Is 2019 Wide-Open for Open Worlds?

We have reached a point where every year, new open world games appear. These are titles that give players an amount of freedom with regards to what they can see and do. Each time, we see innovations. The space we can explore gets larger. The actions we can perform are more varied. But maybe, 2019 could be different. Perhaps 2019 is the year that open world games could get a little more innovative. A number of titles are primed to launch that try to add new mechanics or incorporate mechanics we haven't seen before.

The first example is actually one that got its start in 2018. Red Dead Redemption 2 introduced the world to Red Dead Online, which was in its beta phase and infancy at the time. People early on noticed the map was suspiciously similar to the original one from Red Dead Redemption. They even found they could "sneak" their way into Mexico. Perhaps 2019 could mean an expansion on this world. Rockstar has already shown it is ready, willing, and able to support its online counterparts for years after launch with Grand Theft Auto Online. It would only make sense for some of the eventual additions to this game to include things like Mexico and maybe elements from past entries in the series.


Another title that could be a game changer is Crackdown 3. We have heard a lot about the superpowered exploits people will be able to pull off. You have the ability to scale buildings, destroy environments, and draw the attention and ire of violent criminals with your activities. Basically, you get to be a one-person army. We haven't seen a super hero-style open world game with this kind of freedom before. (Though, some people may argue Saints Row IV could offer a step in that direction.) The online multiplayer with its ability to just wreck everything will be even more outlandish. It could be over the top in a way we haven't seen before.

Rage 2 could be another example of going above and beyond. The first game wasn't without its faults, but this sequel seems like it is going to lean into a post-apocalyptic world where things were a total free-for-all. Instead of a serious and dark adventure, this seems like it could be more madcap. Especially since all vehicles are open game. It is bright, colorful, filled with mutants, and basically an outlet for pent-up aggression? 

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Anthem is another opportunity. I'm not saying this because of the whole "BioWare" thing and suggesting it could mean a better story than usual or more depth. Rather, it is because of the verticality. We have had open world games give us a chance to fly helicopters before. But in this title, we are going to have mechs. These suits offer a greater degree of movement. It could end up being one of the first open world games where verticality ends up being a big deal. Deciding which paths we take, how high we ascend into the skies, and how we handle possible aerial attack situations in our Javelin suits are going to be a big deal. We haven't seen that kind of range of movement on a current gen console to this degree, and it will be intriguing to see how it is explored and affects other games.

2019 is a year for taking chances. We are going to see all new opportunities and things in games in general, and open world titles will be no exception. It seems like a lot of titles could change things up this year. Red Dead Online could see a game incorporating things that are old and making them new, adding onto a game in a big way in the process. Crackdown 3 is going to bring on lots of destruction. Rage 2 will change how people think of post-apocalyptic situations and make them free-for-alls. Anthem will give people a way to fly around as they explore and fight, perhaps allowing for new ways to explore. So many options are available, and we'll have to see how things go.

Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada

Site Editor
Date: 01/29/2019

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