The Elder Scrolls Online has always been a game that embraces inclusivity, and the team has done it again with the upcoming addition of new character, Amalien. Amalien is a high elf NPC, located in the Antiquarian Circle in Solitude. She’s part of the game’s upcoming expansion, The Elder Scrolls: Greymoor, and fans are welcoming her to the game with more appreciation than usual as she’s the first TES character to use a wheelchair.
Wheelchairs and other equipment used by those with disabilities are (sadly) quite rare in video games, and it’s always great to see more representation. For one gamer, the inclusion of Amalien has meant a great deal.
Twitch partner and TES fan, Aeyvi, took to Twitter to share her personal appreciation of Amalien, and to thank Bethesda for the character.
She tweeted: “I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the folks at [TES Online] for adding Amalien to the game. This means so much to many of us. I wanted to burst into tears on stream as it’s tethered to so many raw emotions. It’s very strange to encounter something that is so much a part of real life struggles entering into an environment that has been the biggest source of social activity, escapism and freedom since becoming disabled. However it’s so incredibly important and meaningful to have it represented there.
“It’s wonderful to see disability visible or not, represented in the gaming environment as it not only acknowledges disabled members of the community but also promotes awareness, which is crucial to understanding, compassion and normalisation.”
Speaking exclusively to GameByte, Amalien said the following: “I’ve often come across characters in games I have played with mobility aids, such as canes or wheelchairs (a prominent one would be Bloodborne but that’s in a very extreme environment).
“Where this differs is that it’s an MMO. I was told on stream that Drek’Thar was in a wheelchair in [World of Warcraft] but to my memory of say 12 years playing the game, I’d not actually noticed.
“With Amalien it’s so ‘normalised’ yet in a prominent building. She’s in an area that many players will visit as the Antiquities system is new, yet she’s not right in entrance to make it super obvious.
“It’s a difficult [thing] to feature in any game as you would have to consider how it will be perceived and have a great deal of forethought as to not be insensitive. This type of addition also would have to be done in a way that is inclusive yet fits with the fantasy environment, otherwise it may look disjointed. I believe that from what I’ve seen on the PTS [the developers] have achieved this, and the character has been added with a great deal of care.
“In a perfect world it would be nice to see this adopted and normalised in MMOs, in a suitable way that is in keeping with the game style. Disability representation is a fantastic step in the right direction, but moving forward it would be great to see a story quest involving a character with chronic invisible illness, as I believe this is an incredibly difficult area, awareness wise.
“Perhaps it would bring a better understanding to the hardships some with this kind of illness go through. Either way I know ESO’s inclusion of Amalien will be appreciated by so many of us within the community.”
Aeyvi isn’t the only person who’s thrilled with the inclusion of Amalien. Her tweet continues to be flooded with an outpour of appreciation for both Amalien and Bethesda, with hundreds of people praising the inclusive move.
We spoke to charity, Everyone Can, an organisation which aims to make gaming a reality for those with disabilities. Community engagement and fundraising officer, Nikki Jones, said the following: “Game developers are paying a lot of attention these days to ensuring games are accessible for disabled gamers to play; which is incredible! But by going that extra mile and including visibility of disabled people in the game is also important. It shows gamers that there are no barriers and has the potential to make gamers from all walks of life feel included.”
Find out more about Everyone Can and the great work they do right here.
The Greymoor expansion will be released on May 26 for PC/Mac and June 9 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Featured Image Credit: Bethesda/TESfangirrl