We should create stories and worlds in which the player feels alive and remains involved at all times.
The story worlds created for screenplays and novels are expected to support the characters and ideas in ways that are believable, consistent and don’t interrupt the suspension of disbelief. Sometimes those worlds need to be big and bold, like our ideas, but other times a much simpler approach will help the story by giving it a clearer focus. Having the characters fit neatly within these worlds is an important part of engaging the viewer or reader, even when they might be at odds with that world.
Game worlds are even more important. The player actively explores the game world as they work through the numerous options open to them and this world must keep them feeling involved.
However, game worlds aren’t there simply for the characters to exist within, they are worlds in which the player takes part in combat, investigation puzzle solving and so forth. The stories support and enhance these things and give a richer experience to the player, involving them more completely.
Equally, the player must feel that the world has a consistency that makes sense in relation to the story and the gameplay. No one wants a surprise thrust upon them that kills them unfairly or have the game expect them to solve a puzzle that relies on a mechanic they didn’t even know existed.
The same goes for the stories and worlds you create – be as unusual as you like but deliver a consistency that enables the player to feel like a vibrant part of your world. Make sure the twists and turns, no matter how unexpected, are consistent with the game’s world and keep the player involved.