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LordValgor

A Question of Morality.

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Hello, forgive me if this is in the wrong section (and move as necessary please).

 

I had a question (and possibly suggestion) for Obsidian regarding the Morals in Project Eternity.

 

Now, many times I have heard that you wish to make the game to include things that are more mature than most games allow. This I have no problem with, and am actually excited for simply because I get the sense that it will ultimately give us more options as well as place a "strain" on the issue of morality. (eg should I kill this woman and take her belongings cause I really need the cash? or should I let her live for whatever reason?)

 

First and foremost I would like to ask, Will Morality even be an issue in Project Eternity? Will there be scenarios that we and our parties are placed in, that require us to make (for some of us) tough moral choices? As I mentioned above, I get the sense that there will be, but I just wanted to make sure.

 

With this question asked, I would like to bring up my main question and focus of this post. If there is an issue of Morality present (which I am assuming there will be), will the game have advantages and disadvantages to both sides of the moral scale. This may seem like a rather odd question, but I would like to point out a game that, in my opinion, has done very poorly in this category (and thus makes a perfect example).

 

In TES V: Skyrim, we see the basics of morality present. Should I kill this guy or not? However, I find that when you look at the game closer, it lacks something vital to that experience. Have you ever noticed that there is a "Dark Brotherhood" guild that is all about assassinating people in heinous ways? (and you are saying "ya, so?") My point is that there is not opposite of that guild present in Skyrim. In almost all of my first playthroughs of RPG games, I prefer to be a lawful good character maybe even religious good, but in Skyrim I see no benefit to being this way. Joining and completing the Dark Brotherhood in Skyrim, yields you some of the best equipment in the game, whereas being good yields you just the regular stuff. In fact, I feel as though good characters aren't even recognized in the game. Now I understand that the whole "civil war and dark times" theme plays in on this, and maybe Bethesda wanted to place a "grey haze" over the morals in the game because of it, all of that I understand, but what I don't understand is that Oblivion was the same way too. Yes they released The Knights of the Nine DLC, but that really wasn't all that integrated. Anyways...

 

My question again is, do you (Obsidian) plan on creating both advantages and disadvantages for both sides of the moral scale (good/evil)? If not I would like to make the suggestion, and if you already plan to do so, that is awesome!

 

Thanks,

-Valgor

 

PS- comments from the community are more than welcome :) Tell me what you think of the idea, whether you agree or not, etc.

Edited by LordValgor

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I'm sure moral quandaries will be present, but there will be no "alignment." You mentioned Skyrim. Did you play any of the games Obsidian made? They have a track record for fuzzy moral edges.


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Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

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"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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We haven't seen any specifics in terms of gameplay, but from what the devs say, yeah, that's pretty much what they're shooting for. Except it's not really a matter of being a "good guy who saves kittens" or a "diabolical evil mastermind that kills children." It's more of an evaluation of individual values and beliefs that conflict with one another, values and beliefs that may be perceived as "good" or "evil" relative to both the societies in the game and our own. That's not to say, of course, there wouldn't be choices that would, for the majority, be widely perceived as good or evil, it just means that the majority of choices won't necessarily be clear cut.

Edited by YourVoiceisAmbrosia

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I would hope that being 'bad' doesn't instantly mean 'everyone hates you'. If I sneak in and assassinate a guy in the middle of the night without being observed at ALL, I don't want the town guards to be all over me magically. But by the same token, I'd like to see the town react and change to the sudden murder of the alderman in his bed. A ramping scale. Pick pocket someone, nobody cares. Rob a bank and suddenly things get a lot more drastic. Let evil players be evil but by the same token, don't toss the hammer down at once.

 

As for good, make good choices equally consequential. You let this guy live instead of killing him... and later you find out he goes and does some heinous act that you are even more appalled by. You help out the widow and her six kids -- and someone targets you as a soft-hearted mark and cons you.

 

Let moral choices have real consequences, and it will make gameplay more thoughtful.


Don't be like that Constance girl, she's weird - Manager @ Disneyland

RL Bard, Storyteller, and Costumer

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I'm sure moral quandaries will be present, but there will be no "alignment." You mentioned Skyrim. Did you play any of the games Obsidian made? They have a track record for fuzzy moral edges.

We haven't seen any specifics in terms of gameplay, but from what the devs say, yeah, that's pretty much what they're shooting for. Except it's not really a matter of being a "good guy who saves kittens" or a "diabolical evil mastermind that kills children." It's more of an evaluation of individual values and beliefs that conflict with one another, values and beliefs that may be perceived as "good" or "evil" relative to both the societies in the game and our own. That's not to say, of course, there wouldn't be choices that would, for the majority, be widely perceived as good or evil, it just means that the majority of choices won't necessarily be clear cut.

Good to hear! I remember back in like Ultima IV it would start with you visiting a gypsie and choosing one character trait over another. I really hope that they integrate that mentality into the game, so that throughout the game you make those decisions, and thus it defines your character.

