on Jan 9, 2013
Early in the Episode Rutskarn points out that denying the player the ability to express disapproval for a character will then cause that pent up frustration to manifest as HATE. Then later in the episode we see that exact thing in action.
Mass Effect 2’s Miranda is the textbook example of this problem. She’s grating, stupid, smug, wrong about everything, and she’s the spokesperson for a railroaded course of action (working for Cerberus) that a lot of players rejected. And yet despite being her superior(?) officer, you can’t ever rebel against her. Instead you end every single conversation with, “Thanks Miranda.” (Or whatever.)
Lily is another example of this problem. I wanted nothing to do with her and Larry. I saw them as aggressive, dangerous, unstable, and irrational. Then when Larry was killed, it became clear that sticking with her was an astoundingly bad idea. Now on top of her rabid irrational hate she has a perfectly reasonable hate for both Lee and Kenny. By the time we pulled off to the side of the road, I wanted to shoot her for the same reason I wanted to shove Miranda out the airlock: This character is bad news and the game won’t let me get away from them.
This is such a dark episode, but it’s actually when I really started getting into the game in earnest. By this point in the game we’ve shed Larry, the Bandits, and Lily. Later on we’ll pick up several nice people. Or if not nice, then at least reasonable and sane. From here, the group is composed of all my friends. And Kenny.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.