I'm pretty sure, this won't get me a lot of friends now, but the way I see it, is that - just like in the movie industry - there's basically two types of game designers and has always been: visionaries and contractors. Visionaries will make a game based on their own judgement and their own perspective. Those games might often not be perfect for the market, they will often not generate as much of a revenue, but in many cases they're just great games and in some cases, the innovations they create - especially if unconventional - lay the fundament for a franchise. Usually those people put a strong focus on story, just like on everything else, and won't ship, before they believe, the game is near perfect. An example of this, I think, would be a game like Metal Gear Solid. Who would've bet back then, that a game that has almost more cutscenes than actual gameplay would be such a success, yet it created one of the bigger franchises. Contractors on the other hand create games based entirely on marketing aspects. Nothing about the game is important, if market analysis doesn't show, that it can help grow the community and increase revenue. I think the best examples for this kind of aproach are modern MMOs. I'm not even gonna go into the story/narrative quality of those... That said, I believe when the know-how on game development was harder to find and market analysis was much more expensive due to the lack of internet, the latter group of designers was simply outnumbered by the former, who would likely accept losses, if they could just make their vision happen. Today however, I believe that with know-how available at low cost and with market analysis much easier, contractors are simply flooding the market, having a better knowledge of what players want. They are more successful admittedly, because they focus more on what the large communities want to have. They certainly produce more and their games are more targeted. Yet if it's not an AAA title though, I still feel, that stories/narratives are always coming short here. I hope, I won't have to read a flood of posts about how dumb I am now, but that's the way I feel the industry has developed.