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Mature themes you'd like to see in the game

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On looking at everything here are my answers:

 

* Pragmatism vs Idealism as it ties into good vs evil.

* The nature of morality. After all, it exists in many fantasy games, but this existence isn't critically examined. I wouldn't mind cases of blue and orange morality, entities that are "beyond good and evil", and even questions of the transformation of values as traditions are altered, perhaps even radically and prophetically. Even some questions of the Euthyphro problem.

* The failure to solve all problems and questions of meaning in life as failures accumulate.

* Transcendence and earthliness and whether anything earthly really can transcend to a higher level and vice versa.

* The meaning of spirituality. Perhaps even questions over whether spirituality is meaningless, projection, or even profound.

 

Probably other stuff, but I'm distracted.

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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. bangheadir0.gif

 

yes.gif We are on the same page there, my friend. Both those titles were awful. BioWare has fallen so damn hard and fast recently. crying.gif

The weird thing about both those games was the schizophrenia inherent in the writing of both of them. Some of the writing was very well done. The initial Merril bit with Flemeth, the mother storyline, the quest to hook up Aveline with her boy toy, and the Deep Roads from DA2 were all well written. But then there was everything that was just utter awfulness. Same thing with ME3. Mordin storyline, epic. Tali, Liara, and Garrus, very well done(apart from the whole tali pic brouhaha). The scene with Grunt, perfection. But then there was everything that was horribad, and it wasn't limited to the ending although that was the most obvious point of failure.

 

 

The most important thing to me is that this game not have those ridiculous saccharine make-everyone-happy endings to major quests and the game itself. That makes a story seem fake at best and moralizing at worst. There should always be trade-offs and sacrifices for major decisions.

 

For an example of a good mature setting, I don't think you have to go any further than Game of Thrones. It doesn't shy away from sex and violence, no character is perfect, bad things happen to good people and bad deeds often go unpunished. But it isn't ALL doom and gloom either. There are moments of levity, justice, and kindness in a fundamentally selfish and unfair world. That's exactly how I want this game's tone and style to be.

 

Better example: DA:O. For a game that prizes itself in its C&C (best quest design its one truly great feature), it botches replayability with third options or stupid dilemmas. For one, due to circumstace in a major quest you're prompted to choose between killing a child or allowing his mother to sacrifice herself to save him.

 

Alas, there's a third option without any bad consequence at all.

Yes, and it was get the people who actually knew what the **** they were doing option. It was the functional difference of getting a specialist in neurosurgery vs the ER doc to pull a bullet out of someone's head.

"You know, there's more to being an evil despot than getting cake whenever you want it"

 

"If that's what you think, you're DOING IT WRONG."

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[...]

 

Better example: DA:O. For a game that prizes itself in its C&C (best quest design its one truly great feature), it botches replayability with third options or stupid dilemmas. For one, due to circumstace in a major quest you're prompted to choose between killing a child or allowing his mother to sacrifice herself to save him.

 

Alas, there's a third option without any bad consequence at all.

Yes, and it was get the people who actually knew what the **** they were doing option. It was the functional difference of getting a specialist in neurosurgery vs the ER doc to pull a bullet out of someone's head.

 

To be fair, doing that could have gone badly; it took time to get help, and there was certainly enough for disaster to logically follow. I think that would have been more interesting if they had gone that route.

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Yes, and it was get the people who actually knew what the **** they were doing option. It was the functional difference of getting a specialist in neurosurgery vs the ER doc to pull a bullet out of someone's head.

 

Still, they should have implemented some consequence for letting the demon wreak havoc while we were busy running around getting the mages to help.

 

Edit: arrh, I've been beaten. Curse you, SerTabris :D

Edited by aluminiumtrioxid

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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I always liked the approach the Gothic games had to morality.

 

There was no Good/Evil meter, there was just you, your actions and the reactions people had to you, should you get caught.

 

I stole, mugged, murdered, lied, cheated and intimidated my way through those games with only my own moral compass to guide me and it wasn't the 'you've been naughty' alignment change messages that kept me from doing wrong, if I ever did avoid it, it was the potential consequences of my actions and the relationships I'd ruin.

