The reason that I worry about the overly-narrative approach that today dominates the AAA game landscape is that players are almost entirely on rails, and you as a player mostly make only a few choices to surmount a fleeting intermediate little minigame obstacle (a given fight, in the midst of the plot).
It provides one sort of immersion — the one akin to what you get when you read a great book or watch a good movie. But to me games are not about having a story told to you, they are about forging your own path. A linear CGI movie with occasional puzzles to solve is a valid genre that I even enjoy, but it doesn’t provide me any authorial agency as a player, and would often work better as just a book or movie.
I recognize that this is just me and my player type though.
I agree with him:
- Immersion isn’t a core virtue of games (although I think it’s quite possibly a side effect of non-competitive flow, which is a core virtue of Rollercoaster and Experiment games).
- And immersion takes time, and games are expanding to shorter, bite-sized experiences.
- And games are changing, and fantasy is not a core virtue either.
But I find it hard to believe that much will change, because growth doesn’t necessarily imply loss. Everything could just get bigger. Strategy games made it through the fire fine, and horror games are still alive and well. As tools have gotten better, these games have gotten easier and easier to make at lower budgets, and there’s no sign that won’t continue. We can quite possibly have our immersive games and the rest of our cake too.