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Mature themes you'd like to see in the game

mature themes dialogue philosophy

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#1
Micru

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I haven't seen any topic discussing this, so I'll start with some:
- How good actions can create evil
- The inability to solve all problems
- Interaction with societies with different values
- Contamination, environmental concerns
- Cultural clashes
- Characters with disabilities
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#2
patboy12

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This topic really intrigues me and I'd most like to explore the theme of coming to the realization that not all problems can be solved. I'd like this game to expand on a bunch of different themes though, I'd even like to explore new themes that I wouldn't have expected.
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#3
level10

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I was going to bold the suggestions that I specifically like, but hell, I love them all!

#4
Paul D

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Great list, another four perhaps...
  • How about how evil actions can sometimes create good... the old kill a few to save the many moral dilemma.
  • Problem solving trade-offs... solving one causes problems elsewhere, political friction etc.
  • Betrayal for good (or for evil), and the consequences of that betrayal.
  • Language barriers - where classes have different base languages, and you can invest training in learning them to increase influence, or create barriers to others who despise that particular class.


#5
Merin

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I'm game for lists of things I don't see media often deal with!
  • family vs. community vs. state: is it right for a father to go out and fight for his king, leaving his family behind? is it okay for a mother to steal medicine her child badly needs despite her village having a clearly defined order of who gets the medicine to maintain order and fairness? should the governor be able to enforce strict taxes on a prosperous farming hamlet to help feed the soldiers defending the borders? I don't remember ever seeing a game really dig into this (well, maybe that One Chance flash game)
  • hedonism vs. purity: sure, you get good vs. evil all the time, and you get certain acts dropped into either moral spectrum... but when have you seen personal pleasure vs. ascetic restraint (and all the ranges in-between) discussed in a game without overt moral or religious overtones? characters who are gluttons, others who refrain from material wealth... just examining the extremes that people can go to based on their own predilictions, urges and personal codes of conduct
  • science, skepticism and atheism: this is a fantasy game, so possibly a bad place to put this - but I felt like Dragon Age: Origins (despite later protests to the contrary) did an amazing job of letting you play as a character who didn't believe in the gods, and in fact the world played out almost like the real world (short of magic existing) where belief was a matter of faith and spotty historical record, not concrete miracles and proof; also, just once in a game I'd like to see science treated as a way to understand the world and not as a "belief system" or just the way in which you can ENGINEER devices
  • self-interest vs. sacrifice: inside a game it would be nice to see the idea of "sacrifice" not automatically being accepted by all as good and virtuous; different races and cultures should definitely leave plenty of room for beliefs of a more objectivist bent; moreso, taking care of oneself and wanting to see everyone prosper as much as possible should get equal billing as opposed to constantly saying how much struggle and sacrifice everyone gives is the "right way to live"
  • "taboo subjects": some things that just won't ever be included - rape, incest, torture... depending on the focus of the game, having these as story points (since they are real things that really happen) and the player character and companions having to deal with these things being in the world would be a very mature game, if handled right.... and this isn't to suggest that players are allowed to rape, torture, or have sex with their parents... but if it's good enough for Greek myths and the Bible, why can't the subject matter be in an M rated game?
Those are things I'm always wishing would at least occasionally be in the games I play.
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#6
Terror K

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  • "taboo subjects": some things that just won't ever be included - rape, incest, torture... depending on the focus of the game, having these as story points (since they are real things that really happen) and the player character and companions having to deal with these things being in the world would be a very mature game, if handled right.... and this isn't to suggest that players are allowed to rape, torture, or have sex with their parents... but if it's good enough for Greek myths and the Bible, why can't the subject matter be in an M rated game?


Why am I suddenly reminded of the Imoen Romance mod for BG2 (which, considering the subject matter, is remarkably well done and surprisingly tasteful)?

Dragon Age: Origins also dealt with rape actually. A good portion of the City Elf origin revolves around a group of elves being kidnapped by humans during a wedding ceremony and several of the female elves being raped and killed. You don't see anything of it directly of course, but it's pretty damn clear it happened, and the PC's own cousin is rather traumatised by the event. It was emotionally quite powerful and worked rather well, IMO. I seriously despised the main antagonist in the affair, and it was the kind of thing that made my otherwise good-aligned character go to a very dark places and choose options they normally wouldn't. And I think content that can make you do that is, by and large, good.
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#7
Merin

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That's right, how'd I forget the City Elf origin?!?

That was my first playthrough, and I chose to play a female rogue elf (three things that go against type, the latter two being choices I NEVER make for characters I play) specifically because of the ads for that origin story.

Origins was such a great game....

no, wait, NOW I remember why I forgot about it.

DA2 and ME3. That's why. :banghead:


EDIT - and, speaking of BG2, the intro to that and Imoen's memories of her time in Irenicus's care were all about the darkness of being tortured.

