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Monday, March 16, 2020

Video Games Need More Complex Morality Systems

Hayes Madsen
Originally published 26 Feb 20

Hereis an excerpt:

Perhaps a bigger issue is the simple fact that games separate decisions into these two opposed ideas. There's a growing idea that games need to represent morality as shades of grey, rather than black and white. Titles like The Witcher 3 further this effort by trying to make each conflict not have a right or wrong answer, as well as consequences, but all too often the neutral path is ignored. Even with multiple moral options, games generally reward players for being good or evil. Take inFamous for example, as making moral choices rewards you with good or bad karma, which in turn unlocks new abilities and powers. The problem here is that great powers are locked away for players on either end, cordoning off gameplay based on your moral choices.

Video games need to make more of an effort to make any choice matter for players, and if they decide to go back and forth between good and evil, that should be represented, not discouraged. Things are seldom black and white, and for games to represent that properly there needs to be incentive across the board, whether the player wants to be good, evil, or anything in between.

Moral choices can shape the landscape of game worlds, even killing characters or entire races. Yet, choices don't always need to be so dramatic or earth-shattering. Characterization is important for making huge decisions, but the smaller day-to-day decisions often have a bigger impact on fleshing out characters.

The info is here.