THE FREEMAN PROBLEM

A narrative’s inability to cope realistically with player freedom. When players can interact with a game world in a way that runs counter to the story the author intends, it creates a disconnect between the game and the player. The Freeman Problem is a major cause of ludonarrative dissonance.

“Give players a mandatory cutscene, a room filled with physics objects–something that happens all the time in Half-Life–and The Freeman Problem predicts they’ll soon be stacking things on chairs instead of paying attention to the narrative.”