Open world games that don’t punish players for ignoring secondary content

It’s one thing to create a massive open world, but it’s quite another to fill it with content and characters that players actually find engaging. One way the developers are trying to achieve this is through the implementation of side quests and other non-story related content, in the hope that these additional activities will not only make these worlds feel more immersive, but also provide players a reason to fully enjoy. explore them.

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Unfortunately, having spent so much time creating it, it’s not uncommon for developers to try to shove all of this secondary content right down the player’s throat, which can often make it seem like players are being punished if they choose to skip certain activities. parallels in favor of focusing on the main story. Fortunately, these fantastic open-world games do no such thing, ensuring that optional side activities never feel mandatory.


it is not only shenmue one of the forefathers of the open world genre, but it’s also one of the best examples of secondary content done right. As they explore the streets of 1980s Yokosuka, shenmue players will naturally come across a variety of preset events. Some of these interactions will lead to Ryo learning a new move, but most focus on further developing his relationships with some of the many NPCs in the game.

While the extra lore is certainly a nice bonus, losing it has no impact on the outcome of the story, so those looking to speed up the game will never feel like they’re being punished for failing. to explore. If anything, the random nature of some of these events only encourages additional matches, rather than making players feel bad about missing out the first time.


As the Yakuza series from which they parted ways, the Judgment the games feature a lot of secondary content for players to enjoy. Given how seamlessly it can be blended into the overall gaming experience, it’s clear that a lot of time and thought went into coming up with all of them. JudgmentSide cases and other non-story related content, however, never feels like players are forced to interact with it if they don’t want to.

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A big part of this is probably due to series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi, who gained experience working with Yu Suzuki at Sega’s famed AM2 division. Although all three are set in Japan (at least to begin with, anyway), Yakuza Y Judgment they are very different from Suzuki shenmue franchise for the most part, but there are definitely some similarities when it comes to how they integrate secondary content without forcing it on players.

horizon zero dawn

There’s a real lack of innovation in modern open-ended video games, with most sticking to the same tired concepts and ideas that have been around since the genre first found its feet in the late 1990s and early 2000s. These include having players find collectibles, mark locations on the map by climbing tall towers or buildings, and claim territories by clearing enemy camps, and can be found in almost every modern open-world AAA video game in one form or another.

This is again the case for horizon zero dawn and its 2022 sequel, Forbidden Horizon Westalthough the Horizon the games at least try to put their own spin on things, with things like Cauldrons, Tallnecks, and Vista Points. Better yet, these side activities are never forced on players like in other open world games. In fact, players don’t even need to complete all of the games’ side activities to unlock their platinum trophies, so Horizon one of the most generous and considered open world franchises in this regard.

assassin’s Creed

A lot of people like to blame Ubisoft for the current state of the open world genre, with the publisher’s formulaic approach to game design having rubbed off on various other developers over the past few decades. This flawed idea that bigger is always better has had a very detrimental impact on modern open world video games, with many considering Very far Y assassin’s Creed be among the worst offenders in this regard.

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However, in their defense, neither series forces players to interact with secondary content if they don’t want to. This is especially true of the assassin’s Creed games, with players free to choose which side activities they interact with and not. Choosing to skip side content entirely rarely has an impact on the overall gameplay experience, ensuring that players never feel too bad about focusing only on the main story.

L.A. Noire

While the Rockstar GTA The series has never put too much emphasis on side content, the ability to unlock new vehicles and weapons or take part in unique missions involving main story characters can make some of the side content in the series feel a bit like a essential reading. The same is not true of the studio’s 2011 game. L.A. Noirehowever, with players free to completely ignore everything but the main story without being made to feel like they’re missing out.

To be clear, some of the Street Crime side quests in L.A. Noire are a lot of fun to complete, while others are incredibly interesting and do a great job of fleshing out the game world further. However, it never feels like the developers are trying to force players to interact with the secondary content, and the lack of any real rewards for completing it ensures that players never miss out on too much besides the experience and the weird part of the game. tradition. .

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