C9. Design Ethically

“I feel ethical in the decisions I make in games because the decisions I or my character make do not greatly differ from my morals as an individual.”

Players feel comfortable in who they are and the decisions they make throughout a game. The game presents ideas in more ethical ways rather than forcing players to make choices that go against their morals.

VR naturally immerses players in the world and particularly engages them with the character they are playing. If the game has players making unethical decisions, players may feel an extreme amount of discomfort because they (as a person and as a character) do not want to make such decisions. VR games therefore consider ethics, keeping in mind that when players embody their VR characters, they are identifying themselves as the character and would not want to identify themselves with immoral ideas and decisions.

Examples to consider:

  • Superhot VR: All the enemies in the game are red, glass-like figures with no distinctive features. As a game that involves shooting and killing many enemies, having enemies that do not look like humans allows for fun gameplay without the player having to feel like they are shooting people.
  • Edge of Nowhere: As the player character goes mad, the player continuously refers to the character in the third person as “he” (rather than in the first person as “I”), saying phrases such as “he’s losing his mind”. The third person camera helps enforce a third person perspective, making the player feel like the character he was playing was going mad, and not himself.
  • Hover Junkers (1, 2): Hover Junkers does not have pre-set character animation, and all characters are player characters, controlled by the real-world movements of players. Because all movement is player-driven, the game allows players to lift their equipped gun to their head and shoot themselves.