Open world games and the new generation of consoles

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#1 Edited by Sintes (114 posts) -

Do you think open-world games will continue to be so popular during the next generation? I feel like most of the vocal people on the Internet have grown tired of the formula. But it does seem they still sell really well...

Personally I've started playing video games during the early 2000s and have always preferred the linear story-based games that were so predominant then. I've always thought that what set games apart was not how big they were but how unique they were as an experience. I wonder if it's even possible for most AAA game developers to get away from the "impressive huge open-world" and go back to story-focused 12-24 hours linear experiences.

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#2 Posted by Ares42 (4369 posts) -

The "Ubisoft open-world™" games has become this own sub-genre that's gonna keep on living forever, like football games or racing games. FIFA has basically released the same game year after year for over two decades and people still buy them regularly. It doesn't matter how much the internet rails against it there's a very sizable group of consumers that just like the base gameplay and is willing to buy a new game just like the old one every now and then.

Every new game doesn't need be something innovative and unique. Sometimes you just want another hot dog.

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#3 Posted by NTM (11906 posts) -

I don't think it's open world games people are tired of, it's merely the way they're done that people are tired of, and no, I don't think the popularity of them will die down. I also think that's something some developers may be struggling with. Do you make a large open world with a bunch of things to do and a story that's so large that half or more of those that bought it doesn't even finish it, or do you make a linear, story-based game that almost everyone can see it through? Considering most publishers/developers like making games that people can keep coming back to, I think open world games are here to stay. Some developers, of course, will want to stick with what they know and love which is linear-focused story games. I think the games that are becoming less common and might keep becoming less common are those 4 to 8-hour campaigns. It'll be smaller teams that'll probably make the linear, story-based games while big companies go a different route.

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#4 Posted by Barrock (4170 posts) -

I hope more people go the God of War route with a smaller but more detailed environment with a manageable number of side activities.

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#5 Posted by militantfreudian (688 posts) -

Since I don't have the numbers, I can't really say if open-world games will remain popular, or even if they're as popular as they were in the past. Maybe the push for unionization discourages publishers and studio upper management from overworking developers to make enormous games with laundry lists of things to do?

The problem with many open-world games is that they don't justify their scope. Not in terms of gameplay (limited interactions with the world), nor quests and objectives (linear quest lines and restrictive objectives). If a studio doesn't have the means to invest in designing mechanics and systems for an open world game, then maybe they shouldn't.

I generally agree with @barrock, give me something like FromSoftware games, Prey, and Hyper Light Drifter, or more level-based games like Dishonored and Hitman. I'm hoping God of War's success encourages more developers and publishers to consider smaller scale open worlds.

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#6 Posted by Sintes (114 posts) -
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#7 Edited by MrGreenMan (254 posts) -

These things tend to go in phases. How games are made often change every 7-10 years. Touting that games are bigger then ever do not seem to be as big of a thing as was even a few years ago, so while open world games will likely be around for a while still, I just don't think it will be that big of a deal anymore. No one really cares how big the world is if the game is absolute garbage or game is not fun to play.

Personally, i tend to just avoid open world games unless it's something really refreshing and new.

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#8 Edited by reap3r160 (271 posts) -

I think people's, including myself, main problems is the open world isn't really filled with anything interesting. If there's a lot of WELL DONE random encounters and happenings going on while you're wandering it would make the minute to minute exploration better.

Red Dead Redemption 2, love it or hate it, I think has done it the best so far. It's not for everyone, sure, but if developers want to created a lived in world that's a good example to start from. I hope that developers take this next gen hardware in a direction of improving AI and game logic, not graphics. Games look fine, and yeah we could get more frames, but I(even having a PC that I can play stuff in 60+ fps) would prefer a better and more interesting gameplay experience than prettier/better performing games. I'll be interested to see what 2077 ends up being since that seems to be the next large scale (supposedly) open world game on the slate.

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#9 Posted by Casepb (779 posts) -

I'm really hoping Cyberpunk 2077 has a very well done open world that's not large, but dense with tons of liveness. Then I hope other developers see how loved it will be (hopefully) and copy from them. Open world games can be cool, just traversing them can be boring. I think that's the reason I liked Spider-Man PS4 so much, I rarely fast traveled because I enjoyed swinging around the city so much. There was still tons of the go to this icon on the map and do stuff, but it was still fun feeling.

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#10 Posted by ATastySlurpee (689 posts) -

@barrock said:

I hope more people go the God of War route with a smaller but more detailed environment with a manageable number of side activities.

