The interrogation of Josh was pretty annoying because it kept asking you to choose between two things that said the same damn thing, and then Josh would reply with more crazy person nonsense instead of making his case. Josh could say something like, “Hey, remember your prank from last year that killed both of my sisters?” It doesn’t justify what he’s done, but it might give the other two something to think about.
Josh kept saying things that would enrage Mike. Mike was all bloodlust and no thought. Chris was constantly choosing between two things that don’t seem to matter. All of these things are justified, of course. Josh is crazy. Mike is a hothead. Chris is indecisive. They’re dumb teens and they’re acting according to their established character. This happens all the time in movies. Because of emotions, lack of information, immaturity, or character faults, characters often do things that are obviously counterproductive to those of us in the audience. In fact, that’s a big part of what drives this genre. “Oh no. Don’t go out in the dark alone. Just wait until morning.” Running against the wishes of the audience creates tension and suspense.
The problem is that this isn’t a movie. It’s a videogame. When you pop up a dialog choice like this, you’re getting the audience involved. The goals of the audience (stop people from being destructive) runs counter to the goals of the writer (smash characters into each other to create conflict) and it’s really hard to resolve that without situations like this, where the audience is frustrated with the offered choices.
I don’t know how I’d fix this scene. The choices are annoying. If you take them out you get a huge cutscene with no interactivity. If you make the choices better then they become false choices because the game won’t react to them. If you have the game react to them (perhaps Chris talks Mike into being gentler so they can properly interrogate Josh and discover he really wasn’t involved with Jess) then it would defuse this situation and avoid a lot of the chaos that follows.
Also, what’s the deal with The Stranger? Why is he trying to clean the monsters out of the mine? At night? Why not just seal it up? Or wait until daytime when they’re supposedly dormant?
Also also: Now that the big reveals have happened, I can say the writer has been cheating like crazy. In light of these revelations, the scene where Jess is kidnapped is total nonsense. Apparently Jess was grabbed by a monster. As we’ll see later, they can decapitate a human in one swipe. But instead the monster dragged her away while she struggled? And the Stranger was coincidentally nearby? He was close enough to the action that Mike thought he was involved, yet he didn’t hear the screaming or react? “Huh. There seems to be some sort of drama going on nearby. I guess I’ll make no effort to investigate. Instead I’ll just alternate between walking very slowly and then magically teleporting when nobody’s looking.”
I’m willing to allow for foolish characters, coincidences, movie physics, and characters that have trouble seeing things off-screen. But the writer still needs to obey the basic rules of time and space.
A screencap comic that poked fun at videogames and the industry. The comic has ended, but there's plenty of archives for you to binge on.
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