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Gray notes that while queer people—along with women and people of color—have long been expected to sympathize with straight, white cis characters, the mainstream games industry remains reluctant to ask the reverse.And yet, this presumed lack of empathy or imagination hasn’t stopped lots of people outside the LGBT community from playing and helping make it a hit.“This is a very queer game, but it has legs longer than what a lot of people might have considered niche,” Gray says.It’s a subversion of dating sims that is not just the best dating sim I’ve ever played but also one of the best games of the year.At first glance, the game's romantic roster looks like a who’s who of sexy stereotypes: the bad boy, the jock, the sensitive artist, the clean-cut hunk."We can have narratives that are about queer people that are not necessarily about being queer.It’s about these relationships.”When you create your own character, you also have the option to make him a trans dad if you wish, complete with the ability to choose chest binders.They simply follow their hearts, and any obstacles they face are a result of emotional and personal complications, not struggles with their identities.“We were determined to not make any of the dads' individual paths their sexuality or have their sexuality be their defining trait," Gray says.
Like the rest of the dads, he is who he is—and he is allowed to be, without controversy.
is an unabashedly queer game, but not performatively so; it's far more interested in being than announcing.
Some of the dads have had relationships with women before, some with men, but there's no agonizing about their sexual orientation and no more mention of it than there would be in a traditionally heterosexual romance.
“A lot of times with dating sims it’s a matter of getting a read on the character’s personality and telling them exactly what they want to hear,” Gray says.
“That's a really frustrating way to play a game.”, though, encourages players not to think about romance as a game at all.
“You’re not going to be sleeping on a mattress surrounded by empty bottles of Mountain Dew. A daddy who has their life together enough to take care of another person is probably more emotionally mature than a twentysomething dude might be.”If ’s hit status suggests any one thing, though, it's that entrenched ideas about what kind of games can be successful and who wants to play them have less to do with reality and more to do with the self-fulfilling prophecy that the industry has become.