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Monday, March 27, 2017

I don't much like open world games

Opinion by Matt S.

Just as “RPG” was the hot trend through a couple of decades ago, and “FPS” was the big thing over the last decade or so, now it’s the “open world” genre's turn to be the genre. Every major game developer at the moment seems to want to crib open world ideas and concepts and implement them in their games - even those that are nominally of other genres - and this is a trend that drives across both Japanese and western game design. Whether it’s Assassin’s Creed, Horizion, Toukiden, Final Fantasy or Yakuza, open worlds are clearly where the commercial and critical success stories are at the moment.

The thing is, I hate open worlds. I didn’t much care for FPSers, but that had more to do with the games themselves (and the stories they tended to tell) than the genre. I actually quite like a lot of shooters, when all the other stars align so the game meets the kind of narrative experience I look for in games. With open worlds, it’s the opposite. I like a lot of open world games. In fact, NieR: Automata is one of those games that borrows heavily from open world design principles and as far as I’m concerned it’s the greatest game ever made. But, in almost every case and without fail, when I’ve liked or loved an open world game, it has been despite the open world stuff that I've loved the game. I've had to learn to tolerate the design principles of the genre in order to enjoy the rest of the game.

There are a couple of critical issues that I have with open world games:

I don't much like open world games
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