What is an 'immersive sim'?

Jan 14, 2020
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I don't really understand.

Apparently the most important part is that you are able to take game systems, etc. and implement creative solutions not intended by the devs. But I think I've done that in about every game I've ever played.

Then you have weird stuff. Like, apparently, it can't be open world; it has to be a shooter; it has to involve stealth, etc. So if you have the creative solutions part but it's a melee game or there's no stealth, then it isn't an immersive sim? Why? Seems like that's entirely too restrictive when the important thing is the creative solutions. It sounds like a sub-category.

I just don't get it.
 
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I don't really understand.

Apparently the most important part is that you are able to take game systems, etc. and implement creative solutions not intended by the devs. But I think I've done that in about every game I've ever played.
I think the difference is that immersive sims are made to allow for multiple approaches to overcome obstacles. Either by allowing multiple solutions to preprogrammed obstacles or by giving the players enough tools to overcome any emergent obstacles. Compare to games that only allow you to get past an obstacle by doing one specific thing, even though there might be far more obvious solutions, which can break the immersion of the game.



Then you have weird stuff. Like, apparently, it can't be open world; it has to be a shooter; it has to involve stealth, etc. So if you have the creative solutions part but it's a melee game or there's no stealth, then it isn't an immersive sim? Why? Seems like that's entirely too restrictive when the important thing is the creative solutions. It sounds like a sub-category.
I think you misread that part.
 
Jan 14, 2020
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I think the difference is that immersive sims are made to allow for multiple approaches to overcome obstacles. Either by allowing multiple solutions to preprogrammed obstacles or by giving the players enough tools to overcome any emergent obstacles. Compare to games that only allow you to get past an obstacle by doing one specific thing, even though there might be far more obvious solutions, which can break the immersion of the game.





I think you misread that part.
I'm not sure about that. They were discussing all the factors that make up an immersive sim on PC Gamer not that long ago. It was much more than just the multiple solutions part. It definitely can't be open world and has to include stealth. I may be misremembering on the others.
 
Jan 22, 2020
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I'm gonna repeat my post from the 'what defines an RPG' thread: I don't know, but I know one when I see it.

I guess, if pressed, the defining feature for me would be not just about having game systems that allow for creative solutions, but for those systems to have some form of interplay which allows for dynamic reactions from the game world. If you have a hacking system which doesn't just open doors but also controls turrets, then that's interplay with stealth and combat. If the game has physics objects that can be moved to allow climbing them, as well as having weight which can damage enemies, that's interplay with exploration and combat. The GLOO cannon from Prey is a perfect example of a weapon which functions for both combat and exploration.

I probably wouldn't agree with stealth being a necessity, just that it tends to be one of the tentpole systems of this type of game. The ban on open worlds also seems fairly arbitrary, not sure what the reasoning was there.
 
I'm not sure about that. They were discussing all the factors that make up an immersive sim on PC Gamer not that long ago. It was much more than just the multiple solutions part. It definitely can't be open world and has to include stealth. I may be misremembering on the others.
Where did you read that?

Immersive sim seems to be used mostly for games like Thief, Deus Ex and Dishonered. The Wikipedia page however is far more general and also lists Oblivion and Fallout 3 as immersive sims.
 
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Jan 14, 2020
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Where did you read that?

Immersive sim seems to be used mostly for games like Thief, Deus Ex and Dishonered. The Wikipedia page however is far more general and also lists Oblivion and Fallout 3 as immersive sims.
I'll try to find it later and link it. After your post and the Wikipedia entry, I'm inclined to think that one or two of them didn't actually know what they were talking about.
 
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Brian Boru

Moderator
I'll try to find it later and link it
Might be one of these, the likeliest candidates from a quick PCG search on "immersive":




 
Jan 14, 2020
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Might be one of these, the likeliest candidates from a quick PCG search on "immersive":




Thanks! Will check them out when I get a chance later.
 

Kaamos_Llama

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Jan 31, 2020
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Could it be argued that Half Life 2 had some immersive sim 'lite' elements with the gravity gun?

I dont know how to define it either, other than Arkane makes them currently. The wiki article cites Fallout 3 and Oblivion as being immersive sims. My initial reaction is that theyre absolutely not, but I'm finding it hard to define why exactly.
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
Yeah, it's messy. We can get through RPGs with wizards, fighters, bards, clerics, and all sorts of other characters with very different tools, after all, but that doesn't make it an immersive sim.

I was really surprised to see people put Thief on the list of early immersive sims. I guess Thief gives you a choice between killing people and knocking them out, but that always seemed like a silly choice to me. These "knocked out" people stay "knocked out" for hours! Game-wise, they are exactly like dead enemies - you just get extra credit for killing them in that manner. (And remembering not to stash them in some moat.)
 
Nov 27, 2020
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I'm really starting to dislike game genres and classifications, so many games just blend together different elements, that being placed in a specific "genre" just doesn't work; at least for me.

For me, an Immersive Sim game is more of an RPG. A game that allows the player different choices or methods to complete a certain task or quest. Three of my favorite games of all time: System Shock 1&2 and Deus Ex, I still consider as being RPGs. People can label them how they want. I'm assuming the persona of a specific character, and through my actions/choices/and sometimes dialogue, I forge my way through the game world, and all of that leads to a specific ending (of which there should be several).

As @Kaamos_Llama stated, Half Life 2 could very well be considered to be an "Immersive Sim". Labels make no difference, it's all in our own perception.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Yeah, genres don't work well now. They never work very well, but they are supposed to be good enough so you can guess that it will be in one of two places in a given store. These days? Not so much, I think.

Actually, that could make a good topic....
 
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