I'm still waiting for the day where multi-branching can compare to preset linearity in terms of story and structured gameplay.
Well, I think that narrative coherence and non-linearity are on opposite ends of the same spectrum in an interactive medium. You can have non-interactive, non-linear storytelling that is still coherent like e.g. The Time Traveller's Wife or Memento but as soon as you allow the viewer (well, player in case of games) to actually alter what is happening you inevitably end up with a event progression that's increasingly less coherent based on the amount of freedom given.
It's not a matter of the technology or budget at hand. Sure with unlimited size and money you could create a branching tree type of game where the narrative branches never collapse on a critical path but that would be having several narratives, not one coherent narrative. Since that is not really feasible the common solution is to have a directed network of choices - a narrative where everything eventually collapses on a single point before branching out to (possible) different endings.
And yes - quite frankly, if you leave the directed network out of the design, the narrative automatically becomes more focused by virtue of being, uhm, the single focus or the narrative structure.
Although that has nothing to do with skill trees. Eh...