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After reading this amazing article: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8157257/line-explores-reasons-why-play-shooter-games a friend and I started to discuss how you could create an FPS where you feel bad about what you do. We had a great discussion, and he wrote up the key points. I'm interested what people think. Would it work? PATHOS PATHOS is an FPS designed to make the player feel sadness and remorse, rather than sadistic glee, at killing legions of unnamed and unknown enemies. In many ways, PATHOS will be similar to other games in the genre, featuring military missions and objectives, and enemies who stand in the way of those goals. These goals will increase in difficulty, requiring the player to gain new and improved weaponry, skills, and items in order to complete a mission. Where PATHOS is different comes in the death mechanic of every NPC within the game. For plot reasons, the player character is able to see the ghosts of the recently deceased. As every NPC is ruthlessly slaughtered by the player, their ghosts will slowly rise above their corpses, each speaking a unique bit of dialogue that deal with families and loved ones left behind, or goals left incomplete, or just a general sadness of a life cut short. Each of these ghosts will slowly float upward, but will be both seen and heard by the player before being removed from the scene. While the player has the ability to look away, the voices will follow them for the entirety of the dialogue. Some NPC’s will speak a different language, as will their ghosts, giving the player a brief respite from the onslaught of sadness. At the same time, at this point in the game, the player might be wondering what the hopes and dreams of that particular NPC may have been. They may wish they had been able to communicate with that NPC in some fashion, but their death makes these wishes completely moot. As the game reaches its frantic conclusion, more and more NPC’s will be killed at the same time. This will allow the player to see groups of ghosts engaged in conversations above their head. Some of these may become more philosophical, as the player is forced to face the consequences of total slaughter. At this stage, it is unclear what the ending of PATHOS will be, but a few suggestions have been put forward: 1. After the final, victorious stage, the scene blurs, and the player sees an endless field of tortured souls in Hell. It is made clear that the player is, in fact, a demon who has the job of inflicting unending torment on these poor souls. Satan comes forward and says “Who has two thumbs and is really good at destroying the hopes and dreams of others?” The player then turns to a nearby mirror and sees their face covered in blood. With a big smile, the player says “This guy!” Satan appears over the player’s shoulder, and both laugh as the scene fades to the credits. (( Possible hardware could allow the player to insert their own actual photo for the player character’s face in this scene. )) 2. Rather than Hell, the player character fades into an Egyptian scene. Standing in front of him is Osiris with his scales. He balances the player’s heart against a feather. Based on the amount of killing the player has done, the scale tips further and further down. Behind Osiris stands a legion of heroic/divine figures, including Buddha, Jesus, King Arthur, Confucius, Paul Bunyan, Robin Hood, and others. Each looks disappointed and shake their heads as the scale shows that the heart is too heavy. Osiris sighs and says “Well, you’re fucked.” The game controller shakes as the screen flashes a bright white. The screen then reads “You only get once chance at this life.” Afterwards, the game auto-deletes. 3. After the final victory, the player walks into the office of their commanding officer. On the desk are two forms. One is a form allowing the player to retire from service with honor. The other form is a re- enlistment. If the player chooses to retire, they watch the credits, which are laid over a montage of the player character building a family and a life. Interspersed are brief remembrances of killing previous enemies, and the player character bursting into tears. If the character chooses to re-enlist, they open New Game + mode. The game is more difficult, and the lines of ghost dialogue are even more tragic. However, the character also gains more acute hearing, and now they can also hear dialogue from the living enemies. Rather than typical military jargon, these focus on the lives and friendships between the enemy combatants. The player then gets to decide at which point in this conversation they wish to break down a door and begin killing the enemies. In this mode, the enemies are generally less aware and more likely to be taken by surprise.