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Mature themes you'd like to see in the game

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What about good old-fashioned tavern wenches? It seems that sexuality of any kind has been removed from games. I've see the "No boob-plate" comments in other threads, but there is a reason why belly-dancing evolved in taverns, why there are strip clubs in every corner of the globe and why you see bare midriffs on EVERY SINGLE magazine at the check-out line. Sex. Sells. (If you don't want boob-plates, there should be different armor or costume sets available or just throw a cloak over it for the love of Zeus). Hmm.. side-thought: cash store for revealing or flashy clothing sets.

 

I have no objection to equal-time beefcake or whatever the equivalent is. In fact, I'd like a Brothel for Slaking Intellectual Lusts as well as a Pit of Carnal Behaviour. I think a true gentleman's cabaret or an actual geisha house with highly trained, educated denizens talented in many artistic fields could be a seriously educational and fun experience not for the smut factor, but to raise consciousness on a much broader base.

 

Anything like this should cost something significant in terms of sacrifice. Perhaps Master Tan of the Flying Daggers is only in town this one time when Libertine Larry is offering you a ticket to one of these places if you'll just do him a little favor - but you must pick one and live with the consequences. There's a reason true swordmasters are a grim and humorless bunch sometimes, just like there's a reason theives and scallywags seem to be more fun, but it should be on the player to choose.

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Well, I guess I'll go out on a limb here. alan mentioned something earlier about his dad dying when he was younger and that it was the most 'mature' moment in his life in terms of dealing with things in an adult manner.

 

I think miasma's question about sex trafficking could make for a 'mature' theme as long as it transcends the typically didactic, morally intrusive, and frankly ignorant crap we get in video games.

 

To make my point, I was going to cite a whole slew of things from my past, but they're private things and better left elsewhere. However, I will specifically discuss the sex trade. When I grew up, I joined the Navy and served in various places. In some of those places, because of the sheer population of prostitutes, and the fact that in some bars and discos and even restaurants the hookers would actually sometimes wait tables and perform non-sex trade tasks, I got to know several of them pretty well. This was especially true of Itaewon, where the ladies of the night would sometimes proposition me and other times, if I were in the company of a female service member, proposition my date instead. If miasma wants to treat the theme of sex trafficking maturely, then it's going to entail something I rarely see in computer games, which is the wide breadth of reasons women and men go into the sex trade. What makes for a good story and what makes for a mature theme relies so heavily on the writer that I would much rather the team only put in things about which they have personal experience, considerable research, or have contemplated extensively and discussed with people with first hand knowledge. Just throwing in something mature will probably be disconcerting, almost certainly be laughable, and detract from the game.

 

I think folks who suggest adult themes should bring their perspectives. Are they curious about it? Were they personally impacted? Is it a common problem?

 

EDIT: On the other hand, I don't think I'd really want to delve into a game that sported an STD meter and required weekly anti-viral boosters to combat my previous infections.

Edited by Cantousent

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I'd think with a magic system dealing with the manipulation of souls, it would be very cool to put in situations dealing with the moral implications of research using and manipulating souls, which could somewhat tie into similar themes in the real world yet can have completely new perspectives unique to however the souls work in the PE world.

 

Edit: For that matter, any mature implications of the magic/soul system would be welcome. i.e. is it possible to track/trace souls across incarnations/splinterings, can souls be combined/tied together, etc...what moral implications/conundrums can be derived from things like these. How do different religions react to said situations, etc. I like when a story that introduces or creates a new magic system/technology delves into all the possible societal implications. A great example would be the digital human storage technology in Altered Carbon/Takeshi Kovacs series.

Edited by Shardbearer
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I actually think your ideas are pretty good, Shard, because they're not just kind of tossed in on top but revolve around one of the major aspect of the backstory itself. That's a great way to explore a mature issue without losing focus on the story or the gameplay.


Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

Join the revelry at the Obsidian Plays channel:
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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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First off, I agree with others that dark=\= mature. Secondly: I hate and I do mean HATE contrived dilemnas. I despise being railroaded into a 'hard choice' just to make me choose which character to save, especially when there's really nothing more to go on than 'who you like more' like the Virmire choice. Hard choices yeah, but don't force the situation when it don't fit.


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If people are going to put down mature theme of rape they should also look at just the concept of their character being taken against their will to do something or have something happen to them that they can't control. This adds another aspect of the story creeping on the player who wants full control but follows the mechanics of a predetermined world. The whole soul system can be a factor in that as well as the player cannot control themselves from destroying their companions or a whole town due to someone controlling the soul or the soul itself taking over.

