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Open Worlds vs. Authored Narrative: The Battle for the Next-Generation
Open Worlds vs. Authored Narrative: The Battle for the Next-Generation
Written Friday, July 19, 2013 By John Robertson

Last year we published a feature about open-world games and how emergent gameplay leads to more memorable experiences. Now, in a brand new feature we present the alternative view. Here singing the praises of authored, linear games is John Robertson.

Give it a read and let us know which side of the fence you fall on below.

Some trends are easier to spot than others. Financial markets, social media evolution, sports tactics; these can be difficult to predict. Others are easy; the trend towards cloud computing, the death of the high street and child stars becoming drug addicts. If you can spot a trend, you can predict the future. If you can predict the future, you can make a lot of money.

This past E3 featured an obvious trend. New consoles may have been the talk of the show, but on ground level it was open-world games taking up the majority of floor space. They were everywhere, as faceless and uniform as the Guy Fawkes mask in their promise of grand scale, superior replay value and emergent gameplay. Virtually every major publisher jumping on the band wagon and pumping money into making sure they get their slice of the future profits pie.

Destiny, The Witcher 3, Mad Max, Assassin’s Creed 4, Infamous: Second Son, Metal Gear Solid 5, The Witness, Watch_Dogs and more promise to entice, excite and entertain by dumping you in a free and open world. Getting on with gameplay as and when you see fit seems to be the order of the day and the order of next gen consoles. 

If the current console and PC generation of games ushered in the open world, the next one seems to already be taking its best shot at making it entirely standard fare. It looks like jaunts in massive faux borderless environments are to become the rule, rather than the exception to it. What’s behind this obsession with providing hour-long treks to the next waypoint, day/night cycles and – presumably – an abundance of emergence-breaking, randomly designed collectibles?

The obvious answer is money. Isn’t it always? Fallout, Grand Theft Auto, Saints Row et al are clear and living proof that players want open-worlds to explore and interact with. One of the easiest ways for a big publisher, investing big money, to turn a profit (at least in the short term) is to replicate elements that have proven to be a market success and can be advertised to consumers in terms that are easy for them to understand. It’s easy to promote the next open-world fantasy RPG. Promoting the next turn-based tactical melee ‘em up by no-name developer is more difficult and therefore more risky. 

Other reasons for the drive towards ‘freedom-led’ gameplay include the need for developers and publishers to demonstrate to players that they’re making use of the extra processing power that the PS4 and ridiculously named Xbox One afford them. A 2D side-scrolling shooter that takes place in a rigidly defined world just doesn’t seem worth $60 anymore. The trade-in battle is another reason, with open-world titles usually taking an enormous amount of time to complete and therefore they keep you involved long enough for the resale sale price to drop lower than Cilla Black’s breasts. 

Cynicism aside, though, open-worlds are about emergent gameplay and what makes the good ones good. Make your own story, do things your own way, create/destroy/experience at your own pace and to your own tastes. Why include cut-scenes when you have the potential to organically or inorganically create/witness events that are unique to you?  

The question is whether or not this drive towards emergent gameplay and open-worlds is really a good thing? Clearly, if this past E3 was any sort of an indication, open-worlds seem to be usurping many of the spaces that would have previously been assigned to ‘traditional’ authored experiences. 

Many of today’s gamers would answer in the affirmative, that open-world prevalence is a good thing and that the fewer authored/linear games there are, the better. Games can provide emergent experiences that are unique to each and every player (to an extent), it’s one of the ways in which the medium is able to distance itself from other entertainment forms. However, just because a medium is capable of a given thing, does that mean the industry as a whole should push so strongly in that direction?

At the risk of seeming any more subjective, the answer is no. In particular, the possibility that the traditionally authored video game (think more linear experiences along the lines of Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid 1 and BioShock) may become a triple-A game rarity is a frightening thought.

Today, ‘linearity’ in video games is a dirty world. Somehow, the idea that game designer/writer is unable to provide an experience as meaningful and engrossing as those we can create for ourselves has taken grip and refuses to let go. 

