Which open world is better: live or large? (Topic)

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Which open world is better: live or large?


Late last year, the creators of The Outer Worlds said that the open world in their game will not be large. The stake will be on working it out in order to make it alive. And it seems to be a sensible idea, but on the other hand, Rockstar proved to us with their last game (Red Dead Redemption2, if anyone has forgotten) that the open world can be very large, but no less elaborate. On the eve of new hits, which are already waiting to be launched on our PCs and consoles, we asked ourselves the question: "Living or large open world - which is better?"

Mom, I want to migrate to Tamriel

Probably today is the case when I leave the answer not at the end, but at the very beginning. Living worlds are better. Therefore, let's clarify that we will rather analyze the problem, why it is so important to chase the living world, and how to competently make large worlds, for that matter.

To discuss which is better - a big or a living world is like discussing the topic: "Which is better, a large empty plate or a plate of food?".

What do we mean by the term "living open world"? The answer is simple - the one in which you yourself would like to live. If you've played Assassin's Creed (especially the last two) or any Rockstar games or the TES series, then you know what's in the lead. After all, in fact, the more you desire to move to a fictional scene and accept its rules, the better the game copes with immersion.


Bigger is (not) better

If you've played AAA open-world projects in the last few years, then you know that they don't always master immersion. In many ways, the problem of games with empty openworld syndrome arose from the fact that they became trends. People in game marketing have decided that the larger the open world, the more financially beneficial it is. There were quite a few linear games a few years ago, and even in a verbal comparison "big and open" sounds much cooler than "linear". It is easier for players to sell the world in which they themselves can decide where to go, what to do, and not the one where they need to follow the hallway level.

But what matters is the context in which this corridor is presented to us. A well-developed game like Bioshock Infinite with a good setting, heroes and storyline, but at the same time being linear - it will bring much more pleasure during the passage, and its linear component will go unnoticed.


There are also linear games, but with an open world. For example, my favorite is Dishonored, I liked exploring areas of the city, choosing ways to eliminate victims and finding different paths, completing side quests, but the game is linear.


It's another matter when the world is so big and empty that when you complete one quest, where you need to get to the other side of the map, passing pixel wastelands along the way, it seems that the game is meaningless and you are wasting your time.

Reviving the "corpse"

To see how important the elaboration of the world is, take a look at a few examples. Games that were able to bring the world to life, maintaining a balance between size and content. By making it big enough to be explored and not bored, but not small, which, while interesting, is boring.

First of all, this is, of course, The Witcher 3. Its NPCs feel like living people who are always busy with something. Many of them can be interacted with, and the cultural and social differences between cities and villages create an immersive experience. This is one of the reasons why the game became popular, that is, one that went beyond the aisles of gaming culture. Moreover, it is not the largest open world. Although the game also attracts with an excellent storyline with side quests.


It doesn't make you go somewhere and explore something, it makes you want to. If you open the map, there will be many interrogative points on it indicating an interesting place, and you will definitely want to know what is there, and you will definitely get something from it. But! If you pass by, you will not lose anything.


The next contender is Skyrim. Even for its time, the open world of the game was medium in size (the GTA5 map, for example, is twice as large). The gracefulness of the Nordic homeland is that it is filled with a variety of locations. And while you go to do the main or side quest, there is a high probability on the way to climb into the cave and explore it, and then into the next, and into the next. Oh, what are these, Dwemer ruins? I'll go take a look! And now, three hours later, you realized that you returned to Whiterun to sell the found loot, but you never completed the quest you were going to.


The Yakuza series is no less rich in content. In addition to the cool gameplay, it has a huge number of mini-games that are very interesting to play through and feel the flavor of Japan. Either you run down the street after a perfect murder, and then bang - karaoke, and went to sing.


Rockstar has more

RDR 2 does show that big worlds can be surprising. We have been looking forward to this game as it is perfectly balanced between openworld, quests and side quests. She imperceptibly guides us through the plot, without taking away the freedom to do whatever we want and go where we want. Many people like this approach more than when the game offers quests in the form of a to-do list.


But do not forget that developers simply cannot make very large open worlds. They will not make a 500GB world, even if it is super-worked out three times, because they know that your Internet provider limits downloads. And not everyone has large hard drives.


But another interesting thing is that technology can make games more beautiful and detailed. That is, the more detailed and realistic the textures of the leaves on the trees behave, the more lively the world will seem to you. This allows developers to detail worlds that are relatively small, but developed so much that you feel like they are very lively.


Today this is a very good solution to the problem of empty worlds. If they are medium in size, the detail and elaboration are better. Changing our perception will also help the situation. If we don't automatically consider linearity to be a bad sign, then open worlds will be more appreciated by us.

The Topic of Article: Which open world is better: live or large?.
Author: Jake Pinkman