An open world has to allow you to lose yourself to find fascinating stories
The heart of the open world games is fascinating: play in your air, travel large spaces and discover what is hidden in its corners. These stage designs serve to locate a sandbox-like game structure, a combination that has always been defined by its greater sense of freedom relative to other titles. However, as more and more games of this style have been made, the tasks to be performed, the markers on the map to visit and the nonsense to be done have minimized that premise until composing small linear pasillitos between Mission and mission. Where is freedom?
Without even liking the pochos open games, there are two names of their own that have remained faithful to the original spirit of these playable constructs: The Witcher 3 and Breath of the Wild, both 100% free of pochez. They both release you in their own way, let you travel and let you enjoy losing yourself to find something fascinating. Everyone does it their own way. The Legend Of Zelda invites you and challenges you to reach stage milestones to place there a beautiful place to look, a temple or a poop of the kologs. It doesn’t really matter what’s in there, it’s always fascinating, it’s always worth it.
The Witcher 3 rewards you with pieces of history that are always interesting
Both ways of getting the player lost to meet are fascinating, and both titles do so in very similar ways. To begin with, the player does not have a general plot to follow, but rather a premise: find Ciri or kill Ganondorf. That makes you move and explore, because you don’t live stuck to the development of a single story. The rest of the video game is supported by a wonderful loop of: I explore, get lost and find a mystery that attracts me.
I have never felt that there were hallways built through bookmarks in these two games, I have noticed it when playing Far Cry 5, for example. I understand that making open worlds like Ubisoft or like Days Gone, etc., is much easier (within how terribly complex it has to be, of course). They are tasks to be done at specific points in a wide space; you carry them out, you take a few points of experience and another, corridor after corridor. But the feeling the player gets is another. In the Nintendo video game or CD Projekt RED you feel like a scout for a new territory, while in the others you end up looking like a worker.
I want to be an explorer. I want them to fascinate me with the intangible, with a story I find after losing myself, with a fascinating view or with a puzzle hidden in a temple. I’m much less interested in experience points. I don’t want to ‘charge’ in exchange for fulfilling an assignment, I want my brain enriched. That’s what The Witcher 3 and Breath of the Wild have achieved, and that’s what I’m asking of future open world games.