Focal Point: The Immersion Paradox

The future of gaming is brighter than ever, but there are some unexpected problems as impressive graphics and immersive storytelling progress…

In this week’s new Focal Point comic strip, I confront a problem I found myself encountering a bit too often as I began to dive into the impressive world of The Last of Us Part II:

Seriously, this happened at least a couple times, the first of which just as I was kicking off the game. Naughty Dog has always delivered on impressive graphics and The Last of Us 2 is no different. It’s kind of insane how real things look. Combine that with lengthy (but still highly engaging) story cutscenes that look just as gorgeous, and it’s hard to know exactly when the game transfers control over to the player.

The transition is so smooth and seamless that I often found myself sitting there with a controller in my hand and taking in the sights. I didn’t even realize I was able to move the character around until I started seeing button prompts flashing on the screen! It’s a testament not only to the animation skill, but the storytelling in general.

My love for The Last of Us is already well documented, and the sequel is definitely delivering on the story side of things so far. I haven’t finished the game, so keep your spoilers to yourself! Even as cutscenes end, I find myself thinking on all I’ve just been presented with (unless it dives me straight into the action), and I love that feeling.

As we start to look ahead to the next-generation of consoles, I wonder how much more prevalent this “issue” will be, where I find myself forgetting to even play!

Thanks for coming back this week and sticking with us. If you missed out last week, be sure to check out that strip (and even the ones before that)!