Discussion: Open World Design



  • @CGamor7 I feel like turning off icons can only work for certain games. I haven't played The Witcher, and I don't actually have an specific examples, but I could foresee a scenario where said object is really hard to notice in the world without the icons. I guess it all depends on how the developers designed the game. I wouldn't want every open world game to just start throwing this option in there unless they actually made the gameplay support it. I actually just thought of an example. I turned off the minimap in FFXV because I was just running from icon to icon without actually looking at the beautiful world. When I did I enjoyed running around much more because I was paying attention to my surroundings but I also feel like I was missing out on a ton of items laying around.

    One thing I really liked about Zelda which I would love to see more is being forced to make your own map full of icons. Instead of climbing a tower and unlocking every single checklist icon that clutters up the map I really enjoyed finding points of interest on my own and then putting it on my map for future reference.



  • @Tragosaurus Yeah i agree, im sure some games would be impossible to play lol. In FFXV you would never find some of the item boxes laying in the world without it. That is pretty cool that you can make your own icons in Zelda. Makes a lot more sense actually. In an elder scrolls game that would be cool. You talk to someone, you record key information about your quest in a journal and then you use the street signs and names of taverns and other buildings to guide you. It could become a bit tedious in some ways, but i think they could find a way to make it work. Wasn't Morrowind kind of like that?


  • Global Moderator

    I must say I really agree with you! This is something that the whole industry NEEDS to discuss if we not just gonna end up with copy paste games with random main chars and bland stories in. I was gonna write a big an innovative post, but got stuck talking with my housemate for the past 2 hours about games and now I need to sleep! so will try and re-write a big post tomorrow



  • Yeah, the open world needs to be designed to work without icons. A game like Skyrim doesn't work without quest markers because your quest will be "find my friend he went missing somewhere" and that's it - the NPC doesn't give you directions, so the game has to pick up the slack. TW3 was really good in that, in general, you were able to play without markers. Most NPCs would tell you specifics; less "go to Bob's house" and more "go see my friend Bob, he lives in a little hut with a red roof by the docks, you can't miss it."

    It's an extremely delicate balance, and don't get me wrong, TW3 isn't the perfect open world since it makes a LOT of missteps elsewhere, but that's the kind of idea anyway



  • @Galaxy40k That's one thing I loved about Morrowind. You had a map, but no objective markers. NPCs would say "go down the road towards Balmora, take a left at the fork, cross over the bridge and it's the farmhouse on the left." It made you pay attention to the world and not just watch the compass blip. It was also nice that you could pull up their dialogue at any time from the journal in case you forgot what they said.

    I also enjoyed how fast-travel was handled. There were certain boat docks that connected to each other, and you had to pay to travel. Or there were mages that would teleport you to a different mages guild. It was all well-incorporated into the actual game world.



  • @Billy That all sounds like it was executed really well that made sense for the world and would be fun to play. I can definitely see people not liking the complete absence of quest markers though so it would be great if games today were just made like that and you could turn on markers if you wanted. Everybody is happy.



  • @Tragosaurus the one thing that bothers me though is when developer try to cater to everyone. I agree, lots wouldn't like it, but maybe if the developers made a effort to make it really work in a game maybe most would actually enjoy it. When they are busy trying to make features universal it takes away from really optimizing a key feature. But i get the everybody is happy view. But in my opinion thats when games have started to struggle. I think we can see that with games that dont cater to everyone such as Souls games, Yakuza, Bloodbourne etc...



  • I like games that make you discover the world without restrictions or forcing you to climb every tower just to progress in the main story, the latest example Zelda Botw.



  • @CGamor7 I agree trying to cater to everyone can hurt a game. I think in this quest marker scenario though it wouldn't hurt the game, assuming they built it to be played without quest markers, made that the default, and had an option to turn on quest markers for baby mode. If they designed it the other way around it wouldn't work, like turning off quest markers in Skyrim.



  • If you can, try Breath of the Wild. That game broke free of most of the pitfalls of the format. It's a game that never ceases to strike wonderment and awe into those with wanderlust.

    It is the most rewarding, lifelike world ever constructed and the new standard that the industry will no doubt strive towards in the future.

    I can't believe it took only 5 years to make this game. It feels like something that should have taken at least 10 to 15 years.