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Focus of narrative/story in games

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I'm not a big fan of narrative seemingly being put as the highest focus in games recently, specifically single player games.

Tired of all the cutscenes first off. I hate that I have to wait a good 15-20 minutes to just get to gameplay. Cutscenes have basically become so Hollywood knockoff at this point that it's cringey. Overly dramatic characters (that always border on uncanny valley, since they're CGI not actual actors/actresses) with the classic shot, reverse shot "camera work" and a bunch of cool looking action that will make the gameplay pale in comparison.

Then, when I finally get into gameplay, I am going to slow walk for another 5-10 minutes until getting into action, while I get more exposition and see something happen far off like an explosion/environment crumble, etc.

I'm sorry, but I don't understand the thought that narrative (more specifically traditional narratives with cutscene then gameplay, slow movement exposition, gameplay, cutscenes ,etc.) should be the biggest focus in a video game. Maybe I'm just looking at it as someone who's been playing games since the NES and Genesis.

It's not the best format for pretty much any kind of story. Books and TV series can tell a more intricate tale (with rare exceptions), and supplement with one another for extra wold building. Movies have higher budgets, and better actors/actresses, writers, producers, etc.

I want to say I do have exceptions to this:

  • Adventure games – they're basically stories with gameplay mixed in, and they always have been; totally cool with that

  • RPGs – to me these are similar to adventure games in the sense that they kind of are integral to the game; for example a master class like Planescape: Torment, where you're basically just trying to get through the combat to get the next part of the story

  • Games with mostly diegetic storytelling – games like Half-Life, Prey (2017), Bioshock, Doom 3, etc.; Basically games where you experience most everything with the character, instead of just watching them in a corny cutscene that breaks up the gameplay

  • Walking Sims – again, these are basically adventure games where the story is the game (plus a lot of these are weirdly diegetic as well)

So, I figured I'd put this out there, because I know this isn't a popular opinion by any means, but I just wanted to know how many people felt similarly. It was spurred on because of booting up Wolfenstein 2, and having to deal with an exorbitant amount of cutscenes, player controlled cutscenes via first person etc.

To me, some of the best games of this generation were Doom, Bloodborne, Forza Horizon 4, Read Dead Redemption 2, Cuphead and Resident Evil 2. While most of those have stories (and ones that are pretty damn close to as good as a good movie like RDR2) in them, I will always remember the amazing experiences within the actual gameplay of the game.

Also, there's nothing wrong if you love stories and narratives in gaming, just a difference of opinion. Doesn't make you less of a gamer, or games fan. I just don't think me disliking the focus on storytelling makes me any less of gamer or fan of games.

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