The man who wrote movies like Charlie's Angels and Big Fish has written an interesting blog post about Diablo III's narrative failures, calling its story "pretty damn weak."
John August, a Hollywood screenwriter with a rather lengthy resumé , has a few gripes about Blizzard's action-roleplaying game. He says the story fails because your character has no choices, and that the cut-scenes — which revolve around you watching and nodding your head as a bunch of other people talk to one another — fail to deliver.
(Minor spoilers for Diablo III follow.)
"At several points in the game, major NPCs betray you and/or die. And you shrug," August writes. "It doesn't have to be that way. Remember Raynor and Kerrigan from StarCraft? I became invested in those characters, not because of their cut scenes, but because I got to play as them. I kept them alive through zerg rushes, and watched as they made sacrifices that transformed them. So even when I wasn't playing those characters, I knew them."
August says it's not necessarily about being able to make decisions — he just wants the illusion of choice.
"Note that I'm not actually demanding choice or free will as a player. Look, I've played Diablo. I'll go kill the next thing. But I'd love to feel like my character was making the choice, rather than being a lackey."
What do you think? Did Diablo III's story suffer because you just couldn't bring yourself to care about the characters around you?