Immersion & Agency in Uncharted 2


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A quick dive into the correlation between immersion and agency and how the two play out in Naughty Dog's game, Uncharted 2. Part of the game design series from

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  • Immersion & Agency in Uncharted 2

    1. 1. Immersion & Agency in Unchared 2 February 3, 2010
    2. 2. Immersion vs Agency *ref: Adams 2004:
    3. 3. Immersion There are 3 main types of immersion in games* ✦ Tactical ✦ Narrative ✦ Strategic *Adams, 2004:
    4. 4. Tactical Immersion ✦ In first-person shooters, it’s commonly called being "In The Zone". ✦ The player has a feeling of active connectedness to the controls and the game world. ✦ This enables the player to rapidly express themselves and accomplish goals.
    5. 5. Narrative Immersion ✦ This feeling is more akin to that experienced with films and books. ✦ The player feels wrapped up and vested in the story and eventual outcome. ✦ The player identifies and relates with characters and their trials.
    6. 6. Strategic Immersion ✦ This is the slowest paced of the three types. ✦ As longer term goals are played out the player finds deeper connections to the system. ✦ The connection is tied to the act of finding the best solution to a problem via repetition.
    7. 7. Agency ✦ Agency in games is the feeling that you (the player) are actually in the game. ✦ In Half-Life, the player often feels like Gordon Freeman (High Agency) ✦ In Tomb Raider, the player may feel like “She didn’t make that jump” (Low Agency) ✦ Traditionally high agency has been highly valued in game design.
    8. 8. Immersion & Agency in Uncharted 2
    9. 9. Immersion in Uncharted 2 Solid gun play and close-calls create high tactical immersion. The controls are simple & expressive, allowing the player to feel like a lethal action hero in a very short period of time.
    10. 10. Immersion in Uncharted 2 Climbing, risky jumps, wise cracks, comedy & drama all create narrative immersion as a classic high adventure story. Amazing main character realism, brilliant voice work, and fluid motion capture all help suspend disbelief.
    11. 11. Immersion in Uncharted 2 The strategic immersion plays out over multiple battles. In each battle you get slightly smarter as to how to approach the challenge. By the end game, you are an Uncharted 2 master, all with very little repeat attempts.
    12. 12. Agency in Uncharted 2 The high realism of the main characters forces a low sense of agency while controlling them, regardless of how direct and expressive the controls are. You never slip, Nathan Drake slips.
    13. 13. Key Takeaway Uncharted 2 is extremely immersive, but the strong narrative and character development creates low agency. This goes against the standard 'strong silent' type of main character common in many games today.
    14. 14. Thanks for reading! Aaron Rutledge Questions: Reviews: Twitter: @neonarcade
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