Re: Please Rate this Article: Examining Choice in Dragon Age: Origins
A super rigorous analysis of choice in Dragon Age. I liked this a lot. While I think your guidelines are a bit specific, I understand that they apply to massive games as opposed to smaller games less affected by choice (RPG vs. Brawler, etc).
Also, while I get your reasoning behind number 5...not sure if I would say "fully," since a nice little suprise/twist is always welcomed (at least by me). And 6 is good too, but more on a political level of understanding there's no such thing as objectivity (which I agree, they got across beautifully with Loghain). On a more basic level though, sometimes decisions are made in haste, in real life and in games. I approached Dragon Age like every other game, and I have this weird sense of pressure put on myself when faced with a choice that doesn't allow for slow calculation. Granted, no game has really made me contemplate a situation like Dragon Age, but because I was so mind boggled by this I decided to go with the flow and attempt to create a very contradictive character. But I can't really say "attempt to create" because I simply looked at everything how I would actually look at everything (with a little twist here and there haha), so no situation was ever ideal, but my character thought on his toes and never looked back to regret his decisions.
If there is no right or wrong choice in totality, then my character is neither absolutely right or wrong, thus the potential for rash decisions. I spent all game really liking Alistair, but then at the very last minute killed him and allowed Loghain to become a Greywarden! I don't know why...secretly Alistair was annoying me? In the heat of things my character saw the benefits of having a strategist like Loghain on his team over the innocently naive Alistair? It was hasty but I reveled in it. I started to think of my character as pretty inhuman, amoral, etc...but at the same time his overall intentions were for the best, just in the moment he was capable of some pretty horrid things.
This doesn't really dispute number 6, but is simply more testament to DA's amazing ability to incite very human responses to captivating situations. By allowing for simultaneously particular terror and/or objectively good deeds, the game raises interesting theoretical connundrums on what it means to be human, what it means to decide at all.
I think the only guideline truly necessary is that if choice is going to play as important a role in a game as it does in DA, then the developers better think long and hard about everything revolving around every possible decision a player can make. Your guidelines simply point out things that every choice entails, or things that every chooser would love to know prior to making said choices (which is hardly ever possible in reality...another thing to consider). Ha.