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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Designing Morality in Games

[Gamasutra interviews Bethesda's Emil Pagliarulo and 2K Marin's Jordan Thomas to discuss the importance of building challenging, satisfying ethical gameplay -- both in games the duo created such as Oblivion, Fallout 3 and BioShock 2, and in the work of others.]
To a certain degree, all games are about choice. The player chooses how and when to react to a given situation, whether that situation is as simple as fight or flight or as complex as determining the future of an entire species. Given the role that choice holds in gameplay, it's no surprise that morality systems have become more and more common as games have increased in complexity.

Oftentimes these morality systems offer up only basic black and white choices: should I help this character or harm them? Should I defeat the evil wizard or accept his offer of power? Various types of moral choice systems appear in complex RPGs like Mass Effect 2, adventure games like Heavy Rain, and even straightforward action titles like Dante's Inferno.


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