 

But yeah, I'd love to see plenty of difficult moral quandaries that have an impact on the quests, and real world issues, such as those discussed already.

 

Typically I like to play a character who hangs his cloak on a shaky moral peg but is ultimately good, a rogue with a heart of gold sort of deal.

I don't think many decisions should be easy.

 

[edit]

 

Remember the sort of morally grey decisions you could make as a female in FO2?

 

You could sleep with people to drive prices down, become a fluffer or a porn star to earn a few extra caps on the side, or if you were a dude you could offer up your ass in payment if you lost an arm wrestling match with a super mutant.

 

I think immediate payoff but long term consequence choices can add a lot.

Edited by -TK-

The call of the deep.

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Moving aside all the wonderful and awsome questions of 'how does one deal when living with differing cultures?' and 'what's the nature of good/evil?' for a minute, I personally was thinking more about an exploration of identity, with a recurring motif/theme of the story apparently being 'soul' and all..

 

What makes a person a person? <-- insert psychological conditions and illnesses here (what about psychopaths? how does an autistic person see the world? etc etc)

 

What makes a person good/evil? <-- insert nature-of-morality and attached ideas here

 

How much of a person, or what part of a person is even 'him/herself', and to what degree do the other parts impact on your behavior and identity? <-- insert themes on primal nature, nature vs nurture, and all the cultural clashing here

 

I've been playing with the idea of a 'mental vampire' who eats people's minds/souls, all these new identities blending, and him becoming confused or otherwise afflicted as he starts forgetting who he originally was himself and start asking the question 'who am I?', perhaps eventually going insane; how does one deal with these kinds of problems?

 

On a related note: I always wondered what would happen to one's mind when one becomes 'locked in' (or in fantasy terms: fate-worse-than-death scenarios such as Eldritch Abomination stuff, imprisoned for over 4000 years, etc etc). In case of the locked in patient stuff: Imagine being trapped inside your own body, it literally becoming a prison for you mind, while being conscious, and there's nothing you can do about it. You can't move, you can't talk, you can't even signal to the outside world that 'you' are still there. How would you deal with that condition? Would you fantasize? Philosophize? Would you go and live in some sort of self-constructed fantasy-land or would you sleep (and dream) all day, and if so, how would that impact you if you were to get un-locked in again? Would you even realize which world is 'the real world' after getting un-locked in? What about when you'd get bored with that? How would your mind be after a year? What about after 20 years? Would you have great insight about the human condition? Or would you have gone utterly droolingly insane?

 

 

On a related note: Anyone played The Darkness II? Who else thought the whole psychological institution storyline was the most interesting thing of the entire game? I'm quite bummed the writers hadn't done more with it...

 

 

JM2C... Thoughts?

 

- Tim

Edited by TimB99

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Well most "ism's" are based on differences being unacceptable to the societal norm, with the introduction of such a strong focus on the players soul perhaps we could have soulism, for want of a better word. Imagine a race of Eternity who have learned to master their souls, just as an olympian learns to master their body, with this awakening and joining with the immortal half of themsleves they would obviously judge themsleves to be superior. What would they think of the normal human, that he was nothing more than a barely sentient beast perhaps, or perhaps that they are pitiable and need to be protected and taught, enslaved?

 

Perhaps the oldest of these awakened beings would abandon flesh all together, seeing it as a distasteful and clumsy thing compared to the purity of their essence, and the swarms of humanity that breed and multiply as nothing more than parasites to be scoured away.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I'd like to see some of these subjects - along with some I already saw mentioned - touched (just some vague topics from on top of my hat):

 

- Thoughts on the hows, whys and long term results of - any kind of - violence; and reasons why the player should or should not cause it in a given situation.

- The benefits of war to the society.

- The ups and downs of slavery in a specific culture; and would disabling it "always" lead to the happy land even for the slaves themselves.

- Political powerplay.

- Reasoning for and against a religion and its place in the societal powerstructure in a given culture.


Perkele, tiädäksää tuanoini!

"It's easier to tolerate idiots if you do not consider them as stupid people, but exceptionally gifted monkeys."

