Industry shifting focus to immersive experiences
Open-world adventures have become a major success in recent years, with games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Witcher 3 being praised for their complexity and authenticity. As technology advances and the gap between console, PC and mobile gaming continues to decrease, developers seek to take advantage of more powerful hardware to create even larger and more immersive game worlds.
Just like Doom paved the way for first-person shooters, Grand Theft Auto III laid the foundation for open-world adventures. Since its release, in 2001, several games were designed using the same structure and 3D open-world employed in GTA III, with series like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout featuring larger and more diverse worlds, offering new possibilities to players.
In recent years, we’ve seen many games with intricate gameplays and fully immersive experiences come up. No Man’s Sky was released in 2016 and, according to developers, the game was able to produce more than 18 quintillion planets through procedural generation, for players to explore in a survival gameplay with stunning graphics. The 2017s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been described as a paradigm shift for open-world design, as the game departed from the structured approach of most open-word titles to a fully interactive and unstructured world that rewards exploration and manipulation – the game even features a chemistry engine.
In 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak, several studios were forced to shut down operations and work remotely. This led to the release of many titles being postponed, so 2021 is expected to be a year full of great releases, including a lot of exciting open-world games.
Although most open-world games are RPGs, action-adventure and survival games, there are some thrilling new gaming experiences about to come up, that will certainly change the way we play video games. These are some of the most exciting upcoming open-world games.
Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Forbidden West is an upcoming action role-playing game developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, set to be released in 2021 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.
A sequel to one of the most popular exclusives on PS4, Horizon Zero Dawn, Forbidden West takes place in a post-apocalyptic open-world comprising the states of California, Utah and Nevada, featuring a larger map than the previous game. It continues the story of Aloy, a huntress that must explore the world and fight dangerous machines to find the source of a mysterious plague.
The first instalment was an instant success and became one of the best-selling PS4 games, with more than 10 million copies sold. But Forbidden West is expected to be a step up from its predecessor, featuring improved mechanics and gameplay and graphics enhanced by the PS5 processing power.
The Sandbox Game
The Sandbox is an upcoming open-world adventure game based on the Ethereum blockchain published by Animoca Brands. The platform allows players to make their own 3D games, design characters and scenery, and monetize the content created through NFTs, in a completely decentralized environment.
Currently on its open beta stage, the game encourages creativity and entrepreneurship by using three integrated tools (VoxEdit, GameMaker and Marketplace), through which players can create and design virtual worlds and adventures, build equipment, items and scenery objects, and trade these assets in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in a decentralized marketplace.
Players use SAND, the game’s own cryptocurrency, to visit other players’ worlds and play their adventures, to buy assets, and to purchase LAND, virtual pieces of land that are the building lots in the Sandbox.
Far Cry 6
Far Cry 6 is a first-person shooter game developed and published by Ubisoft for home consoles and Microsoft Windows. It was scheduled to be released on February 18, but due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, its release was postponed to mid-2021.
As its predecessors, Far Cry 6 is set in an open-world environment; a fictional Caribbean island called Yara that is loosely based in Cuba. The island is ruled by a dictator portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, The Mandalorian), and players take the role of a guerrilla fighter attempting to overthrow the regime.
Far Cry games always provided great immersive adventures, and with Far Cry 6, Ubisoft is expected to bring us a huge and more detailed world setting featuring a deep storyline.
Tchia is an upcoming open-world adventure developed and published by Awaceb, set to be released this year for PC. In it, players take control of a young girl as she explores her home tropical island. The game offers secret locations to discover, several NPCs to meet and a fully immersive journey.
The main feature in the game is the special ability that Tchia has: she can transform into over 30 animals and more than 100 different objects, and players must use these transformations to help Tchia’s friends, explore the island and escape the many dangers she finds in her journey.