Authors
Chris M. Jones
Central Washington University
Abstract
The interaction between the concepts of character attachment, agency, and choice in a video game narrative was investigated using BioWare’s Mass Effect trilogy. Posts on a BioWare forum discussing the depiction of their player characters in the ending sequences of Mass Effect 3, the final game in the trilogy, were downloaded and analyzed using thematic analysis. Players demonstrated emotional attachment for the characters and narrative and expected to see the consequences of their choices play out, as in the previous games. Furthermore, players conflated winning the game with achieving a narratively satisfactory ending for the game world and its characters indicating emotional consequences for players that developers should consider when designing games with a high degree of player choice and agency. However, for some players character attachment is incongruous as they described Shepard as “acting out of character,” which needs further research.
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DOI 10.1177/0270467618819685
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