One of the most recognisable features of the Mass Effect series is for sure the Paragon and Renegade system. Blue or Red. Good or Evil. It was one of the first franchises to really popularise the binary morality system and when you really think about it, it did severely limit the potential interactions you could have. Because of how the game worked, you usually had to pick either Paragon or Renegade and stick with that option throughout the entire game. Sometimes there will also be conversations that are gated by your Paragon or Renegade rank. Real conversations don’t have this level of binary control and a lot of nuance was stripped from solving situations. Maybe you didn’t feel like playing the good guy during one altercation, but you had to pick the blue option simply to build rank etc.
BioWare seem to agree with this since the creative director, Mac Walters, stated that this binary morality system is now gone and replaced with an “agree or disagree” system. Here’s what he had to say during an interview with Official Xbox Magazine:
[quote]What we have now is based more around agreeing and disagreeing. The reason I like that is because in the trilogy it’s like, ‘I’m gonna play Paragon,’ and then you know which way you’re moving the stick on every conversation. You don’t have to think about it, because you’re just going to hit Paragon every time. With agree and disagree it changes by the circumstance and it changes by the character you’re talking to, so you have to actually be more engaged in what’s going on, to know if you’re going to do that.[/quote]
I wholeheartedly agree. One of the many reasons I loved The Witcher 3 so much is that there was never any morality button in conversations, but you had to navigate the conversation based on how you felt about the situation. The moral lines were never clear and that made for some truly engaging choice-based role playing. It’s wonderful that BioWare are going in this direction with their new title.