With the recent announcement of The Novelist, we take a look at how choices and their impacts have been used to video games.
It seems simple, yet I am very excited.
“The decisions you make will define the Kaplans’ lives, but they may also tell you something about yourself.”
That is one of the tag lines from a yet to be released title from industry vet Kent Hudson. It’s called The Novelist and, pardon the pun, it has a pretty novel idea. The premise of the game is that you are a ghost living in the summer cottage that the Kaplan family is inhibiting for the season. While you are there, you have the ability to observe them, read their minds, and ultimately interfere in their lives. Well, I guess guide their lives is another way to put it, though I suppose the choices you make will match better with one word or the other.
The Novelist really got me thinking about the idea of choice, especially when it comes to the narrative, in video games. The idea of choice in video games is hardly new, but the concept of it being personally influenced is a bit different. Even more so the thought that it is actually a reflection on the type of person that you are. Or is it just that I never thought about it while I tracked through the majority of the RPGs out there?
From Mass Effect, to Skyrim, to Bioshock, all of these game asked us to make moral decisions in our play throughs. Are the decisions we make really a reflection of the type of people that we are? If I choose to abandon a person-in-need for personal gain in the video game world, would I do the same in real life? While I do agree that video games have a way to tug at other strings of humanity, I also believe that the fact that these are ‘just’ video games sometimes prevents them from getting too deep into that level.