Good vs Evil: Exploring Moral Choice in Video Games and its Effectiveness in Storytelling

Many games use various moral choice mechanics to allow players to role play and influence the story and outcomes of a game. Unfortunately in most games this usually boils down to the story having a "good" or "bad" ending as the player makes various red or blue choices (Mass Effect, Infamous, etc) and there is rarely any point in trying to do a mix of each as these games don’t have option for playing the middle. (in some cases gameplay abilities and content will be behind ‘you must be this good/evil to ride this ride’ sorts of walls.)

My thoughts for an article would be in exploring ways that moral choice has been used effectively and innovatively as an aid to storytelling and not become secondary to gameplay mechanics. Games like Iji and Undertale (non obvious moral choice and consequences), Bioshock 2(which has a great example of a developed middlepath), Telltales Walking Dead (no right answer choices).

If you have any other ideas for games you think handle choice well leave them in the notes.

  • The Fable series does a good job in my opinion with moral choice influencing game play. – DrTestani 8 years ago
  • Undertale is actually an excellent example of moral choice. I've personally played two of the endings thus far. The first play through I didn't choose well at all, though it turns out that the path I chose was necessary to find the true ending. Throughout the game you are given options to murder, to attack and spare before killing them, or avoid attacking all together. In order to get the true ending, the played has to complete a neutral run. There's a lot of moments that pull at emotions and make the player really question what they should and shouldn't do. The choices you make might not be reflected right away in the game play, but they are evident later on. I could write a 500 word essay about this game and the brilliance behind it's moral implications, but I won't. – HDumars 7 years ago
  • I think Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2 would be an excellent game to talk about with regards to morality. The character of Kreia is a morally ambiguous character, her true intentions are cloudy. Over the course of the game she points out flaws in both the Light side philosophy and Dark side philosophy. – Daonso 7 years ago

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