Why have a writer feed us an authored story when we can create one ourselves? Answer: because a good writer is a better storyteller than at least 99% of video game players. 

In all but the rarest examples, the characters, stories and narrative events that we remember from video games have occurred in linear, authored stories. Unless your name is Rockstar or Bethesda, the chance that you’ve provided an open-world with truly engaging characters and story arcs is slim.

Authored games take us on a journey. Authored games are akin to sitting on a tour bus as it travels through a city, allowing you to take in life and events as they take place all around you. The driver decides where to go because the driver is the expert; he/she knows the best places and the best order. Open-world games are different, they ask you to drive the bus yourself – despite you having no knowledge of the world and no idea how to drive the bus.

The fact that a fully authored game is able to point you in a direction and know for certain where your attention is going to reside at a given moment means that the writer can feel safe in crafting moments that are spectacular, dramatic, romantic, sad, scary and rage-inducing. As a player you have to be willing to give up control in order to be fully absorbed into the story being told. 

Open-worlds are not able to do this to the same extent. Instead they rely on optional exposition and bore-you-to-tears audio logs in a vain and lazy attempt to give weight to the events you’re playing through.

Sure, you can do what you like in Skyrim. You can define your own story by being a blacksmith and working iron all day, but is it meaningful aside from the stat increases? Will you look back with fond memories in five years at all those hours you spent defining your ‘character’ as a blacksmith? No, of course not, because there is no character to read into there. On the other hand, will you remember the adventures you had as Drake in Uncharted? As Snake in Metal Gear Solid? The turmoil of Rapture in BioShock, or the fate of Metro 2033’s survivors?  

Yes, because story and character resonate in the long term. Stories touch us emotionally and pose questions about ourselves and the world around you; they pose ideas and theories and characters that we couldn’t see or hear about otherwise. Failing that, it’s exciting and engrossing to be lead down the rabbit hole without control and go on the ride that has been written for us.

Unfortunately, the best stories have an ending. How else could a story be a story? Definitive endings means less replay value, another dirty idea in video games. It’s a shame that quantity is so frequently used as a measure of quality in this industry, a measure that open-world games will invariably score higher than a linear experience. 

Hopefully, in the drive towards open-world experiences, publishers don’t forget that it’s narrative and character that make a good story and that authored games are the superior option as far as that’s concerned. It’s telling, as far as open-world narrative games go, that the next game is always the best game – older games quickly forgotten. The reason for that is because games relying on emergent gameplay rely almost entirely on technology to absorb and engross. As soon as a better physics model comes along, your emergent open-world is suddenly not so fun anymore. It’s like an old toy, abandoned for the newer, shinier one.

Good storytelling withstands the test of time, no matter what physics engine, frame rate and game world it was told within.

Open-world games are exciting prospects as far as excitement is concerned. However, if history is anything to go by, their narrative impact is limited and therefore, their potential emotional impact is greatly weakened. If games want to be taken more seriously as a respected form of narrative entertainment they need to think more about engrossing through narrative, and less simply about giving us bigger and bigger sandboxes for us to throw our toys around in. 





 
 

User Comments

Forum Posts: 42
Comment #1 by sIR 5HaNx A10t
Friday, July 19, 2013 @ 03:31:48 PM
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Good read, but I don't understand why it's either world OR authorized narrative. A game can have a good story and be open world and sell well all at the same time.


Forum Posts: 231
Comment #2 by Infomouse
Friday, July 19, 2013 @ 04:02:31 PM
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I think there is merit for both experiences in the gaming industry. I refuse to believe that it has to be one or the other, in terms of a narrative being created. It all falls within what the developer wants to do. What kind of story are they trying to tell, and how best to implement that in terms of gameplay?

Games like Metal Gear Solid 4, with its hour-long cutscenes are there to deliver upon the most cinematic story possible, with missions, and gameplay sprinkled in between the exposition, which to me, is a perfectly valid way to tell a story.

