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    Order and Chaos

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    Distinct from a battle between good and evil, the struggle between the natures of order and chaos carries greater complexity in which neither side is purely right or wrong.

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    The struggle for balance between order and chaos is an element that appears in fiction in which the moral guidelines contain more distinct shades of gray than that of a more simple struggle between good and evil. Though, like good and evil, the concepts of order and chaos are polar opposite; neither side is explicitly associated with heroism or villainy. In their purest forms, order, or the nature of law, and chaos, or the nature of anarchy, each have traits that are equally undesirable. An early example of this balance at work in games comes from Dungeons & Dragons, in which the scale of Lawful/Chaotic is paired with the moral concepts of good, neutrality, and evil. A lawful evil character may obey laws or precepts that govern his or her life, while manipulating them to get what he or she desires, while a chaotic good character may flaunt laws in order to do what is considered morally right.

    Examples in Video Games

    Megami Tensei

    Games in the Megami Tensei franchise, particularly the core Shin Megami Tensei series, frequently challenge the player with the notions of order and chaos and paint both sides with desirable and repugnant aspects. In Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, for example, the player is given the option to support three concepts known as Reasons; the manifestations of natural laws that will shape a reborn world. On one end is Yosuga, created by Chiaki Hayasaka, who favors a world of chaos born in the idea of survival of the fittest. In a world such as the one Chiaki desires, the strong rule the weak, and the ruler of the world would be the strongest of all. However, such a world would only encourage endless strife as everyone constantly vies with each other for greater power. On the other end of the scale is Hikawa's Reason of Shijima; based in pure order, Shijima would remove individuality and the ability to cause chaos, resulting in a world of stillness.


    Another Atlus game steeped in the balance between order and chaos, Catherine presents the two concepts as embodied by the two women in the life of Vincent Brooks. On the one hand, representing order, there's Katherine, his girlfriend, who wishes for Vincent to grow up and for them to settle down together. On the other, there's Catherine; younger, wilder, and more chaotic. As Vincent interacts with the two women and answers questions about his personal feelings, a gauge measures how orderly or chaotic Vincent is. This alignment partially determines the ending that the player achieves.

    Soul Calibur V

    Though previous games in the Soul Calibur series have painted the relationship between the two swords, Soul Calibur and Soul Edge, as a battle between good and evil, Soul Calibur V presents the conflict in a light that is far more based in order and chaos. Elysium, the spirit of the Soul Calibur, the supposedly "good" sword, attempts to manipulate Patroklos into murdering his sister Pyrrha for the sake of Soul Edge's destruction no matter the cost, with the eventual goal of bringing the whole world to a state of pure order. At the end of the game's story, the siblings hoist the Soul Edge and use it to shatter the Soul Calibur, where in previous games, the reverse is the more commonly depicted.


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