Open worlds have long been a staple of massive AAA titles, but it wasn't too long ago that the idea of a truly open world was just a fever dream. The idea that you could go out and do anything, anywhere, is mighty enticing to a lot of players. But now games seem to be chucking in open worlds all the time even if their games don’t necessarily need it.
We’ve covered this topic in the past, but since it's been a while we thought a revisit to the question was long overdue. So this week we’d like to ask you: do open world games deliver on the experience we all want?
When open worlds started to become a true reality in gaming, it was quite exciting. But the excitement over a huge, expansive world is slowly dying down as many start to realize that that’s not just what makes a game fun and good.
Chucking in an open world for the sake of it just because it's popular is not a good move, and as games get better and more sequels are being made, the pressure to up the ante and make the game world even bigger than the last gets bigger. Assassins Creed: Odyssey for example was heavily criticized for being too ‘bloated’ with content.
Now it seems like every big AAA game is offering up an open world of sorts, Watch Dogs Legion and Assassins Creed: Valhalla for instance have just launched and Cyberpunk 2077 is coming soon, all of which promise an expansive and engaging open world to explore.
But what makes an open world game exciting these days? For every Assassins Creed Odyssey there’s a Red Dead Redemption 2, so what really set them apart? Was it the writing? Or just better game design? Maybe a mixture of both?
Maybe games need to take it back a little, The Outer Worlds last year seemed to solve this issue a little bit by providing several open worlds to explore, each different and unique in their own ways. The beauty of this was each area felt different and unique enough to stay interesting, and you could easily explore every corner of each map to find all it's secrets. Now massive, singular open worlds can almost be too daunting to explore every nook and cranny due to its size.
So, do open world games really deliver on the experience we all want? What is it exactly we all want? And do open world games now need to change their formula to stay interesting? Let’s debate!