Less narrative-driven games like Skyrim, or Just Cause 2 still have plenty of value in terms of engrossing the player in some form of an escapist world. Hell, look at Dark Souls, with very little dialogue in RPG terms, and is lauded as one of the best games of this generation.

I think it's all about how best to go about telling a story, or making a world fun enough to escape to for a few hours in. Whether that's through cutscenes, mo-cap dialogue, still-frame images with pop-up text, or more responsive, over-the-top gameplay, they all have a place in storytelling.

Now to wait 3 weeks for some big publisher to come out and say "Cutscenes in games are dead! Dialogue in games is dead! Players don't want enriched storytelling; they want more shooty bro-time explosions, with micro-transactions, and lots of dubstep!"


Forum Posts: 1299
Comment #3 by Chuppernicus
Friday, July 19, 2013 @ 05:46:20 PM
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I really think it comes down to perceived value. Does potential Buyer/gamer see value in a game? It depends on the focus of the game. Is it story, gameplay, open world variety. I like having game type options as a gamer. I can change it up and not get bored as a gamer with one style and or genre.


Forum Posts: 17
Comment #4 by Savage13
Friday, July 19, 2013 @ 05:47:56 PM
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All I want to is Red Dead Redemption! Great story AND open world. Arkham City comes close.


Forum Posts: 25
Comment #5 by dinny2891
Saturday, July 20, 2013 @ 04:56:36 AM
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I agree that you can have both in a game, games like AC hook me with the story, but I can spend ages wandering around doing side quests or just mucking around. Oh, and I don't ever want to be "lead down the rabbit" ;-)


Forum Posts: 14
Comment #6 by Methew
Saturday, July 20, 2013 @ 07:48:40 PM
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Not much else to add. Infomouse pretty much nailed it.

Sandbox may be what "everyone" wants and what the developers are going for, but it's hard to have a tight and focused narrative in an open world game. I doubt that BioShock or Spec Ops would have delivered as well as they did if they were open world games.

What people aren't talking about is that while open world can allow for truly unique encounters that make for water cooler discussions, what I've found more often happens is the uneventful.

Example: In Far Cry 3 I was raiding an outpost, circling around and trying to spot everyone before I went in and started the stabby stabby time. Suddenly I hear rustling and dogs barking. I turn and look and there's a pack of feral dogs walking through the grass right next to me. I freeze because I don't wanna be found and they pass by me, walking straight into the outpost, altering the guards, and thinning the herd for me.

But more often it was a simple and straight forward move in, shoot everything that moves.


Forum Posts: 9
Comment #7 by Sabre45
Sunday, July 21, 2013 @ 05:45:46 AM
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First of all, nice article. :)

But you have brought over an important point. An open-world game doesn't always give you (the player) an story you will remember. However I would say that some games are better as an open world compared to a story narrative. I mean, would anyone choose a linear racing game over a open-world one? Not likely.

Still at the same time, I also like a game which has a good story. And the reason why I want a good story is because if I'm playing as certain character, I want to why I should even care about this character. Why is this character important to the story? If a game has a good story, the answer to that question should become oblivious, and that's what I like about a good linear game.

However the problem which I sometimes see is that some of the linear games out there are done badly, which of course can put people off linear games. And of course if a linear game has a bad story (or a story which people will not care about), then it's not going to make a good selling game.

But I also feel too that open-world games would have more of an appeal to young gamers. As you said in the article, an open-world gives players the control. And of course to a younger player this means they can brag that they did 'this' and 'that'. But a linear game doesn't allow that to happen, which of course means the player may fell restricted in that game.

So I can see both plus and cons for both types of games.


Forum Posts: 95
Comment #8 by D4 B1GD0G
Sunday, July 21, 2013 @ 10:39:06 AM
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I agree with @2. Of my 5 favourite games ever, 2 of them are open world and 3 of them author narrative's. There is a place for both in the industry when done well and would welcome any game that can successfully combine the two.