I also liked the concept of the child rearing someone brought up. Reminds me of Fallout 3 DLC ‘The Pitt’ where the baby is the most important piece in the story. The player decides whether to steal the baby for the slaves or helping the slavers. A mature theme of the importance of a child and who should be in its charge can work well but with the less obvious hook of helping slavers or helping slaves (they both ended up being very careful with the child which has a weak execution as the slaves should be doing more abusive testing if they want the cure so badly).

This can tie in with the soul system with a full soul child or God-child being the pawn of two factions with the main character either helping one of the factions or helping the child escape, or killing the child and sabotaging the factions so they destroy themselves.

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How about mortgages. All the mature people I know have them, and man are they a pain in the arse.

 

Your character could take out a massive mortgage on a small castle and have to pay it back at 1200gp / month. Failure to pay will result in repossession. You could of course remortgage or instruct an agent to sell the castle for you (15% fee).

 

Downsizing to a smaller dwelling (say, a duplex wizard tower) is an option, but that involves conveyancing, surveys and finding time to view inbetween adventuring trips.

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How about mortgages. All the mature people I know have them, and man are they a pain in the arse.

 

Your character could take out a massive mortgage on a small castle and have to pay it back at 1200gp / month. Failure to pay will result in repossession. You could of course remortgage or instruct an agent to sell the castle for you (15% fee).

 

Downsizing to a smaller dwelling (say, a duplex wizard tower) is an option, but that involves conveyancing, surveys and finding time to view inbetween adventuring trips.

 

Or how about philosphical exploration of the obsessive compulsive persons psychological pain and mental disarray of desperately wanting a mortgage but not being able to afford it or understand its subtleties?

Edited by Undecaf

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There was an interesting argument I overheard one day. Everybody is against sweat shops because of the working conditions and feel like they accomplished something when they close them down. However, a person from an area that has a sweat shop pointed out that it is horrible when they close a sweat shop. While it is horrible working conditions by most of our standards, it at least gave people a place to work and money, when they closed the shops, most of those women workers were forced into prostitution to survive.

 

Showing this would be very powerful, but it should not be a simple binary choice, you should be able to find multiple solutions and have some forsight into what will happen. Maybe you can convince, blackmail, or replace the owner with someone who will make better working conditions, perhaps you can get the community together to make a community job that shares the wealth, or perhaps you should convince them to join the military, they get a job and money, but its dangerous, perhaps you are evil or good and take over the place yourself, creating better working conditions, or making it even worse, but making more profit. Maybe you trick them into thinking you freed them, then sell them to slavery. just avoid the simple binary choices, create multiple solutions for the situations we run into.

 

One thing you rarely see is magic being used in mature settings. These are a few ideas I have in my own setting. What about that guy (or girl) who is obsessed with someone, do you not think they would put a spell on them to fall in love (or sex slave). Not to mention what slave traders and brothels would do with magic. What about necromancy being used to bring back the dead as labor and soldiers? How would you feel if the culture required to give all dead bodies too the government to be brought back as an undead slave? Knowing that is your fate. What about soul transfer? What if instead of being executed for a crime, or prisoners of war, the soul is removed and another is put in. Say soldiers slain in battle would awaken to find themselves in another body, to fight again. Perhaps that would be a recruiting tool, too old or frail, join the military and get a new body, be young and strong again! (oh, forgot to mention that you do not decide what type of body, you might be a guy waking up in a womans body or vice versa...hey, at least your healthy) or worse, imagine nobles and the rich that would never die.

 

Lot of interesting things that could be done.

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I'm hoping Mature means dealing with emotions, interactions with others, and death in a mature and realistic way. It shouldn't be bombastic contrived circumstances, just realistic relationships with family members, neighbors, strangers, etc. You know, the sort of stuff you'd find in a book or movie that was written by a person who's lived some life and has some empathy, understanding and insight into the "human condition".

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I kind of agree with what brian fargo wrote on his blog

 

The caliber of writing is very impressive and for those who wanted an M rated experience… you will be more than satisfied. We don’t pull any punches on the subject matters of a dark post apocalyptic world. My attitude is that if you going into a genre that has expectations then GO THERE.. all the way. It is for the same reasons I tend to love all the great shows and writing that I find on Showtime and HBO and find myself turned off by the material on network television. I don’t like to see pandering to a mass audience for my TV shows and I certainly won’t allow this game to soften up a rough world.

