Origin veteran Warren Spector recently engaged in a discussion and debate on game design at an NYU Game Center event. The focus was on competing philosophies about the motivation of game stories and goals. One camp prefers more open-ended free-flow games where users drive their own emergent themes. Spector's belief is that superior game design revolves around cunning narration and scenarios built by the developers. Check out a summary of the conversation over at GameSetWatch for more of the interesting details.
One thing Spector said during the NYU discussion was that he feels multiplayer games are "lazy." This is the designer in him talking, of course -- his theory that in letting players build stories via Left 4 Dead-style happy accidents in open worlds, the designer doesn't have to tackle complex challenges like making choices meaningful, or making characters believable.