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MOD_CHAMPION

Good Vs. Evil (In a truer sense)

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I belong to a couple other forums and have also been talking with some friends about the same topic, RPG's/Adventure Games almost all being centered around you defeating the pure evil enemies, or on the rare occasion you playing as pure evil and destroying the pure good enemies. As time goes on and more and more rpg's are released the idea, at least to me, is getting rather repetitive and the more that I think about it doesn't even make all that much sense. Maybe instead of having something as simple as good vs evil, which very rarely occurs in such a pure state in our world, make it a little more realistic and have more than just 2 sides to the story and/or put good AND bad in all the sides. Make it much more difficult for the player to decide who he should side with and help defend. There's good and bad in everything that happens and a story told from multiple perspectives like that would be a really intriguing game. For example even in recent history with something like WWII which could be and is often defined as good vs evil, axis vs allies, you could take it from the perspective of a young son of a german soldier who was forced into the nazi program against his will. Anyways I'm kind of just rambling so I'll stop here before I make this too long. - modchamp p.s. first post :P

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I think it comes from fairy tales, in how in fairy tales the sides of Good and Evil are almost always created/polarized to make a point in morality - so they come more from a single person's own internalization of himself (the angel and devil on your shoulders thing) rather than coming from the actual world itself. And when the story is about the study of good and evil of oneself, then one's view of the world also becomes as polarized from his own perspective, to reinforce that point. Fantasy novels then, are an extension of these as many of them are based on fairy tales as well as other less polarizing sources such as mythology. Fantasy RPGs and the stories of them, then, also become very polarized because the genre of fantasy is sort of polarized, being rooted in the tales of old, and the stories about the internalization of self.

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I really love it when (In comics/books since I haven't really seen this in a computer game but of course I would love to) in a story you really can't call anyone "evil" or "good" everyone is fighting for their own reasons which they believe are right.

For example Magneto from the X-Men does things that can be considered evil but he is only doing them to protect his people. If you can emphasize with the bad guys it makes thing so much more involving but like I said I rarely see this in games.

I agree with what you said good vs evil is over done and leave a game kind of dull in the end.

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Good point about coming from a fairy tale perspective. Though as Gantz said it really can leave a game pretty dull. Plenty of solid RPG's that just didn't click with me because of the overly cliched good vs evil. Also Gantz, I haven't seen any games like this either but would definitely love one. I'm currently working on my own adventure game and am trying to work up a nice storyline which is where all this came from in the first place.

Anyone seen any games where something like this was implemented well?

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I hate to say it, but polarity is needed. I would love for a game to have lots of grey areas, but I don't think it would sell. Partially because of all the negative publicity it would get, and partially because I believe people actually like polarity.

Let's take the Spiderman scenario. You have to save either person A or B. Rather, you have to choose which person is going to die. At least with games which you play the villain, it's fictionalized enough that despite getting negative comments from the media, they can overlook it. And then you'll have the fanboys who will stop at no end to try to figure out how to save both. If you don't allow a clear good path, this can create some confusion with your audience, as it gives a lack of a sense of reward.

I think the best neutral games are probably RPGs similar to Fallout or Planescape Torment. There are few neutral movies and books let alone games though at the moment.

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I don't know about that. I think it could easily be quite well received. As I said polarity doesn't really exist in the world, really no pure evil or pure good people in this world. So really a game like this would just be a lot truer to how things actually happen in real life and would open it up for all kinds of perspectives. Not to mention the simple fact that it'd be different which from what I've heard from a lot of people they're at a point where they want a different style of game.

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I personally don't believe in real life evil. I think anyone who would do evil is either disturbed, misguided, or short sighted. Enemies are the absolute worst elements a person can accumulate, and being evil requires the creation of too many enemies. It's just a bad strategy.

That's why I often enjoy the concept of pure evil in some games. You can hack and slash until you've gotten your fix, because you don't have to worry about any of them being decent people. They aren't fathers, mothers, sons, or daughters to anyone. No one will miss their passing. Slay the horde, feel no guilt, and enjoy the exercise.

However, a great story requires a magnificent bad guy. That's someone who does bad or selfish things to push forward, but who is also compassionate and occasionally forgiving. Someone who forms bonds of friendship and trust with his bad-guy comrades. Let's face it, it's hard enough taking over the world, it doesn't need to be made harder by having your own lackeys wanting to kill you. Realistic evil isn't mindless murder. It's calculated selfishness. And that type of intelligent selfishness almost always appears to be non-evil.

Similarly, what good does it do to harm an innocent person if it doesn't further or protect your agenda? Therefore, a great bad guy doesn't harm innocent people beyound such meaningful objectives. He has honor, decent integrity, and even some humanity. It's just that his goals ultimately lead to a worse type of future for everyone else, and that means the good guy is forced to stop him.

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Good and evil is in the eye of the beholder. It's your morals that determine what you perceive as good or evil.

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Quote:
Original post by MOD_CHAMPION
Anyone seen any games where something like this was implemented well?


Warhammer 40K maybe? After all, none of the races are really "good", not even the human Space Marines.

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Dressing up good and evil in no unambiguous terms makes it easy for everyone to relate to the good guys and see the evil ones as the antagonists. In other words, it's about maximizing the size of the receptive audience, which is probably why it's been such a popular thing in literacy since the dawn of history.

Yet, there are examples of significant works that don't do that. In games, GTA and Hitman come to mind as a prominent examples. Granted, it may not be the story elements that get people to play those games, but playing a somewhat morally ambiguous character doesn't seem to be a problem. What's interesting in many recent games is that it's the player that gets to choose how they play. So for example, in GTA you can have sex with a prostitute and then murder her to get your money back, but the game doesn't force you to do that (in fact, there's no benefit at all in doing that).

I suppose the good vs. evil trick is just one way to captivate the audience. If you don't use that, you need to give some other excuse for the player to stick with the story.

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