Edited by Merin, 17 September 2012 - 05:23 PM.

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#8
dknight99

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  • "taboo subjects": some things that just won't ever be included - rape, incest, torture... depending on the focus of the game, having these as story points (since they are real things that really happen) and the player character and companions having to deal with these things being in the world would be a very mature game, if handled right.... and this isn't to suggest that players are allowed to rape, torture, or have sex with their parents... but if it's good enough for Greek myths and the Bible, why can't the subject matter be in an M rated game?


Why am I suddenly reminded of the Imoen Romance mod for BG2 (which, considering the subject matter, is remarkably well done and surprisingly tasteful)?

Dragon Age: Origins also dealt with rape actually. A good portion of the City Elf origin revolves around a group of elves being kidnapped by humans during a wedding ceremony and several of the female elves being raped and killed. You don't see anything of it directly of course, but it's pretty damn clear it happened, and the PC's own cousin is rather traumatised by the event. It was emotionally quite powerful and worked rather well, IMO. I seriously despised the main antagonist in the affair, and it was the kind of thing that made my otherwise good-aligned character go to a very dark places and choose options they normally wouldn't. And I think content that can make you do that is, by and large, good.


I remember that part and I thought it was very well done unfortunately once the beginning story ended it didn't really revisit that. I think if the cousin was an actual companion it could have been better but in DA: Origin, they just left it there. A shame really wasted potential.

#9
Boof

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Whatever themes fit in well with the story they're trying to tell.
Would hate to see themes forced into the game because of forum support.

#10
Terror K

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Origins was such a great game....

no, wait, NOW I remember why I forgot about it.

DA2 and ME3. That's why. :banghead:


:yes: We are on the same page there, my friend. Both those titles were awful. BioWare has fallen so damn hard and fast recently. ;(
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#11
Terror K

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I remember that part and I thought it was very well done unfortunately once the beginning story ended it didn't really revisit that. I think if the cousin was an actual companion it could have been better but in DA: Origin, they just left it there. A shame really wasted potential.


If I remember right it was briefly touched upon again towards the end of the game when you can enter the alienage again and you can ask your cousin how she's coped after the incident. But, yeah... it admittedly could have done with a bit more depth. It kind of annoyed me that the alienage was off-limits for so long (especially since the Dalish, the dwarves and the mages could return to their origin locales a lot sooner).

Edited by Terror K, 17 September 2012 - 05:33 PM.


#12
Merin

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I put Shianni in charge of the alienage at the end of the game as my "reward" - she was one of my favorite NPCs from the game. I liked her more than some of the companions!

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#13
Yst

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One mature subject I find unhappily little broached by RPGs is the subject of childbearing. So seldom do we encounter directly the rearing of children as yet in their swaddling clothes. So seldom does a woman give birth.

It's perhaps simply a subject particularly alien to the thinking of the 15-19 male demographic which has predominated, in RPGing of days past. An unweened child evokes such radically different emotions in persons of different life experiences. But it is one of the focal realities of human life. We bear children. We rear our young. And we ought do so in our RPG stories.

Yes, oftentimes, RPG Adventurer = Murder Hobo. But we can be so much more.
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#14
JWestfall

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Off the top of my head:
  • Nature of morality - are ethics a product of nurture, reason & logic, the gods (divine), or must they be forced on a society by law (punishment) to be effective?
  • Life isn't always fair - or, the good guys don't necessarily win by default.
  • Related ^^^ the honorable path may sometimes be the naive or costly path. Does one have honor for one's own sake, or simply for appearance among their piers?
  • Assuming a medieval based society - the terrible lives of peasants, slaves and those living under the rule of decadant nobles.
  • The terrible cost of war - loss of family and friends, disease, starvation.
  • Disillusionment - particularly with country or chosen religion, or perhaps with one's heroes. Example, finding out that your much beloved king/companion/mentor is basically scum, or weak, or has hidden agendas which greatly conflict with your own.
  • As said above, taboo/uncomfortable subjects done correctly (i.e. not simply for shock value) can bring to bear a lot of emotional impact.

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#15
Badmojo

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  • "taboo subjects": some things that just won't ever be included - rape, incest, torture... depending on the focus of the game, having these as story points (since they are real things that really happen) and the player character and companions having to deal with these things being in the world would be a very mature game, if handled right.... and this isn't to suggest that players are allowed to rape, torture, or have sex with their parents... but if it's good enough for Greek myths and the Bible, why can't the subject matter be in an M rated game?


Why am I suddenly reminded of the Imoen Romance mod for BG2 (which, considering the subject matter, is remarkably well done and surprisingly tasteful)?