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This one goes in with the non-combat style of play but I wouldn't mind seeing the repercussions of violence take a toll on the world.

 

For instance if you solved a quest with violence when you could have solved it peacefully, it would be good if you could see the consequences of your actions, such as the hardships of the families of those you have slain (The Witcher 2 showed this during the Prologue if you killed Aran La Valette, his mother was (raped?) and tortured had to give in to the Nilfgaardians demands), the toll it has on the environment (such as a city becoming poorer, shops closing due to loss of business).

 

On that topic, one thing that isn't shown that well in games is that when the 'nobles' go to war, the common people suffer.

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on the slavery topic I think one of the interesting things that George R. R. Martin did in A Dance with Dragons is explore how a culture that survived off slavery would go without it.

 

For instance if a certain faction in the world tolerates slavery and the player character and party aided the abolishment of slavery in that town/city or region and then left, the outcome may not necessarily be a positive one.

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Themes should be included because they fit with the message or story that the game is trying to convey, not because they are or are not mature.

 

In any case, I would much prefer to see the some of the more grand-scale philosophical points that I see in this thread - nature of good or evil, differences between culture, that sort of thing - than a perfunctory "Hey, look, rape and slavery, that makes us deep, right?".

 

So much this.

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Politics: not just the standard rebel vs. tyrant theme but more detailed plots.

Tough decisions: sacrifice vs. greater good, killing vs. letting live...

Justice points of view: Laws or feelings?

Spirituality

Concepts that are taboo at modern times but were held moral at past ages such as Slavery, Execution, Human sacrifices, Village sackings, Genocides, Inquisition, Prostitution.

Love at tough times: not talking about give enough gifts and get laid stuff. Some romance in the middle of battles and adventures can be very interesting.

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I don't think stories are written starting from a long list of themes. If a large amount of themes gets put into the story just for the sake of it, it starts to resemble a hodgepodge of storyline pieces with no focus. In my opinion it boils down to the consequences of actions taken by the player -- How they're interpreted, stored, and recalled. Once that's in place, just about every interaction holds the qualities of a mature theme.

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Moral relativism: The end product brought about by the actions taken or the intended end product is what determines whether it is a good or bad act, not some pre-defined black and white system of "murder is bad, charity is good". It's fully possible that by murdering someone you make the world a better place and by not being charitable you force someone to become a more capable person.

 

Eugenics: A society where its most accomplished members are mandated to reproduce with other successful members and the unsuccessful are outlawed from breeding.

 

Culling of criminals: A society with no jails where the worst offenders are killed, midrange offenders are castrated to prevent them from breeding and low end criminals are rehabilitated.

 

Different political systems: (this was great in New Vegas) a dictator or two, a parliament, a political religious leader in a region of religion based politics, a caste based society where warriors OR scientists are at the top and it all exists to support them

 

Culture clash: Different cultures coming together and fighting over their differences. There should be a technology gap. Does the winning side commit genocide? Reeducate? Enslave? Stop their advance and leave them some territory?

 

Control or Revolution: Different groups with different ideas. Some in power some not. All are trying to get enough people on their side so that they can take power. A group with less followers but their zealot like devotion makes them difficult opponents. A group with many members but is based on more passive ideals likely meaning they lose more people during fighting but do better during peacetime. A group with many similar ideals as those in power yet completely fixated on those aspects they want to change to the point of revolution.

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I don't think stories are written starting from a long list of themes. If a large amount of themes gets put into the story just for the sake of it, it starts to resemble a hodgepodge of storyline pieces with no focus. In my opinion it boils down to the consequences of actions taken by the player -- How they're interpreted, stored, and recalled. Once that's in place, just about every interaction holds the qualities of a mature theme.

 

I would imagine this whole thread to be ideas and suggestions, not expectations.

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The idea of good vs. evil and morality has been touched on a lot in this thread, but I am so over the way it is portrayed in games now and I hope to see a change in this one. One of my favorite TV shows is Battlestar Galactica and perhaps my favorite thing about it was the way that it managed to subvert the very nature of good and evil and questioned every action and showed the conflict between the need to survive vs. the means to assuring survival in ways that always were so morally thorny they were exhilarating to watch. You end up rooting for the characters you love to do all of these morally "bad" things and basically all arguments of good vs. evil were thrown out the window. I loved it so much. I would love to see that type of morality in a game, but too often they give you the "easy way out" option; that is, since it's a video game and not real life, the "not hurting anybody's feelings" option.

