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So, I almost never play evil characters in most CRPGs - despite the potential fun to be had - and recently I've been thinking about why.

I mean, lawful good is the most boring alignment, evil NPCs can be an absolute hoot (exhibit A: Astarion), stealth murdering villagers for lulz can be entertaining, so why am I always such a freaking goody-two-shoes when it comes to actual plot decisions?

I think a lot of it comes down to lame and crudely-drawn motivations for the evil option in each case.

Your options in most games always seem to boil down to callous, greedy or spiteful: haha no / fuck you pay me / I just blinded your child lol.

And those just aren't satisfying. Especially when you're starting out and forming your character's persona and network, you're pretty much powerless, dumped in a situation where you're casting around for allies and can't afford to burn your bridges.

Running around just randomly being mean to folk like some poster child for Troubled Youth and the need to be Tough On Crime is just... stupid. There's some crude sadism there, and there's some crude avarice, it gets you minor short term benefits but no long-term ones, it gets you hated but not feared, without any real sense of control. Everyone dies or gets led off in chains with big sad eyes, and there's always the strong implication that you failed.

It just feels like a heavy-handed morality lesson where all the bad people are thugs, arseholes and/or developmentally challenged. Apart from being not much fun to play, it's kind of erasing the harm presented by smarter, more insidious kinds of evil.

Being a good guy gets you willing allies, is about personal validation, and feels like success. It gets you the generosity of the people you help, but that's a bonus on top the fundamental win of making the world a shinier better place.

By the same token, being an evil bastard should get you unwilling allies, it should be about power, and it should feel like winning. It gets you benefits you did not earn, but that should be a bonus on top of the fundamental win of tightening the screws on people. That's the actual payoff, but it seems to be the one they always miss.

I think evil playthroughs could be a lot more fun if you had better ways to be evil: blackmail, extortion, sneaky betrayal and brutal revenge. Not ODD, in other words, but NPD. Control, leverage, perfidy. Locking your victims down so they have no choice but to help you, or deceiving them into working against their own interests. Either keep a tight rein on your PR - or let them hate, so long as they also fear.

And another BG3 example: I think the nature of the shadow curse was a misstep, what with the all the grotesque madness and putrid corruption that surrounded it. I think it would have been far more effective as psychological horror, morally corrupt but reeking of purity, so shadowheart would have had believable reasons for wanting to join the gothstapo, and the player could plausibly be sold on it despite everything. But instead the lesson seemed to be that evil is yucky and broken and ew don't get it on you, and that just feels like a missed opportunity to me.

What say you?

Am I an outlier in this? Do the typical offerings feel satisfying to you? Are there games that do relatable, enjoyable evil especially well?

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cross-posted from: https://lemm.ee/post/30066799

Embracer Group announces its intention to transform into three standalone publicly listed entities at Nasdaq Stockholm - Embracer Group

INSIDE INFORMATION: The Board of Directors of Embracer Group AB (“Embracer Group”) today announces a transformative step for value creation through a separation of the group into three market-leading games and entertainment companies: Asmodee Group, “Coffee Stain & Friends”[1] and “Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends”[1]. The three entities will be separate, publicly listed companies, enabling each entity to better focus on their respective core strategies and offer more differentiated and distinct equity stories for existing and new shareholders. This will enable the entities to unlock value in the high-quality assets of Embracer Group following the successful completion of the restructuring program.

The three separate publicly listed entities are expected to consist of:

  • Asmodee, a global leading tabletop games publisher and distributor with an extensive studio network and IP catalogue.
  • Net Sales of SEK 14.8 billion and Adjusted EBIT of SEK 1.9 billion on a pro forma basis as per LTM[2] December 2023
  • Coffee Stain & Friends”, a diverse gaming entity with a dual focus on indie and A/AA premium and free-to-play games for PC/console and mobile, with a high degree of recurring revenues.
  • Net Sales of SEK 10.9 billion, Adjusted EBIT of SEK 2.8 billion on a pro forma basis as per LTM December 2023.
  • Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends”, a creative powerhouse in AAA game development and publishing for PC and console, as well as the stewards of The Lord of the Rings and Tomb Raider intellectual properties, among many others.
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-IGN 7 / 10

-Eurogamer 3 / 5

-Game Informer 8 / 10

-Hobby Consolas 82 / 100

-Shacknews 7 / 10

-God is a Geek 9.5 / 10

-Windows Central 4 / 5

-Wccftech 8.5 / 10

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