@jlaakso I've seen that GDC talk. To be quite honest... It really only applies to "the casual gamer". The one who is just sitting around to beat your game and then move on quickly to the next. I'm the opposite sort of player. I don't give a crap what your game features are. What is your story about? I use the set up of your story to determine whether or not I will even give your game a chance. I use it as a measure of whether or not you even have the mind for creativity. "Evil X Stole My Y" is boring. Unless you're adding a unique twist on the story of that... I'll pass. Yawnsville. I don't care what features you have in your game if you aren't creative enough to even innovate a common trope. I'm looking for a unique experience that hooks me. Immerses me in your world. This is the primary reason I have loved RPG's for most of my life. However, the decline of them is in large part due to that "Nobody Cares About Your Story" mentality and the dumbing down of RPG's to the point that they don't really have any story at all, and are just a list of boring Progression Systems and cardboard characters. Let me go back to Mass Effect for a minute. As an example. Exploration, for the most part, is dull. Combat... not all that difficult or dynamic. But, the story and the characters? Knocked out of the park. Home run. I picked the game up for what the advertisement was telling me it had. "Many choices lie ahead, not all of them easy." Whoa, an RPG where I make choices and they matter? You could tell a compelling and interesting story with that! The game didn't disappoint. I spent several hundred hours in the game doing multiple playthroughs. Exploring every single aspect of dialogue. Reading every Codex entry. Listening to the ones that had audio. I learned a lot about the world and wanted to learn more. I explored every possible choice outcome to hear every last piece of dialogue in the game. I don't do that with many games. Because, frankly... most games don't even bother telling a story. I pick up your game because I want you to tell me a story. I don't want to be "Generic Hero #6754374696261235345189786" who saves the world from "Generic Evil Villain #5489648135189678431252158748765132135748786357204756513". This is not the crap that matters. Doing something interesting with your "set up" is what matters. I don't want to play, "Okay, it's a dungeon crawler, but you get a bigger skill tree". I don't want to play, "Okay, it's a shooter, but this time you're in the future". I don't want to play "Okay, it's a sandbox game, but this time you have an ending to the game". I want to play, "Okay, you're on a Road Trip, but you have to stay one step ahead of the enemies who want to track you down and keep you from marrying the queen of this other nation. Hang out with your friends while also trying to remain incognito". Where's that game? Oh, that's right. FFXIV is garbage, 'cause they decided not to go that angle and went with a generic "hero kills badguy" storyline. I want to play, "You rescue a girl who can dimension hop at will, and for story reasons, which are some serious reality-bending powers that can turn robots into real animals. People want you dead for trying to rescue her." Where's that game? Oh yeah, Bioshock Infinite was garbage because it was "escape and kill generic evil guy while protecting 'the princess'". It turned into "generic shooter, with magic" clone. See, I'm in it for the unique experience. I've played thousands of games with those weak set ups. Only a "casual" gamer who hasn't yet had their fill of those set ups would truly appreciate them. Anyone else? They're looking for a unique experience. A story is, quite honestly, the easiest and best way to set yourself apart from other games. I mean, sure... gameplay can be great. But, honestly... if you're doing the same thing everyone else does with your gameplay and mechanics (and believe me, everyone is copying each other... and GDC frequently promotes doing exactly that)… why would I play your game as opposed to the 500,000 other ones that do the same thing? Seriously, let's talk about Half-Life for a minute. Basically... it's a standard shooter. Played one, played them all. Half-Life 2 is the same thing. boring standard shooter. Played one, played 'em all. But, what honestly sets it apart from other standard shooters? The story. The characters. People aren't playing this game for the gameplay... because it's frankly not all that great. Other shooters do what it does better. That's not to say we should dump all our story at the beginning. But, honestly... players want to hear your story. They want to be engaged and immersed in your world. A massive info-dump at the beginning of the game breaks immersion. It keeps the player from getting engaged. It has more to do with talent and skill as a writer than it does with people "not caring about your story". But, I mean... we are talking about an industry that wants to get rid of Singleplayer Games entirely. An industry that wants to turn all video games into "online only" affairs. Or "Games as Service" proposals. The same industry that wants to legalize gambling to children. Do you think maybe game devs and publishers are trying to promote the feeling of "nobody wants to hear your story" because it's cheaper to create a game without one? Requires hiring less people? Requires less skilled labor that you can't easily replace once a game is done? Allows them to sell a multiplayer only game with one sixth the amount of effort and content by removing a "story mode"? Just some food for thought.