BioShock Infinite Expands On Morality System

Irrational games weren’t too happy with the ‘black-and-white’ morality system of previous games and are looking to fix that mistake in the upcoming BioShock Infinite.

One of the games writers, Drew Holmes, spoke to Polygon recently about the decision to revamp the morality system of choice and just what their plans were with it.

Lots of games have morality systems these days, including BioShock. Whilst the built-in system was fine as it was, the writers and developers weren’t happy with how it was being used. As an example, in the first BioShock the choice was there to harvest or save Little Sisters – a decision that gave you Adam depending on how you dealt with it. Drew Holmes reckons that by adding a reward mechanic into the morality system blinds players to their actions and the philosophical consequences of those actions.

“Looking back at Bioshock 1‘s choice system, it’s something that’s really powerful the first time, not really powerful the second time and by the 10th time you’re not really trying to decide whether to harvest or save the little sisters,” said Holmes. “You’re not thinking about it on a philosophical or moral level at that time because it just becomes ‘I want the more special juice to make me do the thing.’ It numbs people over time.”

Instead of making these black and white choices (i.e Kill the defenseless little girl or let it live) are being removed in favor of choices that will focus on ethics and more ambiguous morality. Instead of deciding what might be best for you as a player and how to keep your character surviving, the game wants to challenge you to see what you’ll do in order to get what you need to continue.