Decisions Decisions

Pittsburg has been through hell in the past two hundred years. At first the city was almost wiped off the face of the map during the war between America and the Chinese. When the remnants of the US army who call themselves the Brotherhood of Steel came through, killing all the mutants and monsters that had risen up, taking whatever technology they could salvage and leaving the city for dead. It didn’t die though. Raiders have taken over and are bringing slaves in to work the still standing steel mills. The slaves are subject to a plague that lowers their intelligence, changing their genetic structure and slowly turning them into the savage animalistic mutants known as Trogs (with children being most prone to the mutated disease) but the Raiders are holding a cure for the strange plague. And that’s where I come into the story presented in The Pitt, one of the downloadable expansions for Fallout 3. As we’re still not online we had to wait for the Game Of The Year edition to come out, containing all the downloadable packs so I’m playing this fresh now while others have had access to them over the past few months. Still, if you haven’t played it yet you should be warned that this post contains massive spoilers and the comments probably will too.

I left going to The Pitt for quite a while as I levelled up and got back into the game after not playing it since last year. I wandered the wasteland, completing quests, making friends and enemies, investing in shops and when I finally got to The Pitt I figured I was ready for anything that these Raiders could throw at me while I heroically rescued the slaves. Disguising myself as a runaway slave who’d gotten turned around and found himself back where he’d escaped from got me in, but it meant giving up on my hard earned items. Luckily a contact of mine concealed a weak weapon on me and promised to sneak my items to me later on. I set to work finding a new contact amongst the slaves and, in the process of introducing myself to her, I got roped into working in the steelyard, collecting pre-smelted steel ingots while dodging the Trogs that had taken over the area. The bodies of others who’d failed in this task littered the steelyard, and gave me a good source of weapons and ammunition needed to keep me alive so that I could return victorious. It was then that my contact came up with the idea of me fighting for my freedom in the gladiatorial battles held within the mill. I fought, I won, I got the chance to meet with the leader of the Raiders who ran the place, and the chance to swipe the cure which would help free the slaves.

And it was at that point that The Pitt proved itself to be a standout expansion with some great ideas. The cure you’ve been sent after is inside a baby. The baby has been born with an immunity to all forms of radiation based mutations including the plague that is hurting all the slaves. The parents of the baby are studying her carefully, trying to replicate her immunities so they can pass it on to everyone in the city and, once the cure has been perfected, they can stop kidnapping people into slavery and build the city properly across generations. So now I’m faced with a choice: kidnap a newborn baby and hand her over to enemies of her parents who would most likely treat her badly and not care for her while performing possibly painful and intrusive tests on her while I kill off the Raiders who keep these people enslaved, or leave the slaves to their plague and take down the revolution that would both free them and ultimately destroy the city over a couple of years time. Put simply there are no right answers to this situation, no specific good choice and bad choice, even the rewards you get at the end are the same so there’s nothing but your conscience to lead you through the choice. It’s absolutely brilliant and I wish more games would have a look at that decision for an idea of how to present moral decisions that actually matter and play on your conscience.

Oh, and in case anyone’s wondering, I couldn’t bring myself to kidnap the baby, not even to quickly save the countless lives of the slaves that will die while her parents find the cure more slowly and carefully.


20 thoughts on “Decisions Decisions

  1. I was wondering why the narrative seemed awfully familiar – then I got to the The Pitt reference. :DHow many packs do you get with the Game Of The Year version? All 5?

  2. I think this'd make a great iPhone app. All I'd do is make it a link to a list of posts tagged iPhone and then let the iPhone owning masochists read what I, and most other people in the know, think about their devices.Well David, obviously I'd win that one hands down. I didn't even need to ask for that nomination. :happy:.Moe, you get all the released packs (all 5 in this case) plus the latest patch with the GOTY edition. It was the same with Morrowind. I ordered the regular version of that in, spent £30 getting it, then found the GOTY edition for £10 at another shop. :irked:

  3. Rose, they do try but mostly it ends up as the uber good, knight in shining armour choice versus the evil, pantomime villain choice and, depending on what sort of character you're playing you go with the good or bad. Fable is a little better in freeform play (people who don't like me kick my dog or insult me so I choose to show them up by slapping them around until they attack me then disarm them and watch them run for cover rather than killing them) but has some of the worst scripted moral decisions in there. Help criminals or guards, kill or protect, sell slaves or release them. It's a testament to how fun the gameplay is that I'm still playing those games because the moral decisions that the game is built on are just awful.Other games tend to be even more obvious in their decisions but I'd love to play one where I have no pointers between the good and bad except my own beliefs just to see how I end up in that game. There was an instance in Mass Effect where I had to advise someone about getting gene therapy for their unborn child that stands out in memory though. The kicker being that the gene therapy had a chance of killing the child and the child's deceased father had a genetic disorder that might harm the baby without the therapy. Unless that decision carries over into the next game (some decisions will affect future parts of the trilogy by design) I'll never know if I chose the "right" path for that baby. It's actually been bugging me recently as the next game gets closer to release. 😆 It's also one of the reasons I have high hopes for Dragon Age.

  4. You need both to make it interesting. A fully scripted game can be beautiful but it'll be almost exactly the same on each playthrough, while a fully freeform game can get boring very quickly as it rarely has any point to it. One of Fallout 3's strengths lies in scripted quests leading to freeform play opportunities by having pretty useless items become useful to the quest giver if you collect them for them. So, rather than ignoring these things they become valuable treasure that you go out and hunt for, expanding the time you're playing the game for.A good basic scripted and freeform sidequest system would have 50 areas with several different creature and treasure layouts, 50 interesting objectives to fulfill with multiple ways to fulfill them, 50 random twists to the quests that may or may not occur, and several different quest givers each adding their own twist to the story. That gives 2,500 different quests that can be given by different people, take place in different areas and completed in different ways depending on who gives it and where it is set.

  5. If you're at a game company I can design you a decent RPG that takes the better bits of the best sellers and several unique ideas. :up:

  6. I'm more into open-source than corporate development. It may be some time before I begin coding. :lol:.But when that time comes, I'll be sure to consult with you. :up:.

  7. It's a good game. By cutting down the amount of unique characters and having multiple unnamed settlers in the game they've been able to add more detail and history to the characters they do have. It needs multiple playthroughs to really appreciate how many different outcomes there are though.

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