I’ve been thinking lately about how most ensemble-style games either place the PCs in a group that works together (ie, the classic D&D adventuring party) or in a community where they spend a lot of time together, sometimes in conflict (ie, Apocalypse World or Dream Askew/Dream Apart). Either way, we keep the party together.
But in fiction, it’s very often the opposite. In ensemble stories like Game of Thrones or Lost or Avengers, the protagonists frequently split up and sometimes spend most of the story alone, with secondary characters, or in pairings/small groups. In fact, this is often the reason the story has multiple protagonists in the first place: They allow the storyteller to tell a big sweeping story from multiple angles, to show us different parts of the world, or to tell stories with different arcs that combine to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
Are there any games that explicitly explore or capture this idea? I’m more interested in games that have a strong one-to-one player-to-character relationship and less interested in games that capture epic scope in other ways (like, say, Microscope).
If so, how do they handle it?