Dragon Age: Origins also dealt with rape actually. A good portion of the City Elf origin revolves around a group of elves being kidnapped by humans during a wedding ceremony and several of the female elves being raped and killed. You don't see anything of it directly of course, but it's pretty damn clear it happened, and the PC's own cousin is rather traumatised by the event. It was emotionally quite powerful and worked rather well, IMO. I seriously despised the main antagonist in the affair, and it was the kind of thing that made my otherwise good-aligned character go to a very dark places and choose options they normally wouldn't. And I think content that can make you do that is, by and large, good.


I remember that part and I thought it was very well done unfortunately once the beginning story ended it didn't really revisit that. I think if the cousin was an actual companion it could have been better but in DA: Origin, they just left it there. A shame really wasted potential.



Yea it was good, and I thought we would have more mature subject matter, but it was just a rare few token mature moments. The rest was just your generic fantasy game. DA2 was even worse. Mature subject matters is what makes some RPG's so rememorable. Take fallout 2, there was a lot of maturity, yes, there was also a lot of silliness like being a porn star, but I loved that you had that as an option! However, take for example the lady who wanted your character to save her husband, you had the option to help him, ask for payment, or ask for sex as payment, then accept and not help him out. I was like...wha? However, it made sense. People can be bastards and I loved that you can play someone like that, there was also something about seducing the wife of the mobboss, sleep with her to get her to tell your character a secret..hmm. Its the freedom to push the envelope I love.

However, I honestly wonder how "mature" this game is. So far, I am getting a pretty generic fantasy vibe from what we got so far. They said mature like planescape torment in the intro. That...isn't very mature. I think most of us thinking of mature are thinking of things like this thread. I also hope they will not just have a few token moments and then the rest of the game is your generic fantasy.

Themes I hope to see:

(quick note, I do NOT want to see some of this only showing up against other species, like humans being racist to elves/dwarves only, that race being the token hated group, it should be prevelant in human society at least against each other. Every culture has this in the real world to different extents)

Besides the things listed above
Prostitution
Drug Use
Addiction (not exactly only on drug)
Gambling
Slavery
Racism
Sexism
canniblism
etc
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#16
NateOwns

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I haven't seen any topic discussing this, so I'll start with some:
- How good actions can create evil
- The inability to solve all problems
- Interaction with societies with different values
- Contamination, environmental concerns
- Cultural clashes
- Characters with disabilities


I would really like to see some good choices that have some not so nice consequences later on in the game. Also cultural clashes really add to the dynamic of the world as a whole. Seeing each area having it's own unique culture really helps to draw you into the world.

Environmental concerns could be cool as a side quest. I am a big fan of Princess Monoke and a side quest along those lines would be pretty cool.

#17
Leferd

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Racism as an accepted and normal part of society and with party NPC's and the characters having no real bones about it. It seems anachronistic to apply modern western society moral relavatism to what is in essence a fantasy medievalism type setting.

Slavery. Same as above.

Maybe some old fashioned sexism too.
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#18
Thelionheart

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Arms dealing, sex trade, gap b/t rich people's taxes and poor people's taxes, drugs and government role in regulating, preventing, etc of them. One issue I wouldn't want to see vrought up, ever, would be abortion. Doing so would completely break the fourth wall due to how controversial it is. Seeing it in-game could spark a lot of criticism by backers that hold a viewpoint different than what the game portrays.

#19
Leferd

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How is abortion any more different than (underage) sex trade, social strife, civil (gay) rights, government corruption, religious fundamentalism, and holy war?

#20
Umberlin

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I haven't seen any topic discussing this, so I'll start with some:
- How good actions can create evil


Definitely, and how the opposite dead, something that may seem harsh or even evil could potential result in just the opposite, in the long run.

- The inability to solve all problems


Happily.

- Interaction with societies with different values


And how your values may just not mesh, creating conflict where you didn't want any or didn't intend any.

- Contamination, environmental concerns


Only if they're handled very well and not ham handed tree hugging sap, intelligent multi-sided and complex takes on it are fine.

- Cultural clashes


Yes.

- Characters with disabilities


I wonder how well it could be handled, but if handled well could be quite interesting.

Many other of the ideas in this thread as well. There's a lot here that could make for a game that makes you think, as long as the subjects were handled with the respect they deserve and not just, "Slavery is bad" because, let's be honest, for thousands of years all sorts of people were held in servitude of one sort or another. It's easy to look back now and say it's bad, but in certain timeframes and cultures it was just everyday life and there was no other option. Sad as that may be. Even today there is still slavery in some parts of the world. It needs to be handled with more intelligent complexity, care and respect than simply, "slavery is bad."

That goes for just about every subject matter mentioned here, actually. Take the one about Drugs, we know some drugs have legitimate medical uses, but are illegal, because they have, shall we say, 'other' uses. Two or more stances can evolve out of something like that and it can be very hard to compromise those two (or more) stances, to the extent that a compromise may just never be reached. Either way, whoever gets their way, if anyone, there's still the chance for strife and suffering.





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