Is a game being "open world" a selling point to you?

My apologies if this thread has been made before but I’m curious about what you all think.

Open world games have been around a long time now and the AAA space has a lot of them. So does a game being open world make you want to buy it? Of course, there’s room for nuance. What kind of open world games you like, for example.

For me, it’s not a selling point. I’m actually kind of amazed that there isn’t more of a pushback against open worlds at this point. There are times when I see people mentioning exploration and I don’t get a sense of awe from any of it. It often gets in the way of pacing, and frankly, I am at the point where I don’t want to spend all my time playing one game. A recent example of how I feel is Diablo 4. I really dig a lot about this game, but as I play it more, I’m realizing that the open world aspects are annoying me.

There are exceptions. Breath of the Wild/Tears of the Kingdom are fun to explore. I really like those. Elden Ring wasn’t for me but I have nothing but respect for the open world, for the same reasons. There are other open worlds that give you a ton to do but also have interesting worlds, I like those. I love Witcher 3, though when I think about it, it’s not really because of the open world (I think Witcher 2 is just as good).

Anyway, I’ll just leave this here. What do you all think?


I’m getting to an age where I just don’t have as much time as I’d like to invest in a game with this selling point. I love just bumming around virtual worlds (having spent way too much time doing just that in Garry’s Mod alone), but whenever I pick one up as of late, I find myself under a time constriction. Either I can focus all of my spare time on this one game, or play a half dozen others that are less open.

I have also been noticing that a lot of games that tout an open world, don’t mention that the big maps are not that immersive, and are basically empty textured landscapes reminiscent to Fuel. A whole lot of nothing, which makes me wonder, what is the point?!

With the points I’ve made, I am looking more towards linear experiences over open world at this moment in time.


I wasn’t gaming much at all during the PS360 console generation, nor did I have a PS2 when stuff like GTA was all the rage, so I never was part of all the excitement people had for large open worlds as that became more of a thing. I did play Shenmue on the Dreamcast, but that style of open world (later improved upon and polished in the Yakuza games) is having a restrained number of streets in just one city or two, and filling those streets to the brim with items to find, people to talk to, challenges to complete, mini-games to play around with, etc.

So the more typical style of “grand expanse” open world generally hasn’t ever piqued my interest, and the amount of time it takes to complete such games is generally a deterrent for me. There are times I do get into it – I think my favorite example is Just Cause 3. The main reason that one clicked with me is probably because the act of traversal in that open world was actually fun. The combination of grappling hook and squirrel suit gave lots of options for messing around, but there were still vehicles and fast travel points as well to fall back on.

I think a game’s setting is also a bigger factor for me than how big the open world actually is. For an example, I haven’t ever had much interest in playing the Witcher 3, but I do want to give Cyberpunk 2077 a try one day (despite the latter being more flawed, according to the general player base). I just have a lot more interest in exploring a cyberpunk world than a high fantasy one.


Not really no. I consider it a feature but I generally prefer linear games.


Not at all.
Sometimes I feel like to play something like that, but most of open world are more boring than actually interesting.

If I want a huge are, I like it more in a semi-open JRPG. It’s not like I hate them, and I enjoyed games such as Red Dead Redemption, but when I read “open-world” my first reaction is “again? Boooring”


It is to me. That gameplay style really appeals to me for whatever reason. I love big, seamless worlds, and I love non-linear gameplay. They are just more immersive to me than games where you have very obvious paths and little freedom. Whenever a series pivots in that direction, I tend to like it more–I thought Diablo IV greatly benefited from its open world elements, for example.

But it’s also not something that makes a game good on its own. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, for example, did not resonate with me much. This may be an obvious thing to say, but I would much rather play a good linear game than a bad open one.


I wouldn’t NOT buy a game because it’s open world. I think though, as with all things, the open world in any given game has to be interesting and fun to explore to justify its existence. I really enjoyed Cyberpunk’s open world because there is so much to see and do and interesting little things around most corners. By comparison Watch Dogs: Legion might be a wonderful recreation of London but after a while it felt very same-y.

If I’m not enjoying an open world I just ignore the open world-ness of the game and concentrate on the main story/ things I’m interested in. This was true for Assassins’ Creed: Black Flag. Great open world, but so friggin huge I couldn’t be bothered with all of it so just did the interesting stuff.


I like open world games but only when the openworldness makes you want to explore the world and the game gives you the tools for that. There is a decent leap from there to “I would buy this game because it’s an open world”, though.

I know there are games in this genre that are considered to be very good expressions of an open world (say, the HP one) that, despite being a good game in this regard, I most likely won’t play just because I don’t care about the environment you have to explore.


For me, the problem with open world games is that either they feel like they’re being stuffed with things to justify the size, while those things aren’t actually bringing a lot of value to the table (I love you, Dragon Age Inquisition, but let’s face it…) or the content is decent, but there’s so much of it that it becomes more overwhelming than enjoyable. I’ve put dozens of hours into Skyrim and I’m fairly lost on what the main quest is!

