Sessler's Soapbox: Open Worlds Need Direction

Posted: March 23, 2010
Sessler's Soapbox: Open Worlds Need Direction
Adam uses Just Cause 2 to point out how open world games are very common, but sometimes lacking in direction, progression, or story.

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  • UK_John

    This whole report had an underlying message:

    'Give me a 12 hour game with a great story that leads me by the nose so I don't have to think, Because they are the easiest games to review and it doesn't bother me they are only 12 hours long when I get my copies for free rather than having to pay $60 for them!' This is why Dead Space and Mirror's Edge got good reviews, because the reviewers got free copies, and didn't sell because gamers aren't willing to pay $60 for a 12 hour game they can finish in a day!

    Posted: June 8, 2010 5:57 PM
  • randomperson37

    i agree but i disagree. i do agree that it is hard to tell a good story when the player has control but i dont think its impossible. i think it really depends on the attention span of the player. if the player can stick with the main story line to the end (like i do) and then move to other side quests the game becomes more enjoyable

    Posted: April 29, 2010 1:45 PM
  • Levi1976

    I agree with Adam, I think both types of games are equally fun to play. I put a hundred plus hours into Fallout 3 and it's expansions, I loved the game, but I never felt compelled to finish the main quest line. The same with Oblivion. Both games had awesome story lines, but I just didn't feel pressed to complete them, the story lines were pretty much just another quest. I also knew that by compleing the main story line in Fallout 3, that I would die (pre-Broken Steel) at the end of the game. So finishing the game was sort of like saying "Okay, when do I want this totally awesome game to end? Never!". In a game like say Gears of War 2, the game is completely linear, there's virtually no room for exploration, but the straightforwardness of it didn't bother me. The I felt the story was good enough to keep the game moving, and I really like Marcus, Dom, and the rest of Delta squad. Finding Maria, seeing how Dom and her interacted, was that much more powerful because of the pressing need to find her. Seeing what would happen next really kept me pressing onward to finish the game. In short I wanted to find out how the characters were going to get through all of the stuff that was happening to them. So I do feel games like Gears of War have a more powerful narrative than Fallout 3. Again, don't get me wrong, Fallout 3 is an awesome game, and has some wonderful characters and story lines in it, but I never felt pressed to accomplish anything. I can enjoy both types of games, and I would not be happy if they just got rid of linear games in favor of sandbox games.

    Posted: April 28, 2010 6:59 AM
  • MrRabbit

    i prefer open world with lots of exploration such as fallout 3
    and its my personal opinion that it leaves room for better and brooder story telling then
    in a linear game
    even the better final fantasy games had an almost open world quality to it such as ff7
    and the ff series is known for there dependency on storyline

    and my favorite of the fatal frame series had an almost open world quality to it and that was Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly

    in short i find it very hard to get into a game that is primarily liner and lacking of exploration such as ff13 .
    and i feel that there is room for far more immersion in an open world game.

    Posted: April 13, 2010 5:32 PM
  • DudelRok

    I'm finding that, personally, a good combo of both is good. Give me the story but let me wonder about for whatever reason too. Just a little bit of exploration, not much, and I'm rather happy. Anything TOO linear, I mean A, B, C, D, E, F.. without even a way to solve things different a second/third time and it makes the games total value drop. Re-playability is a good thing, for me, especially with the recent prices. then again, sometimes a story can be so involved I don't notice.

    Posted: April 3, 2010 4:04 PM

    I agree with what he said in regards to this soap box.

    Posted: March 31, 2010 2:46 AM
  • Cathartic Denoument

    So basically, an open-world game that doesn't reward you after exploring, is a pointless open-world game. And at the same time, if the game doesn't remind you of the main story at hand, then the game's useless all the same.

    Posted: March 29, 2010 11:46 PM
  • dantastic4

    I could'nt agree with Adam anymore on that sense of acomplishment after upgrading.This is why I put Crackdown over GTA 4.You have so much more to do with your character vs trying to collect a bunch of birds and get something that pretty much was free access from the beginning.Open ended worlds work more when they benfit your character vs keeping the same vibe through out your experience.The player must feel more contempt to try and advance his character vs following a bunch of preprogramed set markers to get from one objective to another such as GTA 4.

