“But, an unpopular question lingers, one that Maxis’s closure calls to mind. Why must we have characters in games at all? Or, more gently put, why have we assumed that the only or primary path to video-game diversity and sophistication lies in its representation of individuals as opposed to systems and circumstances? In truth, we’ve all but abandoned the work of systems and behaviors in favor of the work of individuals and feelings. And perhaps this is a grievous mistake.”
In The Atlantic, Ian Bogost examines at Sim City studio Maxis’ closure, and asks why games prefer to focus on characters rather than modeling complex systems.