Wasteland 2 blog update: moral dilemmas

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Brother None, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Brian Fargo talks moral dilemmas on inXile's Wasteland 2 development blog.<blockquote>I recently gave an example of a very small cause and effect scenario involving a drowning boy and it created some confusion on whether that was an example of a moral dilemma. The tough morality decisions are ones in which the outcome is not a black and white scenario. So in our drowning boy example, unless you are playing like a sociopath (which we’re ok with) a person is likely to save the boy unless there was personal risk involved. This is more about the ripples of cause and effect the events in the game can cause then a real example of a true moral dilemma. To that end, I thought it appropriate to share one of the many scenarios which does comprise of a set of choices that are not black and white and also highlights the multiple choices the players will have:

    The Kidnapped Wife:

    The rangers come across a man whose wife has been kidnapped by raiders. He asks them to help him get her back, but these raiders bear the Mark of Titan, marking them protected by the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud. If the rangers attack the raiders, they will anger the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud and possibly jeopardize their main mission on the map, but if they don’t rescue the woman, she will be enslaved and endure a fate worse than death. Adding to the dilemma is that without the rangers’ help; her husband is going to get himself killed trying to save her on his own.

    The easiest and most loathsome way to deal with the dilemma is to ignore the man and leave the woman to her fate. It’s also easy to go in guns blasting, but that will piss off the Servants and turn the map hostile, putting the Rangers overall mission in jeopardy. It is much more difficult and time consuming to find a middle path, trying to steal her away without the raiders knowing, trying to buy her from them, or stealth killing them all without the servants catching on.

    This example illustrates two things that are of major importance to us in the development of Wasteland 2. First, having moral dilemmas that are more than just good versus evil, and second, having multiple solution options to any scenario. Setting up scenarios that tug on your emotions of right and wrong is what makes for the experience we are trying to deliver. We also want to allow people to play the game the way they want. If they choose the evil path, then we need to let that happen. You might feel a little guilty when you hear about the havoc you are causing to innocent people but we don’t make the game impossible due to your play style. It is all about the player having a choice of and having multiple ways to solve any problem.</blockquote>
  2. Surf Solar

    Surf Solar So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2009
    So both ways pretty much result in a map going berserk on you. OMFG BRILLIANT GAME DESIGN
  3. Lexx

    Lexx Background Radiant
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    I wonder where you've read that. What I read is:

    1. Go in guns blazing, map gets hostile towards you.

    2. Ignore, husband moves in guns blazing, probably dies. Map is not hostile towards you.

    3. Find a middle way, sneak in, do stuff, go out. Job done, map not hostile towards you.

    I'll guess you just needed to be a negative nancy again and didn't read the full text.
  4. Surf Solar

    Surf Solar So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2009
    Yeah because a moral dilemma gets easily solved by "lol I dont care let that guy die" and it is obviously the choice most of the people will take because thats the way people play RPGs, to ignore potential "quests".

    Even Dragon Age got these "Moral Dilemmas", yet people called Bioware out on it. But ofcourse it's totally different when Brian Fargo brainfarts just the same.
  5. Walpknut

    Walpknut This ghoul has seen it all

    Dec 30, 2010
    Ignoring a quest is a Choice, it having consequences means it's a solution.
  6. Ohaimerk

    Ohaimerk modoc, den, grave Orderite

    Mar 30, 2009
    So you'd rather the quest be forced upon you like some action-rpg?
  7. Geech

    Geech It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Dec 2, 2008
    This doesn't actually sound like a moral dilemma, though, it just sounds like a quest with multiple solutions.

    Hard Luck Blues had a moral dilemma.
  8. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite

    Jul 26, 2003
    Do the right thing and make the mission a lot harder on yourself, or let a man die and his wife languish in slavery to stay on the good side of the locals, who one could argue are also the area's legitimate authority. Granted, it's a bit basic, and there are ways to get around the situation, but it is certainly presents a moral dilemma. Not every one of them has to be Sophie's Choice.
  9. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    It'd be better if the middle option was less ideal though. Like, it also still gave a knock on your reputation, made them more suspicious, or hell, you find out she's dead anyway and it was all in vain. Right now the whole "sneak in or ..." set of options just seems "best".
  10. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite

    Jul 26, 2003
    Again, granted. The "try to buy her" option leaves me pretty cold, too. I was kind of hoping there were depths to his example that he didn't go into, or that it was something he came up with on the fly.
  11. God is Dog backwards

    God is Dog backwards Mildly Dipped

    Jul 25, 2003
    Don't see how that is a moral dilemma? It's pretty clear-cut what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'.

