In this case, with my current heavily arts-dominated background, what kinds of roles could I realistically expect to apply for in games development companies? Would the ability to program well not assist me in getting a job, or in developing my own titles? And wouldn't a formalised computer science course, regardless of the qualification gained, assist me to learn some relevant principles much faster and more rigorously than I would by myself, and in a way where employers can see proof of this? And if I -did- decide such a course was a fast way of doing this, does this Birkbeck course sound good?
I also think the topics of my studies have hardly been irrelevant -- I've just been spending two years thinking in-depth about the methods games can use to compel/invite close emotional bonds with characters. Even if this is a highly specific topic, it's one presumably highly relevant to this field, as opposed to many other potential PhD topics I could have worked on.