Video Games / Editorials

The State of Horror Games: A Dark Future Ahead?

The State of Horror Games: A Dark Future Ahead?

There are a number of things that a lot of modern ‘horror’ titles get wrong. For example, the player isn’t treated like a victim; they are the one in control of the situation. This is often a result of arming the player to the teeth and throwing waves of enemies at them. There’s nothing scary about out-gunning everything that comes after you. The elements of horror have become too tightly entwined with the staples of the action/shooter genre. Players are often put in a position in which they are exposed to the enemy regularly. The enemy itself is often one of many, further detracting from any sense of horror they may carry. The player is often equipped with various firearms that are more than capable of killing anything in sight, and the resulting experience is more ‘intense action’ than ‘heart-pounding horror’. But this just seems to be the modern day method–’action horror’ rather than just ‘horror’. Real scares are crafted, not forced. Sure, the odd jump scare does shock but they are only effective when used in moderation. Atmosphere, vulnerability and tension are all key ingredients in creating an effective horror experience. Games that place players in a position in which they are at a disadvantage are often the scariest experiences. The most recent example of this would be last year’s Zombi U. In Zombie U, the player is not combat efficient; they struggle with firearms and swing a cricket bat like any average person. The zombies are far deadlier, with even one of them enough to slay a player. This instantly creates a viable threat that results in the player fearing their enemy. It’s odd that as technology has improved, the ability to create scary video game experiences has declined. The big studios often turn their horror games into full-blown action titles, complete with cinematic set pieces and dual wielding pistols. It’s left to the ‘smaller guys’ to produce the real horror. Is the problem rooted in how the ‘big’ studios look at their games, the industry and the customer? The horror game genre (much like the horror film genre, funnily enough) is currently in a strange limbo. Classic horror experiences are thin on the ground (at least on the console side), which then poses questions around whether people still want them or not. There’s also the problem of capturing the attention of many, rather than a few. What can a genuinely scary game do to pull people away from what they are used to? The majority of people don’t tend to find slow-burning games all that appealing. We live in a time in which most people want instant gratification; they want their pay-off sooner rather than later. This is how the gap between the ‘smaller guys’ (or indie, if you like to use that term freely) and major studios is formed. The smaller guys can afford to take the risk on creating a true horror title–after all, the niche markets suit them just fine–but the bigger studios are often under pressure to create a game that will bring in the money via sales to the masses. Horror can not be rushed, and this is why I believe we rarely see horror titles being released from larger studios. Sure, there’s a decent flow of action-horror titles (Dead Space, Resident Evil 4 and beyond, to name a few) but genuine horror? That’s a rarity these days. The smaller/independent guys have time to work on each of the key elements of horror. Frictional Games offer the best example of creating and including all the key horror elements. The likes of Penumbra and Amnesia show a clear understanding of how to scare people. The atmosphere is foreboding, almost suffocating, and the audio is pitch-perfect. The enemies in both games aren’t thrown at the player. Instead, they are slowly and steadily brought into the player’s attention. It’s a true showcase of how to create an effective horror experience. The horror genre may be dying in terms of big-budget releases, but the independent scene is steadily producing quality experiences. With Sony’s recent warming towards the indie scene, this could result in more true horror experiences appearing on their systems. The future could be surprisingly bright for the horror genre. Just don’t expect it to be courtesy of the major studios.      ...

