Are Open-World Games the New Norm?

The most recent game that has been receiving huge praise for its exceptionally well done, open-world concept is “Zelda: Breath of the Wild”. The concept of having an open-world game is nothing new, but it seems to be growing in popularity, but do people even really understand it?

Mass Effect Andromeda has taken stage over the last few weeks, and many are talking about its “open-world concept” but, would it surprise you if it wasn’t an open-world game at all? Mass Effect’s producer, Michael Gamble, says that it isn’t open world or linear. He is calling it an exploration-based game. With all of the confusion, it might be helpful to look into what defines an open world game.

An open-world concept allows more freedom when playing through the game and gives players a feeling of control. Most open world games have large, expansive maps with a wide variety of areas, structures, missions, tasks, etc., which gives the player more choices and leeway for the path of events they’d like to choose.  Basically, look for an “open world” not a confined space. It’s funny how the term “open world” is representative of the actual concept, isn’t it?

Not all games can benefit from an open-world concept and many of them would be better off without ever pursing it. Open worlds are meant for games that want players to enjoy a feeling of never ending adventure and freedom, to begin quests when they feel like and to do so in what order that they prefer. Typically, open world games are guided to an end once all quests are completed.

Some gamers can’t get past the lack of an actual goal or set story line to guide them to the end of the game and now that open-world games have been catching on with developers, some gamers are growing tired of seeing companies force linear games/exploration games/dungeon games into open worlds, and expansive maps can be daunting for some. It’s a long distance to travel just to complete quests.

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The sudden spike in open-world games has also left some believing that the concept is just a cash cow for developers. Virtuaaddict spoke out on Reddit when the question, “Why Almost Every Game Is Open World These days?” was posed.

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Even though there are some who have negative feelings about open-world games, a poll was taken on Giantbomb.com in regards to whether people were actually getting fed up with these games and their more recent popularity. The results of the poll shows that 76 percent were not tired of open-world games.

Much like anything, there are pros/cons and while there are people who have opinions, both negative and positive, open-world games aren’t going anywhere. Developers generally make a lot of money from them and 76% did poll saying that they were not tired of seeing the open concept, but learning to distinguish between open-world, linear, etc. is important because if you categorize all games, such as Mass Effect Andromeda, into an open-world category, of course you will get sick of seeing open-world games, because they will all be labeled as open world.

Just because everyone says its open world, doesn’t necessarily mean it is.

 

 

 

 

 

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