In speaking with GamePro, designer Warren Spector (Deus Ex) explains how high graphic expectations can possibly hinder game story lines. "Hardware is not the solution to our story problems [in game development]," said Spector. "In fact, it may be that next-gen hardware is going to make it harder for us to work on story development and character interaction."
Spector believes that next-gen graphics require more attention, thus more time. That's time less spent on stories he says. "People expect a certain level of graphical quality, and reaching that takes time away from story elements." Right. But a focus on anything outside of stories will ultimately hurt plot development.
So even though most would agree that games on the whole have lousy stories, the question then becomes how important are stories to games? Light on story, heavy on gameplay? Vice versa? How about both? Mmmm. That sounds nice (when applicable, of course).