With the addition of the Sins being added to The Flocks identity, time was taken to research into the Sins in Catholicism and how we could integrate their respective sin into their narrative without it being too obvious to the player as we want a certain subtlety to the games themes.
What are the sins?
In Catholicism there are the Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, Greed, Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride. The sins are thought to be habits or behaviours that can directly give birth to other immoralities and are an abuse or excessive version of our own natural passions or faculties. The Catholic Church has used the concept of the Sins to aid in preventing people from turning to evil and facing the consequences of possible misdeeds. Pride and Greed are seen as inherently sinful and underlay all other sins, Pride is especially focused on as it is the one that represents the very essence of evil considering that it was the first sin committed by Lucifer that in-turn caused him to fall from grace.
Somewhat included with the sins are the Seven Virtues which are a combination of the four classical cardinal virtues (Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Courage) and the three theological virtues (Faith, Hope and Charity) however, in 590 AD the Pope Gregory released his list of seven deadly sins which changed the virtues to that of Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness and Humility. The newer virtues had correlations to the sins and were proposed to be the way to keep the sins at bay by practising them.
Above has the notebook version of my look into the sin as well as which of the Flock each sin would be tied to. We tried to have the match ups make sense and feasibly be made into a convincing enough narrative although some, like The Runaway, were given whatever was left as sins matched up better with other flock members.
Lust was our Troubled Child and is unique in that they weren’t necessarily the one at fault for the sin, but instead it was their father, who was cheating on his wife and was paying the child off to stay quiet about it. The child knows that what their father is doing is wrong and feel as if accepting the money is wrong as well so the player decides on what kind of action the child is to take. Unfortunately, the good endings do not employ the use of chastity because as mentioned before, the child is not the one guilty of lust but their father and so the good route for them involves the child refusing to take any more money and demanding that the father tells the mother what he did else the child do it for him. Neutral has the child tell their mother of their fathers infidelity and the bad route has the Priest be so aggressive towards the child that they end up getting scared and being pushed to tears, leaving in a decidedly distressed state.
Gluttony was a character who we changed dramatically when it came to write-up, in early versions he was a young teenager who had come from an abusive household and had run away after stealing an item of his dead mothers jewellery from his father. We had most of the details for his already noted down but after assigning him the sin of Gluttony, that narrative we had for him just didn’t fit any more so it had to be changed to one that better suited the sin.
However much I did like the initial narrative we had set up for The Runaway, in the end we had to go for one that fit the sin better. What we ended up with was a classic pompous and spoiled rich kid who has grown to be somewhat overweight to due to the over-indulgence in rich foods and overeating in general as Gluttony is thought to be a sin of over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink or luxury items as status symbols and to the point of waste. Because of his sinful habits, he has become a selfish bully who lacks empathy and has no real friendships to speak of. We wanted to give our characters a bit of depth hence why we had him be living through the consequences of his sin as well as have it so part of the reason he behaves the way he does is down to a lack of understanding for those lesser off that he simply wouldn’t have by coming from such a privileged life. The good and neutral endings for Gluttony have the Priest getting him to practice temperance or as it’s now called, moderation/self-restraint, as by restraining from excess and arrogance he would be able to combat his sin of gluttony and be a better person in general to the surrounding people. In the bad route however, Gluttony laughs at the Priest, dismissing everything he says and falling back on hos arrogant behaviour to make himself seem better than the Priest before walking out, he has quite a short bad route as we thought that a spoilt person like him wouldn’t bother giving a priest much of their time.
