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Default Mass Effect - Morality Tales @ RPS

August 27th, 2008, 01:43
An interesting piece at Rock, Paper, Shotgun with John Walker examining how BioWare likes to include serious issues in their RPGs as backdrops to moral choices the player must make - but then gives them trite treatment in the context of the presentation. This is slightly spoiler-y for Mass Effect. The problem:
One thing I really want to do is go and sit down with Dr and Dr BioWare, and be having a regular chat, probably asking questions about Dragon Age or something journalistic like that, and then suddenly in the middle of it all Iíd shout, ďMY SISTER WANTS TO GET AN ABORTION! WHAT SHOULD SHE DO?Ē
When they look scared and ask what Iím talking about, Iíd only offer them the very slightest pieces of information about the situation, probably saying that the unborn baby might have some sort of horrible disability and she doesnít want it to be born to suffer, but her husband is currently away at sea and unreachable (because itís happening in the past or in space or somewhere where radio signals donít work) and wonít be able to have his say. Iíd only give them two possible answers, and their stuttering, unprepared response would decide the fate of this unfortunate foetus. And then Iíd ask them about how the Sonic license first caught their attention.
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August 27th, 2008, 01:43
Hehe, he shouldn't go on to talk about the Sonic license. He should just sit there. If anyone tries to speak to him, he should just say "Thank you for your help, you really opened my eyes." He should stay there until the police come and drag him away.

But anyway…. I think he's blowing this out of proportion a bit. Yeah, that little "quest" had the feel of something that was just dropped into the game, but it was very little. Five minutes and you're done. It seems a mighty small thing to write such a long article about.
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August 27th, 2008, 03:24
True, but he does have a point overall. I would rather see these moral ambiguities better entwined with the main story or gameworld.

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August 27th, 2008, 18:24
Wasn't this particular dialogue entwined with the game world? I seem to remember it also being about the available technology in Mass Effect's universe, the things you could do genetically to an unborn child. In that way, it was a futuristic moral choice, one that didn't have anything to do with the main story, but fitting to the setting nonetheless. It fleshed it out somewhat, gave it depth.
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August 27th, 2008, 21:05
If you look closely enough, you will find that our 'own' resident Biowarian, Patrick Weekes did a comment on this.

Here's a snippet of what Patrick wrote:

Patrick Weekes wrote:

What bums me out about that plot is that it really isnít one the writers just tossed out casually. We argued about what the issue would be. After I wrote it, I passed it to our editor, and she came back with some tough criticism. Where she will often just correct my spelling or grammar, this time she told me that my initial take was turning the widow into the stereotypical weeping woman, with the uncle as the voice of reason. We wanted it to be more complex than that, with both sides bringing their own baggage to one of those ďNeither of these choices are exactly rightĒ issues; the wife is grieving and afraid to lose the baby, the brother is grieving and desperate to give the baby the chance his brother didnít have. The editor and I actually stayed late working on revisions to that one, and we were proud of how it turned out.

Then we heard it voiced over and realized that I hadnít been specific enough in my VO comments (which the writers place on every line), and when Iíd written ďangry and frustratedĒ, Iíd been thinking of a West Wing kind of way, and what I got was an actor yelling ďMy BAAAAAAABEEEEE!!!Ē because she thought she was supposed to be more overwrought than Iíd intended. It came out like bad soap opera, but it wasnít a major enough plot to do a retake on the voicework, so in it went. Thatís also on me: Iím a newb writer, and I didnít make my VO comments detailed enough. With better delivery, I think the plot would have felt stronger.
You can read the rest of it in Patrick's post. Real insight and interesting info, too.

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August 28th, 2008, 09:34
Must be frustrating to write something and then someone acts it out, without any real directing involved by the writer. Pretty big chance it'll end up completely different than what the author had in mind, as proven by the incident with Patrick Weekes.
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August 28th, 2008, 14:37
There were some great comments on that article. In particular there's one by this guy called Reverend Speed who makes me wish I could write like that.

Originally Posted by Reverend Speed
“I just saved your political position on this here space station, so no I DON’T think this little trinket’s gonna be enough to reimburse meee wwWAAH we’re gonna have sex now? Wait, hang on–”

“Sir, should me and Utterly Boring Biotic Guy just stay in this room and watch?”

“What? WHAT? Why the hell would you–”

*Weird little sex pod chamber thing (how erotic) seals shut, allowing only the occasional panicked squeal and thud to escape*

“I guess that means he’s into it.”

“Awwww yeahh…” *steps closer to pod*
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August 28th, 2008, 15:42
Kinda Woody Alan if you ask me. The whole sex pod thing.
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