I don’t believe that highly-realistic, well researched/thought-out/fleshed out game worlds immediately lead to a more immersive, captivating, enjoyable experience for a gamer. To me, something like this isn’t a game, it’s an electronic exhibit. Why would I want to go to one? I walk around, I look, I get bored, I leave. Maybe, if I’m lucky, something about that world makes me feel safe. It becomes like listening to music. But again, this is not a game.
Irrespective of that, there exists some narrative, some plan, some fantastical argument which is made to communicate meaning. Some things are grouped together, others are not: this forms connections in my mind as I make the effort to read into and understand this constructed reality. And constructed it is. No one delusional or over the age of seven believes it to be a real place. At best, we imagine and hope it is real, and through this, we can convince ourselves of it. We will indulge in this fantasy. But it is not real, we know it isn’t, and we leave when our need for that experience is met.
There is nothing wrong with constructing that mood (in fact, I believe “mood” is paramount to the enjoyment of a game), and it can be addictive to those who enjoy it. But denying the game in favor of the spectacle becomes like a bad play with really good set, costumes and props. It might be interesting , but is it really engaging?