You may not have heard of DoubleBear Productions, or even of Brian Mitsoda, the company’s founder.
Mitsoda was the main writer for Vampire, The Masquerade: Bloodlines, developed by the now-defunct Troika Games – an RPG absolutely packed with great dialogue and convincing characters. DoubleBear is his new venture and the developer is currently hard at work creating an isometric zombie-survival RPG title.
Every week, the company posts a design update at the Iron Tower forums, offering insights into the direction the as-yet-unnamed game is taking.
This week, Mitsoda takes a thoroughly interesting look at the way games deal with morality.
“Most morality decisions in games assume a ‘good’ and ‘evil’ path, as if every decision in life is actually a choice between doing the absolute right thing and the bloodthirsty idiot thing,” Mitsoda writes “So, #1 on our list for dialogue presentation was making sure the dialogue was never completely clear cut good/bad moves.”
He then outlines how DoubleBear’s game will be different: “Decisions are less based on being a good guy or bad guy but on figuring out how much pull you might gain or lose with an ally if you don’t throw a decision their way – unlike a random NPC, your survivors are theoretically in it for the long haul, and they’ll remember what you did.”
As an example, Mitsoda describes a hypothetical in-game dilemma involving sharing out some antibiotics. Waiting, rationing, creating new antibiotics and even ‘mercy killing’ are detailed, along with the potential consequences of each action.
Ultimately, what the game hopes to get across is the message that “These are PEOPLE who will remember when you ordered their mother cut off from antibiotics or will argue for their lives if you explain how their death is a noble sacrifice for the greater good of the Shelter.”
It sounds like an ambitious approach – one which will rely heavily on the quality of Mitsoda’s writing and his ability to dream up memorable characters. Luckily, with Bloodlines, he’s already proved he can achieve this with some style.