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I would love a top developer to create a more condensed, rich open world - hear me out!

Markio128

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I‘ve played a lot of open world games and I‘m not ashamed to admit that I’ve spent a frightening amount of time immersed in those worlds; from GTA, to The Elder Scrolls and The Witcher, I’ve enjoyed them in all equal measure. However, I feel like there is a gap in the market for a more condensed open world (that Disco Elysium sort of fills, if only from a more old-school RPG viewpoint). If, like me, you have ever walked the streets of Liberty City and wished you could just walk into any house or shop, or talk to any person, then you’ll know where I’m going with this. I’m talking about a smaller, but richer open world, maybe 5-10 miles in diameter - a town perhaps, or a small island.

As an example, I’d love top play as a detective in a small town, who is investigating a murder, or a disappearance. I’d like every person in town to have their own daily routines (Majoras Mask had a simple version of this, that I loved), going about their daily lives. People would go to school, work, nights out, within social groups. You could visit all the locations within the town, including homes, shops, schools or places of work. You’d have your own routine, but you could treat your character how you wished. You could get pissed every night in a bar, or have an affair, you get my drift.

Without getting carried away with the idea, I just wondered how many of my fellow gamers would like to play a more rich and condensed open world game, created by a top developer? And if so, what would you like to see in the game?
 
Dec 29, 2018
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I‘ve played a lot of open world games and I‘m not ashamed to admit that I’ve spent a frightening amount of time immersed in those worlds; from GTA, to The Elder Scrolls and The Witcher, I’ve enjoyed them in all equal measure. However, I feel like there is a gap in the market for a more condensed open world (that Disco Elysium sort of fills, if only from a more old-school RPG viewpoint). If, like me, you have ever walked the streets of Liberty City and wished you could just walk into any house or shop, or talk to any person, then you’ll know where I’m going with this. I’m talking about a smaller, but richer open world, maybe 5-10 miles in diameter - a town perhaps, or a small island.

As an example, I’d love top play as a detective in a small town, who is investigating a murder, or a disappearance. I’d like every person in town to have their own daily routines (Majoras Mask had a simple version of this, that I loved), going about their daily lives. People would go to school, work, nights out, within social groups. You could visit all the locations within the town, including homes, shops, schools or places of work. You’d have your own routine, but you could treat your character how you wished. You could get pissed every night in a bar, or have an affair, you get my drift.

Without getting carried away with the idea, I just wondered how many of my fellow gamers would like to play a more rich and condensed open world game, created by a top developer? And if so, what would you like to see in the game?
Nah OP. Don't get the drift. What is this post REALLY about?
 

Markio128

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Nah OP. Don't get the drift. What is this post REALLY about?
It is what it is mate haha. And it is a my first OP, so be gentle. I genuinely wondered if anybody else was a bit tired of massive open worlds and would like to experience something a lot smaller, but richer in the details?

EDIT: For instance, having played the recent Watch Dogs, whilst it has a lot of great ideas, the map is too large and the story not personal enough to remain engaging, for me at least. I haven’t played it again after having spent around 7/8 hours on it.
 
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Husky

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You might enjoy Vampyr. You can't go inside every building, but there is something special to wandering a world that's not really vast at all, it's just dense and maze-like. I guess that's... what a Metroidvania is, isn't it.

Postal 2? :lollipop_grinning_smiling_eyes:

I'd love to see some more games go for smaller worlds if it means those worlds are far more interactive and detailed. But ideally, and probably unrealistically, I'd take a massive world with all the same features. The Elder Scrolls does a pretty great job with this! But the cities are more like visual interpretations of cities, closer in size to a small village. How I wish I could wander a vast fantasy expanse, take reprieve within the walls of a Novigrad-scale city, and enter any interior, speak with any NPC. Alas. A wish never to be granted?

This hypothetical detective game sounds pretty hype. I'd be extremely excited for such a thing. Man, that should've been Call of Cthulhu! Is that what The Sinking City is?
 

NahaNago

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Well I'd like to play a jrpg like that. It is pretty much what i've been wanting but creating several towns and cities like that just seems like too much for them to do.
 