(or, in some cases, the giant world feels like it’s at odds with the urgency of the story. Fallout 4 is fun to explore, but when I’m supposed to be looking for my kid, well…)

I’m not opposed to open world games, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a selling point. It seems like too often it just means the game ends up way bigger than is good for it, and the whole thing would have been better as a more closed world with richer content and more cohesive story.


I love you, Dragon Age Inquisition, but let’s face it…

I’d have to disagree with that. There is a lot of visual storytelling going on in that game, particularly in regards to lore.


Agreed. I spent a lot of time soaking in the open world of that game because I found it enjoyable to explore. One of a handful of open world games that really felt rich to me.


I don’t really prefer an open world over a linear world, or vice versa. I like what both design philosophies can bring to a game if done well. I love super linear shooters and adventure games, and I love open world RPGs or sandbox type games, or Metroidvania type games.

It’s not a selling point because it doesn’t really tell me anything about the quality of the game and if it’s going to be done right.


Not sure if open world (NOT a futurama meme reference), but I have no idea what to do after leaving vault 101 in Fallout 3. That’s why I don’t really play open world games. I just get lost and my dumbass brain can’t figure out what to do. It’s like having to work an office job from 5am on wednesday, 2pm on thursday, and in a completely new building on friday, with nobody telling you the changes.


Good point! Unfortunately, you spend so much time in the Hinterlands that that’s my default memory when I think of ‘Inquisition’ and ‘open world’, and I do think the Hinterlands deserves the critique. But when I went back in the wiki and looked over the zones again, I realized I’d thought Emerald Graves was a map that balanced things very well and made the open world format enjoyable.

So I partially retract the criticism–I think some maps in DAI were a good example of how the open world can be done well, but others demonstrated the weaknesses of the format.


I would say Fallout 3 is an open world, but sometimes you need to go through a very particular place to reach the next half of the world, and that may be very confusing.
When you play a game like Fallout 3, you should actually forget about the main story and just go to a place after another. You’ll reach the plot eventually.

Not the most funniest open world to play, to be honest.


Everyone says leave the Hinterlands, but I had fun in the Hinterlands. It’s also where I fought my first High Dragon, the Fereldan Frostback. Good times!


To me there’s a huge difference between “open world” and “open narrative”. A huge game world where, technically, you can go anywhere you want is useless if all you find are trial novelty side quests.

The modern AAA definition (the Ubisoft standard) of “open world” is the worst possible definition. It quickly turns into a blend checklist of things to do to make the icon go away. It’s narratively bankrupt.

So let’s consider some that do open world well.

My first open world game was Elite back in the 80s. No quests, no checkpoints, no narrative, just you and your spaceship and a universe full of stuff to explore and make your story. I spent days and days in that super simple environment having experiences that let my imagination fill in the gaps. It was mind blowing and, honestly, no game has ever given me the same feeling of total freedom again.

Not even No Man’s Sky, which felt overloaded with gathering stuff and crafting stuff and nearly dying because I didn’t gather fast enough. The extensive tutorial left me feeling like I didn’t want to carry on in.

But speaking of crafting, what about Minecraft? Surely the ultimate open world game of our era, it’s provided millions of people with millions of hours of gaming gun while basically not having any narrative at all except what you make.

Let’s deviate slightly and look at role playing games, and in particular the behemoth that is Skyrim. Entirely scripted, but with so many narratives intertwined, with a world that’s full of things to explore, people to meet, quests to take on, it’s at a scale grand enough that you feel like you’re in a world that’s yours to discover. It’s maybe a valid criticism that I completed the main quest line completely by accident (I was just picking interesting things to do from me active quest list) as just another fun time I was having, and I’m still doing quests long after the big bad was done with.

Let’s briefly mention Elden Ring. It’s an open world full of stuff to do. It doesn’t have quest markers. It doesn’t have a map full of pointers saying “look look here is the content”. It’s as much about community as it is about playing alone. It doesn’t spoon feed you anything.

And of course let’s mention Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom. A wonderful mix in which the player has a definite goal, there is narrative, but how the player interacts with the world, the order they do so (or if they do at all) is entirely up to them. There’s no one path to the end, which allows a personal, fulfilling playthrough while still constrained by the story the game is trying to tell.

So in answer to the original question, is being “open world” a selling point to me, the answer is no. If it needs to be used as a selling point, then it makes me think that it’s being used as a crutch to pad them game, make it bigger without making it better. Horizon Forbidden West, all modern Assassins Creed games, I’m looking at all of you.

Open world games that are truly worth the time don’t treat it as a feature. Instead it’s an intrinsic part of them that cannot be removed or added on optionally.


If you guys like open world games so much, I have this great recommendation for you. Here’s an excellent review that made me start playing

The Best Game You’ve Never Played - YouTube


I’ve tried it but I’m not keen on the environmental effects


The NPCs are terrible, the in-game economy is terrible, everything is so expensive right now. I don’t know what the developers are thinking, but it needs a lot of work, especially the social balance needs to be completely reworked.