Top 5 Villains In Gaming

Top 5 Villains In Gaming

Gaming has had some pretty memorable villains, and baddies throughout the years. It’s 1:00 AM and I’m drinking some coffee with raspberry flavoring (it’s actually really good). While drinking this glorious beverage I’ve decided to compile a list of some of my favorite villains in videogames. I have an addiction with making lists, and figured one featuring my favorite villains could be something to excite the masses. This list is also in no particular order. Allon-sy! 1. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII) Sephiroth is pretty much my favorite villain of all time, and was the first one to pop into my head, hence him being at the top of this list. Coming from one of my favorite games of all time, and one of the better Final Fantasy titles is the One Winged Angel himself. He’s sadistic, gorgeous, intelligent, and wields one hell of a sword (compensating? Hyuk hyuk). Not only did he serve as the primary antagonist of Final Fantasy VII, but he also slaughtered one of the main characters in probably one of the most surprising, and saddest deaths in gaming to date. Spoiler: It surprised the crap out of me when he dropped from above, and stabbed Aerith with his blade. I was shocked, I was saddened, and I wanted to destroy him. It eventually led to a rather mediocre, and underwhelming boss-fight, but it felt good to put him down for killing my beloved Aerith. Even though I despised him for his actions, he’s still one of my favorite villains. I love me some Sephiroth. 2. Bowser (Mario) Bowser, King Koopa, or whatever you like to call this delightful guy. Bowser is an icon in gaming, and probably one of the most recognizable faces in the gaming world. Every Mario game he’s in as the main antagonist gives a different way of defeating him in battle. The most memorable for me was in the first Mario game, Super Mario Bros where you had to leap over his head and jump on the switch plummeting him into lava, these were false Bowsers if I remember but for me it still counts. I was only a little kid when I played the game, so my memory is a little foggy but I just remember the triumph, and how unstoppable I felt dropping his scaly ass into the fiery depths. Now, I’ve been out-of-touch with the Mario series for a long time now as I haven’t really spent a good deal of time with a Mario game since Super Mario 64, so it’s been a while. I’ve missed quite a lot of the series, but that still doesn’t stop me from remembering how awesome it was to encounter, and fight Bowser. From my beginnings in Super Mario Bros, to my last experience tangling with him in Super Mario 64 it’s been a complete blast. Not to mention he’s one of my favorite characters to play as in the Smash Bros game series. 3. Vaas Montenegro (Far Cry 3) He’s the definition of insanity, and also a wonderfully written, and acted character. Using the likeness, and voice of Canadian actor Michael Mando (Canadian street cred, yeeea boi) he’s by far one of the best villains in gaming history, if not the best. Everything about his character interested me, and I always found myself cheering for him instead of the whiny protagonist, Jason. For me, Vaas is the genuine article and the villain that other villains need to take examples from. The part that bothered me though is how he died in the game, and that he wasn’t the “main” villain per-say, but was working for a man named Hoyt. Throughout the game you get a real leadership feeling from Vaas, and that he wouldn’t take shit from anyone, or even listen to anyone but is being commanded by Hoyt (who turned out to be really boring, and bland compared to this beauty). Whether it was him torturing Jason’s friends, or his chilling demeanor, Vaas was portrayed perfectly by Mando and he gave me chills during his performance. If you haven’t played FC3 yet, you should. Experiencing this villain is a good enough reason to play the game. Talking about it doesn’t do him justice, you need to live it. 4. Dr Eggman / Dr Robotnik (Sonic Franchise) The main antagonist of the Sonic The Hedgehog series, Robotnik is a mad scientist and his plans always seem to fail, no matter how brilliant they appear to be. None for his orange-red clothing, and that brilliant mustache, Robotnik is a wonderful, and wacky villain who constantly thinks up new ideas to defeat Sonic, and take over the world. Even though most of his plans fail, and Sonic emerges victorious. I’ve kept myself distant from the Sonic series for a long time due to the downward spiral in quality over the years. The last Sonic game I played was Generations, and I actually enjoyed the game, and really enjoyed the dyamic between present day Eggman, and Robotnik from the past. Loved their dynamic, even though that last boss fight was really, really frustrating for me at least. I’d like to check out the new Sonic game on WiiU, but my friends who have touched the title haven’t been saying good things. I’ll wait, and see what happens. 5. Team Rocket (Pokemon Series) I felt like I couldn’t make a list of villains without adding Team Rocket. Prepare for trouble, and make it double. I loved fighting Team Rocket in the original Pokemon games and felt amazing when I squashed them, and defeated them once & for all. Then seeing them again in Gold & Silver renewed my love for this team, and I defeated them once again. They seemed to be a little more “darker” in the Gen II games with the whole cutting off Slowpoke tails, and selling them. Bleugh. Now, the last Pokemon games I played were Pearl & Diamond so I have no idea if Rocket ever resurfaces, but I’d love to see them as the main villains in a Pokemon game again. Maybe that’s just my nostalgia talking, but I’ve always had more fun fighting them than any other “Team” in the series. Plus, Jesse, James & Meowth in the anime series are great. I adore them. – What about you readers? What are your top 5 villains in the gaming world? Post in the comments below! I’d love to see your opinions....

Trolling Videos: The Death of Credibility & Good Taste?

Trolling Videos: The Death of Credibility & Good Taste?

