There’s really nothing I love more than a video game that actually makes me think. And I’m not talking about a block puzzle or a Brain Age kind of remembering how many cats and frogs are on the screen kind of thinking either (although when done well those are pretty fun). I mean the kind of thinking in which I have to make a decision, understand how that decision affects the characters I come into contact with, and must suffer the consequences. Very few games do this well if they do it at all; no one was as sad as I was when Fable didn’t live up to Peter Molyneux’s grand vision.
There is hope for those of us needing a game with a more realistic decision making in the form of an MMO action-role playing game known as Tabula Rasa. Unlike the typical MMORPG, Tabula Rasa aims to incorporate moral and ethical dilemmas that will actually alter the game. Hopefully this will do more than simply elicit ire from characters that don’t like you.
According to the latest developer diary from Destination Games, we can expect a lot of options when we attempt missions:
One of these early missions involves the delivery of pharmaceuticals to soldiers on the front lines. While the supply commander, a rather straight-laced and stand-up kind of individual, would rather these pharmaceuticals be distributed to the soldiers in a formal, organized system, there's a man who stole a whole bunch and has been selling them to the soldiers for a nice profit. Your decision to either turn in the thief, or help him distribute the stolen goods, not only affects the mission outcome but determines how the NPC soldiers will interact with you from then on.
Later missions include a decision to kill or save a prisoner who is a member of the enemy army “Bane.” While ”Bane” is an evil force that must be punished, the soldier was only following orders. Bringing the complexity of such a serious real-life dilemma to a video game will be very exciting and perhaps show something about the player’s true inner nature that not even he knew.
Due out in late 2007, Tabula is shaping up to be an MMO that even non-MMO players can enjoy.
Check out the screenshots below to see what you'll be feeling later this year.