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Markio128

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You might enjoy Vampyr. You can't go inside every building, but there is something special to wandering a world that's not really vast at all, it's just dense and maze-like. I guess that's... what a Metroidvania is, isn't it.

Postal 2? :lollipop_grinning_smiling_eyes:

I'd love to see some more games go for smaller worlds if it means those worlds are far more interactive and detailed. But ideally, and probably unrealistically, I'd take a massive world with all the same features. The Elder Scrolls does a pretty great job with this! But the cities are more like visual interpretations of cities, closer in size to a small village. How I wish I could wander a vast fantasy expanse, take reprieve within the walls of a Novigrad-scale city, and enter any interior, speak with any NPC. Alas. A wish never to be granted?

This hypothetical detective game sounds pretty hype. I'd be extremely excited for such a thing. Man, that should've been Call of Cthulhu! Is that what The Sinking City is?
I‘ll have to try Vampyr, I’m sure it was one of the PS+ games that I haven’t yet got around to playing. It sounds like something I would enjoy. I remember playing Vampire, the Masquerade on PC years ago, that had a similar vibe that I adored. In fact there were a few PC games back in the day, when Half Life was just released, that were more rich and condensed.

Like you said, the Elder Scrolls does an amazing job considering the vastness of the map. I think what I am wishing for is a game where everything you do has more of an effect on those around you. And for the scale to be small enough that every room in every building can be as detailed and unique as the next.
 
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Markio128

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I'm soooo fucking sick of open world games and it like it has become AAA developer's default choice, I want proper level design.
Yeah, I feel that open world games have gone as far as they can go now. I‘d really like more effort given to AI and just making a more believable environment, so that it is more engaging for the gamer.
 
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Markio128

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Well I'd like to play a jrpg like that. It is pretty much what i've been wanting but creating several towns and cities like that just seems like too much for them to do.
In my head, I’m imagining a place similar to that which Stephen King is famous for creating. A fictional place, but with a believable life of its own.
 
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PSYGN

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I would be surprised if the next GTA game didn't allow more stores to be enterable, hell maybe all of them will be able to be.

I've never played Watch Dogs but I think I remember seeing that pedestrians would have routines and a job, etc.

But still, I know what you mean. You want denser areas to explore with richer interactions between its inhabitants. I would like that, too.
 
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NahaNago

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In my head, I’m imagining a place similar to that which Stephen King is famous for creating. A fictional place, but with a believable life of its own.
I was going for more of just a living town. I want the world to feel alive and like I could just do nothing for the most part and everyone would just be living their lives.
 

Markio128

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You, my friend, need to play Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
That is, if you haven't played it alread.
It's not quite what you describe but it gets close.
I’ve played it and really enjoyed it matey. It isn’t quite what I feel is missing in the market, however, the amount of choice the game presents and the effects those choices have are what make it a great game. Speaking of which, the original Deus Ex on the PC blew my mind at the time. That’s what recent games are missing at the moment; that mind blowing effect that freedom of choice can give you - as long as there are consequences to your actions.
 

Markio128

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I would be surprised if the next GTA game didn't allow more stores to be enterable, hell maybe all of them will be able to be.

I've never played Watch Dogs but I think I remember seeing that pedestrians would have routines and a job, etc.

But still, I know what you mean. You want denser areas to explore with richer interactions between its inhabitants. I would like that, too.
Essentially, I don’t want to travel halfway across a continent to do something I could have done in the town I left behind, if that makes sense. You could make a small area so rich and characterful, that you wouldn’t need to leave it.
 
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It is what it is mate haha. And it is a my first OP, so be gentle. I genuinely wondered if anybody else was a bit tired of massive open worlds and would like to experience something a lot smaller, but richer in the details?

EDIT: For instance, having played the recent Watch Dogs, whilst it has a lot of great ideas, the map is too large and the story not personal enough to remain engaging, for me at least. I haven’t played it again after having spent around 7/8 hours on it.
Lol nah don't worry I was just teasing with my reply. I like to joke around.
 

