What starts as a discussion about story and gameplay mechanics morphs into discussion of the depiction of violence in video games, and how violence might end up being depicted in VR.
For this second season of Byte-Sized Virtue, we continue to take the episode structure in a bit of a different direction, at least in part. This is the second episode drawn from a discussion between Withstand the Fury Dragon and an friend old friend of his, Paul, whose philosophical musings he has consistently enjoyed and respected. And rather than talk about any specific Virtue or Principle from Ultima, or its real-world equivalent, they will be tackling a range of topics that...well, you'll just have to listen.
In this episode, we discuss the importance of story in an RPG, citing a few examples (including Ultima and Mass Effect). Gameplay mechanics also come up for discussion...which makes the timing of this episode rather interesting, since the upcoming Spam Spam Spam Humbug episode also discusses the intersection between story and mechanics in games.
Toward the end of the discussion, the subject of virtual reality (VR) is broached, and Withstand the Fury wonders at the impacts that games featuring graphic, gory violence will have on gamers who experience such things in a VR context. Will they be as able, especially as photorealism in games increases with each successive engine generation, to truly separate their actions in-game — and the horrors they behold as a result thereof — from reality? Or will we start seeing gamers developing PTSD-like symptoms?
Ethereal Void, from the Ultima 9 soundtrack