Forum Posts: 981
Comment #9 by Tai_MT
Sunday, July 21, 2013 @ 11:06:21 AM
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The problem with most game developers are that they literally have no clue what they're doing. They're working with large groups of people for a reason... To help make up for their weaknesses. Unfortunately, it then turns any kind of project into a sort of "democracy".

There is quite literally, no reason, why a game developer would have to choose between "open world" and "hand crafted narrative". I'm designing a game with RPG Maker, and I'm not having to choose. I have open world heavily ruled by Questlines, choices, and personal narrative.

The only real issue to these types of games is development time. Game companies generally don't like to go longer the 3 year max. It is possible to make these games, if companies desired to.


Forum Posts: 1188
Comment #10 by gazmaster1
Monday, July 22, 2013 @ 07:03:24 AM
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Sometimes I just like to sit back and be taken on a journey. I recently played asura's wrath and I was blown away with what a unique experience it was. Open world games have their markets as do author narratives so enjoy them both and keep on gaming.


Forum Posts: 1
Comment #11 by iBlaise
Monday, July 22, 2013 @ 08:30:33 AM
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Rockstar does the perfect blend of the two: great story and expansive worlds. Games like Grand Theft Auto 4 and Red Dead Redemption are perfect to model after since they and some other games, such as Far Cry 3, all share one common trait. While the world is large and expansive, they do not give you direct freedom to travel the world as you see fit. You actually have to progress through the story to be able to access all areas of the world.

Games like Skyrim, Oblivion, Fallout, etc., are all very good games with plenty of replay value (hell, Oblivion is my second favorite game of all time), it's very difficult for them to create superb stories because they offer so many other stories within the world. One thing that's been overlooked in this article is the creation of epic side-quests, which form valuable stories on their own, and take away from whatever potential the main story may have. TES series, for example, have excellent guild storylines that are just as good, if not, better then the main story themselves.

And lastly, we have the linear, story-driven experience. While the word "linear" is indeed frowned upon, it's not like some fantastic recent games weren't linear. Just look at BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us. Many people are calling those two games the greatest of this generation, and both happen to be linear games? A coincidence? I think not!

While it may seem like games are trending towards being open world games, that doesn't necessarily mean gamers don't appreciate linear games as well. As some before me have said, it's how the developer shapes the game, how much freedom the player is really given once they turn on the game. If developers can follow Rockstar's model successfully, then we're in for a hell of a ride.


Forum Posts: 461
Comment #12 by Neme6ben
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 @ 07:38:04 AM
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It's already been stated by a few Devs that they were gonna do more open world games, following the success of Skyrim. For some games I'm not so sure, but a game like The Witcher will definately benefit from that aspect imo!


Forum Posts: 20
Comment #13 by Snooch2theBooch
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 @ 08:30:42 AM
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don't see how open worlds affect storytelling...games like GTA and Assassin's Creed have great stories while also featuring an open world


Forum Posts: 227
Comment #14 by Fozki Razormaid
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 @ 10:33:37 AM
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I love open world games like TES and Fallout
but i hate stuff like assassins creed and gta and there
YOU CAN'T CROSS THUS BRIDGE YET
i like to explore early on
i only did RDR via multiplayer

OT
i also really HATE how GTA . RDR and AC only give you one
difficulty setting . Too Easy for some Too Hard for some
and no choice to change it


However my top 10 games on 360 include many open world games
like Skyrim . Oblivion . Forza Horizon and Fallout 3 & New Vegas


Forum Posts: 7838
Comment #15 by StayonTarget
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 @ 05:11:06 PM
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Open World will win this generation. It's the first time on consoles that we'll be able to see massive worlds without loading times.


Forum Posts: 0
Comment #16 by obbbybobby
Thursday, July 25, 2013 @ 06:02:41 AM
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Great article.

I agree with the article and a lot of these comments: I love linear, story-driven games, but I also think next-gen is going to be dominated by open-world games.

