WARNING: INCOMING RANT; Annoying Buzz Word: Open World

Does noone want a single-player, story based, self contained linear story? I sure the hell do, and the more I look into big AAA titles coming out of E3, the less likely it seems that I will be getting that experience.

Metal Gear Solid 5, traditionally a stealth based game set in a few locations, will be going open world. I found out today via an Angry Joe interview that the PC title The Witcher 3 will be going open world. Grand Theft Auto (natch) pretty much popularized the genre, so that’s a no-brainer with it’s fifth installment (or at least the number 5). Watch Dogs,Assassin’s Creed IV and even my beloved Dragon Age (due in large part to EA wanting to get in on that Skyrim money I’m sure) are all going to be open world games.

This bugs me not necessarily because of the games being open world in and of itself, but rather, the massive amount of time, money and resources that must go into building these vast worlds on next-gen systems which in turn will ultimately hurt the industry further due to the inflated costs of developing AAA games, not to mention the fact that many are time sinks.

I have realized this in picking up Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and playing it once more. I never finished the game on the PS2, and am currently running through it on my PC. I have made it to Las Venturas (roughly 4/5 through the game) while only making it to San Fierro (the arc and city prior to Venturas) on my PS2 playthrough.

When I made it to San Fierro this go-round I remembered why I never progressed further in the game. I have spent about half of the last 10 hours of progression (this excludes retries for failed missions) just driving around.

Just driving. From one end of the map to the other.

Back and forth…back and forth…

And this is my issue at large with open world games. You might have 40 hours logged in play time, but you spend 15-20 of those hours trekking from place to place.

Even in some open world games I enjoyed, such as the original Assassin’s Creed, though it had a fast travel system, you still had to run down off the mountain every time you wanted to go anywhere.

Maybe this is just personal preference, but I have played very few open world games that I actually enjoyed. Assassin’s Creed and GTA: San Andreas are the only two I mentioned here because they are the only two I remember actually enjoying.

Hell who knows, maybe I’ll try these games and actually enjoy them, but to quote John Dibell of Dapper Shark Studios:

"Open world doesn’t necessarily mean ‘good’."

(Archived rant, original post from Tumblr on July 30th, 2013)