Side Quest: Mind Games of Manipulation
The latest Side Quest feature article from RPGWatch, “Manipulation and Perversion” invites readers to explore the choices or illusion of choices games present to players. Games that are often regarded the best in their genre, particularly RPG offer player choices that result in actually consequences they must face later in the game.
Side Quest articles are incomplete editorials designed to provoke discussion. This article starts a conversation about developers manipulating gamers to choose the “right” path through the story and the tendency for gamers to want to pervert that path for the sheer Ss and Gs of it.
They picked two great examples to talk about, CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher and Planescape: Torment. These two games dare players to choose the path less trod, and you never know whether you chosen path is a perversion of the “right” one or whether the developers wanted you to choose that way all along. Read cautiously as there is a very minor spoiler for the first chapter of The Witcher.
Personally, I enjoy the challenge of a story with many twists and turns where you never know which path is the one intended. In fact one of the reasons I have so thoroughly enjoyed The Witcher is that there are really no righteous choices to be made. Often you are choosing what you perceive is the lesser of two evils and no matter what you choose there will be positive and negative repercussions later on.
Bethesda claims they’re planning Fallout 3 as such a game; with many different endings to it based on character choice. I’m looking forward to seeing it in action. What’s your take?