    Posted: March 29, 2010 7:37 AM
  • travis007

    Deadly Premonition

    Posted: March 28, 2010 8:48 PM
  • ArrenKae

    Just Cause 2's more fun than God of War 3.

    The most well-made linear appearance I've had in a game was MW2. All those explosions, loud gunfire, buildings falling down, icepick climbing, shooting through the fog, slow motion breach&clear, etc. made for a helluva lot of fun. To justify restricting player control the scripted events and set-pieces have to be better-designed than the greater amount of content the team would use to populate a larger space. A good example of this is the original God of War's first level.

    Open World's aren't genres they're an alternative to revealing content in discrete levels or a single long sequence of events. RPGs had sidequests and even the main missions of sandbox games are sidequests. Really, these open connected spaces are the modern appeal to man's love of exploration. They also allow much more emergent gameplay as what the player does is more freeform.

    In MW2 if you shoot at walls and run around at random there isn't anywhere to go and nothing special's going to happen. In GTA and its' descendants the simple mechanic of enemies spawning to attack you wherever you cause trouble lets the player control when he's engaged in a fight and how much of a fight.

    Narrative control is a moot point in games like FF13 which have bad stories. Max Payne would be a better example. But a game can allow player freedom and have a good story, like Planescape: Torment. Also, restricting player options favors a plotline over play which is better suited for a medium without play and only plot (like a novel, movie, radio show, theater, etc.). Such a design philosophy favors something like WWE's melodrama to children playing backyard football.

    Posted: March 27, 2010 4:11 PM
  • PretentiousName01

    Except ff13's narrative and characters weren't good

    Posted: March 26, 2010 12:57 PM
  • Vesuvian Ast3r1x

    This one enjoyed this soapbox. This one wishes the show was longer. The Sessler that is Adam, has once again made very valid points, that this one agrees with.

    Posted: March 25, 2010 9:58 PM
  • bmackisback

    PaxEast + Sessler = Unexpected outbursts... 'I Like Melons' LOL! Still the BEST line on TV to date!

    Posted: March 25, 2010 7:48 PM

    A lot of us love the "coming out of the Kokiri Forest on to Hyrule Plain" type of experience open world games afford--but a coherent plot-line with easily discernible objectives is nice, too.

    Posted: March 25, 2010 7:28 PM
  • slimmer


    Posted: March 24, 2010 7:04 PM
  • expl0siv0

    He mentions that the character should be upgradable in open world games to reinforce exploration but that contradicts his point on how there are two types of open world games, being action and rpg. Upgradability is an rpg element, so he is essentially bashing open world action games that he previously said he had no problem with.
    Besides that querk, this is another good thought provoking soapbox.

    Posted: March 24, 2010 3:57 PM
  • SDwiz

    I think their better than games where your forced to stay on one path,not to say those games are bad,but because you get to go anywhere,do anything,and you can return to the main story mission anytime you want.There's no time limit on exploration,no rush to complete the game.Open world games just have no boundries,no rules,just play and have fun.

    Posted: March 24, 2010 3:02 PM
  • AngelsandDemons

    Merceneries 1 was my fav open world game. I swear I played that thing once fro noon until 7 pm trying to hunt down the terrorist in the card deck. It was motivating to hunt them down one by one and to choose your way to attack them. And the enemies who you hnted seemed meaningful to the story somehow. The sequel failed tremendously. I wish more companies would capitalize on the same aspects of Mercenaries 1 that made it such an addcitive game.

    Posted: March 24, 2010 2:28 PM
  • gravy666

    I think Infamous had rather linear progression in a good way. Downside was that the side missions got a bit tedious.

    Posted: March 24, 2010 1:47 PM
  • sandboxgamer

    I am glad that adam brought up this topic because I am a huge fan of sandboxs but I gotta have a good story and a game similar red faction guerilla got the destructabilty down but their really was no narretive thrust and this game has that same problem in my opinion it is fun to get lost in the world but to make a game souly on a couple cool fetures dosent excuse a bad story. The grapling hook and parachute are cool and in red faction the nano rifle and the thermo rocket all awesome but that wears thin and will ultimatly be a trade in.

    Posted: March 24, 2010 11:58 AM