The last time I had a parental figure in a Bethesda RPG it was in Fallout 3, when my daddy Liam Neeson went out for smokes and left me alone to nearly die in Vault 101. I spent the rest of the game trying to track him down in hopes I could enact some shotgun-based justice. Screw you, dad!
So when I saw one of Starfield's traits gives me parents, I hesitated to choose it. Was I setting myself for anger and heartbreak all over again?
Nope. The best choice I made in my entire game playthrough of Starfield was picking the Kid Stuff trait. It was the gift that kept on giving and led to tons of memorable and hilarious moments.
In fact, I'm gonna slap a heavy spoiler warning on this right now, because I would recommend seeing for yourself what happens when you have the Kid Stuff trait. If you're curious but not worried about spoilers, then keep on reading.
Mom and Pop stars
My parental adventure started out simply enough. I got a quest just an hour or two into my playthrough telling me to go visit my parents at their apartment in the residential area New Atlantis, and after a quick chat they seemed to be perfectly nice, normal people, if a little on the dull side. They were very impressed to hear that I was now working at Constellation, the space exploration guild, and thanked me for sending money home to them—the stipulation of the Kid Stuff trait is that 2% of your cash is deducted weekly. You're supporting your parents as they enter retirement.
I figured that was about it when it came to having parents, but a while later I returned to Constellation headquarters to finish up a quest, and who do I see standing around in the main room among my new coworkers? Mom and Dad. I genuinely felt a burst of embarrassment, like when I was a kid and my friends were over and my mom would walk into the room to make conversation. Moooom! Get outta here!
At the same time, it was sort of a delightful little moment. Wow, they really are so proud and impressed that I'm working with Constellation, they just had to come down here and see it for themselves! And it wasn't their only trip to my workplace: a few quests later I was doing some crafting in Constellation's basement lab, and one of the team members walked up to me and told me my dad had come by. Since I wasn't here, he left a note with her. Again, it felt embarrassing. Now my dad is bugging my coworkers with his nonsense? Also… does my dad not know how to send a text message, even here in the distant future?
I sheepishly went to my parent's apartment to see what was up, and Dad handed me a gun. Another surprise! But it wasn't just any gun, it was an antique pistol belonging to one of the original members of Constellation. Dad had bought and restored it, and thought it might be nice if I were carrying around a piece of history in my holster. Thanks, Dad! A pretty touching, if deadly, gesture.
More notes from my folks followed, always delivered to me by Constellation members that I was starting to feel sorry for, and Mom and Dad had more gifts for me. My grandmother, it turns out, was a marine back in the war, and Mom found her old armored space suit and gave it to me. Dad told me he bragged to his friends because I was on the news (I'd foiled a bank robbery on another planet). He also told me he'd been playing poker (with my money) and won a spaceship. He gave that to me, too. Sure, I was losing hundreds of credits weekly by having parents, but it was paying off.
But those are just a few things that happened on the planet of Jemison. Mom and Dad might occasionally dig old guns and spacesuits out of mothballs, but they aren't just puttering around their apartment 24/7. I've run into them in a few places across the galaxy, too.
There I was in Neon, a scuzzy cyberpunk city drowning in gangsters, crooked security guards, evil corporations, and powerful crime bosses. A place so far from sanitized United Colonies jurisdiction that hallucinogenic drugs are actually legal. While exploring a pulse-pounding nightclub I walked to the very back of the room to see if a bartender had anything interesting to say.
And who should I see hanging out in the crowded cyberpunk dance club? My. Middle-aged. Parents.
And what were they doing there? They were trying to score some drugs. As I approached I overhead Mom saying "I don't see what the big deal is. It's all legal."
This wasn't part of some quest. There was no marker pinpointing their location. They hadn't left me a note telling me to meet them there. They weren't even at the front of the club near the doors, they were way off in the back. I would never have seen them if I hadn't deliberately been scouring the club. From that moment on, I made sure that everywhere I went in the galaxy, I kept an eye out for an out-of-place couple in their autumn years.
And I spotted them again, this time in the dusty backwater town of Akila City. I'd already been there probably a dozen times on various space cowboy quests, but I was doing some exploring in the far corner of the city and spotted a ramshackle "alien zoo" so I decided to take a peek. It was a dump, containing a few small wooden fences and the smallest, least-interesting alien critters I've ever seen. And visiting the tourist trap: my folks again.
I'm completely delighted. My space adventure is funding their space adventure. Even dozens of hours in, I feel sure I've yet to see the last of them. I recently swung by their apartment for a visit, and they mentioned they were planning a vacation soon, so I'll have to keep my eyes peeled. Where will they turn up next? A pleasure resort on the paradise planet? The gambling dens of the Red Mile? Will they take a trip to Mars? I have no idea, but I can't wait to find out.