The Rising Maturity of Video Games

Using Mass Effect and The Witcher series as two particular examples, the editors at OnlySP have editorialized about "the rising maturity of video games" and why that's ultimately a good thing for all of us if the creators handle the content appropriately. A couple of paragraphs that cover the two previously mentioned RPG series:

Even forward-thinking AAA games are still hit-and-miss when it comes to this kind of material, but in the grand scheme, the selection of crude offerings and more well-intentioned missteps is still something we ought support. Why? Because you can't explore issues that you can't even raise in the first place. In fact, the evolution of gaming goes hand in hand with its more troublesome traditions. Without affection ratings and other dating elements nudged into RPGs, we wouldn't have the well-loved companion romances of the Bioware library, complete with some of their more inclusive modern offerings. And without many (and sometimes egregious) examples of vile human behavior offered in the name of (grittiness,) we probably wouldn't have the varied selection of games meditating on ethical choice that we do today, like in the ever-popular survival genre.

Sometimes, these contradictions even appear within the same series, or the same game.

In The Witcher series, Geralt is an infamous womanizer, and your typical reward-style romances are scattered throughout. Find the right NPC, pick the right story options and dialogue, get sex (complete with NSFW collectible cards in the first game, and graphic cutscenes in the later ones). Yet some of these offer interesting characterization, such as with Ves in the second game, an interaction that might best be described as two soldiers baring their scars. Then there's Geralt and Triss, notable for being everything but the typical prize. The two characters start in a relationship and there's no tricky game elements to push it forward; they're a loving but independent pair who are totally comfortable with one another in a way that's refreshingly frank. That dynamic grows more important as Geralt's past (with a troublesome prior relationship) is slowly revealed.