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Submitted by acronkyoung 1528d ago | opinion piece

Morality systems in games don't need meters and points

A gamer doesn't need meters to show what kind of person they are. They just need strong character and a fleshed out world. (Catherine, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dev, inFamous 2, Mass Effect 2, PC, PS3, The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings, Xbox 360)
Tipsed by: TachePsyche

NagaSotuva  +   1528d ago
I would implement such a feature in first-person shooters. It worked for light-gun games. "Don't shoot!"
THR1LLHOUSE  +   1528d ago
I'm so sick of morality systems in general. The first time I broke into somebody's apartment and stole their candy bars in Human Revolution, I was extremely happy to not see something pop up and tell me that I had acquired X amount of bad guy points or something.

It was a cool idea, but it's been completely run into the ground.
malol  +   1528d ago
i HATE that skyrim don't have any kind of Morality system like fallout 3 had
i know that this is a different game and such
but still its a nice thing to have in RPG games and it actually makes your choices MATTER and feel more engaging
The Matrix  +   1528d ago
Just like when you steal a candy bar from Wal-mart and lose a bunch of karma points for doing it? Keep your morality inside yourself.
Xof  +   1528d ago
Except that Fallout's morality system (and morality systems in general) do NOT matter and do NOT make the experience more engaging.

In general, a morality system accomplishes the opposite of its intended function.

What is the point of a morality system? To make game worlds feel more realistic, as if your actions--good or ill--matter.

And what makes our actions matter? In games, or in reality?


Getting +1 points in a meter is not a consequence. Gaining access to certain in-game abilities or sidequesets with X number of points, too, is not a consequence.

Actual consequences MUST effect the narrative. And most games--even those like Bioware's latest entries, that highly emphasize the aspect of player choice--completely forget that for player actions/decisions/morality to have ANY meaning there must be actual narrative consequences involved.

Part of that means not knowing the repercussions of a given choice. The only modern game that really does this well (that even TRIES to do this) is the Witcher, where you are constantly presented with CHOICES. There's no morality system to tell you if what you did was right our wrong, and often the immediate consequences of an action are different from the long-term consequences.

Good actions can lead to bad events, and bad actions can lead to good events--the point is that, from the perspective of the player, moral choices are made with both immediate and long-term consequences. This is how to make choice matter.

Simply slapping on a meter and giving players bounties or random NPC comments based on set good/evil variables is the laziest possible way to attempt to mold the gaming experience into one resembling the real world.

And, sadly, things will likely not change until developers stop building games around the "cinematic experience" (and other purely aesthetic values) and start devoting more time, effort and energy into crafting the narrative mechanics which, history has shown us time and time again, matter far more than the transient visual appeal of any game.
gaden_malak  +   1528d ago
I agree. I would love a game where your choices actually affect not only who you are but where your journey takes you (ie. branching off into different areas).

While I like the idea of being good/bad and having that choice it really only affects how people talk to you, nothing more.
SybaRat  +   1528d ago
Agreed. Morality isn't a matter of numbers and filled bars, and it takes away from the immersion to do it that way.
Sharingan_no_Kakashi  +   1528d ago
Yea... most of them are completely unrealistic. And not challenging at all. I've yet to see a game where I actually didn't know what the right and wrong thing to do was.
Basjohn  +   1528d ago
The bars and meters are essential in CERTAIN games but better ignored in others. For example in Mass Effect it unlocks higher reward dialog options only when you have a certain amount of points in either side, KOTOR also gave you bonuses when you reached the max of either alignment. Buuuuut in games like Skyrim? I actually love that there isn't any. Someone is rude to me or tells me for the 90th time my god damned sweet rolls got stolen? I follow them home and murder them, and then save the world from a black dragon with an inferiority complex. In fallout I'd be afraid of stealing things or killing npcs because of Karma retribution, but in Skyrim I like that my character can have mixed morals and even more so that what nobody sees......nobody can judge you by.
smashcrashbash  +   1528d ago
First of all if morality didn't have some type of thing to measure it you wouldn't know what path you are going down. Suppose i don't want to be bad but that is the path I am taking? Secondly the reason why morality in games are not always the best is because morality is a matter of opinion. What one person thinks is bad may not be as bad in another person's eyes.

For instance if you kill a thousand people to save 10 million people is that bad or good? You saved more people but you sacrificed a thousand lives to do it. That may be good in the eyes of the people you did it for but what about the friends and family of the thousand that died? You still have the people you sacrificed blood on your hands.

Games usually simplify the concept of good and evil because to do anything else would take a lot of work to portray.You would have to write a novel to describe its complexity fully.What I think they should do though is increase its complexity slightly. For example, why it is that one side has to be good and the other side have to be evil in a conflict? Why can both sides have valid ideals and morals and they just don't agree with each otherotther
HeavenlySnipes  +   1528d ago
That's what I didn't like about Infamous 2's. I would have rather just played the game and found out at the end how my negative and positive choices weighed out. I hate that they make it blatantly obvious which is which.
BitbyDeath  +   1528d ago
It would have still been blatantly obvious considering your powers change depending on whether you are good or evil.
PhunnyJesta  +   1528d ago
I remember playing KOTOR1 and seeing the background of my evil character get all dark and red. Made me feel like a BA at the time haha
#9 (Edited 1528d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
christheredhead  +   1528d ago
hahaha that was the best. I really liked the morality system in KOTOR. So much fun.
lethalsilicong5  +   1528d ago
curse you fable!
Sadie2100  +   1528d ago
I'm not sure my Skyrim character is that "fleshed out" but I love that I can do good, bad, or gray-area activities without worrying about a master meter. Just do what I feel like and deal with the consequences...perfect!
sonicsidewinder  +   1528d ago
Morality bars are so 2003.
Pintheshadows  +   1528d ago
The problem with morality in games is you can either be good or bad. But nothing in between.

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