Playing with Patriarchy: Fatherhood in BioShock: Infinite, The Last of Us, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Lucat Bertrand
2017 DiGRA '17 - Proceedings of the 2017 DiGRA International Conference

A number of prominent digital games have in recent years featured fathers as protagonists. The ideological implications of those games’ different representations of fatherhood and masculinity appear as important axes of investigation into the roles digital games can play in contemporary ideological discourse. Through a close comparative analysis and reading of BioShock: Infinite (Irrational Games 2013), The Last of Us (Naughty Dog 2013), and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt RED 2015), this paper examines the narrative, representational, and procedural elements which frame fatherhood in these three popular games. Relying upon the foundations of procedural rhetoric and the concept of hegemonic masculinities, this paper focuses on three key themes: paternal violence, anti-fathers, and exceptional daughters. The different ways these themes are represented in the three games highlights how they respectively reinforce, restore, and challenge notions of patriarchal authority, the role of the father, and contemporary gender ideologies.