The Power of "Show, Don't Tell"


So there's a guy in the new Wolfenstein game with a mental handicap, called Max Hass. Basically, he's like Hodor from A Song of Fire and Ice/Game of Thrones, except he's been reduced to the mental age of a 3 year old. He has children's toys and a little hidey-hole/blanket fort and everything.

Basically this guy is frigging adorable. It's not explicitly explained whether or not his handicap was a birth defect or if it came at the hands of some Nazi scum. There comes a mission where you have to find a power tool to cut some cement for a sample for some stuff, and Max is in the room. What winds up happening is that he flips the hell out when the circular saw turns on, and we're told that he freaks out whenever he hears power tools. Which kind of makes sense, a brain at that age finds big loud noises scary.

I thought nothing of it.

There's a side quest where you have to find some of Max's toys. While doing this quest, I looked at Max and I noticed that he...

Well, he's missing a part of his skull.

His head is flat in a section, but I had never paid enough attention to Max's character model to notice his skull and that it was missing the portion that it was. I had just assumed that he was born that way.

But then the evidence came together, and I realized that he either had:

a) a portion of his head cut off (I feel this is less likely); or

b) his head put to a power sander (I'm 99% sure this is what happened)

And once I figured this out, I sat back and stared in shock at the sheer brilliance of the writers to pull this shit off in a frigging run-'n'-gun shooter. Like, I know that this isn't an actual dude. I know that this is a pile of data and images and some voice acting. But I started to tear up at the fact that this man was reduced to the mindset of a small child because of the cruelty of the Nazis.

And that, my friends, is the power of really good writing in video games.