As I sat down for my first few hours to Batman Arkham Knight I was so excited to dive into Rocksteady’s rich world. I thought to myself how often I had heard about these “rich worlds” over this Eighth Generation of video game consoles. It’s a running theme that publishes have been selling us and many of us equate bigger worlds with better content. But is this true? Games which would come to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One specifically are getting bigger and bigger. Initially these consoles advertised about the interconnectivity of these consoles and that’s where they were heading. I believe the message has changed to the Open World.
Go back 2 years ago for the launch events for both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One and all the games announcements at E3 that year. All these games screamed of online. Last year we got Assassins Creed: Unity which showed that you can work with others online to take out your targets. Something they pushed more than the single player campaign. Now with Assassins Creed: Syndicate coming this year Ubisoft have announced that there is no multiplayer at all. Realizing they may have bitten off more than they can chew. Ubisoft is actually the main culprit of this. Just from the games that we know are coming out are all online. The Division is an open world RPG which has people playing online in a post-apocalyptic New York City. Rainbow Six is taking its traditional formula of team based infiltration but in an online setting with new map packs frequently. For Honor is a new IP which is a third-person melee fighting, team based multiplayer game set within the groups of either the Vikings, Knights or Samurais. To be fair Ubisoft do have games coming which do not rely on this online component but of their big releases in the near future, there’s a strong direction they’ve laid out.
Ubisoft are not the only ones though. Racing games are a huge part of this. Need for Speed: Rivals (Ubisoft), although selling well is part of many bundles in Australia. In our Game Drop Top 5 countdowns we continuously see NFS make the list. Also there are racing games like Driveclub and Project Cars etc. Not many of these games managed to work out of the box initially because of online issues. This is what frustrates me the most. Admittedly I’m not a hugely online player. But I understand the enjoyment people get from it. it’s amazing how a game not working day is considered the norm for these types of games. On our latest Game Over podcast Jamie talks about how much the Master Chief Collection has killed his excitement for the series. We can see how a lot of these developers thought online would be the way of the future. Although, from this past E3 I believe it’s shifted in the way of the Open World games.
If we think back on this generation we have seen many different open world games. Early on, we got Watchdogs, Infamous: Second Son, Sunset Overdrive and the re-releases of Saints Row IV and Grand Theft Auto 5. Include the games to come out this year:
- Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Batman Arkham Knight
- Fallout 4
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
- Mad Max
- The Division
- Just Cause 3
Not to mention games like No Man’s Sky, Crackdown and the rumoured Zelda Open World game which should come next year. This is an insane amount content for us players. How many people have this amount of time? Even a game like Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End which is described as a linear game, which it is. It is expanding from that normal linear model to get from A-to-Z. From the small amount of gameplay we have seen, it seems like it allows you to stray from the path, before bottlenecking the player back to point Z. For those not familiar with the Uncharted style and compare it to something like Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider does have a more open world style. It encourages the player to explore and go back through areas. Uncharted thrusts the player through the level.
To me it seems like we may be getting many more open world games. Something that I touched on earlier in my rant about online multiplayer games is how so many don’t work. Initially at least. Apart from some glitches, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt worked right out of the box. Unless you’re a PC player, Batman Arkham Knight works extremely well and we got a game we could sit down and play with no outside interference. I do see the potential with online capabilities. Developers need to learn however, what their limitations are and not to be ambitious to a fault.
So what are your thoughts? Where do you think this generation is heading? Is it online? Open World? A combination of the two? Or something I have totally missed? Give us your thoughts and comment below. Tweet us and let’s create some discussion about these exciting times.
Article by Daniel Clements
Twitter: @clemo_24 or @NovastreamAU