For moral choices to mean something in a game, there have to be motivations, there have to be expectations, and there have to be consequences. Somehow, there has to be an easy connection that players can draw between “I want to do X,” to “I want Y to happen,” to “and then Z came about.”

One way that can be handled is by creating a variable that increases when a player character performs action A, and decreases when a player character performs action B. That’s a “karma meter.” Never mind that karma is a complex philosophical concept intended to bear consequences over multiple lifetimes.

Perhaps if a game would “reincarnate” a character every time they died, with different circumstances effecting their respawn based on their choices as a player character. I mean, games do have the tendency to kill the character a lot, and a necessity for save-scumming tends to create a negative impact on the overall play experience.

…Anyway, another way to “judge” a character’s choices would be by tagging and grouping the game’s interactions — walking, running, jumping, swimming, climbing, chatting, trading, stealing, fighting, killing, and so forth. Then, create an objective, non-judgmental system wherein a player who steals receives a “thief” title.

Characters branded as “thieves” aren’t necessarily evil, just as “murderers” aren’t either. Murdering orcs or killing wolves in the wild might be seen by some characters as good, while it might be evil to others. Elves might praise you for killing orcs, but condemn you for killing wolves.

Some things get a messy around here, and bring into question my assertion about motivations, expectations, and consequences. Depending on how morality is implemented as a system in the game, it could be motivation-based, it could be consequences-based, it could be a combination, or it could be something else.

Cause-and-effect systems appear to be the best option in gaming because they’re straightforward. Like your basic quest system, you can expect to receive Rewards Y and Z at the end if you do Quest X.

At some point, the player character should be making a choice, “I will adhere to this moral system,” which indicates whether they are “good” or “evil” as a result of either succeeding or failing to follow the system they’ve decided upon.