By Jada Jinks
The Outer Worlds is a game that was a success for a number of reasons. The game is set in outer space, where you travel to different areas within the solar system and go on your own adventures. The two main entities you have to choose between are Phineas Wells and the Board, ultimately choosing what kind of change you want to bring to the colony. All these factors combine to bring people a nuanced and complex game that is both challenging and fun.
While there are many great editorial choices in this game, one of the greatest choices of all was to include an often underrepresented minority amongst the game’s companions. This is the game’s companion Parvarti Holcomb, someone who is biromantic asexual.
Parvarti Holcomb is one of the first companions that you run across in the game. You can find her when you go to meet with Reed Tompson about getting a power regulator for your ship. After you finish talking to Reed Tobson, you can choose to have Parvarti join your party and become your companion.
Parvati’s shy attitude, her deep compassion for others, and her never-ending love for mechanics players find endearing. The central focus point of her story is her decision to believe in goodness. Another part of her story is her learning how to gradually be more confident in herself. She starts off the game anti-social, but if you play things right, she'll be strong enough to stand up to the chairman of the board.
Though she is asexual and that aspect of herself has affected her past relationship, her asexuality is not the focal point of her story.
Parvarti’s story challenges the assumption and stereotype that asexual people can not be in romantic relationships. Her main quest line involves helping her find the courage to ask the woman she loves out on a date. While her asexuality does not stop her from pursuing romance, it does come up as a topic of worry.
In her words, “It’s been a problem in the past. Folks who wanted to be with me back in the Vale? They didn’t–they said I was cold.”
Other people she loved have reacted negatively to her asexuality, so she’s afraid that the new woman she loves, Junlei, will react the same way. This is a real-life problem that many asexuals face. They deal with a significant amount of stigma in romantic relationships.
Luckily, in the game, Junlei accepts that Parvarti is asexual and has no desire to change her in any way. While many games fail to make romantic quest lines interesting, this game’s romantic quest line is both heartwarming and rewarding.
Lastly, what’s great about Parvarti’s story is that she’s also a woman of color. Content creators are increasingly being told that they have to diversify not only in terms of sexuality, but also in terms of race and ethnicity. The fact that the game creators took those concerns to heart, created a character that was diverse in terms of her race and sexuality, and made her such a lovable character in the process is nothing short of an achievement.
Play Outer Worlds and enjoy this shy, but sweet mechanic girl!