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The State Of Church: Doug Church on the Death of PC Gaming and the Future of Defining Gameplay (23 Nov 2004)
"It's natural that design improvement often comes bottom-up, but here in particular jumpstarting it from the other direction, i.e. on the bigger picture, of player agency on a larger scale, would be a huge help. Even if they don't work spectacularly, these experiments would still be a big win because they would give us all a better understanding of how it might work, and what there is to gain, as opposed to sort of bubbling around down there and seeing where we end up. And I think a few titles that have tried to go that direction, allowing agency in player task focus, character definition (not just "what weapon do i kill with" in the stats based RPG way, but a bit more character oriented), that sort of thing, and these have resonated with a lot of players."

But giving over more agency involves taking bigger risks; a difficult bet at a time when budgets are growing and established entertainment models seem more immediately profitable than experimental play innovation (games like Katamari Damacy notwithstanding). "In most console, mass-market entertainment products at the moment, I think there is some interest in providing more agency in the small and providing more control for the player in how they go about doing things, but there's not a lot of time and risk available to go after the bigger agency. As I say, a few games have gone after some of it and succeeded well, but we aren't to the point where it is easy to explain why that risk is worth taking compared to other things you could spend time on."
Article URL: http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20041123/hall_01.shtml

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