude them. The later Persona games are an example of this, as they come up with excuses to exclude the protagonist’s parents. What we can glean from these games is that they seemingly want their child out of their lives. In the fourth game, this was by not letting the protagonist travel abroad, and in the fifth, they never interacted with the lead after sending him off.
Starfield portrays the protagonist’s parents as a straight married couple, but they are probably more supportive than many who share that background. It also potentially gives a clearer idea of who the protagonist is when considering other choices made for their backstory.
Alongside the Kid Stuff trait, my character in Starfield is also a Neon City Street Rat and Empath with a background as a Cyber Runner. This means that despite having a healthy background regarding their parents, getting to that point likely required work.
My take on this character is that she’s a teenage runaway with a talent for sneaking about. Since her parents mentioned moving around a lot, this runaway probably happened while they lived in Neon City. After some time passed and she gained a reputation in the city, she wanted to reconnect with her parents. Another thing mentioned is that the protagonist didn’t live in New Atlantis with her parents long, so she found them as a young adult. The bond became stronger, and she began sending them some money weekly to show gratitude to her parents for reconnecting.
I’m unsure that Bethesda intended this amount of thought in the protagonist’s story, but it’s neat that it’s there. It also helps there are tangible benefits to being close to family.
Plus, you get a gun
The protagonist’s parents might reside comfortably in New Atlantis, but keeping in contact leads to a nifty reward. After telling them the good employment news and visiting the Constellation’s headquarters, both parents will be inside having a light-hearted conversation with Nova. Talking to them leads to a back-and-forth where the mother reveals that the protagonist is living the dream she had as a girl. The conversation gets exciting when the father states he has a gift.
I didn’t think much when he mentioned having a gift for my character. I figured it would be something small like a book or an outfit at best. I was wrong.
Dad gave me a modified gun called Sir Livingstone’s Pistol. A solid one at that, with greater power than many of my other guns. The cherry on top of this is that my character specializes in stealth and sneaking around, with pistols as her preferred firearm. This awesome weapon was perfect for her build, and I only have my protagonist’s parents to thank for that.
There’s a lesson here about keeping a healthy relationship with your parents in Starfield. We all come from varying backgrounds, and many people might not have parents as nice as the ones in Starfield. For those who have a healthy relationship with good parents, keep at it and they might give you a sick gun.