It’s common in games to have a morally ambiguous character handed to the player, asking them to decide how to enact out their own values compass vicariously through that character.
But some of the most interesting narrative game experiences I’ve had don’t do that. Instead, they introduce you to who a character is, and then ask you build upon that through gameplay. And, naturally, this is very often a hero-type role the player assumes.
We see entire game series’ about Batman, Spiderman, Lara Croft, Nathan Drake, Solid Snake, and so on; all heroes. And it’s natural that we’d want to play as the “good guy.” It also makes for decidedly compelling drama when a “good guy” does something morally questionable.
So, why can’t we flip the table? Let players assume the role of a “bad guy.” Dive into the mind of somebody with a slightly more skewed outlook on the world. And, let it be a grounded and provocative “bad guy,” not some superficial maniacal murderer. The Ratchet and Clank series did a great job creating the equivalent superficial personality on the good side of the spectrum (albeit on purpose and for comedic effect!).
I want to see the narrative in games get pushed into places that make players uncomfortable, and question their own moral compass and how it affects them daily. This might be one way to help achieve that narrative diversification.
[ Today I Was Playing: omg, nothing!? ]
July 24, 2015