In reply to the first comment on this article, I think it is going to be open-world OR linear games as far as the biggest budget games are concerned. I can't see many developers risking lots of money on a linear game that is shorter has less replay value and one that people will trade in. The people that don't buy it straight away will buy it second hand because they know (even if it's amazing) that people will trade it in.

Real bad state of affairs for games if all the biggest ones go open-world. Where's the diversity?


Forum Posts: 61
Comment #17 by Drewbayeor
Saturday, July 27, 2013 @ 11:27:18 PM
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I myself am a big fan of story, whether a good book, a movie, tv series or video game. The one trend that seems to be happening with a lot of these open world games is that they are pushing for more and more exploration but sometimes this push segments the story and it starts to become muddled with random (albeit fun) side quests that can take away from the main story and make it hard to follow some of the small nuances that help to drive the plot or give you incite into what is going on. For me this happened with Fallout 3... I was truly enjoying the game and got sucked into a long series of side quests which when tied into my life caused nearly 2-3 weeks to pass before I got back to the main quest and I was "lost" in the story and what was happening and ended up abandoning the game altogether (I still want to finish it).

This is not to say I don't love open world games as I have played GTA IV, all the AC games and am currently engrossed in Skyrim; however it takes a good group of authors to narrate a story that you can follow while being pulled into multiple different directions by everything that these massive games has to offer.

I agree that there is a place for both types of games, and I just hope that the linear story is not forgotten as many of the truly memerable games have been linear in the way they progress from beginning to end.


Forum Posts: 20
Comment #18 by Egg Life
Sunday, July 28, 2013 @ 04:47:45 AM
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I prefer story-driven games, whether they are open or linear. But there are extremes to both cases where I lose interest

Contrary to the norm, I got bored with Skyrim really quickly. The game didn't grab my attention, it just said "here is a world... go play". While on the other hand, I've just played Catherine which goes "watch this cinematic and make a choice".

Far Cry 3 was better than 2, simply because the story was more engaging.

In response to #7, I also just played NFS: Most Wanted(2012) which is fully open-world; and all the menus are in-game. But the lack of story meant I was yearning for older titles in the series like Carbon or the original Most Wanted. But then Grid 2, is not as good as Grid 1 because it leads you through sub-sets of races whereas Grid 1 allowed you to choose which races you focused on next.

I know this sounds very convoluted, so in summary:

I don't think the answer lies in the battle of Open vs Linear, there are too many other factors at play; whether is be good story or a USP that is fun.

I probably could ramble making comparisons for hours...


Forum Posts: 20
Comment #19 by Egg Life
Sunday, July 28, 2013 @ 04:49:25 AM
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On a side note, I hate huge open worlds, just for the sake of claiming you have the biggest open world.

Which makes me worry for MGS5 since they had to fast-forward the trailer it was so vast.


Forum Posts: 4
Comment #20 by Zenotype
Sunday, July 28, 2013 @ 12:52:38 PM
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@19

I am a long time Metal Gear fan. I've been with the franchise ever since it's debut in MG1. In this time I have noticed one particular feature; Metal Gear has always predominately been about story telling (usually in the form of hour long cut-scenes).

It is for this reason, then, that I am not worried about Konami's latest instalment MGS5 because I trust that no matter the vastness of the open world being designed, a cohesive and engaging story will be delivered.

Of course the trailer did indeed present to us an extensive landscape (linking back to your point on the trailer requiring to be fast forwarded) I am under the impression that perhaps not all stages will be like this and perhaps vary in the amount of space available.

I do understand what you are saying about huge open worlds however. I myself find open world games to be engaging to me purely for the amount of freedom bestowed upon me. I am however aware that there comes a point where the world is just too huge to maintain a story line that actively engages the gamer. Story being a huge factor with me on whether to purchase a game or not, this worries me.

In summary, I don't have concerns about MGS5 in particular, but I do worry that some upcoming open world games are in danger of sacrificing well written story telling for freedom of movement and progression.
All I can say is that I hope we get the best of both worlds in the end.


