Who doesn’t love a grand expansive open-world where you can do just about anything and go just about anywhere and treat the game world as your own personal sandbox? With each year it seems that more and more games opt for this design and now there are so many open-world games that one really has to choose your games a lot more carefully, in order to have time to play through them all. It is very reminiscent of how games like the excellent CoD: Modern Warfare ushered in a wave of military shooters back in 2007, which lead to what many perceived as an oversaturation of the shooter market. Is the same true for open-world games these days?

If you think about it there is an overabundance of open-world games on the market this year alone. Many of the biggest games feature huge worlds and hours upon hours of potential game play, and for a lot of us it is hard to choose which ones to go with. The thing is though, that many of these games are actually extremely good which just makes the choice even harder. Some of my favorite games of the year so far are Bloodborne, Batman: Arkham Knight, MGSV: The Phantom Pain, and Fallout 4, while I also played AC: Syndicate and the Mad Max game. I have not gotten around to play two of the games I was most excited for this year; Dragon age: Inquisition and The Witcher 3 simply because I know I won’t be able to dedicate the time they deserve to them. Ultimate first-world problem, I know, but an issue that many a gamer is plagued by.

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The same holds true for last year as we saw Watch_Dogs, Far Cry 4, Infamous: Second Son and the next-gen console release of GTA V to name a few. Next year is no different with The Division and No Man’s Sky and many, many more on the horizon. There’s simply so many titles out there, that the avid gamer (especially for adults that likely have a career, studies, social lives, and various other “grown up” things to attend to) just can’t keep up, as much as they may want to.

The more the merrier, right? Well not always. Going back to the comparison with military shooters where the genre came to the point where people went “oh, great, another CoD/Battlefield clone” across internet message boards and comment sections whenever a new shooter was announced. It could be argued that we’ve already reached the point where the majority of people think: “oh great, another GTA/Elder Scrolls/Far Cry” etc. clone. The fact of the matter is that many of these games really aren’t that inherently different when it comes to game play and design.

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What the genre needs is for developers to figure out new ways to encourage players to explore their worlds, and come up with innovative missions that go beyond the simple fetch-quests, outpost capturing, or vantage point scaling. You can now see that franchises like CoD and Battlefield are at least attempting to deviate from the tired typical military shooter with CoD going towards a more sci-fi-esque setting with Advanced Warfare and the new Black Ops 3, and Battlefield coming out with the cops and robbers themed Hardline. Babysteps perhaps, but at least they are moving into somewhat fresher territory and attempting to shake up their formulas. Here’s hoping that that we see this development in open-world genre as well.