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Simon Parkin is a child murderer wannabe
None - posted by Elwro on Sun 2 November 2008, 14:39:52Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Fallout 3
There's an interesting piece over at Gamasutra which discusses the fact that you can't (easily) kill children in Fallout 3.
Bethesda has implemented half of a legitimate real-world law into a virtual world defined by its very lawlessness and anarchic freedom. In this sense, it's a decision that hurts the integrity of Fallout 3's setting. Take away the freedom to commit atrocities within an open word game and you undermine the impact and power of the good, philanthropic choices a player makes.Would adding the option to kill children improve the game? Perhaps seeing that the kids are unkillable breaks the immersion, but surely not more than an invisible wall you can't breach? Or the fact that the "karma" stat is "meaningless", as Simon points out? Read the piece and discuss!
This is not to say that a game designer should not seek to communicate moral values via their game. Video games are all too often all about the ends and not the means. But self-censorship in this way removes all possibility of communicating moral worth through cause and effect, neutering the power and potential of the medium in doing so.
Self-censorship was the least effective course of action open to Bethesda if they are looking to morally instruct their players. Why not take the route less traveled and try to implement some meaningful consequence, something beyond an essentially meaningless "karma" stat?
Of course it is the route less traveled for a reason: it's a whole lot more work.
Spotted at: RPG Watch