How Open World Games Could Rule This Generation

By Patrick Toworfe – 12th March 2014
How Open World Games Could Rule This Generation

After watching the recent Watch Dogs story trailer, I’m reminded of how that game is aiming to deliver a strong narrative alongside its promise of a vast, dynamic open world. What’s exciting about this prospect is that it presents the possibility of having not only a strong story to follow from start to finish, but also genuinely fun side objectives and experiences. Ubisoft is already responsible for some of my personal favorite open world games, including Assassin’s Creed II and Far Cry 3 (Blood Dragon was also good fun). With the next gen already here, it’s becoming more apparent that the possibilities for open world games are becoming more and more appealing.

When we’re not getting arguing about resolutions and which next gen system are better, gamers are on the keen lookout for more news regarding upcoming big titles. The Division is one such title which is highly anticipated, though recent reports suggested that it won’t release this year. Fans are very eager for games like Destiny which will be coming out much later this year and inFAMOUS: Second Son which is coming out very soon. What all these games share of course is that they’re all open world games. I should note that I don’t think that all next gen games will end up being open world and there’s still a place for strong linear experiences and other genres. Some of the best stories of last year have come from linear storytelling, such as Bioshock Infinite. But what makes the open world games of this new gen so interesting is how the narrative focus has caught up to the level of freedom within the game world. Last year’s GTAV was a good indication of how a strong story can be told alongside an open world full of fun activities and side adventures. What makes this good for gamers as a whole is that it’ll allow them to experience the amazing cinematic experiences of a linear story campaign with the more organic and dynamic experiences of an open world.

Not everyone is fond of games where you’re meant to make your own fun and the thought of being placed in a sandbox with nothing to do is overwhelming for them. Many gamers, myself included, enjoy it more when we have a clear objective and destination to aspire for, as opposed to not being given a set purpose. It’s what separates those who enjoy open world games to linear games, with few exceptions of certain games in the past hat have bridged the gap well. Games like Minecraft are more fun for players who have the imagination and drive to create their own experiences, build their own structures and have genuinely fun moments. Whereas, a game like Max Payne 3 is for those who enjoy following a strong plot with characters, objectives and a goal. Neither is the ‘right’ type of game since each experience is unique to the individual, but where the newer open world games excel is in taking these two and combining them. If Destiny is as comprehensive as promised, you’ll be able to either follow the narrative directly and seek answers to the lore or you can ignore it entirely and seek your own journey. One of the biggest positives of games like Skyrim is how they give you the choice to do either of these things, chasing the plot or maybe just fighting dragons. Player choice is a big part of what makes a game appealing to many, so if a game has conquered this aspect, it’s sure to do well overall.