Another choice that had me contemplating it for days afterward appears much earlier in the game, but is interesting to me for largely the same reason. It sounds unlikely at first, but this came with the option to sacrifice people to the Temple of Shadows.
Now, I won't argue for a second that the whole Temple of Light/Temple of Shadows dichotomy in Fable II
is particularly interesting in itself. Donations to the Temple of Light do nothing but augment the Hero's virtuous standing in the world, while sacrifices to the Temple of Shadows don't benefit the player enough monetarily to make them a logical thing to do for any reason other than to become more evil in the game.
But then, that isn't entirely true. I really can't commend Lionhead enough on the decision, but they also included an Achievement in the game for sacrificing ten villagers to the Temple of Shadows. There is no corresponding Achievement for donations to the Temple of Light.
Think about that for a moment. Fable II
is offering real world rewards (insofar as Achievements are real world rewards) for evil deeds in game. By going for this Achievement, I get to permanently add a nice little 10 Gamerscore to my total, but at what cost? A little bit of my soul?
I like to think that in general, I am a good person, but with these two examples, Fable II
has shown me that I am not as altruistic as I once thought. Twice in the game I chose to do something self-serving, at the cost of many virtual lives. And if this blog is any indication, I agonize over that fact.
So if you say we have no interesting moral choices in games, then I must disagree. If none of these (or any of the many other examples out there) give you any pause, then you are either not thinking about them enough, or you have no interest in moral choice to begin with.
And I'm not saying that there aren't examples of uninteresting moral choices in games. When you're given the choice to murder a little boy's puppy or cure his leukemia, it's easy to write off moral choice as an unworthy endeavor. But even in this case, on the most superficial level, it gives the player two ways to play through the game, where a game lacking moral choice only has one. Sure, you might only play good or evil, but it's not like options are taken away
from you with respect to games with more traditional narratives. In other words, adding elements of moral choice to a game can't possibly subtract content that would be present otherwise, it can only add.
So to complain about the state of moral choice in games seems silly to me. At best, it shows ignorance of some great examples of thought-provoking gameplay. At worst, it shows that some people want less
interaction with a medium whose major defining characteristic is interactivity.
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