I recently gave an example of a very small cause and effect scenario involving a drowning boy and it created some confusion on whether that was an example of a moral dilemma. The tough morality decisions are ones in which the outcome is not a black and white scenario. So in our drowning boy example, unless you are playing like a sociopath (which we’re ok with) a person is likely to save the boy unless there was personal risk involved. This is more about the ripples of cause and effect the events in the game can cause then a real example of a true moral dilemma. To that end, I thought it appropriate to share one of the many scenarios which does comprise of a set of choices that are not black and white and also highlights the multiple choices the players will have:
The Kidnapped Wife:
The rangers come across a man whose wife has been kidnapped by raiders. He asks them to help him get her back, but these raiders bear the Mark of Titan, marking them protected by the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud. If the rangers attack the raiders, they will anger the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud and possibly jeopardize their main mission on the map, but if they don’t rescue the woman, she will be enslaved and endure a fate worse than death. Adding to the dilemma is that without the rangers’ help; her husband is going to get himself killed trying to save her on his own.
The easiest and most loathsome way to deal with the dilemma is to ignore the man and leave the woman to her fate. It’s also easy to go in guns blasting, but that will piss off the Servants and turn the map hostile, putting the Rangers overall mission in jeopardy. It is much more difficult and time consuming to find a middle path, trying to steal her away without the raiders knowing, trying to buy her from them, or stealth killing them all without the servants catching on.
This example illustrates two things that are of major importance to us in the development of Wasteland 2. First, having moral dilemmas that are more than just good versus evil, and second, having multiple solution options to any scenario. Setting up scenarios that tug on your emotions of right and wrong is what makes for the experience we are trying to deliver. We also want to allow people to play the game the way they want. If they choose the evil path, then we need to let that happen. You might feel a little guilty when you hear about the havoc you are causing to innocent people but we don’t make the game impossible due to your play style. It is all about the player having a choice of and having multiple ways to solve any problem.
And on another note we are celebrating our 10th year anniversary by reducing the prices of our released games and in some cases giving them away for free. If you are on a PC, Max, iOS or Android device you might want to check it out.
I hope this clears up any questions on our take on morality. As usual I am happy to keep our dialogue open so that I can stay on top of the pulse of things.
PS Congrats to our friends at Obsidian for their Kickstarter campaign. They did an amazing job and once more proves that the passion for RPGs was never gone.