Of Immersion, Immersive Gameplay, and Stories

There’s a broad meta-theme going around many of the huge number of great posts from the blogosphere this weekend, and it’s this: immersion.

Whether it’s Skyrim’s immersive gameplay, SW:TOR’s story immersion, or Raph Koster saying immersion is going away, it’s all about the immersive today.

  • Melmoth of Killed in a Smiling Accident loves Skyrim, but has quit SWTOR, because he feels like SWTOR could be played better by Microsoft Excel“In Skyrim I have to watch where my enemy is in the world. If the enemy is close, I try to hit him with a big sword … After one hundred and twenty eight hours or so of playing, this is still fantastically entertaining to me. I do not have to look down at a UI element and see if my sword is off global cooldown.”
  • Chris of Level Capped sings the praises of the ultra-difficult, ultra-immersive Wurm Online“There’s no empty accomplishments here, no achievements that pop up when you kill something, or make armor, or tie your shoe, or just log in like in other MMOs. The success is the achievement. It’s in the survival and the progression from tree to plank to wall to house. “
  • Azuriel of In An Age responds to Raph Koster’s statement that immersion is no longer a key element in games“Considering the widespread success of Skyrim, Minecraft, and the stubborn persistence of EVE, I am not entirely sure what he is talking about. “
  • Tobold is comparing SWTOR to Scheherazade – and wonders how many stories it can spin before gamers cut its head off“In spite the huge rumored budget of the game, I seriously doubt that SWTOR has stories for 1001 nights. And I guess modern gamers are about as willing as the king of Persia to lop of their previous games’ head and replace it with a virgin one.”
  • And Spinks responds to him with enthusiasm not just about SWTOR’s story, but also about its gameplay“I’m finding that the difficulty supports the storytelling. Not in every case for sure, but the way the single player class quests balance increasing difficulty with increasing story importance has worked really well to draw me in.”
  • Finally, Edward Castronova of Terra Nova compares the openness of Skyrim to the rails of SWTOR ? – SWTOR’s big innovation was the addition of thousands of filmed cutscenes to the game. As in Mass Effect, you’re watching a movie and playing some game during the breaks.”

What do you think? Personally, I’m getting very tempted indeed to try Wurm…