Linear vs. open-world games

Ever since games have gone 3D, there has been an increasing amount of open-world video games. Nowadays, it seems to be a trend of making a game open-world just for the sake of it. Does having a sandbox feel generally improve a gaming experience, or can more restrictive level design benefit a game in certain areas?

  • I would compare open world games and non-open world games to understand the pros and cons to both game types. – BMartin43 5 years ago
  • It stands to reason that changing something as fundamental as dimensions would have a massive impact on the kind of games being made, and the popularity of open-world games (MMOs particularly) makes them a popular major project. Gaming is a big and competitive industry and AAA games have to follow the money. That said, there are ways to tighten up level design in a sandbox (linearity would be the main one). Whatever angle the article takes, I'd suggest acknowledging off the bat that both open-world and closed-world have their pros and cons, and there are dedicated audiences for both. – Cat 5 years ago
  • I don't think there's an easy or objective answer to the question you've asked. The gaming experience is subjective and will depend on various factors, including what a player is looking for in their game and their personality. Having a more linear game style, I feel, is a good way to direct players through a story in a more direct way. Open world gaming has given players, or at least, coincided with the trend of, giving players more power to make and guide their own stories. One feels more like a book to read, while the other feels like you've been given a notebook, a pen, and backstory to craft your novel. Obviously, this analogy is a bit of an oversimplification. Possible benefits of linear might be: for developers with limited or low financial resources, having a linear design means they are able to dedicate their time to the finer details of a game (e.g. if they spend all their time working on an open world, the overall design quality might be reduced, the story might be lacking, etc.) but this is obviously less relevant for developers who have the resources and time to effectively design all components of a game including an open world. – Kacey Martin 5 years ago

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