There’s People Here

Morbid: The Seven Acolytes is one of those games where you wander the cursed landscape of some great calamity, piece together what happened, and clear away the haunted debris so that something, perhaps, can one day grow over the ruins. Your first encounter with another living being is, like, five minutes in, when you find a single mutated acolyte of the demon-slaying order you work for who’s retained enough sanity to get you up to date on the situation (there are seven demonic acolytes causing a ruckus and you should kill them). You sporadically encounter other NPCs as quest givers here and there, but for the most part you are wandering a hostile wilderness, which is usually how it goes in these games.

And then, maybe a third of the way in, you encounter a village. A fully populated honest-to-god village with, yes, a couple of side quests lying around, but also some NPCs with no particular function except to make it clear this place is indeed fully inhabited. As compelling and novel as the “the plot already happened, you’re just discovering it after the fact” concept was when I first encountered it in Dark Souls, at this point it’s actually kind of a twist that there’s a population of survivors, and that defeating the evil doesn’t just benefit some hypothetical future people who might take root here once the menace is cleared away, but will save an actual still-existing community from a terrible fate.

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