 

I'm also all for allegories in games; I don't think there's enough emphasis on just how much fantasy can act as a mirror for real life. So many interesting contemporary issues can be tackled in creative ways due to the setting.

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Cannibalism and ritualistic human sacrifice really creep me out.

 

Basically, Apocalypto, the idea of stumbling across this decadent, diseased culture that has convinced itself that it can sacrifice it's way out of oblivion.

 

Euch.


sonsofgygax.JPG

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Oh man, this is a great page. Lots of cool ideas.

 

Well most "ism's" are based on differences being unacceptable to the societal norm, with the introduction of such a strong focus on the players soul perhaps we could have soulism, for want of a better word. Imagine a race of Eternity who have learned to master their souls, just as an olympian learns to master their body, with this awakening and joining with the immortal half of themsleves they would obviously judge themsleves to be superior. What would they think of the normal human, that he was nothing more than a barely sentient beast perhaps, or perhaps that they are pitiable and need to be protected and taught, enslaved?

 

There's so much that can be explored with this. Do souls have gender, or race, or memory, or do those things end with the death of the body? Is there a society that raises children based on their soul's gender and not their biological one? Or one that classifies people based on the kind and quality of their inherited soul? What happens in these societies if someone possesses multiple, shattered souls?

Edited by Alex Sherman

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I like it all, no reason no leave one thing out asides from obvious developmental issues. If this is "M" game make a flipping "M" game!


Nick B

 

 

"YOU HAVE DIED OF DYSENTERY" - Oregon Trail

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Although certainly not exclusively a "mature" theme, the concept of betrayal and manipulation is something I'd love to see explored -- and I think Obsidian could really pave the way to portray a betrayal of the player character that may really hit the player. To an extent a great deal of CRPGS had ideas of betrayal and incidents in it in their games, and KotOR II really made an interesting theme out of it; but at best those examples (although by far a lot more intelligent than the content of other games) were not precisely an innovative or world-changing in their application or handling.

 

In Eternity Obsidian could break new ground by having companions have their own motivations and ideals that they won't just put aside for the player: they may be nationalists for nation X, want to change Y, believe in Z, and so on. If the player disagrees with them or goes against those ideals, there should be more than just a sudden dialogue where the companion argues with the PC and they leave/fight you unless you pass a speech check (although this is something that isn't necessarily bad), but companions potentially seemingly liking and working with the player while working against them in an attempt to further their own beliefs and interests: plots that may be subtly conducted, but potentially only picked up when it could be too late. All the while companions could be working against the player; perhaps there could be an unseen debuff in combat when a companion is working against the PC to try to get them hurt, and perhaps dialogue trees could open up to completely new avenues as characters lie to the PC to help further their plot.

 

Here's an example of something like this (a very extreme one, but it gets the concept along well). A companion with the PC has discovered that they will not support their cause that they back, this companion, a woman, seeks to try to ensure that the PC can no longer challenge their beliefs. They attempt to manipulate the PC into beginning a relationship with them, and if the PC accepts, they act as though they are in love; seducing them, etc. Eventually the party reaches the Companion's city, where the player denied the companion's cause. The PC may support their companion's cause now that they're romantically involved with them, the manipulation non-violently paying off for the companion; but if the player still does not support the companion's cause, the companion could give away vital information to parties who want the PC dead: intimate information that makes the PC very vulnerable gained from the false romance. The ambush would potentially scar and nearly kill the player, and the companion may or may not try to kill the player to. Whatever happens, the player finds out the betrayal; fostering a great deal of role-play, and making the story and characters very dynamic and multi-dimensional, and adding a lot of replay value.

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They need to have a segment on changing diapers and telling the kids to eat their vegetables.


The Obsidian Orders Royal Pain

"Ouch"

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Hmmm...sex trafficking?

Underage transdimensional sex trafficking?


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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