Illustration for article titled The Gamer Guilt and Morality of Fable 2

David Nieborg has a thoughtful essay up over at Valuable Games on the subject of Fable 2 and its moral system — and the relative success (or not) of that system. As Nieborg points out, it would be entirely possible to play through the game and ignore the moral aspects, and in his view, the morality system is implemented more like a 'feature' or 'upgrade' — a nice add-on. While he finds a lot to like about the attempt to insert a morality system into the game, Nieborg does have some quibbles, especially when it comes to feedback:

In a way it is somewhat difficult to be really critical of a game which at least tries to implement a reasonably fleshed out moral system. Molyneux: “[In] Fable 2 there is much more colour to those choices: purity versus corruption, cruelty versus kindness, greed versus generosity. And then we play around with those moral choices. We want people to play as themselves rather than deciding to be good or evil.” The choices made are reflected in the player’s, the dog’s appearance, the world design and the way in which NPCs react to the main character. However, and this is my main problem with the game, it is not clear which ingame actions result in any of the world’s/NPC’s reactions .... Because there is a mix of major and minor moral decisions, it is not clear what the results of my actions are. My guess is that I took the game’s “good path”, because the city’s inhabitants seem to like me. But what made them like me? I don’t know. I raised prices 40 percent on all goods, I stole a lot of their stuff, I kicked a bunch of chickens all over the city square, and I married two women at the same time from the same town (one being a prostitute).


He goes on to offer three potential design decisions that would mitigate what he calls 'gamer guilt' — the desire to get through and really understand a game, without having to necessarily play through two campaigns. It's a nice analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the morality system of Fable 2 and worth a read. Morality and “Gamer Guilt” in Fable 2 [Valuable Games]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter