#1 Edited by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

This is interesting:

In reading about the game, there's an article one of the developers participated in talking about choice in Bioshock Infinite vs. choice in Bioshock. The developer made the comment that choice didnt' work well in the original because the player was rewarded for their actions. Therefore, the player made choices based not on morality, but rather based on what decision gave them the loot they wanted, when they wanted it. They said that, for Infinite, they would make a choice system that was better focused on making the player make moral decisions based on nothing but their personal beliefs.

The article came out before the game released, so he didn't say anything further. In thinking, though, I felt like I didn't notice any real great use of choice in Bioshock Infinite. You make the choice of whether or not to abuse the inter-racial couple at the beginning of the game but both choices yield the same result. You make a choice as to wether or not to shoot the mad solider-guy, but that seemed pretty tame as well.

But then I started thinking about the scene where comstock's soldiers all stop to pray. It's completely up to the player to choose what to do to them, and it's entirely un-registered by the game. Similarly, the "honor system" store at the beginning of the game features no penalty that I know of for stealing.

How do you think moral choices should be handled in games? Must they always be acknowleged? Should they not be? Do you think bioshock did well by having a mix?

#2 Posted by Szlifier (496 posts) -

The game told me once that stealing will have consequences. I still don't know what that meant.

#3 Posted by Karkarov (3193 posts) -

I honestly found the most interesting choice to be when you are asked to pick out which brooch Elizabeth should take. No real consequence to it at all or any moral trickery but it is comes out of left field and you are given a bit of a "uh what?" moment. The imagery of them was also designed to ascribe a specific "idea" to each one too. It was just a nice little moment.

Meanwhile with the praying soldiers it never even occurred to me to shoot them. Why would I shoot defenseless people who aren't attacking me?

#4 Posted by killacam (1285 posts) -

@szlifier: Ken Levine is coming for you.

You know, I actually shot one of those praying soldiers just to see what would happen. I never really considered it a moral test, but now that i think about it I much prefer that way of doing things... Leave you to decide both your actions and their consequences. I really just want to see developers stop gameifying things so much as it usually just takes me out of the experience, and the points you bring up are a step in the right direction.

#5 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

If you pick to throw the ball at the asshole guy at the start the couple gives you a piece of gear later on.

If you draw your gun then you don get stabbed in the hand.

Thats the only differences I noticed.

#6 Edited by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@karkarov said:

I honestly found the most interesting choice to be when you are asked to pick out which brooch Elizabeth should take. No real consequence to it at all or any moral trickery but it is comes out of left field and you are given a bit of a "uh what?" moment. The imagery of them was also designed to ascribe a specific "idea" to each one too. It was just a nice little moment.

Meanwhile with the praying soldiers it never even occurred to me to shoot them. Why would I shoot defenseless people who aren't attacking me?

I killed all of them.

I was playing on Hard though, so that was honestly a real tense situation. I didn't know if they were going to take up arms again after Comstock stopped talking.

edit: I also had to think really hard as to whether to shoot that nun or not because I KNEW she was going to pull something. I thought it was like that scene at the ticket office. (where i shot first.) I play every game as a "nice" character so it's weird that I made all these choices but Hard mode with a 3rd party PS3 controller definitely twisted the gears a little bit.

#7 Posted by endaround (2147 posts) -

@szlifier said:

The game told me once that stealing will have consequences. I still don't know what that meant.

In certain sections stealing will make people go hostile.

#8 Edited by CornBREDX (5646 posts) -

Most of the choices in the game are more subjective than most games, it seems (and that seems intentional). There is really only one choice that you even get rewarded for and you mentioned no matter what you do you still get rewarded so I didn't really get the feeling so much that the morality meant much of anything (even though when I was playing I kept wondering if there actually was any morality system, but no the game is just fucking with you, there's not).

@szlifier: Those particular moments in the game if you stole anything then people would become hostile. I don't recall anymore than two instances (I think) where that applies.

#9 Edited by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@szlifier said:

The game told me once that stealing will have consequences. I still don't know what that meant.

In certain sections stealing will make people go hostile.

The first time through, I completely blew the boardwalk scene and the fink factory scene because I accidentally stole something I didn't intend to. If you do that, you miss a TON of stuff.

#10 Posted by avery_viet (1 posts) -

If you get your hand stabbed your scar will be covered up by elizabeth, which is good since there's propaganda telling citizens to kill the person who has the letters ad carved in to their hand

#11 Posted by BalrogsBain (88 posts) -

when i finished i wondered what my choices had done to the game then as i sat and thought about it at the end when you're told that the choices you make have no matter because everything that will happen has happened like the choice of heads and tails at the beginning of the game i wasn't angry by this, in fact it was happy that someone had that idea and wondered why it hadn't been done sooner

#12 Posted by Humanity (9633 posts) -

Regardless if it has consequence or not, anyone that choose the cage brooch for Elizabeth is a monster.

