The Brotherhood Of Steel brought a lot of metal with them when they arrived in Fallout 76. Power Armour, weapons, you name it. But in a more quietly pleasant addition to the wasteland, it looks like Bethesda also added wheelchairs with last week's update, following one fan's request to see their own real-life mobility aid represented in the post-apocalyptic sandbox.
As spotted by PCGamesN, a wheelchair user and Fallout fall named Kelly recently posted her excitement on finding the update had added the mobile chairs to the game. While they're not useable in the same way, she seemed overjoyed at simply being able to place one inside her player camp.
— Kelly (Kel) (@Kytahl) November 25, 2020
Posting on the Fallout 76 Reddit a month ago, Kelly (posting as Kythall) requested whether, as a disabled player herself, it would be possible to get a wheelchair to place in her camp. The request was pretty quickly picked up by a Bethesda staffer who noted first that they'd raised it with the team, with the chair entering the public test server shortly after.
"I know it’s just a furniture item, but I hope in the future of gaming we can get more disabled characters," Kelly added, in conversation with Kotaku. "I know it would’ve helped me as a teen, as I struggled immensely with how I viewed myself. It often gets connected with being useless, and that’s how I felt growing up."
Currently, the wheelchair simply acts as a normal chair. And for the time being, that's all the player asked for. Addressing so-called "Devil's Advocates" in her comments, Kelly notes that she was simply asking for an existing piece of furniture to be peaceable in camp. Even so, Fallout 76 features characters of varying physical ability, and it wouldn't hurt to see that more fairly represented in players' toolkits.
"I just wanted to add: proctor Ingram is disabled. She uses her power armour to get around. Mama Murphy was supposed to be disabled but due to engine limits, she wasn't. Disabled people aren't useless, you guys. Even if we can't physically keep up, sometimes our smarts are enough."
As it stands, it's a small addition - but evidently a welcome one. Games so rarely recognise the full range of body diversity, especially when it comes to how we move through their spaces as player characters. It'd be nice to think that, in some future Fallout, Bethesda may go that one step further and give us a wheelchair-accessible wasteland to explore.