Gods Will Be Watching Preview: Not the Hero You Think You Are
Midway through point-and-click adventure game Gods Will Be Watching, the player character, Sgt. Burden, gets a chance to play fetch with Marvin, a rottweiler brought along on a science mission to an inhospitable, frozen planet.
The scene goes on for as long as the player wants, but spending some time with the pup as Burden and his fellow soldier, Jack, talk about their previous experiences together — specifically the preceding scene, in which the pair endure several days of torture — is a simple way that developer Deconstructeam creates a relationship between the three characters.
And it makes the life-and-death choices players make soon after all the harder.
Gods Will Be Watching is a game that’s all about tough choices. In a series of one-scene point-and-clicks, it puts Burden through his paces as a leader, in which he’s constantly making decisions that could lead to the demise of other characters. And there is no shortage of moments in which Burden, and the player, make the call of who lives and who dies.
In the scene immediately after the short respite of fetch with a loyal, amiable dog and a longtime war buddy, Burden finds himself trapped in a cave-in with the rest of the science team, exposed to a deadly virus. Players have to assign tasks to everyone in the situation: some have to dig their way out while others can research a cure for the disease. But the only way to find out which cure will be effective is to experiment on the team — and all the serums carry a risk of killing the patient if the formula is incorrect.
But if a patient dies, you can perform an autopsy on the body and get a big boost in your antiviral research. In fact, you can inject a patient with a vaccine you know will kill him to get access to that information extremely quickly. Time is of the essence, and if you sacrifice one member of the team, the others have a much better chance of survival.
If you kill the dog, are you still the good guy?
Obviously, the dog is the most expendable character in the room. All Marvin can do is dig, and not particularly well. You have to let him rest when he gets tired, like everyone else. He offers no helpful insights into the situation, he can’t repair your robot or synthesize useful drugs. Mostly he just looks cute.
Do you kill the dog?
Do you risk the dog, or a member of your team whose loss might jeopardize the survival of everyone else?