In my article The Wolf Among Us: being brave and kind I explored the challenge of sticking to one’s morals when others are in danger, and choosing between results and righteousness. In my first playthrough of The Wolf Among Us I chose to focus on being diplomatic and kind. After seeing the results of my choices I was pleased with the outcome, yet it made me curious to see the results of taking a completely different route.
My second playthrough focused on making Bigby big and bad, being someone to fear, and getting results through direct and at times, hyper aggressive means. Does it negatively impact Bigby’s long term goals of imparting justice? Does being a lone wolf prove more efficient than creating an alliance? Will Bigby lose the advantages I had been able to rely upon when playing as a good character?
During my aggressive playthrough in which I concentrated on using violence as a tool, I immediately began to see its drawbacks. Bigby began to lose out on the information he could have gained through negotiation. It worked as a tactic to get people to do what Bigby wanted, but when constantly relied upon for results, it lost its coercive effects and began to work against him. People under the constant threat of violence either began to fight back or close off.
Utilizing intimidation also generated results when interrogating someone but, as with violence, using it as a tool for extracting information began to produce diminishing returns the more the victim became conditioned to the experience. When compared to the subtle and long lasting positive effects of being merciful and treating people humanely, the short term gains of intimidation seemed to be good when in a pinch but unsustainable and even detrimental to long term interactions and negotiations.
After using violence and intimidation, Bigby’s reputation preceded him and struck fear in the hearts of those he interacted with. While this was good for dealing with criminals, in that they were afraid to mess with him, the fear also trickled down to the innocent.
The irony of being scary is that sooner or later the oppressed begin to conquer their fear of the oppressor; in the long run fear of threats and fear of violence generate a sense of rebellion in their victims, not compliance. In the case of what Bigby was trying to accomplish, getting people to work with him, having people afraid of him did not help. Not only did being aggressive, violent, and intimidating hurt his ability to accomplish his goals, they also caused countless people pain along the way. It is here that we see that justifiable evil will always be evil, and that the world will treat us as such if we make it our lifestyle, regardless of our excuses.
Do you believe in the justifiable use of violence or intimidation, and at what cost? Is there a balance between good and bad, between short term and long term gains based on morality? I welcome discussion on this topic and if you have experiences of your own you wish to share please write me an email, respond to the thread for this article, or talk to me through any of my social media: Facebook, Twitter, 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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