The Youtube ‘gaming’ section has long been in decline in terms of quality. If it’s not a big Youtuber suddenly deciding they like video games all of a sudden, it’s some awful coverage of games with misplaced lingo thrown in. It’s a sorry state, and its even impacting the actual industry (see Toby Turner’s car crash presenting at last year’s E3), but a new trend is rapidly on the rise, and it directly affects popular games and their communities. The ‘Trolling’ video has quickly become one of the most popular video formats. The basic outline sees a user entering a game/lobby (commonly Call of Duty) with the intention of antagonizing the other players. In its most innocent form, it’s merely a guy just being annoying down the microphone; at its worst, it’s someone pretending to be disabled. Let that sink in–a person pretending to be disabled and earning money from it, complete with a contract with Machinima. The trolling videos show the very worst of people, and most contain at least two hundred homophobic and racial slurs. Most involve angry young men going irate at the youtuber to the point of rage-quitting. The Youtuber will constantly seek further reaction, and this often results in the language and general tone of the ‘victim’ becoming utterly vile. Some may argue that it’s all in the name of entertainment, and in some cases they’d be right, but some Youtubers’ trolling feels purely tasteless. There’s something rather unsettling when it comes to someone pretending to be disabled purely to bait out a reaction. The same Youtuber (names will not be mentioned) sometimes makes comments back at his ‘victims’ that are simply vile. There is no morale high ground on either side. The question is how low can they go? The trolling format is unquestionably successful. At times it can be funny, when the trolling is in moderation, but as the ‘genre’ becomes more stacked, the Youtubers look for greater reactions from their victims. This can only mean that the baiting will be more severe and more distasteful–and all in the name of gaining views and subs. Trolling directly effects video game communities, even if the communities associated are known for their poor nature. People have seen that trolling is a means to gain internet fame with little effort, which oddly seems to be something a large number of modern gamers want, and this leads to people replicating the trolling format. Trolling showcases the very worst of a game’s community; there is rarely a Youtuber who uploads someone reacting well to the trolling. The troll also ruins the game for all those involved in the game/lobby that they are currently trolling. It’s an utterly selfish act to jump into a random game and try to ruin peoples’ fun or waste their time. At the end of the day, people will see trolling videos as harmless entertainment. Most trolling videos are there purely for the enjoyment of others, but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Racial slurs, homophobic insults and vile taunts do little to entertain. It’s slightly alarming that there’s a large proportion of people who enjoy the more ‘scummy’ trolling videos. If these videos are a sign of the times–and what a lot of people want from the Youtube gaming circles–then that’s simply disheartening. I wholeheartedly hope that the trend comes to a end sooner rather than later. At the very least I hope that the Youtubers in this genre maintain some kind of morality in the pursuit of subscribers and views. After all, if this is the result of modern day gamers, then there’s a lot left to be desired, creatively and morally. After reaching out to one of the most popular ‘trolls’, Soprano Pictures, he gave us his reason to why he did troll videos:  ...

Video Game Snobbery; Leave it Behind

Video Game Snobbery; Leave it Behind

There’s an odd sense of snobbery going around at the moment. People are looking down at others for playing certain video games, and for once, it’s not Call of Duty. It’s a video game franchise that has helped craft many fond memories for a whole plethora of people, a staple for many childhoods all over the world–Pokemon. Nintendo’s super grind in cunning disguise has finally taken the leap to full 3D, and people are all caught up in the Pokemon world once more. The franchise has been an ever-present force in the industry since the mid ’90s with various entries over the years taking on many forms, one of which (oddly) being pinball. It’s a juggernaut of a franchise that seemingly holds endless relevance and appeal, even though the main Pokemon line has taken baby steps in terms of progression. But the core gameplay, however, has always been addictive. The recent releases of Pokemon X & Y have seen the franchise’s biggest progression, as well as strengthening the 3DS’ lineup of games. The 3D perspective is a pretty big deal; Pokemon has finally embraced the one thing fans have been asking for. Of course, there have been various other significant changes to the franchise over the years, but the biggest by far is the transition from 2D to 3D. Unsurprisingly, Pokemon fans of old have returned to the franchise to see the Pokeverse in a whole new way. Unfortunately, the returning fans–now in their late teens and beyond–have become victims of snobbery, mainly down to the new wave of video game fans this generation has bred. In a world where serious, gritty video games are mega-sellers (at least in the Western world), some see Pokemon–and most Nintendo titles–as childish and no longer relevant in today’s video game world. And it’s perhaps the height of ignorance to dismiss something, especially an interactive media form such as video games, based purely on its themes. Seeing and hearing people try to put down others for playing Pokemon is a highly frustrating experience. The very purpose of video games at their core is, and always has been, to have fun and enjoyment. So for it to be a source of entertainment for people to belittle others due to their choice of gaming preferences is incredibility narrow-sighted. At the end of the day, everyone has their choices and preferences. Some like to shoot faceless terrorists in a modern setting, while others like to learn the basics of becoming arm chair generals. Heck, some people even like to look after a digital plot of land. But the fact that people have all these different tastes, most which are catered for, is a testament to how diverse video games have became. The divisions between people who like video games and those who love them are becoming increasingly clearer, but this does not justify insulting and belittling anyone. If Pokemon is so ‘immature,’ then surely a dime-a-dozen game of toy solders (any given modern military FPS), cops and robbers (GTA), or play fighting (Marvel Vs Capcom) are just as immature? The point is it doesn’t matter–it’s all about the fun. Let’s leave the snobbery behind and appreciate video games for what they do and what they are aiming to be....

