Narrative And The Future Of Gaming
It is amazing the number of games in my library that have a number in the title. Franchises have become the lingua franca of the game industry. In the end, games are morphing into Hollywood in a permanent summer time. This has been the upward trend of the budgets combined with the huge amount of studios consolidating into larger and larger behemoths.
I think that you can make a lot of case that this is detrimental to the stories that can be told. In some cases you’re completely right. There’s more than a few franchises that are slowly bleeding players as their stories are driven into the ground by yearly installments. On the other hand you have huge multi-part epics that tell unique stories each time out. New IP’s aren’t necessarily an indication of quality.
On the other hand, none of these narratives are ever all that challenging to the player. There’s been a couple of attempts in the last few years to challenge the kill things and then kill them again model, subverting the traditional FPS story. Spec Ops and Farcry 3 are two notable examples. The ending of Mass Effect 3 shows that a difficult narrative structure can cause the fans to turn on you.
Indie games have been touted as the way that real narrative depth can be slowly introduced into the medium. Although I feel like this is a great way for the more complicated stories to end up in a ghetto. Games are a great medium that allows you to experience things from a unique perspective.