In the past, a number of games have used parenting as part of the story line, such as The Walking Dead. But none have ever used parenting to the extent Yakuza 6 and God of War use it. Parenting in these new games is a focal part of the story line.
In God of War, which is a reimagining of an old series, parenting as theme is very explicit. Kratos, who is the hero of the the game, is now living out his days with his son Atreus, and he has become somewhat mellow because of this. Much of the game play relates to helping Arteus. What’s more, often during the game Kratos interacts with his son.
Kratos becoming a father has allowed the character to become more dimensional in comparison to previous editions of the game. In those, he was simply a man bent on revenge, but in this game he is trying to become a better person, so as to be an example to his son. Also, the relationship between the two characters has a big impact on how the game unfolds.
In the game, Kratos is constantly trying to teach his son how to become self-reliant, which is necessary in a world of monsters and nasty gods. Early on, Arteus cannot help his father much in battle, but, as the game progresses, under Kratos’ tutelage he improves. Eventually, he even takes a proactive role in battles, thanks in large part to the relationship that builds between the characters. There is also an important scene in the game when Arteus disappears. This is a disappearance players can feel.
In Yakuza 6, the parenting theme is a little more subtle, but it is there as well. Kiryu, who is the protagonist of the game, is only a surrogate father to a boy. But parenting is still a key facet of the game.