As I was putting together my games of the year list, a trend that I noticed happen in 2012 was that there were more games with real good stories, or more games that were better aware of not breaking the narrative with the gameplay.
Let's look at a few examples: The Walking Dead, though an adventure game, focused more on story-telling and delivering a cast of characters that you cared about. It proved that if a game has a real good story, people will play it (And praise it, in many cases) despite its technical issues and lackluster gameplay. Story came first, and people came for the story.
Journey managed to create a world and tell a story that resonated with people, emotionally, without speaking a word.
Even action games like Sleeping Dogs was rather mindful of its story, and didn't let you break too out of character with not giving you guns outside of missions that required it, without taking the freedom of an open-world game away.
Spec-Ops: The Line proved that even modern military shooters can have a meaningful narrative that make you feel something about all the people you are slaughtering.
Video games have had the problem of breaking their own story with gameplay for a long time. The gameplay-story disconnect doesn't bother everyone, but when you step back and think about it all, it's extremely inconsistent and makes the story matter less. For example, GTA IV wanted to tell a more mature, a more real story with relatable characters who had somewhat realistic situational problems, but once you stepped out of the cut-scene, Nico was a serial-murdering, street-ravaging maniac who killed hundreds of men, despite wanting to start anew and get away from it all. For many, it breaks the immersion.
But, how can it still maintain being a GTA game if it restricted you from blowing up shit, killing people and stealing cars? That's the problem that more and more developers seem to want to tackle. When looking at the games coming in 2013, The Last of Us seems to want to put story ahead of gameplay, while still keeping it fun to play.
So, what do you guys think? Do you want games to keep the immersion by designing gameplay in a way that it's not too out of character, or you don't care about that, and just want to shoot dudes in the face?