My column this week is about how some games (Fallout and Deus Ex were my go-to examples in the article) would benefit from dumping the lore cruft and simply making each game a stand-alone story based on similar ideas and elements. I’d add System Shock, Prince of Persia, and Thief to the list as well. After a while a setting begins to “burn out” its lore. The characters have all completed their arcs, the mysteries are all revealed, the prophesies are all fulfilled, and the bad guys are all vanquished. Rather than bringing the bad guy back from the deadWe’ve exposed Illuminati AGAIN? This is the worst conspiracy ever!, yanking the heroes out of their happily-ever-after retirementEspecially Duke Nukem. He should probably stay retired., and un-doing character growthI’m looking at YOU Warrior Within., why don’t we just do a re-mix of the stuff people liked?
I really like the new Tomb Raider. And I don’t mind that the next one is a continuation of the previous one. But sooner or later this new Lara will begin to wear out as she approaches some final, stable state that no longer requires she constantly be transformed by the events around her. It would be nice if the developers were free to hit the reset button whenever it suited the story and give us a new Lara with a new angle. As long as we can raid tombs and shoot dudes, I’ll be happy with meeting a new Lara every few games. The publishers will get their sequels, we’ll get our gameplay, and the world can still have a sense of mystery.
It seems to work well enough for James Bond. The stories are only as connected as they need to be. Daniel Craig Bond doesn’t actually have Goldfinger and Pussy Galore in his past. Nobody gets confused that he’s not 90 years old by now. I think this would be a healthy direction for game designers to go in.
 We’ve exposed Illuminati AGAIN? This is the worst conspiracy ever!
 Especially Duke Nukem. He should probably stay retired.
 I’m looking at YOU Warrior Within.
Silent Hill 2 Plot Analysis
A long-form analysis on one of the greatest horror games ever made.
Are Lootboxes Gambling?
Obviously they are. Right? Actually, is this another one of those sneaky hard-to-define things?
Final Fantasy X
A game about the ghost of an underwater football player who travels through time to save the world from a tick that controls kaiju satan. Really.
The story of me. If you're looking for a picture of what it was like growing up in the seventies, then this is for you.
Push the Button!
Scenes from Half-Life 2:Episode 2, showing Gordon Freeman being a jerk.