#13 Edited by probablytuna (3744 posts) -

I shot Slate the second time when you find him in the jail/interrogation room. That was a nice touch.

#14 Posted by StarvingGamer (8388 posts) -
#15 Edited by ll_Exile_ll (1820 posts) -

I like the way they handle it. In real life, when you choose to do something, you don't always know what the outcome will be, or if it will even matter at all. Most things are out of our control no what we choose to do, and I really like that finally being represented in games.

#16 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -

All choices are reward based, choices without consequences only work because you believe there will be consequences. After the curtain is pulled back and you realize nothing you did actually mattered you're just left with this kind of hollow, empty feeling.

It can be done well, No Russian is a great example, but most of the time choices like these only serve to mislead the player into believing they have agency in the world when they really don't. Any meaningful choice is always going to have "loot" whether it be related to gameplay or story. There is always a reward, and making that reward purely imaginary only serves to make that choice completely flippant and uninteresting.

Morality is a reward of a kind as well, but when a game presents you with a moral choice but doesn't actually acknowledge it one way or the other player is left to their own devices to pat themselves on the back and pretend it was worthwhile.

Truly we live in a sorrowful time when the extinction of interactivity is heralded as good game design.

#17 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1820 posts) -

All choices are reward based, choices without consequences only work because you believe there will be consequences. After the curtain is pulled back and you realize nothing you did actually mattered you're just left with this kind of hollow, empty feeling.

It can be done well, No Russian is a great example, but most of the time choices like these only serve to mislead the player into believing they have agency in the world when they really don't. Any meaningful choice is always going to have "loot" whether it be related to gameplay or story. There is always a reward, and making that reward purely imaginary only serves to make that choice completely flippant and uninteresting.

Morality is a reward of a kind as well, but when a game presents you with a moral choice but doesn't actually acknowledge it one way or the other player is left to their own devices to pat themselves on the back and pretend it was worthwhile.

Truly we live in a sorrowful time when the extinction of interactivity is heralded as good game design.

Why do you need to be rewarded or acknowledged for making a choice? In the real world, you have no idea what kind of effect your actions will have on anything. You say all choices are reward based, but that is absurd. When choosing between toast or cereal in the morning, are you expecting a reward for simply deciding on one over the other?

If you were walking down a boardwalk with a girl and she asked for your opinion about which of two broaches she was considering buying you prefer, would you expect a call in a week where she tells you that your recommendation changed her life, and because of the broach you chose she won the lottery?

The measure of an interesting choice is the moment where you make it, not some hypothetical world shaping outcome. By being given the choice, you still have "agency". It is only the outcome which you have no control over.

#18 Posted by theodacourt (545 posts) -

A lot of the plot is based around the illusion of choice, as each choice has been made in some universe. The game simply makes sure you are given the illusion of choice a few times throughout the game, just so that the choice aspect of the ending didn't seem to come from nowhere at all.

#19 Posted by Seroth (722 posts) -

I think it would've been cool if they showed you a Catherine-esque graph of all the choices players made by the end of the game.

#20 Posted by Lanechanger (545 posts) -

@jazgalaxy: Probably covered by other people already but I'm on my 2nd playthrough so I've been seeing the other side of the choices:

Throwing the ball at the couple: If you throw it at the announcer you see the couple later on in a washroom and they give you gear

Choosing Bird/Cage pendant: Haven't really found a significance to this yet.

Drawing weapon on ticket master first: If you draw your weapon first you don't get stabbed in the hand and don't start off that fight with a health penalty. If you don't, you get stabbed but Elizabeth bandages your hand.

Killing/Sparing Slate: If you kill him on the spot, he says you're not a tin soldier. If you spare him, he calls you out for being a tin soldier, Booker says that he didn't do Slate any favors since Compstock's men will be coming for him. Then in the part where you rescue the gunsmith, you find Slate in one of the other cells sitting in an interrogation room. Elizabeth says that Booker is right. If you kill Slate there, Elizabeth says that's what he would have wanted.

#21 Posted by Klei (1768 posts) -

The choices in this game are irrelevant and, honestly, a waste of space. They're rather common in the first part of the game, and during its second, they're completely gone. Something tells me they didn't really want to stick with that idea, and that's not very surprising. You have an interesting dilemma with Slate, and then it's taken away. The gunsmith gets killed by a cutscene. Fink gets killed by a cutscene, Fitzroy gets done by a cutscene, Comstock gets done by a cutscene too, Call of Duty style, where you're just a spectator of '' Press F to intervene ''.

They obviously decided that choices didn't matter anymore. They threw this out of the window, mostly because how complicated and convoluted the storyline got.

Choices should lead to different outcomes. To something. In Infinite, they, mostly, lead nowhere and eventually, the designers decided to take them away from you. Ken Levine should check Witcher 2 next time he wants to integrate morality and choices.