    If it had been something like, rescuing the wife and pissing off the Servants meant they would kill some other innocents for some reason, or invade a village... then it becomes a moral dilemma.
  12. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    I have no problem with there being an "optimal" solution, as long as it requires a good amount of preparation, planning and a bit of luck in execution. Art imitates life and there *are* situations where optimal effects are possible.

    The biggest problem, as always, is going to be the Save/Load Superpower, which allows one to savescum until an optimal effect is achieved.

    A way in which the "optimal" path can be dialed back is to design one of the later missions with the "Titan" Raiders, whose stance will rely on your actions: ignoring the kidnapped wife yields you their support (Church orders), stealth killing them robs you of it, while trading for the woman makes them less effective in combat (they had to capture another female, but her woman decided she was less than pleased and killed two of the raiders before getting gunned down).
  13. woo1108

    woo1108 Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 27, 2012
    That looks simillar to boone and his wife's fate.
  14. Burrich

    Burrich meme me up scotty

    Mar 2, 2010
    That doesn't really seem like the best example of a moral dilemma. A better one would've been something like having to choose whether to help some civilians or one of your party members. Otherwise, the character just doesn't really have any importance to the player other than doing a quest the right (hard) way for bonus [reward].
  15. Kilus

    Kilus Not Australian Orderite

    May 3, 2003
    Can not disagree with this more. Trading should gives the Raiders more resources which make them stronger and more aggression in my opinion.
  16. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    Have to agree with the general sentiment: this is a pretty weak moral dilemma. The situation and solutions are just fine, but there's a pretty obvious right and wrong. Just giving the "right" way a negative consequence for the player doesn't make it a moral dilemma (especially if the player feels that these Servants of the Mushroom are scumbags for supporting Raiders who kidnap and enslave women and wants to kill them anyway).

    Maybe if it was taken further -- perhaps if angering the Servants and having to kill a large number of them results in their strength being broken, thus destabilizing the region and allowing other, more violent Raider groups to move in. These new Raiders fight one another over territory and pillage town in the area, making life a lot worse off for the residents of the area. Stealing her away casts suspicion on the surrounding townships and punitive action is taken again them by the Servants. Trading for her is expensive, and the Raiders use their additional resources to kidnap more people. Only leaving it alone results in the best outcome for the region in general.
  17. Dr. Combat Shotgun

    Dr. Combat Shotgun First time out of the vault

    Aug 19, 2010
    This quest would be just fine for everyone of us if we didnt know the outcome and the possibilities. Keep wankin or whatever it is you do.

    And how would YOU do it a better one? They havent told us anything about skills effecting this or NPCs involved... just saying.
  18. Morbus

    Morbus Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Aug 16, 2006
    This is not a moral dilemma... The dilemma would be if the wife was rightfully kidnapped for example. Or if, for some reason, you had to kill innocents to get her back. This way it's just an excuse for self-righteous badassery, which I can't pass up in a video-game.
  19. Yellow

    Yellow It Wandered In From the Wastes

    May 23, 2007
    The sneaking in only to find her dead thing reminds me of a quest in Planescape: Torment where you have to save this girl from the town guards. When you find the guards they're like completely surrounding her and even if you lure them away and kill them the girl still dies somehow.

    Does anyone know which quest I'm talking about? Was there ever a way to save the girl?

    I think keeping her alive if you fought your way through with the dude/husband but killing her off if you wanna sneak in or try to buy her would be a fair tradeoff.
  20. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    They must have a reason for kidnapping a woman. Do you honestly think that giving them shiny things would stop them from abducting women for their purposes?

    As said, drawbacks. Your proposal relies on facing them as enemies, mine as allies.