While the most popular video games in the world are very story-driven and probably cinematic in their structure, including the three-act structure, the ever changing way in which we consume gaming (like Twitch) means there’s also room for more freedom and less restrictions on one’s game playing experience.
2016 Will be another step in that direction. Not a massive one, but an example of how developers understand gamers want more control over the narrative, and less being told or forced to follow a certain set path, even if its within very wide parameters.
Maybe the best example for this among upcoming games will be No Man’s Sky, a space exploration game with what seems like a huge amount of planets to visit, and supposedly, no two players’ journeys will be alike despite heading towards the same place.
Another interesting game coming out will be Firewatch, following the story of a volunteer fire lookout after the Yellowstone fires of 1988. There is a plot, but it comes with a very broad framework, which enables the protagonist’s relationship with those around him.
Minecraft might be the best example of those looking for complete freedom. A sandbox game, with a clean slate, in which you can express your personality and creativity, although not a lot actually happens in the game. It’s not for everyone, but it’s been a massive success.
Cinematic, story-driven games aren’t going away, and will probably remain on top of the pyramid. But there’s room and demand for more than that in the gaming world, and we might see a shift or at least more experimenting in that direction.