How Open Worlds Have Opened Our Eyes
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Everyone has a favorite type of video game. Whether that be side-scrollers, on-rails horror games, dungeon crawlers, MMOs, or card games. For me, there's one type of video game that will always rise to the top: the open world style. At the very least, I always feel like I'm getting the best bang for my buck, because I know there are hours and hours of exploration, main/side quests, and otherwise evolving fun to be had. There's also the fact that open world games have so many different stories to explore and learn about. I'll take the time to actually read in-game books some times, just because I want to know everything I can.

There are some that say open world games have flooded the market. They're a dime a dozen, and its easy to get burnt out. As much as I try, I just can't agree with this. Every single open world title I pick up sparks a journey that I'll never forget. Take Dragon Age Inquisition, The Witcher series, any iteration of Grand Theft Auto, The Elder Scrolls franchise, the Fallout series, or Horizon: Zero Dawn. All of them include absolutely riveting open worlds. While they all might follow the same basic layout of main and sub/side quests, they each have their own unique locations and stories to tell.

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Some feel that completing quests over and over again grinds on you and makes you feel like you're playing the same thing, no matter the universe. I politely disagree. Think of the Fallout series. If you took any time at all to explore rooms that weren't essential to quests, you'd find all kinds of things. A pair of skeletons laying on a bed with one of them holding a shotgun, perhaps. The skeletal remains of a person sitting at the edge of a dock with their favorite teddy bear and beer. These are all very subtle things that add to the story and the mysteries that surround open world games. They spark the imagination and remind you that video games are all about wonder.

There's also the fact that some franchises or genres which previously didn't include open world titles are starting to integrate them. Take the wildly popular The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for example. The addition of the open world type gameplay made people fall in love with the series all over again. The horror genre is finally starting to investigate including open world gameplay. Before, some horror games were almost exclusively “on rails” experiences. You were driven from location to location on a set schedule, which was meant to craft the perfect “scary” experience. I feel the exact same thing can be done with open world horror games. I saw this proven with The Evil Within 2. Often times, the open world aspect made things even scarier. I could go to a location on my map, but I knew very well there are zombie-like creatures outside it, but it might be worth the potential loot I could snag!

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I'm not saying that every single game should be made open world, as that would destroy diversitt. I just think that they aren't nearly as repetitive as people like to claim they are. Grand Theft Auto games might have you completing very similar quests multiple times, but the locations, characters, and how you approach them can be different every single time. The journey through the video game is what you make of it, and developers work very hard to craft universes that are elaborate and complex. If we take the time to explore the small subtleties that make every open world game different, we'll never get sick of them.

April Marie
April Marie
@Legiodith

Contributing Writer
Date: 02/02/2018

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