@sinfony I was just thinking the exact same thing today while listening to this week’s Bombcast. I mean, those guys were just going apeshit over story beats in Mass Effect 3 and I just thought “Really? This story gets you that riled up?”
Aside from some exceptions including visual novels (Walking Dead) and RPGs (which are largely just interactive stories) that I play mostly for the character interactions, I find myself only wanting gameplay in my games. If I’m not enjoying playing through something, there’s no reason for me to continue no matter how many of my respected friends claim the game’s superiority. Game plots in general are fucking juvenile and it embarrasses me to play anything requiring me to “save the world”. I’d rather just save one person (Walking Dead) as I can relate to something at that scale.
The biggest problem with this medium’s ability to make stories important is economics. Making a mass market game damn near requires a story built by committee. If a dev tries something focused, they risk funding for the next one. Only the rare exception (Irrational) has this clout to pull this off.
Stories are best told from the perspective of a single story-teller. Only books, comics, and (for the most part) movies have this luxury. Also, each of those mediums can tell an amazingly well-crafted story for less then $10 a pop which is a difficult thing for game makers, especially in the AAA realm.