Golgo 13

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This has already been done on a much larger scale - Red Dead Redemption 2. I mean, there's little doubt it's the most detailed open-world ever created and checks most of your boxes with a few exceptions - you can't have affairs, because there's already a love narrative built into the game. And you can't go into EVERY building, but you can go into almost all of them. Not only that, the detail is unparalleled in the buildings. But the inhabitants who have their own lives and habits and all of that is very much captured in that game.
 

Markio128

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you can have proper exploration without being "open world" as it shown by games like Bloodborne and original Bioshock.
Now imagine Bioshock where you play as one of the inhabitants, prior to it all going pear-shaped, going about your daily life. Then slowly, but surely, things start to go wrong. Would you stick around to help others out, or try to escape? That place would make an incredible setting for the type of open world I would love to see.
 
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Yeah, I feel that open world games have gone as far as they can go now. I‘d really like more effort given to AI and just making a more believable environment, so that it is more engaging for the gamer.
Hard disagree.

We have not had open worlds with any proper AI so its very hard to say we've gone as far as we can go when NPC behavior is still so static and predictable.

A good example of random NPC behavior would be Watch Dogs 2. That game has random NPC encounters that make it a believable world. Not all of them are perfect but seeing a cop pull over to investigate two bikini clad women having a fist fight on the side walk is amazing and there are tons more (just check youtube).

Common Issues I have with open world games:
- Traffic density not time specific. Morning traffic on highways should be heavier than mid day or late evening traffic.
- NPC density should be highest in City Centres.
- Believable NPC activities: Camping in the wild, going for group bike rides, hiking, sky diving, outdoor yoga/gyms etc. I know some of this is already in Watch Dogs and GTA but it needs to have more variety. Would be nice to see a TV reporter crew show up some time after a hit and run after you knocked down a pedestrian.

So there's still lots more to be done to make these worlds more believable. I'll be happy to forego fancy graphics for much improved AI systems because IMO an open world is best experienced when you truly feel you're part of it.

EDIT:
Also I really like OP's idea. Can see maybe Naughty Dog doing well with such a concept.
 
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Markio128

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This has already been done on a much larger scale - Red Dead Redemption 2. I mean, there's little doubt it's the most detailed open-world ever created and checks most of your boxes with a few exceptions - you can't have affairs, because there's already a love narrative built into the game. And you can't go into EVERY building, but you can go into almost all of them. Not only that, the detail is unparalleled in the buildings. But the inhabitants who have their own lives and habits and all of that is very much captured in that game.
To be honest, Rockstar are masters of the open world and RDR2 is incredible when you think of the work that went into it. I still want to play those vast open world games, but I also long for something essentially still offering you a level of freedom, but on a much smaller, more intimate scale, without the limitations of following a specific story line, even though there has to be a specific goal.
 

Aenima

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Play Yakuza games. They are more "open city or "open district" than open world, but they are the most condensed and ritch in details. If you switch to 1st person mode, u can actually feel like you walking on a realistic street. You can also enter in alot of places.
 

Danjin44

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Now imagine Bioshock where you play as one of the inhabitants, prior to it all going pear-shaped, going about your daily life. Then slowly, but surely, things start to go wrong. Would you stick around to help others out, or try to escape? That place would make an incredible setting for the type of open world I would love to see.
The thing is here I don’t play games for life simulation, the whole “immersions” novelty lasts 2 or 3 days for me but after that I just find it frustrating and boring.

I can get immersed in games but I personally don’t need all that “realism” BS to get me immersed in games.....but that’s just me.
 
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Nhranaghacon

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I don't see why such a game should be relegated to a smaller more condensed area - AI/ML will quickly be able to circumvent the void in Gamers minds when thinking about
what a game reliant on ML/AI metrics might be like. Meaning the games that utilize AI to populate and create a rich saturated detailed world will not only be numerous when the technology is ready
(and that should be relatively soon) but will be spectacular and seem custom tailored to their wildest dreams. You want a rich, detailed - saturated world 10 times larger than GTA, with every drawer, cabinet, attic ect
filled with items to look at pick up ect - ML/AI will provide this metric to gamers without cutting down on the size or world scale. Suddenly you'll be able to tear out walls and look for hidden cash, dissemble electronics and
find listening devices, go through everything in the house and it will clutter with painstaking detail.

