Nowdays, every game studio and developer wants to create the next big open-world game, it has become a trend. You can’t blame them, it’s obvious that gamers are suckers for this genre, especially when you think about how far the technology has come in game developement. Even though the developers have all the tools at their disposal in order to create the most interesting and immersive worlds for gamers to dive into, it is sad to see that some open-world games fail to deliver. However, the genre remains a top pick for gamers. This begs the question: why are open-world games so popular?
Every year there is one or more open-world games launched and some of them are presented as the next big thing. The games can be part of a well established franchise such as Assassin’s Creed and Soulslike games from FromSoftware, or there can be new games that try to offer something new while staying true to the open-world formula. The expectations and hype are different for each category.
On one hand, it is safe to say that the games part of a franchise are more hyped becuase the gamers know what to expect and they most lickely played the previous games.
On the other hand, the new open-world games come with a fresh perspective and new features in order to distinguish themselves from the others.
The main character feeling
There are many types of gamers, but few of them wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to play an open-world game. The reason behind it is that these games offer a variety of activitieas and things to do whitin them. In an open-world game you are free to do whatever you want within the limits of the game. This freedom is what attracts players to this genre. Exploring and discovering new areas or secrets, finding legendary weapons and side quests or interacting with interesting NPCs make these games worth playing.
One of the reasons we play games is to escape reality and enter for a few hours in a new world in which we can be someon else. The majority of open-world games are RPGs where you take control of a given character or you create your own. You feel special at that point because you know the wolrd and it’s story revolves around you. Your choices affect the world and you will have to live with the consequences of your actions. You can either go and finish the main questline, explore the map until there is nothing to see, play some minigames, do side quests or waste your day doing nothing like you do in real life.
These games give you the feeling you are in control because you can choose what to do next and that is one of the reasons gamers can’t get enough of open-world games. You not only experience the story of the main character, you feel like the main character.
The desire to play something similar
Gamers often experince a wierd feeling when finishing a great game that they really enjoyed, it’s a feeling of emptiness beacause you don’t know what to do with your life anymore. Everybody experienced this feeling at least once. To fill it you either have to play a similar game like the one you finished or play a better one, a hard quest to complete. Therefore, when you just finished an open-world game in which you spent hundreds of hours feeling as the main character you will most likely want to do that again at some point.
That main character feeling is hard to come by though. Not every open-world game does it right, mostly because some of them try to offer to much and during the development process these games lose their identity. However, throughout the years there were some open-world games that stood out and inspired developers to create more like them. Some of those games are Skyrim, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Dark Souls.
Skyrim managed to offer an open-world experince that took years for gamers to fully explore and discover, with high replayability because of the variety of builds you can create.
The Witcher 3 is one of the best examples of great storytelling, immersiveness and side quests being as good or better than some main quests, not to mention the perspective upon the lesser of two evils principle and the political choices that you are faced with.
Dark Souls started a whole new genre with its complex combat and game mechanics that made more players rage quit than any other game, while having a mysterious lore and interesting character designs.
No open-world game feels the same as the other. Players have high expectations for this type of games and they are always looking forward for a new one to be announced. The hype for open-world games won’t change in the near future and more such games will be launched every year considering these aspects and the evolving technology in game developement.
Why do you think open-world games are so popular? Do you think developers should slow down with this trend? Or do you think more open-world games should launch every year? Tell us in the comments below!
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