Forum Posts: 287
Comment #21 by ViNyLek
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 @ 01:31:16 PM
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He pretty much nailed it. I do not belong to one camp over the other, rather like to enjoy I feel like playing. Be it tightly scripted and pretty linear narrative a la The Last of Us or Bioshock or something of a more open world where I get to do whatever the hell I want, like Infamous or AC.

There is a reason why the best selling games are scripted affairs. I know it's not a valid point, because ppl buy it mainly for MP, but I love CoD exactly because of that. It gives me heavily scripted action packed single player story that makes me feel like I am playing though blockbuster movie. It keeps the pace and leaves little room for glitches or me being able to slow down narrative.

On the other hand AC was always type of game in which I would detract from main objectives, because I noticed something of a side mission or collectible and went after it, in few minutes forgetting what I was even doing.

To each their own, but gamers should enjoy both types of games and not prefer one over the other.


Forum Posts: 71
Comment #22 by scott.m
Monday, August 05, 2013 @ 03:42:38 AM
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I enjoy both as an experience.

Games like Deadpool, Red Faction: Armageddon, Fuse (games I played as examples) are as linear as they come, I enjoy the occasional dog lead journey over the open-world just for story sake, (& ill admit Fuse's story wasnt great) over replay value.

But I also enjoy games like Saints Row, Skyrim, Defiance for the "real time" randomness of game instances, but I usually dont play these for story content as I get caught up doing other things. I play open-world to soak up hours pretty much accomplishing nothing.

Yet the games that break both worlds, Mass Effect, Red Dead Redemption, allows you to enjoy the story & the world.

Great article, & I can proudly say as a gamer, I enjoy both game worlds. Depending on the day.


Forum Posts: 227
Comment #23 by Fozki Razormaid
Sunday, August 11, 2013 @ 08:03:52 AM
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Fully open world is more likely to be brought by me


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Comment #24 by Grummy
Sunday, August 18, 2013 @ 01:23:30 PM
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This current generation has been a long story of too many developers trying to jump on too many new ideas, the emergence of online multiplayer being the prime example. GTA, for example has always sold well, and would continue to do so, as just a singleplayer experience, and yet it has multiplayer now. I'm not against this idea on principle, but I do have to wonder whether it is necessary. R* Talk about keeping it going forever, which sounds to me like they intend it to be one continuous online experience, basically a free to play GTA MMO and with each new GTA game they will just add more content, not replace what is there. That is an interesting prospect, and perhaps is what will turn the multiplayer from a pointless extra to a viable choice. But it isn't always that straight forward. Bioshock 2, Tomb Raider, both examples of franchises that earned their stripes as fantastic single player experiences suddenly tack on a multiplayer component? That's a crazy, wasteful idea.

This is been a trend this generation and is indicative of a larger problem, too many developers/publishers are desperate to jump on the next big money spinner and it often hurts the primary experience. The lesson here is to just do what your game needs and no more. This coming generation shouldn't be one of Open World vs linear narrative driven gameplay, it should simply be one of doing what your game needs. Fallout 4 and Elder Scrolls 6, neither need multiplayer, so leave it along, just build the single player game and change what will improve that experience. Battlefield, the vast amjority of people play it for the multiplayer, so if dropping the singleplayer would help in any way, do it. Just make the game that you want to make and add what the game needs, don't just throw on something different for the hell of it.


Forum Posts: 2779
Comment #25 by Destro
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 @ 11:56:23 AM
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I just have one word to say when it combine both an awesome narrative and an open world : SHENMUE

One of the greatest game ever made... period. No actually Shenmue 2 was even better :P


Forum Posts: 119
Comment #26 by Ostrowski
Saturday, August 24, 2013 @ 06:01:04 AM
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"Ridiculously named Xbox one" that's great and I totally agree lol


Forum Posts: 210
Comment #27 by High Lord Sigma
Sunday, August 25, 2013 @ 12:17:17 AM
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One major factor that I think is responsible for the falling popularity of linear games is that many of the developers who used to be masters of that particular craft have declined. You do still have fantastic authored experiences by such developers as Irrational, but other developers who were prominent back in the fifth and sixth generations have experienced a huge decrease in talent and craftsmanship.

