There’s a moral choice in here somewhere…
Though there have been plenty of videogames that have provided players the ability to make moral choices, none have managed to capture the many complex decisions that occur in that gaping divide between sickeningly good and seriously evil. There’s more to portraying morality than slapping a halo or devil horns on an avatar, something that BioWare’s Dragon Age: Origins seems to understand. In a recent interview with Destructoid, lead designer Mike Laidlaw discussed not only why moral choices in games so often disappoint, but how Dragon Age: Origins plans to deliver more than a superficial heroes and villains simulator.
“I think it’s difficult because the raw morality you’re presented with in a game is a very narrow slice of life, a narrow experience band,” explained Laidlaw. “We often lose the ability to dive into the internal monologue, a lot of those things that act as ways to help morality and that kind of choice are less effective in games, or at the worst scenario, they haul you away from being a videogame anymore and they take control away from the player.”
Laidlaw continued, saying that “aggressively” grey moral choices of Dragon Age: Origins is “the closest that BioWare’s ever done. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of challenging you in situations where there’s no easy answer…Ideally, we end up with players with different mindsets and different thoughts and if things are really humming, then your origin story has helped to paint the world a certain color, giving it a certain tint that helps you tackle the world from a different angle.”