Weirdo Fallout Players Are Obsessed With Cleaning Women

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Photo: Fallout 4

Fallout 4, the newest blockbuster role-playing video game, came out last week. You may already know this, since the game has been the subject of a pretty heavy media blitz before launch. You may already own it: Bethesda Softworks, the game’s publisher, announced that they had shipped 12 million units of the game “representing sales in excess of $750 million” (shipping, it should be noted, is a different metric from sold).

So, a lot of people have this game. While some play on console systems like the Xbox and PlayStation, many are playing it on PC, because that version offers mod support. Mods (short for “modification”) allow players to tweak the game, from things as minor as interface tweaks to more substantial additions like new characters and locales. Mods are popular enough to sustain substantial online communities, and when it comes to modding communities, there are few that can rival the one for Bethesda games.

Given that Fallout 4 is only a week old, many of these mods are simple cosmetic upgrades — higher-quality 3-D models and textures, color swaps, a Taylor Swift background for the playable character’s wearable computer. Last week, a mod for the Boston-set Fallout 4 earned the ire of Major League Baseball because it featured David Ortiz and Red Sox paraphernalia.

I’m personally bewildered, and creeped out, by the clean mods.

Bethesda’s two major RPG franchises are the Elder Scrolls (medieval fantasy) and Fallout (nuclear post-apocalypse). In both cases, the characters in these games are generally hard-scrabble and grimy. And that’s when some of the mods get … weirder. Take, for instance, “Simple clean face for woman,” a mod whose sole purpose is to remove dirt smudges and skin texture from only the game’s female characters, leaving them with an inhuman, artificial smoothness.

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Simple clean face for woman” is just the latest in a long lineage of mods designed to alter the female characters in Bethesda games. There are male-centric and gender-neutral additions as well, but they appear with noticeably less frequency. Here is where I state the obvious: These mods are created by users and distributed via third-party sites like Nexus Mods. They are in no way endorsed or monitored by the game’s creators. It should also be noted that because these are role-playing games, players can assume the role of a female character and alter their own appearance. The utility of these mods is, in a vacuum, not entirely scopophilic.

Body-modding in Bethesda games started off innocent enough. The company’s 2002 hit, the Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, spawned a mod called Better Bodies, which sought “to make a body mod that a modder could easily make clothing for, and that also looked more realistic than the models that come with the game.” It also added character models with genitalia. More than 13 years after Morrowind’s release, Better Bodies is the third-most-popular mod for the game on Nexus Mods, coming in behind a bug patch and a general graphics overhaul.

Modders got more ambitious for Morrowind’s sequel, Oblivion, which was released in 2006. The fifth-most-popular Oblivion mod on Nexus Mods, and the first that isn’t a bug fix or UI tweak, is called Hentai Gentlemen’s EyeCandy Body, uploaded in 2008 and last updated in August 2014. It has many customization options.

There are 4 body versions you can choose:

Normal: This is a modification of the Eye Candy (lower, upper & hand) body meshes made by RAIAR. The upper mesh features more natural looking breasts, improved shoulders area and waist. The lower mesh features a wider rear, wider thighs and a more natural genital area (Yes, it includes some modeled “bits” :P). The wider body shape might clip with certain outfits though. There are a lot of improvements that make the body look more feminine overall. Features Nude (With A, AA, B, C, D & H Cup sizes and S, M, L & XL lowerbody sizes) and Underwear (with E-Cup and Medium lowerbody Size) versions.

Fighter: A more muscular body which features Nude (With A, B, C, D, E & H Cup sizes and S, M, L & XL lowerbody sizes) and Underwear (with E-Cup and Medium lowerbody Size) versions.

Fighter Extra Buff Edition: A body with a bit more substance in the shoulders and upper arms that aims to be the HGEC-Derived body most faithful to the original Exnem’s Eye Candy Body. Features Nude and Underwear versions, both come with with E-Cups and Medium lowerbody size.

GUTS: A very muscular/bulky body featuring H-Cups and a really large lower body. Only Nude version.

This sort of pattern for altering the digital female body repeats for every subsequent Bethesda game. Regarding Fallout 3, one mod user was looking for “Smoth skin no flaws on face.” (“Is there a mod that makes your toon like a glamour toon, no flaws in skin tone looking like she just stepped out of a glamour studio?”) The rest of the thread features users discussing the best mods and technical solutions for clean skin.

hi i cheked my FO3 setings and its disabled but my problem is when ever i face the sun in game my face looks all ugly but if my characters face is in the shade it looks realy prety i dont understand why? please help

In 2011, the fifth Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, hit shelves, and the female mods followed suit. Take as an example this 2013 Steam forum thread, “hey where do i find a mod for smooth skin for skyrim.”

i keep seeing people’s charcters from skyrim with smooth skin, as smooth as well a baby’s butt,(figure of speech) like its super smooth and clean, and their charcters look really young and anime like, and iam trying to find a mod where it makes everyone smooth, like no wrinkles, like they are super smooth, well u know what i mean right?, iam look for one on nexus, and on steam as well,can someone help me? and also i wanna find one were it appears to all races(even the cats and lizards)oh and both genders as well

The questioner is quickly pointed in the direction of CBBE, or Caliente’s Beautiful Bodies Edition, which “replaces the vanilla female body that all adult female characters … share, with one that is fully customisable with the BodySlide tool and BodySlide’s RaceMenu Morphs plugin. By default there are three nude options available that don’t require anything but installation, as well as three underwear styles for these body shapes.”

There is also a “Human Female Clean Face” mod for Skyrim.

This is clearly a persistent trend within the modding community. Which brings us to Fallout 4, already being supplied with body mods. Aside from the aforementioned “Simple Clean Face for Woman,” there’s the “Muscular Female Mod,” which “replaces the standard female body normal map with one with more muscle detail.” Another mod adds more female underwear options for players who want to let their character roam around naked.

Ranked third on Nexus Mods’ list of the top Fallout 4 mods is the “Glorious Female Nude Mod,” which “with Ultra High resolution textures … might be one of the most impressive nude mods so far.” It has been downloaded 111,353 times. A search for male nudes turned up nothing. Well, not nothing; it returned seven different mods for nude women.