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Default Mass Effect 3 - Preview @ CVG

July 30th, 2011, 23:10
CVG has a Mass Effect 3 preview that tugs at your heart strings - minor spoiler warning, including this snip:
Mass Effect 3's magic stems from your choices, the moral grey areas, and all-too-human failings of your companions. Make a bad choice, albeit in complex circumstances or under pressure, and the results might haunt you through the game's duration - and beyond.
One such decision left us reeling during our recent E3 gameplay demo. Visiting a mid-invasion Earth for disciplinary hearings after the events of Mass Effect 2 - we know, it's bureaucracy gone mad - we spot a child hiding in an air vent. Should Shepard tempt the urchin out from his hiding place? Or risk leaving him there to get killed? Encouraging the child out salves your conscience, but maybe it's a selfish act and he was safer in hiding.

So, imagine how we felt - how you'll feel - when the rescued child is loaded onto an escape shuttle […]
Head over to see how the story ends.
More information.
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July 30th, 2011, 23:10
I heard it mostly ends at night. Mostly.
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July 31st, 2011, 11:43
Encouraging the child out salves your conscience, but maybe it's a selfish act and he was safer in hiding.
How? Gray choices are only powder to the eyes from a RPG angle. How does this developper know that encouraging the child out will savel the conscience of the character one wishes to RP?

The only way he knows that is the character is not left to RP and is predetermined by designers/story writers script. Again, an adventure gaming approach where a story is built to reveal a predetermined character's aspects.

From a RPG perspective, gray choices can only exist when the gameworld allows the player to build one specific morality set and leads the player to take choices that will question that morality.

Developpers are so far from this point in RPGs they should abandon for now spending resources on that.

From an adventure gaming angle, it is another story. Commandant Sheppard, as wanted by script writers, might be relieved by helping this kid out of his vent.
Roleplaying is not acting though.
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July 31st, 2011, 15:29
Gray choices are beginning to become a fashion in gaming.

Personally, I don't like it.

Personally, I prefer clear borders. There's more than enough "grey choices" in RL, so I don't wanna have that in games.

People begin to call all others who don't want "grey choices" as being childish", but I have no problems with that. With my 41 years now I'm above those things. I just choose the games I want to play, not vice versa.

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July 31st, 2011, 15:36
I like grey.

I prefer when a game can make me think.

The option "save child" or "kill child, harvest and eat it's heart" isn't really moral, and I do not think the game offer "moral choices" and "different playstyles" if those are the only two choices you get.

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July 31st, 2011, 15:50
Regardless of morality, I'd say that extremely black and white choices are simply not interesting. They might as well only have you choose between a saint and a psychopath during character creation and then let the game choose everything else for you.

Because if those are the only choices you get then, as long as you have decided which of the two extremes you are going to follow, there is no dilemma and therefore every moral choice is nothing but an excuse for the game to have you click a few times more so as not to be blamed for not being interactive enough.

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Last edited by holeraw; July 31st, 2011 at 16:04.
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July 31st, 2011, 16:04
Originally Posted by holeraw View Post
They might as well only have you choose between a saint and a psychopath
I found cyan Shepherd too naive and orange Shepherd too irrationally violent to be given his/her role and the weight and responsibility it includes.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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July 31st, 2011, 17:36
one of the things i liked about dragonage is that it lacked the good vs evil bar, leaving the interpretation of your choices ambiguous but then they fucked that up by making the choices so odviously good and evil that only an amoral fuckwit would not be able to recognise them as good and evil

oh god i need to calm down by masturbating EPICLY

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July 31st, 2011, 18:00
Originally Posted by SAGO View Post
one of the things i liked about dragonage is that it lacked the good vs evil bar, leaving the interpretation of your choices ambiguous but then they fucked that up by making the choices so odviously good and evil that only an amoral fuckwit would not be able to recognise them as good and evil

oh god i need to calm down by masturbating EPICLY
Too much info…

er.. but anyway - yes red choice or blue choice and a reward if you stick to one of them instead of choosing the middle ground - I'm not sure what is achieved by that, or what is meant to be achieved by such a structure. So you get rewarded for not being neutral/mature.
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August 1st, 2011, 09:14
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Gray choices are beginning to become a fashion in gaming.
If gray options were real, it could be something to be discussed.

