As I was writing something for the Learning Center project an idea popped into my head…
A player always feels that they are required to solve a problem. For example we see a group of rebels in a firefight with Metrocops, how many of us just continue on our way and leave them to it? Probably very few, especially if we have to pass by them. A few times I have just run past situations like this, mainly because I was low on health or ammo, but there could have been other reasons.
Now the reasons should be clear, level designers create situations to engage the player. Why have a situation that requires no involvement unless it’s purely for show or to help tell the story? Well, I’d like to challenge that idea.
I remember being on a management course where 10 people were blindfolded and given a long piece of rope. The tasks set was to form a square using all the rope. After what seemed like hours somebody told 4 people to remove their blindfolds and stand to one side out of the way. There were now 6 people, one for each corner plus 2 to measure and control.
The purpose of the exercise? To teach you that sometimes being part of a team means getting out of the way and letting other people do their jobs with no interference.
Now, imagine a level where the player encounters a town square. The player could easily bypass the square and continue on their way. However, just before the player arrives a minor firefight starts between Rebels and Combine Soldiers. As the player approaches a Rebel shouts “Hey Freeman, gives us a hand!”
As the player becomes involved in the firefight more Combine soldiers arrive and the fight becomes bigger. Perhaps even more rebels arrive and the whole situation turns into a major situation.
The player could turn and run but he now has incurred the wrath of the Combine and is hunted down and killed. Hopefully the player thinks the best option is to get involved in the fight sooner and kill all the Combine.
However, the player’s involvement triggers a response from the Combine that always causes the player to be killed. The solution to the puzzle or problem is to politely decline and continue on your way.
It could open up some interesting story telling options later in the game/mod. Perhaps Rebels don’t come to your help when you need them or they don’t give you ammo.
I would hope that on a superficial level it causes the player to do the opposite of their initial reaction, on a deeper level allows the mod maker to put the player in some difficult moral situations.
What do you think?