Since the 2001 release of “Grand Theft Auto III,” a game known for popularizing open-world gaming, the genre has grown from a few select titles to becoming an industry standard.
Jeffrey Holmes is a lecturer in film and media studies in the university’s English department. For Holmes, the main appeal of open-world gaming has been its ability to appeal to a wide range of players.
“Open worlds invite different types of players,” Holmes said. “They give a lot of people different ways to play the same game.”
Holmes said open worlds act as a unique social space for players, further enhancing the appeal of these titles.
“Sandbox games serve as modern digital playgrounds,” Holmes said. “Games like ‘Minecraft’ have given people a new space to hang out, especially open-world multiplayer games.”
Coylee Mitchell, a freshman majoring in computer science, said open-world titles are popular because they allow players to choose their own routes and adventures.
Mitchell said the ability to successfully deliver on the promise of variety is what elevates open-world games.
“I feel like there’s always something to do with open-world games,” Mitchell said. “And when they’re done right, they can be amazing.”
While open world titles have various attractive elements that separate them from other titles, they are also known for their long development cycles.
It’s been over four years since ‘The Elder Scrolls VI’ was announced and over a decade since the release of the series’ latest installment, but the game remains in pre-production over a decade after release. from the last game in the series. Almost a decade has passed since “Grand Theft Auto V” and it was only this year that Rockstar Games officially announced the next installment in the series. It is for this reason that the next “Final Fantasy XVI” has been confirmed not be an open world in order to avoid a long development process.
“Of course, development time can be long, but players get it,” said Annie Graziano, a mechanical engineering and English double major. “I think the players know the delivery will be worth the time it takes to explore it. They would much rather wait for a good game than have a bad game early.
In contrast, Holmes says the wide array of video games ensures players have something to experience while anticipating a new open-world title.
“Gambling isn’t necessarily zero-sum,” Holmes said. “People are willing to leave ‘GTA’ for a bit in favor of other experiences and then come back to ‘GTA’.”
For Graziano, it is important that developers justify the inclusion of an open world, going beyond a simple feature to market.
“If companies are doing it just so it’s something they can say, like ‘look at the size of our map,’ that doesn’t necessarily mean those things are worth it,” Graziano said. “The feeling of oversaturation comes from companies focusing more on trends than understanding trends and what gamers actually like about them.”
Holmes, who admits to being exhausted by the sheer number of open-world titles, said developers should use advanced technologies to ensure future titles remain innovative.
“I think we’ll see less directly designed open worlds and more procedurally generated worlds,” Holmes said. “I think it opens up the possibility of user-generated worlds like with ‘Minecraft’.”
Regardless of how technologically advanced a game is or how long it takes to release it, one thing is certain: as long as there is more to explore and experience, there will always be a reason to return to a world. open.
Edited by Andrew Onodera, Wyatt Myskow and Luke Chatham.
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Emir Imamecho reporter
Amir Imam is a reporter for the Echo, providing a unique lens for state-run press and ASU to see pop culture and media through. His articles have covered major faculty projects, pop culture news, and student-relevant events.
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