The Immersive Sim wiki last edited by Joris_Weerts on 12/26/14 10:29AM View full history


A school of game design established by Looking Glass Studios with Thief, Underworld and System Shock, this concept is still alive today in games such as Bioshock, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Dishonored.

Defining elements

  • Immersion in an elaborate and believable game world.
  • Simulation: physics and AI are used to create believable behavior in objects and characters which the player can freely interact with, resulting in 'emergent gameplay'.
  • First person perspective so as to truly look through the eyes of the protagonist (though not all games adhere to this).
  • Game design that allows for multiple paths and/or multiple solutions in every situation.
  • A systemic game world that keeps track of the players actions, and can affect the "whole" of the game.
  • Usually open-ended/non-linear game design with an emphasis on choice and consequence.
  • Full control over the player's character in every situation (though not all games adhere to this).
  • A world with consistent rules that the player can interact with.
  • Narrative that is not always forced on the player, but instead can be told through exploration and gameplay at that players will.
  • No fail states, beyond player death.

Rock Paper Shotgun ran a series of interviews on the past and future of the genre and the GAMBIT Game Lab also interviewed several ex-Looking Glass developers on the subject.

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