Read all the paperwork, labels, brands, go into a grocery store and reek havoc - watch the items cascade off the shelves and into the floor.

AI will be applied to facilitate all of these things you crave but feel are too overwhelming for any team to take on, on their own. And it will achieve remarkable results.
 

Markio128

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Hard disagree.

We have not had open worlds with any proper AI so its very hard to say we've gone as far as we can go when NPC behavior is still so static and predictable.

A good example of random NPC behavior would be Watch Dogs 2. That game has random NPC encounters that make it a believable world. Not all of them are perfect but seeing a cop pull over to investigate two bikini clad women having a fist fight on the side walk is amazing and there are tons more (just check youtube).

Common Issues I have with open world games:
- Traffic density not time specific. Morning traffic on highways should be heavier than mid day or late evening traffic.
- NPC density should be highest in City Centres.
- Believable NPC activities: Camping in the wild, going for group bike rides, hiking, sky diving, outdoor yoga/gyms etc. I know some of this is already in Watch Dogs and GTA but it needs to have more variety. Would be nice to see a TV reporter crew show up some time after a hit and run after you knocked down a pedestrian.

So there's still lots more to be done to make these worlds more believable. I'll be happy to forego fancy graphics for much improved AI systems because IMO an open world is best experienced when you truly feel you're part of it.

EDIT:
Also I really like OP's idea. Can see maybe Naughty Dog doing well with such a concept.
Fair comment. I guess I misused the term open world, which sort of suggests a vast world. I’m longing for the same level of freedom, but in a much smaller, detailed area, where the dev time can be spent more on the smaller details. For instance, those NPC’s camping in the wild could be your neighbours, or teenagers from the local school. You’d get to know all of the characters and their habits. I’m talking about that level of immersion And I just feel that it would need to be on a much smaller scale for it to work. Those teenagers out camping could be taking drugs and you have to decide how you want to deal with that. Do you leave them to it, or ask where they got them from?
 
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Dec 29, 2018
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Fair comment. I guess I misused the term open world, which sort of suggests a vast world. I’m longing for the same level of freedom, but in a much smaller, detailed area, where the dev time can be spent more on the smaller details. For instance, those NPC’s camping in the wild could be your neighbours, or teenagers from the local school. You’d get to know all of the characters and their habits. I’m talking about that level of immersion And I just feel that it would need to be on a much smaller scale for it to work. Those teenagers out camping could be taking drugs and you have to decide how you want to deal with that. Do you leave them to it, or ask where they got them from?
Something kind of like Last Of Us 2 is kinda is what you want. It's not completely linear and also not open world and I can see them expanding on such a concept however It'd likely take a ton more system horsepower to pull off. They're the best at handcrafted worlds and it's something I'd definitely play were they to release such a game.

Makes me think of a game with the setting of the small town of Bright Falls from Alan Wake. That would be epic.
 
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Markio128

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The thing is here I don’t play games for life simulation, the whole “immersions” novelty lasts 2 or 3 days for me but after that I just find it frustrating and boring.

I can get immersed in games but I personally don’t need all that “realism” BS to get me immersed in games.....but that’s just me.
I get that it wouldn’t be for everyone. And to be honest, I enjoy most types of games, but I just feel that there maybe a gap in the market. And the more choice there is, the more gaming may attract new fans.
 
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Markio128

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Something kind of like Last Of Us 2 is kinda is what you want. It's not completely linear and also not open world and I can see them expanding on such a concept however It'd likely take a ton more system horsepower to pull off. They're the best at handcrafted worlds and it's something I'd definitely play were they to release such a game.

Makes me think of a game with the setting of the small town of Bright Falls from Alan Wake. That would be epic.
Alan Wake - or the original concept of that game, is pretty close to the sort of thing I am after. Good shout.
 

