Why open-world games tend to be so popular

Open-world games have been all the rage for over 10 years now, like The Elder Scrolls: Skyrimpopularity set a milestone in 2011. While old scrolls the games were open world before, Skyrim reached a new level of popularity for the series. Immediately, other game companies and developers took notice. Since then, a ton of games have been open-world. While some fans may be tired of the trend, the open-world formula has consistently released bestsellers such as Elden Ring, The Witcher 3, Red Dead Redemption 2, Horizon Zero Dawn, Metal Gear Solid 5, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. All these games came out after Skyrim and have been loved by the gaming community.

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It proved that Skyrim was far from a one-off wonder. There’s something about open-world games that really works magic for players. This makes exploration a big part of the game and discovers something new every time you play, and it can dramatically increase the number of hours a player can spend on a game, delivering more entertainment per dollar. .

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What makes open-world games special

With such a vast world to explore, two players don’t often experience an open-world game the same way. One can discover something different from the other. They can go in different directions and do quests in a totally different order. While this can also be achieved with RPG choices, the open world elevates the experience to a new level of freedom that also encourages the player to play at their own pace.


Exploration is a big part of the open world’s popularity. Players can find new enemies, easter eggs, quests, collectibles, and characters in various parts of the vast map. Some of them can be easily seen while others can be quite hidden. With such a large map, uncovering these things can make a player feel rewarded for their efforts. A linear game doesn’t give the same sense of accomplishment in discovery, as finding a secret is less fantastic on a smaller map. Open-world games also have a lot of replay value. When replaying a linear game, few things are different, but when replaying an open-world game, everything can be done in a different order.


The many successful open world games

Popularity generally dies out, but open-world games continue to have success stories that keep popularity high. Series that weren’t always open-world decided to give it a try and got acclaim, like breath of the wild in the The Legend of Zelda series. Companies such as FromSoftware were known for making linear games, but Ring of Elden came out and was FromSoftware’s biggest hit to date. With the popularity and the recent Ring of Elden has been, it proves that the open-world gaming trend isn’t likely to die out anytime soon.

Sure, there are open-world games that failed, but they’re not often discussed. The ones that were a talking point have gotten better with time and patches, such as No Man’s Sky and Cyberpunk 2077. There are gamers who believe that open-world games sacrifice their writing, and they’re right. Worlds can feel big, but at the cost of a feeling of emptiness. In this sense, open-world games can be risky for developers. Although there are many success stories, players can get bored quickly as the plot, characters, and lore are spread too thinly across the huge map. However, the benefits of open worlds have far exceeded reviews in a wide variety of games created by popular and talented developers.


The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is available for PC, PS3, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

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