Monday, 23 February 2015

Farcry 4 Ethics & plot

I don't often blog.  This time I'm doing it as I feel strongly about the direction of video games in general.

For me, First Person Shooters (FPS), only really have a few specific morality motivators 'the greater good', survival or no plot at all (Team fortress I believe).

FarCry 3 played both survival and greater good cards well and even a dose of megalomania.  The plot was pretty darn good.  You were concerned with your survival, the survival of your friends, the quashing of evil and psychopathic enemies and personal conflict of attraction and delusion of citra and her psychotic personality.

All in all, you felt like killing the psychos was morally justified to rescue your friends and okay, there may be times when you went against your first instinct in order to see what happened, but you felt bad about it (unless you were a psycho that is :-P).

Which brings me to Farcry 4.  It's a great game, enjoyable, engrossing and full of cool stuff.  Except.  Except in this I just feel like a mercenary.  Sent off to do others bidding like a servant.  Two options, each as bad as the other where you know, fundamentally, that neither of the golden path leaders are any different to Pagan Min.  Except they are.  You LIKE Pagan Min.  He doesn't threaten your life, send you off killing people who oppose you.  He doesn't pretend to be your friend, he genuinely does like you.  He could have killed you in the first few minutes of the game but he doesn't.  If you wait 10 minutes or so he lets you put your mothers ashes where she requested.  Okay, so he kills a guy, nothing that Amita or Sabal wouldn't have done and nothing that you don't proceed to then do through the entire game.

Farcry 4 doesn't give you a greater good situation.  You're not playing for survival either but there is allegedly a plot.  It feels like Modern Warefare 2 'no Russian' where you're tasked with killing innocents.  Ultimately unsatisfying.

My point is this.  If you're going to have a plot, which is fine with me, then make the morality simple.  Good and bad is the right way to go.  A video game where the entire intention is to shoot people is clearly in a dodgy morality area already.  To then have a line of different endings which are ultimately unsatisfying is not the way to maintain a fanbase.

For me, in truth, I regret killing Pagan Min.  I felt as if I was forced in to a corner and I wouldn't complete the game unless I did.  I had no issue with his lieutenants who were trying to kill me, or torturing innocents but Pagan..... I liked him too much. 

Further Reading: