Inclusion is big in games, and for good reason! The real world is a diverse and wonderful place. It is only fitting that the virtual ones match. Every day, companies are going further to find places to include representation of various minorities. Case in point is Destiny 2. While the game very obviously includes a gay character in Devrim Kay, the major European Dead Zone NPC, it also has other nods toward inclusion. Most recently, exotics with lesbian lore attached to them have been in the news.
But the question is, is this a good thing? Are these two discovered exotics in Destiny 2 a great way to continue to bridge the gap and welcome everyone into the game so they can feel safe and included? Should we be calling attention to and lauding them? Or is it silly to even think this is included and people are making a big deal about these items?
I would lean toward the former. Any time developers can do anything to make our games more realistic is an absolute positive. We want everyone to find something that calls to them in their games. By making the Karnstein’s Armlets, whose lore says they continually use a neuromech trawl to help a woman find her long lost wife, and Eriana’s Vengeance, a ship with a melancholy love letter from a woman to her dead girlfriend, Bungie has done something that is the very opposite of silly. These two exotics are important. Not just because they give us a cool looking armor and a neat ship, but because they offer us windows into the love and devotion between two people. They give us examples of how love transcends all and help us understand the devotion between people.
Plus, the way in which Bungie is implementing these things is rather ingenious. It isn’t making a big deal about these items having lesbian lore attached to them. They aren’t being called out and shown off. They are there. They exist, just as they are in real life. No fanfare is needed. It is a comforting inclusion that shows everyone is accepted and welcome in this universe. They are tender expressions of love. If Bungie was going around, making a big deal about Destiny 2’s Karnstein’s Armlets and Eriana’s Vengeance, then this would be an entirely different situation. It would feel like a forced attempt to garner goodwill. But it is not that. It is a natural acknowledgement of the kinds of love and relationships that exist in the world. It shows touching glimpses into the lives of two women who loved their significant others, who also happened to be female.
The way Bungie handled things also means people who wish to avoid such things could easily pass over it. Those players who hold differing opinions do not have anything pushed on them. These two items’ names don’t offer any indication as to their backstory. Eriana’s Vengeance is named after its owner, Eriana-3. Karnstein’s Armlets is named for the Hunter who created them. Nothing is forced on anyone. Someone who doesn’t care for such things could discard or ignore them, if they wished. (I mean, they would be missing out on good exotics if they did, but still.) Nothing is in anyone’s face. It is handled as it is in real life: lesbian relationships exist.
Any time a developer attempts to make a game more inclusive, it is far from trivial. Such efforts can never be silly. The only time they fall flat is when they are disingenuous and forced attempts, rather than coming from a place where people are trying to be true to life and people who deserve more representation. Destiny 2’s exotics with lesbian lore attached to them are wonderful things. More important, they are well implemented in the game. Bungie deserves kudos for their them.
Image Credit: Its Raining Neon