 

While his setting will most likely be darker, I do agree that if you are going to make a game mature, then make it MATURE in every meaning of the word. Don't hold any punches.

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Themes that are always good if done right...

 

-"Heart of Darkness", the potential for evil.

-Idealism vs Realism

-Utilitarian vs. Moralist (more of a grey scale sub category)

-The Mortality of the Protagonist

-Alien Culture (tough or incapable of interacting without conflict)

-Order vs Chaos (almost always done poorly, so stay away)

-Fear of the Unknown


"I have yet to meet an Obstacle that I can't overcome with Guns and Fireballs"

-Teldarin the Critical, Gun Mage

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Themes that are always good if done right...

 

-"Heart of Darkness", the potential for evil.

-Idealism vs Realism

-Utilitarian vs. Moralist (more of a grey scale sub category)

-The Mortality of the Protagonist

-Alien Culture (tough or incapable of interacting without conflict)

-Order vs Chaos (almost always done poorly, so stay away)

-Fear of the Unknown

 

I would love to see a TRUE alien culture society, but every games 'alien' culture is just reskinned humans, and the culture is an overused trope which is based on a real world culture borrowed and changed a little. I want something trully unique that has not been done before.

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  • What makes a person. Not "an accomplished person", but — what is the essense of human being. Also, general "philosophy".
  • Gods. How do you even live in a world with gods? Like, you may be the paragon of virtue, but some haloed **** decides that you don't suit their plans, and bang! You're dead! How do you deal with it?
  • Come to think of it, it works without gods too. You can walk the street and be hit in the head by a brick. Randomly. No one cares if you're good or bad, it's pure chance. How do you live with that?
  • No good, no evil, lose-lose situations. Grey and grey morality. You know the drill.
  • Also what I'd really love to see is the invocation of the "good job breaking it hero" trope. A typical PRG hero rushes into the action and offers to help the matters even if he wasn't invited. I'd like to see him do it and make the situation worse because he doesn't really understant its subtleties. That can also be the source of the main conflict!


you can watch my triumphant procession to Rome

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Actually, what I wouldn't like is trying to incorporate everything from this thread into the game. Choose one theme (or maybe a couple, like suffering and the nature of belief in PST) and explore it thoroughly. With that I can allow for a lot of different topics. You have souls? Right, let it be the "you're a nice guy born with a lousy soul, what do you do" thing. It's not the most interesting thing in the world for me, but it'll work if discussed in detail.


you can watch my triumphant procession to Rome

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That's why I asked if the setting allows various views/interpretations to the obvious inequality, the answer to which seems to be "yes". For I don't like it to be just a setting for one-shot story but to keep room for various possibilities of development for different campaigns/quests. In this way, a believable and cohesive world which lets us imagine various ways of living is quite important, I think.

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There was an interesting argument I overheard one day. Everybody is against sweat shops because of the working conditions and feel like they accomplished something when they close them down. However, a person from an area that has a sweat shop pointed out that it is horrible when they close a sweat shop. While it is horrible working conditions by most of our standards, it at least gave people a place to work and money, when they closed the shops, most of those women workers were forced into prostitution to survive.

 

Showing this would be very powerful, but it should not be a simple binary choice, you should be able to find multiple solutions and have some forsight into what will happen. Maybe you can convince, blackmail, or replace the owner with someone who will make better working conditions, perhaps you can get the community together to make a community job that shares the wealth, or perhaps you should convince them to join the military, they get a job and money, but its dangerous, perhaps you are evil or good and take over the place yourself, creating better working conditions, or making it even worse, but making more profit. Maybe you trick them into thinking you freed them, then sell them to slavery. just avoid the simple binary choices, create multiple solutions for the situations we run into.

 

One thing you rarely see is magic being used in mature settings. These are a few ideas I have in my own setting. What about that guy (or girl) who is obsessed with someone, do you not think they would put a spell on them to fall in love (or sex slave). Not to mention what slave traders and brothels would do with magic. What about necromancy being used to bring back the dead as labor and soldiers? How would you feel if the culture required to give all dead bodies too the government to be brought back as an undead slave? Knowing that is your fate. What about soul transfer? What if instead of being executed for a crime, or prisoners of war, the soul is removed and another is put in. Say soldiers slain in battle would awaken to find themselves in another body, to fight again. Perhaps that would be a recruiting tool, too old or frail, join the military and get a new body, be young and strong again! (oh, forgot to mention that you do not decide what type of body, you might be a guy waking up in a womans body or vice versa...hey, at least your healthy) or worse, imagine nobles and the rich that would never die.