Final Fantasy XIII is perhaps emblematic of this trend. As the article states, linearity is not an inherently bad quality for a game to have. However, if a developer decides to go down that route, they have to embrace the strengths that an authored narrative provides; namely, story, characterization, and pacing of both gameplay and plot.

FFXIII's developers did none of those things and forgot what made Final Fantasy so great to begin with: compelling characters in a unique and memorable setting. Without those essential ingredients, Final Fantasy XIII had to fall back on its gameplay to pick up the slack, but the flawed battle system and half-baked implementation of Gran Pulse 30 hours into the game just weren't enough on their own. The end result was a polarizing game that many fans of the Final Fantasy series were disappointed with, which is probably directly responsible for the precipitous drop in sales for the sequel.

In a way, perhaps moving Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (which is still a stupid title, for the record) to a more open world is the right choice for that particular part of the XIII series. However, I'm not holding my breath in eager anticipation; nothing I've seen thus far suggests that Square Enix will be able to salvage the convoluted narrative and unremarkable characters from the first two XIII games or make a sandbox inviting enough for me to remember for years to come.


Forum Posts: 136
Comment #28 by Freysi
Monday, August 26, 2013 @ 10:44:32 AM
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It's a nice article, and I actually often prefer the narrative driven games.

However, this point struck me:

"Will you look back with fond memories in five years at all those hours you spent defining your ‘character’ as a blacksmith? No, of course not, because there is no character to read into there. "

I actually spent several hundred hours fishing in FFXI and have extremely fond memories of that.


Forum Posts: 62
Comment #29 by reverendmeta
Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 01:52:42 AM
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Terrific article! Very well-written.

I believe developers can still utilize the presentation, progression and interactivity of a linear game to create a compelling experience exclusive to the medium.


Forum Posts: 1
Comment #30 by PaToU24
Thursday, September 26, 2013 @ 06:29:36 AM
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at #7 if the racing game had a great storyline and (and it's a big one)GAMEPLAY,I would pick it over an open world game that had a bad gameplay (I might get rocks thrown at me for this) exemple GTA IV was torture to me the way the car felt and all. While I have no problem with games going more open world has long as the control and overal feel of the game are good exemple if you want San Andreas and Red Dead Redemption,Red Dead would also be a great exemple of great story telling in a open world setting Arkham City would also be one... if open world games take a cue from Red Dead and Arkham City and deliver great story telling with amazing gameplay then we're in business and the next generation of game might be the best,altough being an older gamer I remember a time where the story wasn't important at all if you wanted to know it you had to pick the booklet and read ex: the first Zelda (which is still one of my favorite game ) and to close this not all linear game have great story.


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Comment #31 by Scrummy64
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 @ 01:46:53 AM
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"Unless your name is Rockstar or Bethesda, the chance that you’ve provided an open-world with truly engaging characters and story arcs is slim"... to be perfectly honest, I'm trying to remember a time where Bethesda ever pulled this off; sure, there's usually one or two good characters per game, but never more, and while the Fallout games have fairly good stories, the Elder Scrolls stories are always pretty bland and generic.
But anyway, it's a tricky argument, because open-world games tend to have much longer lifespans and do allow the players to "make their own stories", whereas linear games tend to have more actual replay value and the pre-set story is USUALLY much better than that of an open-world game. Games like GTA get the balance right - the world is huge and open, but the characters and story are brilliant and the actual missions are quite linear - but it'd be a lot to ask for every game to be of the standard of GTA.
And the Batman: Arkham games are another example of where the developers hit the balance just right; the world is "open" in that you're generally able to roam as you please, but the map is dense enough to make you do certain things the way the developers want you to, like when you're in the enclosed areas.


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Comment #32 by JohnTegnar
Sunday, October 27, 2013 @ 07:08:56 PM
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I'am really exited to se what next generation will make us. games in 2-3 years will be insane.


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