@thatpinguino: oh my bad.
I haven't played IX since release, some of this is becoming frighteningly fuzzy to me.
At the final save point how far do you have to backtrack to go back to the overworld? Just curious.
re: player freedom- I dunno man I think Red Dead Redemption for instance had plenty of weight. That was a fantastic narrative way to do accomplish both goals. I think there's plenty ways around it, maybe final Teleportation gate at the final save point for instance. People can suspend their disbelief a bit for convenience I think. I mean there's a quite a lot people do already (player characters that don't require food, sleep or bowel movements e.g.).
Definitely agree with you about Open World Games. They definitely broke the virtual JRPG monopoly on world exploration. I think that's why people love Skyrim so much despite that game having a lot of shortcomings from my perspective. That's one thing I'm really excited to see in the upcoming Zelda for WiiU, Zelda to me was the original overworld I loved. I'd love to see the masters remake that concept one more time.