B1. Make the Player Feel In Control

“I feel like my choices are changing the game and that I am in control of both my current situation and future outcomes of the game.”

Players have a sense of agency, allowing them to feel that the choices they make cause direct consequences in the game.

When players feel in control, they become more actively involved and immersed in the game and with their character. Alternatively, when players do not feel in control of situations in the game or in control of their character and their character choices, then they more likely will feel frustrated that they are not making any difference in the game.

Examples (adhered):

  • Superhot VR: While combating enemies, the player can catch and use guns that the enemies drop when killed, giving the player a sense of agency and control.
  • Superhot VR: The player predicted where he would transport to and threw a shotgun in that direction. In the next stage, he caught the gun from the previous stage and was able to use it. “That was so cool!” the player raves.
  • The London Heist: In this scene, the player is given the choice to shoot one of two different characters, allowing players to choose which character they trust more – their employee or former partner in crime.
  • Resident Evil 7: The player is given the choice to cure one of two different characters. Depending on the choice the player makes, the game features different endings (direct consequence of action).

Examples (violated):

  • Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul: The player is in the dark and confused because he cannot see. He does not like how he used to have a working flashlight and found extra batteries, but then suddenly the flashlight stopped working. (Note, however, that horror games may be an exception to this guideline, because many specifically aim to give players the sense that they have lost control.)