Assassin’s Creed: The Evolution From Bad to Good and Back Again

Assassin’s Creed: The Evolution From Bad to Good and Back Again

Annual franchises. You either appreciate being able to venture into familiar worlds with familiar characters and gameplay styles every year, or you find the ostensibly stronger interest in churning out more profit-providing produce via the conveyer belt too grating to withstand. But they exist, and they work, and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise is a lucrative money-making machine that demonstrates the effectiveness of releasing games on an annual basis when the fanbase is there to lap it up.   But annual releases breed their own kinds of problems. When you release a new title after three, four, or even more years, you have more of a chance of producing something fresh. Take Grand Theft Auto, for example. Each new title sees huge new playgrounds to explore, new gameplay mechanics to get affiliated with, new characters and story lines to sink your teeth into, and so forth. It’s fresh and unfamiliar, and it never feels like you’ve seen it all before. Annual franchises, in comparison, have less time to work with to create something that doesn’t feel diluted and like the original game has simply been re-worked and posted under a different name. Sometimes that’s not the case, but with Assassin’s Creed, it can and has been.   It’s not been all bad news for the franchise, however. Since 2007, a total of five titles on the main systems have been released, with a sixth merely weeks away from launch. There have been ups and there have been downs, and in this post, I’m going to briefly discuss the things I liked and disliked the most about each release. Assassin’s Creed 2007 is when the franchise was born with Assassin’s Creed. It’s also, without a shadow of a doubt, my least favorite entry of the entire series.   The game promised so much yet seemed to deliver so little, with an intriguing storyline hindered by frustratingly repetitive mission structures, gameplay mechanics that became tiresome the longer you played with them, and a city that was simply not that interesting to explore, with annoying restrictions deployed to limit your movements. In fact, Assassin’s Creed disappointed me so devastatingly that I never thought I would ever make a return for future titles. It’s fortunate that I did, but it set the bar astoundingly low.   Despite my negativity towards the title, however, I cannot fault the game (much, anyway) for its efforts at providing a compelling narrative that would set the framework for many years to come. With its intriguing blend of time periods and sci-fi elements, Altair’s adventures were hardly ever lacking in creativity or excitement. It’s a shame the main story thread became weakened over time, but it at least started off on a strong foot.   Coming right off the back of discussing my least favorite title in the franchise, it’s time to talk about the one I like the most.   Assassin’s Creed 2 was not only a monumental improvement on its predecessor in almost every discernible way, from the main character to the story, to the gameplay and the environment, but it felt like the kind of game I was expecting Assassin’s Creed to be back in 2007–fun, exciting, and not at all struggling under the weight of repetition. The franchise has enjoyed success since then, but it has yet to reach the heights it rose up to with this game.   I’ve already strongly expressed my appreciation for this game, but I really cannot state it enough: this is the pinnacle of Assassin’s Creed. I’ve continuously felt that the subsequent efforts have tried to repeat the same success AC2 engendered, yet they always seem to miss something whose absence taints the formula. I have a suspicion that said missing element is related to the fact that the leap in quality from the first game to the second is something that the franchise’s now annual release schedule makes incredibly difficult to achieve, no matter how many developers there are working on each title. (There are an incredible eight studios working on Black Flag.)   It’s because of the hope that one day the franchise could replicate the success it enjoyed with AC2 that I continuously wish the series would re-evaluate its release schedule and perhaps only release new titles on a bi-annual basis. Of course, that’s not likely to happen at any point in the near future given the financial viability of the franchise’s current plan. But with new titles being pushed out so quickly, I highly doubt we’ll ever see something even close to Assassin’s Creed 2 in the future, and that makes me sad. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Brotherhood’s release in 2010 marked the beginning of Assassin’s Creed’s annual release schedule, with the game releasing merely a year after AC2. Fortunately, however, coming off the back of the critical appraisal received with AC2 meant that Brotherhood really was not a lacking effort. It felt good to be back controlling Ezio again, and the opportunity to explore a new game world and continue advancing through the series’ main narrative was rewarding and satisfying.   