A game where playing as a marginalized character wasn’t an “option” tacked on as a way for a developer to get progressive/SJ cred, but a fully realized part of the narrative and marketing for the game.
A game where…
You can marry anyone you like in Skyrim, and you can be any race you like with any set of skills you like, regardless of your race’s natural abilities. Even if you’re a Nord or a Redguard, you don’t have to be fair or dark skinned. The most racism I’ve seen in the game so far was when I was fighting some bandits with my Khajiit and they said I’d make a good rug. And then I laced them with arrows.
This doesn’t make up for all the bullshit other games try to get away with, but I think it’s a step in a good direction.
This, right here, is part of the problem.
You’re missing my point. The answer I am looking for is not “this game lets you get gay married and be dark-skinned!” Much less more proselytizing about Skyrim (which has its own monumental set of problems regrading race and racism).
The first Dragon Age let you have same-gender partners, but neither potential relationship was as remotely important to the plot as the heterosexual options, which were earth-shattering in nature. It was as clear an example as The Gay Option trope as there is.
The second finally put same-gender relationships on par with a hetero one. But the sole trans* character was a minor NPC that was a stereotypical caricature of a sex worker played for laughs. And your Warden and Hawke can be as darkskinned as you want. They will still be the darkest person you will ever run into during the course of the game (in the Warden’s case, most glaringly including hir biological family).
It’s not about “having options”, is what I’m saying. It’s about building a story from the ground up with marginalized people being important. It’s about marginalized people not existing in a tokenistic bubble. It’s about developers not starting with “hetero cis white male” as default and then tacking on “options”.
“Options” fucking suck. “Options” are othering, and they are crumbs from a banquet table that is set for hetero cis white people.