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Designing Morality into Games

February 12, 2011

In this Gamasutra article from 2010, J.Matthew Zoss speaks with key developers from two different studios to examine how developers make in-game moral choices that are both intellectually engaging and stimulating from a gameplay perspective.

“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 likeMass Effect 2, adventure games like Heavy Rain, and even straightforward action titles like Dante’s Inferno.Compelling moral choices can encourage players to experiment with different ethical stances over multiple play throughs, while underdeveloped morality systems can seem like little more than an additional bullet point on the back of the box.” read on

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