After loving AC2, I was more than happy to be given the chance to experience the next step in Ezio’s journey so soon after the last, even if I was unaware at the time of the price that would ultimately come from that.   Brotherhood was also the first title in the franchise to introduce online multiplayer, much to the chagrin of those intent on having the series exist as a purely single-player experience.   Featuring the same gameplay system of hiding in plain sight both to evade and maintain pursuit, Assassin’s Creed’s version of competitive multiplayer was not as lackluster an effort as many had predicted. In fact, it was actually rather fun, albeit lacking in depth. But it relied on people playing the game as designed, not unnecessarily sprinting across rooftops, and because that seemed like what everybody wanted to do, Brotherhood’s (and future efforts’) attempts at creating a miniaturized version of the single-player formula was marred with issues. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations And now we get to the point where the series’ insistence on new titles being released every year started to become an issue.   Taken as a collective whole, Revelations really didn’t impress me in the way that Brotherhood did. Because it, again, was released so soon after the previous title, it felt too familiar to be appreciated. At this point, Ezio was a character whose story already seemed exhausted, and while I can kind of appreciate what they were trying to do by re-introducing Altair into the mix, to me it never seemed more than a gimmick. (“Hey, we’ve brought our two protagonists together because why not!”)   On top of that, the game’s central storyline seemed considerably weaker than the previous entries. I actually found myself being dragged to the finish line not out of interest in seeing how things concluded but out of a desire to not leave something unfinished–something which I had never done with any Assassin’s Creed game before, including the first. Considering how the story had always been what I found the most impressive about the franchise, to see it reduced to a tedious bore was immeasurably disappointing.   As I previously said (many times), the way that the franchise now operates ultimately means that it’s more difficult to really feel like the next entrant in the series is far away enough from the previous to be considered fresh. With Revelations, it really didn’t feel all that unfamiliar, and it was that that made the game feel like such a huge letdown after the heights of the previous two titles. Assassin’s Creed 3 And now we reach the most recent entry in the franchise, Assassin’s Creed 3, and one that usually receives its fair share of vilification wherever you look and unfortunately deserves most of it.   If there is one thing I have to commend AC3 on, it’s its willingness to move away from the repetition that Revelations demonstrated. It brought in a new protagonist, an entirely new setting and time period, and completely new gameplay mechanics to alter the formula already established by previous franchise entries.   That being said, however, its efforts at ushering in a new era for Assassin’s Creed were mostly a buggy, mediocre, severely lacking affair, all being experienced through the eyes of an unlikeable and wooden protagonist. I can appreciate what they were trying to do with Assassin’s Creed 3, but in trying to go to new areas, they definitely left consistency at the door.   In some ways, Assassin’s Creed 3 was the victim of its own hype. It led us to believe it was going to revolutionize the franchise and take us to areas we never thought possible with the series. And yet it never really delivered what it was promising. It definitely wasn’t a complete disaster, and after Revelations I appreciated the effort, but instead of feeling like the step forward the franchise needed, it was more akin to several steps back. It is in fact that last sentence that, in some ways, summarizes the last few years of Assassin’s Creed’s life. The franchise started out poorly and unevenly, but it managed to expand beyond its confined horizons and forge something truly exciting out of it. But once the profits began pouring it and the annual releases became a reality, the dilution began. The central storyline is no longer as compelling as it once was, the gameplay no longer as exciting, and although a part of me still hopes Black Flag will learn from AC3’s mistakes, I cannot deny I have my doubts. After all, as the old saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”  ...

Batman Arkham Origins – Are People Becoming Tired of The Bat?

Batman Arkham Origins – Are People Becoming Tired of The Bat?

