Open World Games are now the most sought after genre in video games. The Elder Scroll series is one of the pioneers in the genre, followed closely by Grand Theft Auto. However, in terms of absolute fun gameplay, Far Cry 4 has got the formula down perfectly. Open World Games today have taken the idea of freedom, exploration, and a world rich with content to a whole new level. With caves and caverns, mountains and forest, bandit camps and dungeons, concrete jungles and industrial wastelands, and even outer space, all for the players to explore.
Games provide a platform in which people are able to experience a story or an event by assuming the role of the character provided by the game, be it a soldier, a cop, a thief or a superhero.
The idea of open world has become so popular, most games have an open world to explore, filled with side missions and parallel plots running along the main story. The problem and the reason why most games now fail to be entertaining is that in the process of making the game world, making it feel open by creating dungeons, caves, towns etc. it has become too realistic, as in they make it just as boring as the real world, with dull activities and pointless side missions that one can’t enjoy.
And hence the world becomes somewhat of a distraction and the missions tend to become tiresome, an act to perform because you need to level up to kill those villains in the main missions and to progress in the story.
A good example of making your side missions boring is what Ubisoft has done with “Assassin’s Creed”. It’s a game that has all the components of open world – side missions, smaller challenges, spontaneous events, and of course, an open world to explore. However the problem with Assassin’s Creed was that while it had a world filled with things to do, (much like in “GTA V”) it was all pretty much the same stuff. Even Ubisoft knew the players will do the missions only for the rewards they might earn, hence stating the prize at the very beginning.
Think about it. Did you ever start a side mission in Witcher or Dragon Age for the reward you’d win or knowing exactly what the ending would be? No! Because the side missions carried their weight in the story they told and they never ended the way you expected them to. Hence forcing you to be cautious and role play better. Where as in an Assassin’s Creed mission you’d think: ‘yes there will be lot of people to kill and yes, I’m doing this because I’m being rewarded in-game’. Imagine just doing that for over a 100 side missions with a bad or absolutely non-existent story. Only grinding it out for the reward, like an upgraded armor or weapon. Which then you’ll use to complete similar tasks to attain similar reward. And isn’t that what most of us do at work anyway? Perform monotonous tasks to earn money? Isn’t it preposterous to pay over 1000 bucks for doing that all over again?
Imagine if Ubisoft had made the game not with the motive of providing a maximum gameplay time but instead focused on providing a better gameplay experience with a smaller number of engaging missions, then completing those fewer missions would feel so much more exciting than the usual tedium we slog through right now. Completing these missions would carry a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction upon completion, unlike the sense of relief that we feel in getting it over with.
If you see the game releases for 2015-16 you’ll notice most of them are Open World (excepting the usual Call Of Duty). This has never happened before. Most developer and designer want the world to feel open hence they invest time and money to make their games like that, but why do that?
Well, basically because games are expensive and most people buy one game or two which they play for about a 2 to 3 months. Most students need to save up pocket money or ask their parents for that extra thousand bucks to buy a game of their choice. which the leads to the following thought, ‘I must buy a game that can last the longest so as to reap best returns’. Hence most settle for open world games, a game that has the potential to be long and entertaining, or at least that is what the hope is. Hence game companies are more motivated to start making games catering to this demand.
Which has led to a decrease in the variety of AAA games that are released. Straight forward, story-heavy action games have taken the biggest hit. Sure, Open World games try to be different from each other in there game play mechanics yet they are not fail to do that in a substantial manner. They end up recycling a successful formula, as of late the Far Cry formula, and thus every other game starts to be of a similar flavor. Like pizzas, they have different cheese layers, spice, herbs and meat, making each different from the other, but it is still pizza and you as the a player tackle the act of eating it in a similar fashion.
This makes playing monotonous, because it’s all the same. Build and develop your character by exploring the land. Find weapons and kill to become stronger and more dangerous only to kill all over again. Collect certain items to upgrade your armor, ship or a car, or the color of your clothes. This has been done so many times in so many ways.
And it’s not going change. And that sucks. You know why it won’t change? It’s because even though I spent about an entire paragraph about how very dull Assassin’s Creed missions are, I’m still going to buy Assassin’s Creed Syndicate soon. Because that’s the kind of AAA games we’re getting these days, and we as gamers are not going to stop playing Video Games anytime soon!. I guess the blame lies with us for buying a monotonous game, as much as on the developers for making one.
Posted originally at Gaming Central.