 

Lot of interesting things that could be done.

 

Complex issues are generally very layered.

 

Take the sweatshop example. Everything you mentioned was true. However, there is also the fact that the people who run those sweatshops do not want conditions to improve. If the sweatshop workers are no longer desperate, if they have other employment opportunities and a way out of poverty, they'll either leave the sweatshops or they'll want pay raises and better working conditions. It is in the interest of the sweatshop owners to ensure that the people have no where else to turn but the sweatshops. So they collude with the governments to ensure that the conditions remain bad enough so that people would always be desperate enough to work in sweatshops.

 

Then there's the people who buy the products of the sweatshops. Everyone wants prices to be as low as possible but then there are also a lot of people can only afford to buy the cheapest products. That is the incentive for the companies to keep the sweatshops running and conditions bad enough so that there would always be people desperate enough to work in those sweatshops. At the same time, companies that don't use sweatshops can't compete with the low prices of the companies that do use sweatshops so either they go out of business or they have to start using sweatshops too.

 

That's still a very simplistic description of the problem and there are many other factors involved. So not only do you have to look at the main problem, you have to look at the conditions that caused the big problem, the additional conditions that led up to those conditions that caused the problem, and so on. A true solution would then have to be very broad, tackle dozens of different issues, and take a lot of different factors and potential obstacles into consideration.

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I´d like to get to a point in the story where my character realises that what he is doing is not necessarily "good" and the "bad guys" are not necessarily evil.

Racisim, prejudice and sacrifice are also themes i´d like to see in the game. Everything shouldn't be so black and white.

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I think inserting economic influences as a part of gameplay going hand-in-hand with both story elements and arising conflicts would be a unique feature that should appear in later expansion. As far as results go, economic repercussions are a mature consideration that must really be a part of any mature understanding of a world, perhaps even of a fictional world.

 

EDIT: And hey, where do all the gold coins come from anyway? Why do we never see a Numismatics Factory?

Edited by septembervirgin

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I like a lot of the ideas presented here, but I think the trap to avoid is making everything anachronistic. If slavery is culturally acceptable om the in-game world, it should be treated as such and not be all "hint hint, nudge nudge this is wrong". If the abolitionists are committing acts of terrorism, treat them as such and not as misguided heroes. Is the slave trader a legitimate businessman? Treat him as such as well and not some secret monster. Same goes for any of the other '-isims', allow the ideas to be present but don't try to railroad the player into a specific line of thought. Show, don't tell, and leave the player to figure it all out on their own.

 

::Edit::

Also something that could be played around with: Seeing how souls are persistent and eternal, or at least outlasting the bodies they currently inhabit(?), I'd like to see something along the lines of persistent karma and individuals having to reap the consequences of previous lives be they good or bad and irrespective of how good or bad they may be in their current life.

Edited by Locke03

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The whole 'only asking questions' thing is a bit of a copout. It's often dressed up as some kind of artistic detachment, but it's really just a way to avoid offending people.

 

If we want these obsidipeeps to be passionate and enthusiastic about the game, they should be able to express their own views or follow the ideas. For instance, they sound enthusiastic about the idea of souls fragmenting/ect and how this relates to various social norms, ect. I would much prefer they just take that idea and run with it wherever their feverish imaginations carry them, rather than sanding off all the sharp edges.

 

 

Failing that, I request a hamfisted parable for the global financial crisis, with half assed concept substitutions like swapping 'subprime loans' for 'dwarvern armor funding' and 'hedge fund managers' for 'villainous alchemists'.

Edited by happyelf

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I´d like to get to a point in the story where my character realises that what he is doing is not necessarily "good" and the "bad guys" are not necessarily evil.

Racisim, prejudice and sacrifice are also themes i´d like to see in the game. Everything shouldn't be so black and white.

 

If you've not tried them, The Witcher and The Witcher II sound like games you'd like.


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Mostly interested into tragedy:

1. People trying to help others thus getting into no-way-out situations.

2. People getting into situations which they don't caused themselves.

3. A tale of Two Sisters

4. Oldboy

5. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

6. A ball, dropping down on the stairs and falling down, making you run after it but not able to catch it yet in sight.

7. A process you can't stop, like somebody marching forward - so in some way not the ball dropping down the stairs but someone pushing forward.

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