The Butcher’s Dilemma

“So James from Byron and Sons made me a proposition today,” your brother Michael says. “A real hinky-ass proposition, but… I don’t know. We might be desperate enough to take up hinky-ass propositions.

“Short of it is, they wanna cut the legs off corpses and give them to us so we could… process the meat and sell it in our shop. They figure that’d keep the town fed until spring when we can get back down the mountain.

“What do you think?”

“I love this btw, I think about it sometimes.” – alexa

This game is inspired by a side quest in We Happy Few, “The Slaughterer’s Apprentice”. In it, you meet Reg Cutty, the town’s butcher, who has started processing human corpses in order to continue providing meat to Wellington Wells which (unbeknownst to most citizens) is experiencing a famine. There is a brief dialogue exchange in it that I found very intriguing:

Reg: The job we do is so very important to Wellington Wells. The fact is, we've run out of rats and ravens.

Arthur: Why don't you tell the Executive Committee? I'm sure they'd give you a medal.

Reg: That's just it! I don't think they would.

But it gets blown by and the plot moves on to other things. The mission is about a lot of different topics and the story’s about story about Arthur, who is not terribly interested in Reg’s motivations. But that one line! I was like, “No, wait, let’s go back to that. I want to talk about that!”

Originally, the game only had the two “bad” endings. I once interviewed for a narrative design job with Obsidian and their guys asked me what I would do if they asked for a third “less punishing” ending. Now personally I think all endings are rewards, but I recognize that a company’s trying to sell products to people who may not be pretentious like that so I added the third “good” ending.

The third ending is why alexa still thinks about this game from time to time. It based on this thing I heard somewhere, about some tribe that makes a jerky out of its dead that they eat whenever they miss that person.

The original idea I wanted to play with was just what sort of obligation does one have to their community and what might one do to fulfill it (even in the face of that community’s outrage), but turning cannibalism into a sweet cultural ritual all fulla metaphors about sustenance and responsibility to one another? Yum!

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