As soon as technology made it possible, game developers turned their linear and story driven games into open world adventures. Over the last years, these open worlds have grown more detailed and much larger, but are they becoming too overwhelming? A lack of direction can make them more difficult than they should be.

Far too often, developers create massive and detailed open worlds so large that their scale is considered a selling point rather than the activities to be completed within it. The publishers and studios proudly claim that their latest game is twice the size of the last one, but forget that larger does not always mean better.

Overwhelming and a lack of direction

In the last years, open worlds role-playing games have gotten so large and packed with objectives, quests and tasks to be completed that I do not know where to begin. In the first few hours of the Assassin’s Creed – Origins and Assassin’s Creed – Odyssey, this lack of direction can be overwhelming.

I find myself doing nothing to further shape the story of the main protagonist, except pointless side quests. This lack of direction and focus is even more problematic if you only have a limited time to play every week due to real life quests and objectives.

Hours of wandering around the world

I am currently exploring the large open world of Assassin’s Creed – Odyssey and, while I enjoy the adventure of the protagonists Alexios and Kassandra, the size of the worlds seems over the top. Even if the level designers had cut the map in half, the game would still be massive.

Going from one mission to another takes several minutes of walking, even while riding a horse, and the side quests often feel copy-and-pasted. Do not get me wrong, the main quests in Assassin’s Creed – Origins and Assassin’s Creed – Odyssey are great, but you have to cut through a lot of garbage to eventually get there.

Too large for their own good

Assassin’s Creed – Origins and Assassin’s Creed – Odyssey are both very detailed and beautiful games, but their large open worlds have fallen victim to their own scale. They are too large for their own good and, in the end, they both feel empty after finishing the story.

Too often, I find myself wandering around for hours to find new side quests to complete and level up to enter new regions. Some open world role-playing games can become downright boring as a result of their massive scale and lack of content. It is more about the density of the content than the massive size of the world.

Added value

Developers need to ask themselves whether or not the use of a larger open world leads to a better and richer overall experience for gamers. Too often, the answer to this question has been no in this console generation.

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Disclaimer. This post contains copyrighted images from Assassin’s Creed – Odyssey, a video game developed by Ubisoft Quebec and published by Ubisoft. The fair use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting or research is not considered as an infringement of copyright.

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