I remember watching the Bourne Trilogy for the first time and how it was a revelation to me. It was the first time in a long time that an action movie had taken the time to write a story that was connected. There had been movies like the Lethal Weapon series or the Die Hard series that had tried to keep continuity and some even succeeded fairly well but the Bourne Trilogy had done it awe-inspiring fashion, it felt like three parts of the same movie. And others followed its lead. James Bond, the perennial womanizer, shows the loss of the woman he loves from Casino Royale to Quantum of Solace. When I look out on the single player market for video games I see signs of that as well from the Halo trilogy, to Resistance, to Mass Effect, to Assassins Creed, to the Uncharted series; developers are getting the idea that the audience loves to be rewarded for being there step by step, from beginning to end.
Contrast that with the MMO genre, the idea that across expansions that there could be a common storyline or thread is something that is mostly ignored. In many ways The Old Republic is one of the shining hopes that developers might get it. I can imagine years from now how people look at SWTOR the same way as they look at Mass Effect. These are different animals in many ways but with the new focus on story in MMO one can believe that change is in the air. Developers are paying attention to weighty meaningful story development. Every clip I watch of The Secret World shows me a level of emotion I rarely attribute to MMOs. The story of each area shows the loss that a character felt as evil has taken root in their homeland and the determination for the storyteller to hold back the tide of the coming darkness. In many ways we’ll have to wait years to see if developers have taken the hint from their SP brethren but we can hope they do, there are few things more satisfying than the completion of a great story and the resolving of a brilliantly written characters arc.