Gamasutra - How Much is Too Much Detail?
Could BioShock have had a hundred different types of door, each one perfectly suited to a given location? Of course, and it also could have had dozens of brands of ammo dispensor. The pretense of detail and realism is certainly compelling - but by limiting the palette available to level artists, Irrational Games created a game whose visual style was in direct service of not just the gameplay mechanics, but the needs of players in actually using those mechanics. Once you've performed an action, interacted with an object a few times, it becomes second nature - and the key goal of play summarily becomes problem-solving, not mere navigation.