The recent release of Batman: Arkham Origins has been met with somewhat of a lukewarm reception compared to the other entries in the franchise. Some may point the finger at the numerous bugs present in the game; others find the story lacking. Is the Batman, or at least the Arkham brand, losing its appeal? Arkham Asylum and City garnered high praise for almost every element of the respected experiences, with the extremely tight core gameplay of both titles being the focal point of much of the laudation. The fluent combat offered both accessibility and depth in a wonderfully crafted system. So much so that it’s now became something of a benchmark in modern video games that involve hand-to-hand combat. On top of that, the stories of both games made sure to include the A-list of Batman villains that fans of both screen and comic would recognize. Developers Rocksteady ‘got’ Batman; they understood how to make a solid game set in the Batman universe. This is perhaps why Origins hasn’t been met with quite as much critical success. Rocksteady are no longer at the helm, and thus the Arkham line has been placed into the care of one of Warner Brothers’ in-house developers. With Rocksteady gone, the franchise is in that awkward transitional state, which is not an uncommon situation for a video game franchise to be in these days, but is this the reason why Origins is not enjoying as much success as its predecessors? In terms of bugs, they tend to pop up in most major releases these days, as unfortunate as that may be, but it’s the severity of said bugs that defines the criticism aimed at the games. Origins seems to have fallen victim to a number of issues that either heavily hinder the player’s experience or break the game entirely. This has, of course, lead to a number of disgruntled players, and has even spawned some angry videos from big Youtubers, which really is not what anyone would want for their game nowadays. However, even when putting the bugs aside, a growing number of people have started to express their disappointment in the game’s story and villain roster. At this point in time the Arkham games have featured the most popular and, in the Joker’s case, iconic villains of the Batman universe. Unfortunately Origins finds itself in the difficult position of including some of the more obscure villains. Subsequently this leaves the more casual Batman fan a little bemused as to who these characters are. It’s a problem that is firmly in the ballpark of the player, as full-on fans of Batman will no doubt love seeing the lesser-known villains brought to life, whereas the more casual fans will most likely be looking to Google to provide the answers, but it creates somewhat of a divide.   All that being said, however, the main complaint voiced towards Origins seems to be regarding the lack of progression from Arkham City, the previous entry in the franchise. The areas of evolution from Asylum to City are easy to identify: the combat was improved upon and made deeper; the world was bigger and fleshed out; there were more gadgets and puzzles; and the story was much larger in scale. Origins, in comparison, seems to be a step to the side rather than forward. But given the franchise’s transitional state, perhaps this was to be expected? Or perhaps people have just become somewhat jaded with the franchise. With the Arkham line ostensibly becoming an annual franchise, with semi-frequent spin-offs on hand-held systems, the chances of ‘franchise fatigue’ setting in are increasing with each release. It’s a perfectly natural process; after all, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. The future of the Akrham brand will no doubt be solid, because as a brand Batman is still lucrative, but perhaps it’s time to lower the expectations we’ve had after the likes of Asylum and City.    ...

Morality Systems Need to be Less Black & White

Morality Systems Need to be Less Black & White

This generation has seen decision-making and morality systems play major parts in a lot of games. The likes of Mass Effect and Fallout 3 have all featured them in some shape or form. While both games are ‘good’ examples of morality systems, they all tend to suffer from the same issue–and it’s an issue that affects almost every single game with a system of this nature.   ‘Black and white’ decisions are the bane of morality systems. The choices are normally between doing an utterly selfless deed that is absolutely morally correct, or doing something that is straight up 100% evil; there is rarely middle ground. The problem with this is that these decisions then become a little detached from the dramatic effect that most of these games are aiming for. There are a few cases in which morality systems have been fleshed out, but these are in short supply. It’s time for more developers to flesh out their morality and decision-making systems in their games, because not all good outcomes are a result of typically ‘good’ deeds (see Games of Thrones; Jaime Lannister particularly, for a popular reference point). The same applies to bad outcomes. Good intentions have a tendency to lead to bad results at times, and this is rarely reflected in video games. Morality systems aren’t exactly new, yet they seem to be progressing at an extremely slow rate. Improving the choices and the impact they have upon the game world is something that needs to be addressed. Forcing players into a tough choice in order to achieve a ‘good’ outcome adds a large amount of drama to a game’s story and overall experience. The current trend of morality effecting a character’s look and dialogue options is outdated, and it’s simply time to move on. As the next generation of consoles comes ever closer, I hope to see morality systems improve alongside new technology. The concept of morality has seeped through into various other genres so that it’s no longer confined to RPGs. It’s time for more games to encourage the player to make hard choices–choices that aren’t simply good or evil. Challenge the player’s morals, make their choices feel more tangible, and ditch the paragon of good and the embodiment of evil. Give morality and choice legitimacy and depth and the game’s experience will only benefit from it.    ...

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