Also known as Avarice, Greed was one that we played around with before settling on our final plan for him, not wanting to make another Gluttony we wanted to play with The Addict as a theme and try not to make light of a serious issue that many people have. At the start we had them be a drug addict whose addiction had got out of control, but we felt that to be too cliché and there was already enough media that touched on that kind of addiction and had done so in better ways than the game could possibly do. Instead of the drug addict idea, we instead chose to go for the idea of a man who was stuck in the midst of a gambling addiction, throwing away his kids college funds in hopes of getting more back for them but ultimately becoming addicted to online gambling. To really have him fit Greed, we made it so he has no need to for extra money, having a well paying job, nice house and a decent college fund set up for his two daughters already, the idea being that they had just come out of a financial rough patch so the father wanted to make sure that his family would be financially secure should they hit another bump in the road. For the good and neutral route, the Priest insists that Greed tells his wife what he’s been doing as he had kept it secret whilst dissuading him from trying to gamble some money he’d lost back, the good route however, has the Priest also convince Greed to join one of their support groups in order to help fight his addiction. The opposite effect appears in the bad route as the Priest shames him for his actions and exclaims that he must show repentance for his sin which only pushes Greed away from getting the help he needs. Charity, the opposition to greed, is not outrightly shown through the interaction but it more so hinted at in Greeds decision to fight his lesser habits for the sake and love of his family. The love of one’s neighbour and one’s self being a part of charity therefore the love he holds for his family is the way in which he fuels his good ending choice to do better and steer himself away from sin.
Sloth was a character that drastically changed quickly. We didn’t have a solid plan for him however, upon some conversing we settled on his theme being too lazy to care for his stepfather who is critically ill. This lead onto us exploring more into the ‘lazy’ aspect and beginning to route it more down after trying to help, he became lazy and decided not to fight back against his step-fathers stubborn attitude. We also, decided to branch off into him holding a resentment against his step-father that initially held him at the standstill point of laziness. He has become comfortable with his Mother doing most things that once she died he wasn’t sure what to do for he had most things handed to him by her. He is a fairly simple route to go down, preaching how he should care for his step-father after sympathizing with him helps him see how he needs to step up and fight past his step-fathers stubbornness. However, too much preaching will cause him to spring opposite to where you’re trying to steer him, only leading him to up and leave the booth as he cannot be bothered to talk or deal with the player any more.
Wrath was a sin that we ran with from the start. We wanted to play with the idea of someone not receiving justice for what they have done. We wanted Wrath to be very, very aggressive from the offset. Wanting to seek revenge straight off and being difficult to talk down. In Wraths story we see one of their friends being shot and dying due to their injuries. This leads to one of the people who participated being released completely free of charge because, of this Wrath is vengeful and wishes to harm those who took their friend from them. With this the player is met with a lot of resistance but, gentle pushing into the right direction will eventually lead Wrath down the path of realizing that they will see their friend again and that the person who walked free would receive their own punishments by God. However, preaching to Wrath causes them to get very fiery very quickly. Wrath is the only sin to have more than 3 routes with one of them being an automatic bad ending where Wrath will lose their temper and explode at the player then leave the booth.
Envy was a tricky sin to write. We didn’t want to focus her story on her being pregnant. We wanted to focus on the jealousy she had of her sister and the regret she had on her past mistakes. I feel Envy is a character that a few people may be able to relate to. Her story is that she has always lived in the shadow of her older sister. Her sister is praised by the family where she is pushed aside and mocked by them. She will never do right and never be as good as her sister. The baby factor added a bit more thinking that the player needs to do in order to lead her down the right path rather down the wrong path. You are to lead her to leaving her family to get out into a safe environment for her and her baby. If the player goes bad, she will agree with everything the priest says as he acts like one of her family, and she retreats into herself. This is something we feel is relatable for some people.
Pride is a sin we had a lot of fun with plotting. We decided soon after deciding the implement the sins into the game, that Pride would be a manifestation of Lucifer himself. He would be the last day and would be the hardest route to track. We decided this from then on and built the character around this. Pride is a character who cannot be redeemed or saved. No matter which route the player chooses, you cannot steer him away from his path. Pride is portrayed as an office worker who thinks he is deserving of praise and is bitter that he doesn’t receive and that a newly added department is taking the boss’s attention. He threatens overthrow his boss and take over by force. No matter what it takes. With this we can see the direct parallels between this and the biblical story of Lucifer being cursed down from heaven when he tried to overthrow heaven because, god was too interested in Humans to pay attention to his angelic beings. This is a Sin we had a lot of fun with and had a lot of fun writing for. I feel like Pride is our strongest sin written as when the route is delved into, the player can begin to connect the dots.