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The History of the Decline and Fall of the Open World Game

Why Is The Sandbox So Much Work Now?

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN is starting a series of articles they will publish occasionally where they discuss the history and evolution of open source games.  Instead of offering their own opinions on the state of this type of game, they are talking to the developers that created them.  This installment they talked with Nate Purkeypile who worked on Fallout, Skyrim and The Axis Unseen.   He was the mind behind Blackreach and the various bronze Dwemer elevators that led to the world below.

In his opinion it is the loss of surprise that has worked to the detriment of modern open world games.   While designing Skyrim, he reminisces that “We were like 100 people back then”.  That meant there was a lot of trust and interaction within the team, allowing them to work together to design an interconnected world.  It also meant that the team could work on things not included in the original scheme, which is exactly what Blackreach was.  It was so popular among the developers that it was fleshed out and included in the game, with only hints as to it’s existence.

He contrasts that with Starfield, which had around 500 people from four different studios working on it; and the limited interaction that implies.  From there they talk about how quest design has changed, citing Morrowind’s sometimes obscure quest directions and how you simply wouldn’t be able to attract many customers by making them pay attention to their surroundings instead of charging towards a quest marker.

Follow the link above to learn more about the thoughts of those who gave us the open world games we once loved and now enjoy, for the most part.

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