Immersion and interactive narrative

In my experience, interactive narrative mostly has not worked. The results tend to fall uncomfortably into an uncanny valley between game and story.

The problem seems to center on the question of agency. Players of games have agency — they can affect the outcome. In contrast, readers and audiences of linear narratives have no agency.

As soon as you give your audience any agency, things quickly become far more gamelike and less like being told a story.

But I am wondering whether that will continue to hold true in an immersive medium such as virtual reality. Or will VR offer a way out of this?

Will a completely immersive world allow for audience choices while enabling the audience to feel that they are being told a compelling narrative rather than playing a game?

I think we will know the answer when somebody creates a truly successful example of an interactive immersive narrative in VR. I am looking forward to that!

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