Valve: "There's Never A Real Moral Choice" In Video Games
"Choice" is a prime topic of conversation amongst gamers these days, as the perceived "open-endedness" of next-gen titles offers players a variety of options. In other words, choosing between "good" and "evil" actions is a popular theme.
However, Valve's Chet Faliszek believes there are no such things as "moral choices" in video games, and his beef appears to be with the literal definition of the term. According to Destructoid, here's what Faliszek had to say on the matter:
"There's never a real moral choice you're ever making in a game, because you're never going to have to live with that choice. We do things in our game to get you to behave better, to make you play together, to have this interaction in a game, but I don't think those are moral choices. I don't think games allow you to make moral choices. Games allow you to be evil, to do bad things. In Grand Theft Auto, I'm going around running people over, and guess what, I'm not doing that in real life.
So, in the context of games having moral choices, that's a weird thing to me. I don't think they have real moral choices when I think of that. They have something else, like strategic choices, choices inside their world, but to me a moral choice is something that would live outside of a game. I don't see that."
It's an interesting discussion, and one that can have many different viewpoints. If you continue down that road, you'll also generalize even further; it's not just about "moral" choices, but about choices on the whole. Are we really making decisions that have realistic effects on the remainder of the story? Wouldn't it be accurate to say that with every action one makes, the future is automatically and irrevocably altered? Thing is, with every new choice, we need an entirely new branch of a storyline, and in all honesty, we have to yet to see "choice" implemented in an authentic way in any video game.
As for morality...that's a whole other can of worms.
7/30/2009 John Shepard