SlimeGooGoo

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Good examples. You could also look at Animal Crossing as proof of concept, and how popular that game is. There is lots of inspiration out there and I’d love a top dev to be brave enough to use that type of concept and build a more detailed, realistic world from it.
Are you suggesting some type of simulation?
 

Markio128

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Are you suggesting some type of simulation?
Yeah, I suppose there would need to be a simulation in the background, but also, there would still need to be an end goal of some sort to work towards. But why not have an RPG where you have a job, get paid and need to live within your means? Save up for a new car, or decorate the Living room? Get married, or be a player? Just imagine being this detective in this simulated world, where you are living your life, while also investigating cases within the town.
 
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SlimeGooGoo

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Yeah, I suppose there would need to be a simulation in the background, but also, there would still need to be an end goal of some sort to work towards. But why not have an RPG where you have a job, get paid and need to live within your means? Save up for a new car, or decorate the Living room? Get married, or be a player? Just imagine being this detective in this simulated world, where you are living your life, while also investigating cases within the town.
Seems like a tricky project.

It sounds like a mix of Dwarf Fortress, AI Dungeon and The Sims.

There's the issue of generating content non-stop without it feeling too repetitive and predictable, which is a very complicated problem to solve.
It would probably require some sort of "Dungeon Master" system to always generate new content in an entertaining way.
 
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eastcoastkody

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watch dogs 2 nailed an aspect of the NPCs. in that i was actually interested in who they were. As r lil hacker phone brings up info on everyone u see in the game. And even shows their mood.

And some ppl in the game are related which is cool. I found like a whole family hanging outside an apartment
 
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Markio128

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watch dogs 2 nailed an aspect of the NPCs. in that i was actually interested in who they were. As r lil hacker phone brings up info on everyone u see in the game. And even shows their mood.

And some ppl in the game are related which is cool. I found like a whole family hanging outside an apartment
Yeah, it is clever what they created with Watch Dogs. Sort of build on that idea, but with less people, so that more detail can be applied. Then use their personalities and traits to build stories around.
 
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eyesabitdull

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I‘ve played a lot of open world games and I‘m not ashamed to admit that I’ve spent a frightening amount of time immersed in those worlds; from GTA, to The Elder Scrolls and The Witcher, I’ve enjoyed them in all equal measure. However, I feel like there is a gap in the market for a more condensed open world (that Disco Elysium sort of fills, if only from a more old-school RPG viewpoint). If, like me, you have ever walked the streets of Liberty City and wished you could just walk into any house or shop, or talk to any person, then you’ll know where I’m going with this. I’m talking about a smaller, but richer open world, maybe 5-10 miles in diameter - a town perhaps, or a small island.

As an example, I’d love top play as a detective in a small town, who is investigating a murder, or a disappearance. I’d like every person in town to have their own daily routines (Majoras Mask had a simple version of this, that I loved), going about their daily lives. People would go to school, work, nights out, within social groups. You could visit all the locations within the town, including homes, shops, schools or places of work. You’d have your own routine, but you could treat your character how you wished. You could get pissed every night in a bar, or have an affair, you get my drift.

Without getting carried away with the idea, I just wondered how many of my fellow gamers would like to play a more rich and condensed open world game, created by a top developer? And if so, what would you like to see in the game?

I mean, basically you just want Disco Elysium x 1000 in improvements upon it from all aspects shaped into AAA form.

And I can't disagree.

I really want that as well.
 

RoadHazard

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I‘ve played a lot of open world games and I‘m not ashamed to admit that I’ve spent a frightening amount of time immersed in those worlds; from GTA, to The Elder Scrolls and The Witcher, I’ve enjoyed them in all equal measure. However, I feel like there is a gap in the market for a more condensed open world (that Disco Elysium sort of fills, if only from a more old-school RPG viewpoint). If, like me, you have ever walked the streets of Liberty City and wished you could just walk into any house or shop, or talk to any person, then you’ll know where I’m going with this. I’m talking about a smaller, but richer open world, maybe 5-10 miles in diameter - a town perhaps, or a small island.

