Fallout 76 player who uses a wheelchair asked Bethesda for representation in her favorite game.
The visibility of disability characters in video games isn’t where it should be. Even though we have seen some changes implemented by studios, there’s still a long way to go. As we start to slip into the end of a horrendous year, hearing some wholesome and heartwarming news is most definitely needed for many of us. It seems that rarely do we hear good stories due to being bombarded with studio crunch and lay-offs but thankfully today, we can share one. Two months ago, Fallout 76 player Kelly Leunen, who suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and relies on a wheelchair, asked Bethesda via Reddit if they could incorporate mobility aids into the camp customization options so that she felt seen within the game she loves so much. A month later, Bethesda fulfilled her plea in the latest Fallout 76 update.
Kelly had initially written on Reddit that it would “make me so happy to have that little piece of me in my creations. And I think a lot of other people would enjoy it too”. With the community behind her, Kelly’s post gained a lot of traction and received over 2.8k upvotes. A wheelchair prop already existed in Fallout 76 and players believed it would be a simple matter of making it possible for characters to sit in the prop and adding it to the camp options. The post eventually caught the eye of Bethesda’s community manager who then commented on her post to say “Update on this: You can now build this in the PTS. It is coming in our next update to the live game. :)”.
The much-anticipated Steel Dawn expansion which was originally scheduled to launch on 1st December – ended up dropping early due to an error a few days ago but Kelly sure didn’t mind this one bit as she took to Twitter to express her happiness at finding the in-game mobility device ready to be used in her camp.
— Kelly (Kel) (@Kytahl) November 25, 2020
Yesterday, Kelly also gave everyone an update in a separate Reddit post where she thanked those who helped her achieve her goal. After sharing a link to an interview with Kotaku and an image of her in-game chair, she wrote “Thank you, guys. Without the boost of love Reddit gave me when I boosted this, this would’ve never happened. Thank you, THANK YOU!! from the bottom of my heart, I can not explain how much this means.” Kelly has also set up a GoFundMe to help her gain funds to get a Canta car which is a two-seat microcar from the Netherlands specifically created for disabled drivers so that she can remain as independent as possible. If you would like to help and support Kelly in reaching her goal, please visit Kelly’s fundraising page right here.
You can check out the first trailer released for Steel Dawn right here. Originally named Fractured Steel, the expansion was set to release this December but as previously stated, it has since been released early and is now available.