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A theological and technical update

The Castle of the Blue Moon explores, inter alia, the notion of free will.

Though I touched on this very fleetingly in a review of the visual novel The Vestibule a few years ago, available at this site, I thought now would be a good time to revisit the topic.

From a theological point of view, free will makes a good deal of sense. If we are in any meaningful way pre-programmed or compelled to behave in a particular way, our personal responsibility for such behaviour rapidly approaches zero, and it would seem unjust that any of us be "punished" (I use this word for want of a better one, aware of its inadequacies) for our own acts. Throw the notion of free will out of the window, and one can happily jettison moral responsibility, which is a cornerstone of any religious system in which God (or gods) rewards or chastises men for their deeds.

Yet, our everyday experience teaches us that free will is not that simple a proposition. We may act a certain way out of ignorance (as in the case of a small child, or someone with a disorder of brain development), duress (the proverbial "do this or I'll shoot your family" scenario), external constraints (for example, I would love to devote more time to completing this game, but work and family have to take priority most of the time) and so on. When faced with a list like this - or with a purely materialistic, "computational" model of "how the mind works" - it is easy to come to the opposite conclusion: that free will is an illusion, and that everything we do is in some way biologically or socially determined. A similar conclusion can be reached by pessimistically minded theologians, who - faced with the problem of human wrong-doing and sin - conclude that such acts are all pre-destined or willed by God for mysterious purposes of His own. (Those familiar with the novel on which this book is very loosely based might recall that it, too, explores predestination - though in a more "positive", light-hearted, and even "romantic" sense.)

Though I personally reject this position, this game - in my opinion - does a fairly good job of playing "Devil's Advocate" with it, particularly with reference to the game's heroine, Dorcas. To say more at this juncture would be a fairly large story spoiler, but I hope to continue elaborating on this topic in further blog posts.


On a technical note, our team is switching development of this game to RPG Maker VX Ace (in lieu of RPG Maker XP) for technical and compatibility reasons. However, the game's story, script, mechanics and other aspects remain the same, and we hope that this will not detract from your enjoyment of it.

Pax vobiscum,