As an example, I’d love top play as a detective in a small town, who is investigating a murder, or a disappearance. I’d like every person in town to have their own daily routines (Majoras Mask had a simple version of this, that I loved), going about their daily lives. People would go to school, work, nights out, within social groups. You could visit all the locations within the town, including homes, shops, schools or places of work. You’d have your own routine, but you could treat your character how you wished. You could get pissed every night in a bar, or have an affair, you get my drift.

Without getting carried away with the idea, I just wondered how many of my fellow gamers would like to play a more rich and condensed open world game, created by a top developer? And if so, what would you like to see in the game?

Skyrim, GTA V, etc, are all already SMALLER than what you're asking for. Skyrim is only a bit over 3 miles wide, for example.
 

SinDelta

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I'm soooo fucking sick of open world games and it like it has become AAA developer's default choice, I want proper level design.
Vanillaware games show you can make amazing games and narratives without an open world.

Both Dragon Quest XI and Monster Hunter Rise manage to feel vast in scope without quite being open world.
 
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Zannegan

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No More Heroes is like the joke version of that... at least, it has a small open world and you have life sim aspects like getting a job built in.

Like someone else said, Deus Ex is probably closest to what you're looking for.

To answer your question, yeah, I'd be down for a Majora's Mask meets L. A. Noir game, though it would have to be well-written and the A.I. responsive in intelligent ways. I'm also not sure how you make it work without a "Groundhog Day" time-rewinding mechanic. I'd be intrigued to say the least.
 
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watch dogs 2 nailed an aspect of the NPCs. in that i was actually interested in who they were. As r lil hacker phone brings up info on everyone u see in the game. And even shows their mood.

And some ppl in the game are related which is cool. I found like a whole family hanging outside an apartment
The fuck?

This is why I love Watch Dogs 2 open world. It's just awesome like that. Check some of the youtube clips of random NPC behaviour.

There was one where a girl was smashing up her boyfriends car cause he apparently had been sleeping around. Cops pull up to investigate and arrest her. So goddamn hilarious and amazing to see.
 

Reality Czar

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Lol every single person in the open world has a full daily routine that is unique to them? And every building has an interior? I feel like Rockstar would have to take over the planet and enslave everyone and force a billion people to work on this game to make those things happen. And it would still take 100 years.
 
J

JeremyEtcetera

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The A.I. and future processing power is the missing key to all of this.


I'm soooo fucking sick of open world games and it like it has become AAA developer's default choice, I want proper level design.
I feel where you're coming from. You should make a new thread about it so that people can recommend us some good modern games with great level design.
 

Danjin44

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I feel where you're coming from. You should make a new thread about it so that people can recommend us some good modern games with great level design.
Most recently is Demons Souls, that game's strong point is it level design in each Archstone.
 

Three

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Lol every single person in the open world has a full daily routine that is unique to them? And every building has an interior? I feel like Rockstar would have to take over the planet and enslave everyone and force a billion people to work on this game to make those things happen. And it would still take 100 years.
I remember they said this for the game Republic The Revolution if anyone remembers that. They said every NPC would have a routine, job, and aspirations. Still waiting for a game where that is true.
 

Bluecondor

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Good examples. You could also look at Animal Crossing as proof of concept, and how popular that game is. There is lots of inspiration out there and I’d love a top dev to be brave enough to use that type of concept and build a more detailed, realistic world from it.
I'm glad you said Animal Crossing, as that is one of the first examples that came to mind when I read your original post. New Horizons is my first Animal Crossing game, and it has really held my attention. The combination of the real calendar (especially holidays and weather) and the fact that you have 10 villagers who live on the island with you out of 300+ possible villagers in the entire game really makes the game immersive. A real calendar and a small set of really meaningful characters who you can interact with every day would be great features in everything from a GTA game to an Assassin's Creed type game.
 
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mxbison

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Agree.

I would love for GTA to go way smaller in scale but more detailed in the next game, no way that's gonna happen though.
 
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