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 BonusAttack.com

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 BonusAttack.com

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  • 1. Immersion & Agency in Unchared 2 February 3, 2010
  • 2. Immersion vs Agency *ref: Adams 2004: http://bit.ly/by6lEk
  • 3. Immersion There are 3 main types of immersion in games* ✦ Tactical ✦ Narrative ✦ Strategic *Adams, 2004: http://bit.ly/by6lEk
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. Immersion & Agency in Uncharted 2
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Thanks for reading! Aaron Rutledge Questions: aaron@bonusattack.com Reviews: http://bonusattack.com Twitter: @neonarcade