Short blog, just relaying a few thoughts...
Having just about beat the new Battlefield 3 campaign, it's never been clearer that there's some things that I have loved and hated about games since the PSX era.
Story can give so much context and meaning to an experience. Games with great stories compel me to finish them, and in the case of Red Dead Redemption, replay them to 100% completion repeatedly. However, they can really kill a game as well, which they do more often than not for me as the writing, voice acting and camera work is amateurish at best.
It's often in the name of this amateurish writing that we end up with story lines designed more to highlight special effects that the engine produces rather than create emotional crescendos.
Speaking of amateur, the use of twists in plot are about as heavy handed as the stock levels that always make their way into most action games these days. I don't know how many different ways the same missions will be slightly reskinned, but I am pretty tired of crawling past a patrol if you catch my drift. This ends up infecting gameplay and then we get a snoozer.
And lastly, stories that make no sense. I mean seriously. No damn sense at all. This goes back to the same damn levels being in every game. The prison break, the secret underground base, the snow level, the desert level, blah blah blah.
I just expect more from the creative people who are given the opportunity to create narratives than to check off a bunch of boxes, collect a check and call it done. When Sakaguchi crafted Final Fantasy VII, he did it with intent. It's not a preachy thing, but very personal. I believe he was coping with the death of his Mother and the game reflects that. It's got humanity. Stories don't have to have that, my books are all about humanity being stripped away from people and how they act under those conditions...He also said, that games could rob people of control if they forced too many sounds and images on them. They spent a lot of time researching how to make the players feel interactively involved in the games. It's a shame such wisdom was lost on his successors and so many others in the industry.
For myself, at a certain point I decide that I would make a game in the same way that board games are a game. The stories will be for the players to create. I would create systems and give the players the raw material to be creative within that. For now, my stories will be told in books and films :)