In narrative games I typically try to steer more towards being kind and diplomatic, yet The Wolf Among Us makes it clear that being nice is a luxury the player cannot afford via a world with dire consequences for not getting to the truth in time.
Its timed dialogue selection sequences force the player to be decisive and strategic in their choices. The hostility of the suspects the player interacts with requires that the player remain hard even when trying to be diplomatic. It can be tough to determine when to be understanding and when to push.
You get the feeling that Bigby doesn’t get the opportunity to be kind very often, which makes the moments that much sweeter. Those few and far between moments quickly get swept away when the player is faced with the world, which is dangerous and unforgiving. The game throws the player into situations where they must keep their cool and be brave, making judgements based on who they believe to be the greatest threat and relentlessly pursuing the leads they find.
At the end of the day Bigby is alone, and although the player can try to defend those closest to him, the game keeps putting one ally in danger just as another is saved. It can wear on the player, feeling hopeless to stop bad things from happening, it is at these times that it is easiest to turn ruthless, easiest to be violent, easiest to be cruel. In a world where the player is expected to be big and bad, it can feel noble to fight that expectation, but the player soon realizes that Bigby is the way he is because of what his line of work requires.
When people are getting hurt the player must make difficult decisions, when desperation sets in we find ourselves reacting off of emotions and instinct, fear and anger. It demands that we make the hard choice between morality and action, between results and righteousness.
If you’d like to read more about The Wolf Among Us, you can check out my article, The Wolf Among Us: Being big and being bad in which I made Bigby violent and feared instead of brave and kind.
Would you sacrifice your morals in order to prevent others from harm? How do you determine what is right and wrong, when the greater good will bear the consequences of your decision? I welcome discussion on this topic and if you have experiences of your own you wish to share please do so in the comments below, or write in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Play Professor is the blog of ludologist and video game journalist Andrew Mantilla. You can check out more of his content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.
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