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    Apr 6th, 2017 at 17:51:02     -    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC)

    In The Witcher 3, your first quest is to hunt a large Griffen that has been killing villagers. It is seen as a voracious beast, and the first time you encounter the Griffin, it is violently eating the flesh from a caravanís horse. There was little emotion tied to the creature for me at first. It was simply a beast to hunt, as with so many other quests in games. However, upon encountering a dead mother Griffin, the tone changed. The music, in particular, was very melancholy, and Geraltís tone portrayed slight mourning. The bloodthirsty animal suddenly became a majestic beast, and the tragedy of its death was apparent. In my game, in particular, it was dark, and raining. It made me realize how atmosphere can affect my emotions and perceptions. Itís a tactic many games use, but I was slightly frightened at how easily I was manipulated by some sound and lighting. Of course, The Witcher continues its gray morality by having you hunt the Griffin later, with little to no emotion attached. Itís difficult for me to dispute the ethics of tone manipulation, however, because it is a key part of our experience as an audience.

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    Apr 5th, 2017 at 17:52:15     -    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC)

    The Witcher 3 is known for its gray areas, its moral quests that have no right or wrong, because every action has consequences. I knew this, to some extent, when I started, but it didnít fully register with me. I realized this when a dwarf asked me to find a suspected arsonist and bring him to justice. I accepted the quest out of goodwill toward the dwarf, but when I found the perpetrator, drunk and mourning the loss of his mother, I had some doubts. Iím a huge advocate for second chances, and for helping people who turn to crime after difficult times. However, the game made it feel like taking the arsonistís money in exchange for my silence was a bad option, and there was no ďKeep your moneyĒ choice. I felt as though the game wanted me to take him in. However, as I hipnotized the man to follow me back to the dwarf, who consequently had him arrested, I felt empty. I had gone against the moral choice I wanted, and the game seemed to not acknowledge that I made a ďrightĒ choice-a choice I thought it wanted.
    Afterwards, my friend informed me that either way, the game doesnít give you a sense of accomplishment or ďrightness,Ē but rather leaves it gray on purpose. I realized that I had made a decision based on the idea that I didnít want the game to punish me for doing what I thought was right. While I should have gone with my gut, I think it said more about the games Iím used to playing. Many games do not play with gray area as much as The Witcher. Usually, there is a good, neutral, and bad option that all lead to those subsequent paths. ďBadĒ options are for roleplaying, for people who are playing a character rather than making moral decisions. But in Witcher there isnít that. You could morally justify many options in the game, which is an interesting approach that I feel like could improve our ethical experiences in games.

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    Apr 4th, 2017 at 17:20:30     -    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC)



    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Apr 4th, 2017 at 17:21:14.

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    Apr 4th, 2017 at 00:06:02     -    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC)

    Starting The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I realized something I had never really put much thought into before, and that was the presence of ďInvestigationĒ options. Basically, options that didnít continue the conversation, but were just meant for the player to get more information on their situation. To be honest, I had just started this game, and didnít care much to get my information from an exposition dump. However, there is something more interesting than just learning more about the world, and thatís seeing how the characters interact with each other through this investigation dialogue. You can tell that Geralt and Vesemir are good friends simply because of how easily they interact with each other. I also loved the characterization given to the owner of the pub. When asking her questions, she wanders around the counter a bit, she looks over your shoulder to check on the other barmates, and sometimes even fiddles with her clothes. It was such a small but lively touch that added characterization to characters that seemed simple or unimportant. The investigation options in Witcher arenít just there so the player can get more information about the world, but the characters as well.
    I believe this characterization can help amplify both our connection to them, and our desire to help them. For example, in The Witcherís side quests, I donít do quests for rewards (despite there usually being an option to ask for money). I do these side quests because it feels like the right thing to do. Itís the right thing to save townspeople from a Griffin, for example. However, if the characters were flat, or lacked any qualities we can relate to or sympathize with, we might simply do side quests for the experience, or money, or we might not do them at all. While I believe the reward aspect to be a small part of why I usually do sidequests, games like The Witcher make me feel like this world could be real, and therefore there are people here who deserve both protecting and my help.

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