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I would hope that being 'bad' doesn't instantly mean 'everyone hates you'. If I sneak in and assassinate a guy in the middle of the night without being observed at ALL, I don't want the town guards to be all over me magically. But by the same token, I'd like to see the town react and change to the sudden murder of the alderman in his bed. A ramping scale. Pick pocket someone, nobody cares. Rob a bank and suddenly things get a lot more drastic. Let evil players be evil but by the same token, don't toss the hammer down at once.

 

As for good, make good choices equally consequential. You let this guy live instead of killing him... and later you find out he goes and does some heinous act that you are even more appalled by. You help out the widow and her six kids -- and someone targets you as a soft-hearted mark and cons you.

 

Let moral choices have real consequences, and it will make gameplay more thoughtful.

Agreed. Like I said, Advantages and Disadvantages to both sides.

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I'm assuming that this is what Obsidian means when they say they're making a mature game - that they're spanning the spectrum of moral choices that the protagonist has. Hopefully it's that and not a bunch of vulgarities, needless gore, and sex scenes. If they made it "mature" with the latter, then I would be very, very disappointed in Obsidian.

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I was and still am so impressed with how Obsidian dealt with morality in Neverwinter Nights 2, specifically Mask of the Betrayer. I'm not the biggest fan of D&D's alignment system, but they really made it work. Not only that, but in MotB they integrated moral choices into the gameplay itself with the Suppress/Devour mechanics (I know people weren't the biggest fan of that system but my god I loved it). I also love the depths of how evil you could really get in that game. There are very few evil choices that have no gain or reasoning behind them. Evil choices that are so absurdly dark as to be illogical were rare in NWN2 - even if you abhorred the reasoning behind a certain choice, there was always a reason it made sense.

 

As for other developers, I think Telltale has been doing great things with The Walking Dead series with regards to choice. As my friends and I have been playing through each chapter, we've been arguing about the choices we made long after we've finished the game - "Oh my god, you left her there?!" "Why would you do that?". Because the game doesn't tell you that an option is good or bad, and you know there is no "correct" decision, the player is the only one able to decide what is right or wrong in their eyes, making the overall story that much more emotionally significant. While I obviously don't think having the constant stream of no-win choices like The Walking Dead is the right direction for Project Eternity, these are more the kinds of "moral choices" I want in RPGs.

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As for other developers, I think Telltale has been doing great things with The Walking Dead series with regards to choice. As my friends and I have been playing through each chapter, we've been arguing about the choices we made long after we've finished the game - "Oh my god, you left her there?!" "Why would you do that?". Because the game doesn't tell you that an option is good or bad, and you know there is no "correct" decision, the player is the only one able to decide what is right or wrong in their eyes, making the overall story that much more emotionally significant. While I obviously don't think having the constant stream of no-win choices like The Walking Dead is the right direction for Project Eternity, these are more the kinds of "moral choices" I want in RPGs.

 

I kind of fell off the Telltale wagon after the QTE that was Jurassic Park. Maybe I'll give Walking Dead a chance (still waiting for more Sam & Max).


Rub my belly....you know you want to...give in to the temptation...and don't mind the resulting love scratches and bites.

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As for other developers, I think Telltale has been doing great things with The Walking Dead series with regards to choice. As my friends and I have been playing through each chapter, we've been arguing about the choices we made long after we've finished the game - "Oh my god, you left her there?!" "Why would you do that?". Because the game doesn't tell you that an option is good or bad, and you know there is no "correct" decision, the player is the only one able to decide what is right or wrong in their eyes, making the overall story that much more emotionally significant. While I obviously don't think having the constant stream of no-win choices like The Walking Dead is the right direction for Project Eternity, these are more the kinds of "moral choices" I want in RPGs.

 

I kind of fell off the Telltale wagon after the QTE that was Jurassic Park. Maybe I'll give Walking Dead a chance (still waiting for more Sam & Max).

 

I can't blame you, Jurassic Park was kind of a train wreck. Walking Dead is fantastic though, you'd barely think they were done by the same people. Definitely recommend giving it a try! It might tide you over until more Sam & Max happens :)

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Eh, I'd prefer few comparable differences. Some random violence or slaughter shouldn't have any particular advantage - maybe my character got ticked off with the old lady selling fruit because she ALWAYS called out as he walked past, so he broke into her home at night and killed her. Certainly, if he is caught or seen, he should be punished or somesuch - or if he tries to fence some of the woman's goods and is traced back to the murder. But If he isn't caught, it should mostly be the weight of his own conscience, and perhaps the intervention/noticed of a deity or two if he does it often enough. Likewise, seeing some people arguing in an alley, worried it will turn physical and intervening shouldn't necessarily give you some great reward, and it shouldn't always be as clear as a couple of guys ganging up on another.

 

Basically, I think the primary motivator for moral decisions should be character role playing.

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