Short Assignment 2: Blend into Open-world

Nowadays, open-world games have gained huge popularity among players due to their ability to provide autonomous and immersive gaming experiences. As the genre develops rapidly, modern game designers have been expanding the definition of open-world games in innovative ways. Such innovations manifest themselves as a trend that the open-world is more considered a game design element rather than a template. The conventions from previous typical open-world games have been extracted and deconstructed, then combined with elements from many other game genres. Such combinations increase expressiveness compared to the original way. This assignment will demonstrate a few examples of combinations between open-world and other game genres by presenting game prototypes and trying to explain how they can make the expression more effective in terms of gameplay.

Feature: turn-based combat, linear plot with open-world.

Example: Xenoblade 3 and Yakuza: Like A Dragon 7.

Prototyping: 3rd-person, limited-size open-world, turn-based combat, linear plot;

Why effective: content-rich and autonomous game world makes the status of role-playing more convincing. Open-world style exploration elements can also be involved in character growth, making the whole process more diverse and fun. Like in Yakuza: Like A Dragon 7, “…there’s a meaningful gameplay benefit to almost every little interaction and activity you can undertake while exploring Yokohama. You can, for example, sit for exams at the vocational school to boost Ichiban’s intellect and thus make him less susceptible to brainwash attacks during a battle…” (Ogilvie).

Feature: first-person view, gun-combat centered.

Example: Farcry franchise, the open-world style side quests are reviewed as “…almost all of the ones I dug into were either fun diversions from the weighty task of liberating an entire country or deepened my relationship and understanding of the supporting cast – and sometimes both.” (Ryan).

Prototyping: 1st-person, limited-size open-world, several switchable (customizable?) weapons, health bar, (NPCs that can combat?), destructible environmental.

Why effective: the possibility of free exploration extends the game time and provides a way that traditional FPSs don’t have to effectively build worldview.

Feature: freely create and destruct, no ultimate goal.

Example: Minecraft, Terraria.

Prototyping: infinite world, means of placing and removing objects.

Why effective: constructing a world where players can immerse in rather than providing a simple sandbox can make players feel the creation is more valued and be more motivated to create and explore.

Open worlds also have a downside when game designers can fall into the “more the better” trap. Some linear games have lost control of the game scale after migrating to open-world design, resulting in an overly heavy and boring quest list. (Assassin's Creed Origins) There are also games having performance issues or plot progression problems after adopting the open-world design.

On the other hand, open-world usually takes the price of higher cost and difficulty. Due to radical project planning, the development team may not have enough time or resources to polish the details, and some rough performance will certainly lead to a significant drop in player experience.

There are ways of prototyping a game, Software Prototyping, Paper Prototyping and Physical Prototyping (Adams et al.), what I’m going to do is to build software game prototypes in Unreal Engine that satisfy the above characteristics and demonstrate how open-world game design can make the original genre more effective by comparison.

Ogilvie, Tristan. “Yakuza: Like a Dragon Review.” IGN, 4 Nov. 2020,

Ryan, Jon. “Far Cry 6 Review.” IGN, 6 Oct. 2021,

Adams, Ernest, and Joris Dormans. “Mechanics and the Game Design Process.” Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design, New Riders, S.l., 2012.