Just wondering


Advanced Member
Aug 24, 2011
Workington, Cumbria, UK
Something I've been pondering lately.

I've noticed that in the last couple of years or so there appears to be far more games appearing that seem offer a more free-form style of play or that are just generally open or have an open world & what's more, most of these seem to be quite well received both critically and sales wise (especially in comparison with more linear affairs)

A few very recent examples.. Hitman Absolution, Assassins Creed III, Dishonored.. back a little bit further Darksiders 2, Batman Arkham City, Borderlands 2 etc very soon there's Far Cry 3.

Is it just me or does anyone else think there seems to be an increased appetite of late for games that at least appear to offer more gameplay 'freedom'
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Part of this may be due to developers having better tools to make graphically ednticing gaames. For a couple of decades, getting the best looking visuals was the most reliable way to draw attention (gamer mags, screenshots). Now visuals seem to have plateaued a bit and some developers seem to be looking at other ways to distinguish their A titles from the pack. One way is to give the player more degrees of freedom in gameplay.

I think we can be optimistic that this will be a growing (bit still limited) segment of game offerings.

Have there been any A-Titles that combine nonlinear plot with a massive time-based multiple-plot gameplay? Star Control II pulled this off in 1992. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Control_II This is available for Openpandora http://repo.openpandora.org/?page=detail&app=uqm-070 and I don't think ANY game has matched its "multi-threaded" time-based plot.

To be honest, I don't like open games.

While the huge world is impressive at first, they begin to bore me after a while.

I tried GTA3. Was nice for a couple of hours, then I was bored.

Never understood why anyone would like Minecraft.

Even RPGs with huge worlds don't appeal to me (like the Fable series).

I like games that either are fun to play every once in a while (a lot of classic games), games that are simple to pick up but hard to find all secrets (like Super Mario World) or RPGs with a good story and not huge exploration (like the Tales series or classic Final Fantasies).
I think why most people like open world games is because of the reduction of freedom in the real world .
I've always yearned for the very linear games to be more open.

The trouble is that when they are open, something interesting needs to be there other than just more people, powerups/items, and "stuff". Mini-quests and easter eggs are good to scatter about, but they shan't be algorithmically designed or they become a bore.

I will reference an obscure game and say that Dark Sun: Shattered Lands had in my mind a perfect balance of open world and storyline setting. There were enough extra screens you could travel to that the world felt enormous, but travel wasn't tedious. You could find some crazy stuff just by poking around. It played very much like Dungeons & Dragons should be played: open and mysterious, but focused.

Along with an open world, I will also say that I wish games had more interactive and persistent environments (I blew that crate up yesterday, why is it back? Oh, this is a game, right... *immersion broken*), and some should take a stab at using dynamic AI, but those are both for different topics.
Part of it may be from a business perspective. In theory, the larger and longer the game is, the longer it stays out of the used game bin.
The only really "open world" games I've enjoyed are Red Dead Redemption and CrackDown on the XBox360. While CrackDown was chock full of stuff and a real riot when powered up fully, the missions were all pretty samey but it was fun trying to hunt down each and every orb (I'm 2 short of 300 IIRC). but other than that, if it's not Zelda (smallish semi-open world), I don't really go for open world games at all. Like ED, GTA bored me within minutes.
open world is bad if the game is not a RPG or a MMORPG in my opinion...
I like open world games to a degree. You're right they can get boring, but I find playing with the environment and the mechanics exciting. GTA III was amazing fun, as was, say, Just Cause 2. That said I don't find myself finishing them too often as the missions are samey and not half as much fun as the mucking about driving cars off of buildings and fixing gas canisters to make human rockets!

Games that are linear but with a set of tools and rules that allow you to finish the level/mission how you want to are great, I'm thinking of Hitman 2:Silent Assassin and Hitman: Blood Money primarily, but I'm looking forward to playing either Deus Ex (from my last year backlog) or Dishonored at Xmas as I think they offer a similar challenge and choice. In Hitman, I remember killing a target (who is an operatic performer) by infiltrating backstage and putting a real bullet in a stage prop gun, thus getting someone else to take them out for me, though I could have snipered them from the royal box and slipped away in a dusguise or gone on a murderous rampge - just delicious!
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missions in open world games are tricky. you get used to the openness of the world and start thinking around corners, but sometimes the mission-scripts ask for dependencies you can't know upfront.

like, in gta4 and RDR a lot of hunting/chasing missions are really breaking the immersion. I sometimes found myself shooting an enemy with a shotgun on close range, but he wouldn't die because the script didn't allow it or the mission would fail because he actually died and the mission would quietly fail.
I like Vice City really a lot - but I abuse it: I am totally cool with downloading a 100% savegame and then rambling around the city.

It seems that nowadays I can´t sink my teeth any more into trying certain missions 20 or 30 times. So in that way, true, I get "bored" with open world more easily now than I used to be...

I´m a casual non-serious open world gamer :D
Prototype was the best open world action game yet made imo. Very tight design and over the top action.Some openworld games like gta 4 I found very tedious though.