Daily Think: Changing the Outcome

One thing I really dislike about video games is when you get to make a choice, but no matter which choice you make, the outcome is always the same. In other words, the devs actually changed the outcome on you. Take Infamous: no matter what you do, no matter how you’ve played, Trish will die no matter what you do. If you choose to rescue the doctors, she’ll die. If you choose to rescue her, it’ll turn out she was actually with the doctors.

I might be in the minority on this, though. I can’t remember which game it was, but there was an AAA game release recently that allowed the players to make a choice… and the outcomes were different. Like you’d expect choices to be, with consequences and all that. Some people were quite upset at this, however, and believed that your decisions should somehow lead to the same result. I can understand not wanting to deny myself access to part of a game in a playthrough, of course, but I think the decisions should always make some sort of sense. Otherwise, you have a plot hole–a gap in the story’s logic.

So, for Infamous’s decision, a reasonable way to ensure one outcome for two choices would have been, like, “just as I got to Trish, a sniper’s bullet hit her in the chest and she died. I tried to bring her back, but only for a few seconds…” and so forth.

Now, I do take issue with decisions where I can think of ways to deal with everything without an outcome I’ll regret. For instance, in Saint’s Row: The Third, I have a ton of homies. Why couldn’t I send them to rescue Shaundi and co while I went after the bad guy? Why couldn’t I do the opposite?

Why force me into a binary choice, game writers/designers, without making sure to carefully eliminate all other conceivable options?

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