This time, I’m going to be talking about choice and consequences in the game. One major complaint against the Damsel in Distress trope that I notice is that it robs the female character of agency. But, do any characters really have agency? What is the hero going to do, NOT rescue the princess?
The only character with any real agency in a game using the Damsel in Distress trope is actually the villain, who sets everything in motion by kidnapping the princess in the first place. The villain chooses the battle field, the timing, and can abandon ship at any time. The hero has no choice but to meet the villain head on, even if he has little chance of success. These kinds of games are not generally known for having a “give up and go play some golf” button.
Normally, a game that does give the player some agency tends to do so via dialogue options with a clear “pick this for evil, or this for good” or an arbitrary “good action, bad action” morality scale. In this game, you will have numerous endings depending on choices you make during actual game play, largely unprompted.
For one thing, you can choose to just let yourself be rescued. If you stay in the dungeon cell for a certain length of time, you will await your rescue rather than escaping. In this case, you will have to play the game backwards as one of several heroes in an attempt to rescue the princess. This route will not be explicitly mentioned in game, so it will hopefully be an entertaining surprise for anyone who decides to just do nothing to see what would happen.
But beware; not all the heroes are pure at heart. As the nobler, but weaker heroes die off, the remaining ones may not lead to such a happy ending, and if they all perish, it will be game over for our princess.
I have a few other choices the princess will have to make as she makes her way through the castle, but some are still being worked on and others I would like to keep as a bit of a surprise.
One thing to be certain though, this is one protagonist who isn’t lacking in the agency department.