I remember when Skyrim came out. It was massive and beautiful and basically the next level in open world gaming. Fallout was popular, and Dragon Age II had just come out as well. But there weren’t many other games with the same scale and beauty of Skyrim. It could take a whole hour in real time to travel from one side of the map to the other.
Nowadays open world seems to be the way games are going. Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, The Witcher (each with numerous titles) and now a whole myriad of games are coming out that I’m super excited for: No Man’s Sky, Tom Clancy’s Wildlands and Horizon Zero Dawn. Naturally, these open worlds are going to be jam-packed with “optional” side missions (but as a completionist gamer, side missions are definitely not optional).
In fact, simply thinking about the prospect of all that juicy gameplay in all these amazing-looking games makes me feel so exhausted and overwhelmed, because I want to put some decent time into each of them, but I haven’t even finished Shadow of Mordor. Or Far Cry: Primal. Or Dragon Age: Inquisition. Or Skyrim.
And if I start all these other new games, who says I’m ever going to finish them? My gaming history certainly doesn’t.
The thing is, now there’s a new game coming out every month that’s super promising which means I can’t put all the love I want into last month’s game. And the cycle continues.
Now, I know that there are really cool games coming out that are more linear and not open world, like Quantum Break, but it almost feels like all the big game developers think that everyone wants another open world game. Perhaps they do (I mean, I love open world games). But the best things are usually the things we didn’t know we wanted.
The main target audience of a lot the latest games don’t have a lot of time on their hands in the first place. It’s common for people to get a couple days off work the day a big game comes out and I almost feel like it’s a competition with every other gamer on Earth to finish the game first or to level up quickly, instead of taking my own steady pace and enjoying the game for what it is and finding all that it has to offer, rather than quickly finding the end game and being like “YO, I’M SO BOSS. I GOT TO THE LEVEL CAP BEFORE YOUS.”
I find no satisfaction in that. Hence why I have yet to finish every open world game I currently own.
And then there are the games that don’t finish. I haven’t returned to Destiny in a long time, but now I’m in The Division and I’ve found a team that I like which probably means I’m going to continue playing it for the next couple of years. The way gaming’s going, it looks to me that a whole crop of games like The Division and Destiny are coming where they just keep adding updates and new content – which I think is great! It’s cool that developers can actually take their game they’ve already published and continue to make it better.
To fit it all in and play every game, I guess that just means we’re all going to have to learn that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Or at least, not the whole cake. I’m wondering if this direction that gaming is going in is gonna ultimately break the industry. Are people going to stick to just one or a few games? Or are we really going to continue to collect and actively participate in all these massive games that theoretically are unfinishable?