#22 Edited by Unlogik (163 posts) -

@klei: I think not giving different outcomes is by design.

#23 Posted by Nodima (1251 posts) -

On a game level I didn't enjoy it much, but when you're first in the slums and come across that little caravan tucked in the corner with that Infusion, it's so tempting to just rush in and grab that stuff. I don't think I even noticed it on my first playthrough until I'd gone through some tears, but if you just WAIT a moment you'll be right back into that area in a different timeline where no one's guarding that stuff.

I found that interesting from a dilemma of player choice perspective (do you want this NOW, or LATER?), but it wasn't very well communicated in-game and considering it's looting aspects, I'm still not sure I prefer the first, non-violent method I took of not even noticing the area until later versus taking everything, looting all the bodies and continuing on my merry way.

#24 Posted by StriderNo9 (1138 posts) -
@klei said:

The choices in this game are irrelevant and, honestly, a waste of space. They're rather common in the first part of the game, and during its second, they're completely gone. Something tells me they didn't really want to stick with that idea, and that's not very surprising. You have an interesting dilemma with Slate, and then it's taken away. The gunsmith gets killed by a cutscene. Fink gets killed by a cutscene, Fitzroy gets done by a cutscene, Comstock gets done by a cutscene too, Call of Duty style, where you're just a spectator of '' Press F to intervene ''.

They obviously decided that choices didn't matter anymore. They threw this out of the window, mostly because how complicated and convoluted the storyline got.

Choices should lead to different outcomes. To something. In Infinite, they, mostly, lead nowhere and eventually, the designers decided to take them away from you. Ken Levine should check Witcher 2 next time he wants to integrate morality and choices.

I could not agree with you less.

And this is why

Why do you need to be rewarded or acknowledged for making a choice? In the real world, you have no idea what kind of effect your actions will have on anything. You say all choices are reward based, but that is absurd. When choosing between toast or cereal in the morning, are you expecting a reward for simply deciding on one over the other?

If you were walking down a boardwalk with a girl and she asked for your opinion about which of two broaches she was considering buying you prefer, would you expect a call in a week where she tells you that your recommendation changed her life, and because of the broach you chose she won the lottery?

The measure of an interesting choice is the moment where you make it, not some hypothetical world shaping outcome. By being given the choice, you still have "agency". It is only the outcome which you have no control over.

#25 Posted by MikeJFlick (443 posts) -

I think much of it may of been removed from the game, likely for budget or time restraints which needless to say is rather disappointing, but thankfully didn't hurt the games experience, but sadly did hurt the replayability of it immensely in my opinion.

#26 Edited by jbreezycp (6 posts) -

Spoiler! Assuming you all have played through already.

I am not sure if anyone will reply, but I made an account specifically to comment on this topic. If you think the lack of effect of your choices is a waste of space, and makes the game uninteresting then you COMPLETELY missed the entire point of the story of this game.

They specifically gave you choices with no true "reward" because it would make players decide actions based on their own personal morality and not what reward you will get. "Throw it at the couple and blow my cover, or throw it at the announcer for being a racist prick. " (I threw it at the announcer.) When you play again and realize the same thing happens either way, and you chose to throw it at the couple, and you DON'T Feel bad, then I question your moral character. I played the whole game thinking my choices had SOME effect, but still made ALL my decisions based on my personality morality and logic. For instance, I spared slate everytime, it isn't my place to decide who dies and lives when it is no threat upon my life. But shot the ticket guy, because I felt he was about to place a threat on my life. Yhey give you subtle effects to let you know your choices do effect SOMETHING, but if we get back to the point of the game, which is this is a game about the Multi Verse Theory and Fatalism, you come to realize the point of the choices is to realize that what's going to happen will happen no matter what choice you make (fatalism). Note, no matter what, Lin will die, what changes is how/exactly when he dies, same for Slate. Note in one of the scenes where Elizabeth/Anna is a similar Elizabeth/Anna to your universe, you notice she has on the opposite brooch as the one you chose. To prove that no matter what you're at this point. The other Anna/Liz's also prove you still end up to this point, that's why you see an inifnite amount of Booker's/Liz's at the lighthouse scene. It's the reason it's called bioshock infinite, because there is an infinite amount of universes, with each possible choice made.

That being said, this game touches on a lot of topics dealing with choices, religion, fatalism, etc. And the choice system is very appropriate for doing what it was suppose to.

#27 Posted by jiggajoe14 (752 posts) -

I must admit I did feel kind of awful when I shot the soldiers praying lol. Just took me out of the moment too much.

#28 Edited by WickedFather (1733 posts) -

I dropped a big trap in the middle of the prayers and then rained explosive hell on them as they screamed and burned. For the lulz.

Today I had to shoot a tiger in Far Cry 3 and I felt rotten. I'd spent 5 minutes watching him run around a camp giving over-friendly licks to some foreign chappies and was rather attached.