I seem to be all about reading other people's articles this week. Here's one from Pixel Poppers on player choice. Doctor Professor is harping on the difference between "real" choice and "fake" choice, which is something I have also harped on. Out here in Boston-land we use the term "agency" as an umbrella word to refer to how much the game allow the players to express themselves and change the game world. I presume that it's not just a local term.
I agree with most of the article, although I think the Little Sister "choice" was a stupid one rather than an interesting one. The reason I think it's stupid is the same reason I think all light side/dark side choice threads are stupid. Although you are faced with the choice fifty times (or five hundred times) in your play, you only actually choose ONCE, near the beginning, and after that you're simply reassuring a skittish computer that you are still playing the same character.
That's a major problem with all these games that let you choose between two narrative options. In order to really make them even vaguely interesting, you'd have to (A) have a lot more characterization of the avatar and (B) have to have choices present very differently depending on past choices. For example, in Fallout 3, you can blow up or disarm a nuclear bomb in the first city. This is a simple "good vs evil" decision. However, blowing up the city is a rather hideously evil thing to do, just fantastically evil.
Why is it that your avatar, a man with such intense evil in his past, can then go on to cheerfully befriend the other cities and people in the game? Obviously, the choices for these other cities were scripted to be "compatible" with "every play thread", which in turn means they don't express the avatar's personality very well at all. I can see getting along with these future towns if it's played in a sleazy way, or a repentant way, but that doesn't happen.
The act of blowing up the city has profound game effects - it actually makes you use an entirely different city, and gives you access to all kinds of other quests. However, it doesn't actually change your AVATAR. Your avatar still thinks to himself, at all further moments, "well, I could be nice here, or maybe a little mean". That choice fails to have any meaning to someone who personally nuked a city.
So while I agree with the linked article, I would stress the need to drag a little attention off of scripting the world and on to scripting the characters. Funnily, the current situation is actually the reverse of the old "dost thou love me" trick. While the game does give you lots of agency, it gives the illusion that your earlier choices didn't matter. Ha!
Properly scripting the character to allow the player to define their avatar's personality is more or less impossible at the current time. But I'd be satisfied with small steps.
Anyway, just more mumbling.