My PJ Lifestyle piece on the Nature of Evil in rPGs.

Found here.  Short version… the article is less pretentious than the title, I swear.  It’s just a bit on how hard it is to actually program for truly evil computer RPG gameplay.


  • Aetius451AD says:

    Good article, but I think you miss the mark on a couple of things. One of the reasons I could never complete the dark side playthrough of KoToR was because it just made me feel greasy trying to get those dark side points. While you may have been fighting the main bad guy, you were just seeking to repay his betrayal and replace his tyranny with your own.

    Fallout 3 had a couple of truly evil actions for petty gains in it.

    Fallout 4 seemed to be going for a much more morally gray (or everyone does reprehensible things) kind of scaling. The Minutemen are really the only ones who come out as the unvarnished good guys.

    Witcher 3 was different for me than the other 2. For some reason, the other two games seemed to revel in the moral ambiguity and general despair of the world to an extent that really took me out of the game. Maybe it was the Ciri plot line, and how well that was handled, that managed to really break through for me, but it was really the first game I enjoyed in that series unequivocally.

  • UnmovingGreatLibrary says:

    Fallout 3’s BoS-Enclave war fits in the same linear view that you described Mass Effect with; you can be as horrible as you like, but you’re never allowed the option of joining the Enclave. You can still poison the Purifier and nuke the Citadel so that the Brotherhood loses the war, but you’re not allowed to let the Enclave win it; either the Brotherhood wins, or nobody does.
    Granted, there are a number of reasons that can be used to justify this, but it’s still interesting, given the freedom Fallout games give you in most other things on the one hand; how the Enclave in Fallout 3 was less nasty than it was in Fallout 2 on the other hand; and how Fallout 4 reveals that it didn’t matter and the Capital Wasteland under the Elder Maxson’s rule looks pretty much like it would have under Colonel Autumn’s on the gripping hand.

    • Aetius451AD says:

      That was the problem I had re: the Brotherhood. There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth with what they did with the BoS in Fallout 3. I was actually happy with it, because it fit in context- Lyons could not sit on the sidelines anymore, and did face repercussions because of what happened.

      Then in 4 they decided to undo everything they had established with 3 in regards to everything the East Coast Brotherhood stood for.

  • Luke says:

    I’m kind of disappointed that you didn’t reference Dishonored. IMO, it is the shining example of how to do it right.
    You’re a supernatural assassin who can be the least of evils and usher in a new golden age.
    But you have to work at it.
    There’s grease on that slippery slope. There are constant little reminders if you’re being a rat bastard, but they’re easy to overlook if you’re fixated on your roaring rampage of revenge.
    On your first play through, you’ll get the bittersweet ending, at best. And that final encounter is weighted to push you into the downer ending. (At least, until you utilize the magic the saved game. But it’s still horrifying to see what you’ve worked for slip through your fingers. And then hear the narration of the aftermath.)
    The DLC is at least as nasty. You start it as one of the antagonists from the original story. Your hands are stained with the blood of innocents, and you’re seeking redemption through the only path open to you.

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