Player controlled in-game Romance dates way back to the visual novels and largely text based RPG adventures of the early 1990s. For decades we've been exploring parasocial relationships between human player and digital love interest. From the Baldur's Gate Tales of the Sword Coast Expansion to...well, Baldur's Gate 3, getting your game freak on has become a cherished part of the modern Role Playing Game experience.
So why does Starfield's feel so...empty?
Short answer: it's too close to reality. Part of the fun of in-game romance is exploring possibilities beyond those we find in our own lives, not only of the universally accepted LGBTQ+ variety–which Starfield does feature, and we love–but also beyond what is strictly human. Games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Fallout 4 and yes, Baldur's Gate 3 have allowed us to couple with a myriad of horned, winged and weird footed humanoids.
But why exactly do we want to get it on with non-human creatures? On the this episode of Reality Check, Emma Fyffe explores the why behind our extra-human desires and how our enduring love of monsters is about finding safe spaces to engage with our sexuality.