But there is nothing in that. These guys have taken the easy path to provide options they consider as "grey choices". It is nothing the player builds, it is nothing the player developps. It is all by the wishes of story writers.

On the given example, one could argue that the saving conscience option is to leave the kid in the vent, as the kid mades it so far and taking him around (considered Sheppard's historics) are not a life saving path. In 2, when confronted with a similar situation, she is led to the option of leaving people doing it on their own etc…

Building a game where morality will stem from the player's behaviours is not at reach of developpers, given their course of design, it makes no sense from a gaming perspective to stay course.

From a commercial point of view, another story though…
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August 1st, 2011, 10:33
I think ChienAboyeur is saying (and please correct me) that 'grey' choices have the power to elevate a mere decision to something which gets the player thinking about the depth of the character they are playing, and by doing so helps the player define that character. That only works however, if you have had enough input to the character in the first place, and there is enough information for you to be able to make a moral decision.

This is something that I felt wasn't handled quite well enough in The Witcher (1) as well - the act of making a decision only becomes meaningful IMHO if it was a reasoned process in the first place - and that can be reasoned in any sense - logical, emotion, materialist etc. It's all well and good having consequences for decisions, but they're no deeper than simply pulling a random lever and wondering what happens, if there's a lack of ability to bring information to those decisions. The sequel did much better in this area - the information was there this time around.

Child hiding in air vent: Why should my character make a decision about luring him out? Is there going to be significant information surrounding it to make a reasoned decision to the point I can reflect on and enjoy the consequences? Have I been able to pick up previous information about a missing child that might clue me in? Am I able to build up my own moral code for my character that would guide my decision? Or is it going to be a blind 'you thought you were doing Generic Good(tm) and look at the evil consequences ha ha'?
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August 1st, 2011, 11:55
The fact that the player is not allowed to developp, based on the character's actions, a moral code for his character, moral code through which future options are going to appear gray is primary.

The blindness to future consequences due to lack of information is probably needed to be make a decision based on a moral code, therefore inducing the possibility of grey options. If information was available, the decision could be taken without resorting to the moral code as guidelines.

The path taken by the developpers is the path of adventure gaming, that is featuring a predetermined character, with a predetermined moral code, all designed by story writers and the possible actions offered by the scenario only exist to shed light on the character's personality.

This situation learns that Cdt Sheppard is torn between leaving a kid in a vent and relieving his conscience. That is the way writers have thought him to be.

And it is not even consistent with Sheppard's previous behaviour. Just like the renegade/parangon system is nothing consistent other than providing the player with two paths and give the illusion of choice.


Witcher is the same. Save than in the witcher, they are more or less aware of the issue, come with a story on relativism and absolute morality, which allows them to placate a kind of universal moral code that should be by default the moral code of any player and by derivation, their character's moral code, making options afforded in the game gray choices.
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August 1st, 2011, 12:48
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
I prefer when a game can make me think.
I think alone far too much. I'm thinking nearly almost all of the time.

Some times I just need to shut down, get the mental shutters down, and relax, or I'll get mad (perhaps) or into depressions (more likely), because I just can't stomach the unfairness of the world (recent example : drunk car driver is driving too far, hits a young couple's car in the back, couple's car is pushed off the road, catches fire, result : the young couple (30/28) is dead burned, the drunk car driver only slightly injured - another example : 3 days or so before the school vacations begin : male teenager throws broken umbrella on the schoolyard - the head of the ubrella hits and impales a female teenager right into her chest - dead).

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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August 1st, 2011, 13:16
Jesus Alrik…
If you want to not think and get your mind off of violent deaths by fire and impaling why or earth you would choose to do so by playing an crpg of all things?!

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August 1st, 2011, 13:34
You miss the point.

It's REAL LIFE vs. a game.

It would be the same if you asked my "why do you play board games, then".

By the way, I find your lack of empathy a bit disturbing.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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August 1st, 2011, 13:49
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
It would be the same if you asked my "why do you play board games, then"..
Well yeah… if it was board games where what you spend most of your time doing would be burning and impaling things - because that's what you do in rpgs.


Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
By the way, I find your lack of empathy a bit disturbing.
My lack of empathy? I'm not sure where you get that from but empathy or not, a little girl getting impaled by an umbrella is an undoubtedly tragic event but is no way a reason for my computer games not to have 'gray' choices!

"I am not interested in good; I am interested in new, even if this includes the possibility of it's being evil"
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