For years now many video games companies have tried to make games feel more open world so that the players felt like they could roam more freely and interact with the environment. Sadly, the ideas from way back when (such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas) came along, the technology to make it work didn’t exist yet and therefore it didn’t do the game justice. Nowadays, it seems to be a simple task to make a game an open world to roam more free but everyone is still very picky about what makes a game “open world” and for that, here are seven that could possibly be the checklist.

  1. Fun Play Area: This is what hooks people into coming into the online version of the game. In Assassin’s Creed you could kill guards, traverse rooftops, and hide in the crowds or the current ultimate online experience is Grand Theft Auto 5; driving defensively to try and get away from the cops because your avatar just blew up someone else’s personal vehicle or running away from mercenaries from Merryweather. A good open world game makes the players feel like they are a “kid in a candy store” with the freedom to create havoc and chaos. If it’s not giving you a thrill, it’s lacking.
  2. Colorful Non Player Characters (NPCs): Games need to have memorable characters that aren’t playable. Maybe they are a little crazy, like the guy wanting to legalize marijuana in Grand Theft Auto 5 or they are Gary from Fallout 3.  Also making NPCs interactive to the player’s character helps make the world feel more realistic and that is key.
  3. Location, Location: Having beautiful scenery like in Far Cry 3 helps whisk the players away out of reality and into a game world. Going back in history with Assassin’s Creed helps players be in a time that is interesting.
  4. Player Decisions Change the Environment: Doing actions that change the environment such as in The Saboteur, blowing up Nazi controlled areas turned them from black and white to color or in Fable; depending on the player’s alignment changes physical attributes.
  5. Engaging Side Missions: Having mini missions within the game itself that has an odd or interesting story line with memorable NPCs help keep the game challenging. Such as the Flight School in Grand Theft Auto 5 Online or Elder Scrolls with meeting random people on the player’s journey.
  6. Consumables: Being able to buy objects or establishments make it more personable for the player.
  7. Crafting: In Elder Scrolls, the player is able to upgrade their skills and create armor, weapons, and such to help them along their adventure. In Grand Theft Auto 5 Online, player can buy guns, clothes, and cars; then they can customize them to make them more personable. In Dragon Age, players could enchant items to make it more useful for their character.

These seven things allow players to feel like they are in a realistic but fantasy world where they can express themselves and have fun doing it.