Thursday 30 August, 2018
I was finally able to finish Little Nightmares today, and wow, what an ending. The fifth and final chapter sees you confronting the character of that chapter and ultimately killing her. Once this is completed, you walk back through the area from the previous chapter, sucking out the life force and ultimately killing anyone who gets too close to you. The last shot is of you walking up a long flight of stairs into sunlight and thus presumably the outside world. This raises an ethical dilemma similar to the last chapter.
Whereas the last chapter tricked the player into performing a morally questionable action with forcing them to kill the creature instead of taking the presented sausage, this time there is no question as to what will happen if the player walks up those stairs. The main character has become a living embodiment of evil, killing indiscriminately those who draw too close. Letting this abomination up those stairs and into the outside world will undoubtedly result in untold death and destruction. Yet the only way to beat the game to walk up those stairs and release this monster onto the outside world. Is it ethical for a game to force the player to perform actions they know to be morally wrong?
This character arc also raises further questions about ethical dilemmas presented from the start of the game. Earlier I asked the question of if it was ethical for a game to portray a seemingly child protagonist in peril and, in several cases, show said protagonist dying. Is it possible this moral dilemma is solved knowing what we know now about the protagonist. Is it ethical to show a young character in violent situations if said character is evil? Is it moral to seemingly portray such an evil character as so young in the first place? Would these moral dilemmas of playing an evil character shown in violent situations be resolved if the character appeared to be older, thus infringing less upon the inherent innocence of childhood?
Overall, I very much enjoyed my playthrough of Little Nightmares. While the game can be somewhat repetitive at times and the gameplay a little clunky, the entire package is absolutely worth a look. The atmosphere is top notch, and the decision to make the player character appear so young really works in favor of the game’s horror elements and helps tell a surprising and difficult narrative make the player that much more uncomfortable and on edge. The game certainly provided plenty of fun moral dilemmas to examine for the purposes of this class and provided an enjoyable experience.