“Dads are such a universal, emotional thing for people, whether you have a good or bad relationship with your father, or no father in your life,” Gray says.
“I think we all have really complex emotions toward [them].”She also thinks there’s a particular appeal for millennials who are accustomed to dating less … “A daddy isn’t going to forget their wallet,” Gray says.
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.
“The most moving [feedback] comes from people who are trans or nonbinary people feeling really included in this experience,” Gray says.
“Someone actually messaged me today and said that this game encouraged them to come out as non-binary to their parents.
“Younger women, women who are queer like me, and younger people in general are interested in more complex narrative experience from a videogame.”Nor does putting queer characters and experiences center stage mean that a general audience can’t embrace them as well.One of the dads, Damien, is transgender as well, though you can easily play through the game without realizing it; there's no neon sign pointing at his gender identity, only subtle hints as you get to know him better.Like the rest of the dads, he is who he is—and he is allowed to be, without controversy. The game casts you in the role of a single father who has just moved to a new town with his teenage daughter.Although the two of you have been on your own for a while, the death of your spouse—you can specify if they were male or female—clearly still weighs on your mind.“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.