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#11 Posted by acharlie1377 (149 posts) -

I think the issue is less with how much there is do to in an open world and how interesting it is to exist in that world. That's why I think Breath of the Wild was such a revelation; there isn't actually that many different things to do in the world, but just running around and seeing what's over the next hill is engrossing. On the other hand, a game like Assassin's Creed III has tons of stuff to do and tons of places to go, but I was never interested in being there. That's why Breath of the Wild and RDR2 can both be benchmarks for open world games, despite being hugely different games--both of them create a world that is inherently more interesting than other open world games.

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#12 Posted by reap3r160 (271 posts) -
@barrock said:

I hope more people go the God of War route with a smaller but more detailed environment with a manageable number of side activities.

I think we can get more though with this next gen. I think God of War was a great example of what devs should have been doing this entire generation. It gave you an open world, but worked within the limits of the technology. The problem is devs make these giant worlds but the tech can't support filling them with anything interesting. If they focus on maximizing the right tech, we can have worlds just as big as Assassin's Creed, but just as detailed and interesting as God of War.

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#13 Posted by Humanity (19046 posts) -

it’s an overly simplistic point of view but I’m still happy to play open world games when they’re done well. Cookie cutter icon collectaphons with sparse dialogue and obviously throwaway NPCs are always going to be boring - thing is sometimes you don’t mind that sort mindless wandering from icon to icon. I’m playing Andromeda and it’s mostly fine - uninspired as hell but whatever. My problem is that I was playing Andromeda to pass the time until RAGE 2 came out and now that I found out Rage is another open map with icons I don’t know if I have the energy to dive into that gameplay loop again. It’s the burnout that’s a big problem.

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#14 Posted by TheRealTurk (601 posts) -

As others have said, I'm not sure that it is open-world games per se as much as it is the design and overuse of the open world.

If the open world is there for me to explore, then why do games insist on putting a ton of icons on the map that tell me exactly where to go? That isn't exploring, that's just a less-efficient form of a checklist. If the purpose is to flesh out the world, why is there often so little world building going on? Look at AC: Odyssey. Only about 25-30% of that game's map actually matters to the plot or gameplay or world - the rest is either open water or tiny islands with about 2 or 3 small things to do.

I think Breath of the Wild actually did it pretty well. I can un-fog the geography of the region, but I've actually got to do the exploring and cartography myself. It actually gives me the feeling I'm discovering a thing.

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#15 Posted by ThaUn4givN (6 posts) -

I definitely think this idea of a linear game style is still out there but a lot of companies are getting swept up in this open world gameplay idea.

The last of us, for example, was a great linear game!!

Also, I think the desire for these types of experiences is why we see a lot of those older games getting a remaster. Games like God of War and Uncharted for example.

Story definitely comes first!!

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#16 Posted by wollywoo (325 posts) -

I don't think open world games will ever go away. You could argue they've always been around, at least since the early days of RPG's like Ultima, Might & Magic, etc. If there is complaining, it is because some games err too far in the direction of "huge but shallow world."

I would actually put BOTW in that category as well, but it handles this much more deftly by making its traversal more interesting and difficult then the standard point-A to point-B. Climbing up an enormous ridge and discovering a desert on the other side was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had in a game and I haven't experienced that in other open-worlds. It would not have been so satisfying if I had just flown there, or if I had "unlocked" the region through the story. It worked because it was a) somewhat challenging and b) completely self-directed.

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#18 Edited by glots (4425 posts) -

I wishmost devs would aim for an open world that is packed with stuff that is interesting to do, rather than trying to make their sandboxes bigger just for the sake of having this huge world, but I'm pretty sure that we'll end up going with the latter in most cases and players will end up dying of old age before they've cleared up everything available.

That said, fun side-activities or not, I am still interested in seeing how huge something like GTA 6 ends up being.

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#21 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7695 posts) -

I think the word "Open world" has lost a lot of meaning because, so many games are played on big maps now, but they lack teh "bredth of gamplay choices or nattive hooks for missions. Games like Red Dead, GTA, Mafia, are open world games. Everything else is just big world, I would say Assassins Creed games might fit teh caticorgy but they lack some of the "desity" of GTA or Red Dead. There are of course a growing number of "shared world" games like Destiny or Anthem, which are games with interconnected (by fast travel) bubbles of play area; such games are definitely not open world. Games with big maps that I would not consider "open world" are The Elder Scrolls, The Division, Infamous, Batman, Breath of the Wild or WatchDogs.

...think of it this way. The AMOUNT of gameplay in a GTA or Red Dead is very different from The Division, Elder Scrolls or Breath of the one you can drive a taxi for half the day or be a sniper, a theif, a drug dealer...or a john getting his wick wet. Open world says to me you there is a vast amount of mission types and content types; so a military shooter or rpg adventure like Zelda/The Witcher are not "open world". JMO