Fair enough, but in most cases the prose is a large part of why we are there. Otherwise most novels could be boiled down to a one page plot summary. Hence I’m not really sure on the idea of info dumps and plot cul-de-sacs getting in the way of the plot.
In many cases, I’m not really there for the plot, per se, I’m there for the journey.
I was actually going to use Tolkein as an example of why you couldn’t strip out all the lore, info dumps, side characters, etc… Because they are the novels. They are the whole point of them, and they are what makes them great. The basic plot is nothing special.
It is, of course, all in the execution. Robert Jordan, for example, got entirely sidetracked by info dumps and world building to the point he forgot there was such a thing as plot.
On the other hand, The DaVinci Code has a pretty good plot, but the prose and everything else around it is terrible.
When gamers complain about text/lore/cutscenes being superfluous to the game, they are often correct. In most games you can probably skip all that stuff and lose very little.
But this has kinda created the habit of assuming that all text/plot/lore in games is superfluous stuff that’s just delaying us from getting into the gameplay.
I just think that falls down when the writing/plot/prose is the gameplay.
It’s true that a lot of bad writing is overblown and could be cut down and tightened up (see this post!) but I don’t think it’s always true that verbose writing is always bad or superfluous.
But, as I say, I haven’t played much of the games in question, so it does all come down to the execution.
I think my issue with text in things like Torment, other than being small and hard to read, is that it tends to be broken up into too many chunks, as each chunk tends to follow a user interaction. I don’t mind reading a longer passage of text, as that ‘flows’ like reading a page in a book. But when it’s 1 line. Click. 2 lines. Click. 1 line. Click. I can’t get into any kind of flow.
The best books are the ones where you get so absorbed in them that the pages and hours fly by. I can’t see that ever happening in a PT/DE style game where the reading keeps getting paused every paragraph.