Games: Let me interact with game worlds more!

Games: Let me interact with game worlds more!


Far Cry 6, Horizon: Forbidden West, Dying Light 2 are open world single player games that should be released this year. I look forward to it because I like to dive into games that simulate a believable world that I can immerse myself in. But although I will certainly have a lot of fun with the games, I am sure that this year's Open Worlds will disappoint me in the end. Because for me all of these game worlds have a massive credibility problem in which the game character is just a foreign body in the end.

Or in short: I don't find these games credible because they don't let me do pointless stuff!

Table of contents

1 The play by The Witcher 3 2 Eternal love Gothic 3 Interactive perfection in Red Dead Redemption 2 4 Against all odds! Recommended editorial content Here you will find external content from [PLATTFORM]. To protect your personal data, external integrations are only displayed if you confirm this by clicking on "Load all external content": Load all external content I agree that external content can be displayed to me. This means that personal data is transmitted to third-party platforms. Read more about our privacy policy . External content More on this in our data protection declaration.

The play by The Witcher 3

Anyone who takes a closer look at the world of the witcher will notice how quickly the appearance flies. Source: PC Games Hardware Okay, that was a bit polemical now, but at least that got me your attention:

By "senseless things", I do not mean the 200th collecting quest that extends the game time, but things in the game world that do not always have a purpose. All current Open World titles advertise the realistic, believable world that you can immerse yourself in. But in my opinion, this is mostly nothing more than an advertising phrase that the game cannot follow afterwards. Of course, the graphics and details keep getting better and more sophisticated. NPCs go about their daily routines and the bustle in cities or settlements is getting bigger and nicer to look at. But in the end they are just a backdrop that you can't really do anything with.

Let's take The Witcher 3 as an example. What we don't have to discuss is that the game is a masterpiece and that it is still unparalleled today, especially when it comes to storytelling. On top of that, it looks fantastic and will even be overhauled again with the versions for PS5 and Xbox Series X / S. In terms of the game world, the game also checks all boxes at first glance. Great details, bustle, daily routines. Actually everything is great, right? Yes, but only until you stop and take a closer look.

The guards want to make the colleague with the car wait briefly before they let him through. But the poor man has been waiting there since the game was released 6 years ago! Source: CDPR When I want to immerse myself in a world, I like to take my time and try to absorb every detail. But if I don't rush from quest to quest in The Witcher 3 times, but stop and watch the goings-on, you can quickly see how the facade crumbles. Then you first notice how many NPCs have no proper daily routine, but only stand in one place and always reel off the same movement sequences day and night. Or NPCs who are just walking around but have no real aim and when they have disappeared from the player's camera perspective, the game despawns them again. It's just lifeless shells that are supposed to convey the feeling of liveliness. In reality there is nothing alive, because behind the facade there is only the director and gives the order to the extras to start running, so that the scene looks lively.

But what about Geralt himself? It also only looks like a foreign body, because it cannot really interact with the game world. Sure, addressing quest givers, talking to traders and knocking down monsters, that works of course. But I'm talking about much simpler things here. Why can't you just sit on a bench, for example? That sounds extremely banal, but how cool it would be if I could sit down in the Eisvogel, the tavern in Novigrad, and listen to the bard Priscilla play her songs. Not just as part of a quest, where you do exactly that in a cut-off scene, but when I feel like it and for as long as I want. How about a campfire in the wilderness to sit by. There could even be a purpose behind it and you can simply fry yourself something tasty as part of the crafting.

Let's be honest: You'd look wrong if you couldn't even sit down during the entire game ... Source: buffed I don't just want to take the Witcher hostage here, because other representatives of the oh-so-great Open Worlds don't manage to offer me a world into which I can fit myself as a player. Horizon: Zero Dawn is another such candidate. Actually, there is an incredibly creative world in it that guerrilla games came up with. Nevertheless, I am again denied being a complete part of the world. How I would have loved to take a rest in the Tagturm fortress. The facility is considered the final border between your own home and the unknown lands. It would be a fantastic moment if you lean or sit high up against the fortress wall and enjoy the sunrise. Just before you set off for a foreign country. But nothing there, because here, too, the following applies: There is only interaction with quest givers, dealers or in combat.

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Eternal love Gothic

Every NPC in Gothic has its own place in the game world. Craftsmen go about their work, guards patrol and in the evening they stand together in the pub and have a drink. Source: Spellbound Entertainment / THQ Nordic Barcelona / Piranha Bytes / media agency plassma I don't want to constantly spread my frustration here, because there are definitely representatives who satisfy me with this need. Anyone who has read my columns before may know that I am a great friend of the Gothic series, while wicked tongues would say I am a fanboy. But I would like to give the example anyway, because I love Gothic so much because it offers me an atmosphere and a lively game world like few others.

That starts with the NPCs. The old camp is populated by numerous NPCs. However, they are not spawned at random, but have their permanent place in the world. There are the guards who stand and patrol at fixed times at fixed times. There are people who build their huts and in the evening some people go to the big campfire for a beer before going to bed in their hut. Yes, every NPC in Gothic has its own place where it spends the night. You don't just despawn to reduce the number of NPCs a bit.

In Gothic you can just sit by the fire and relax. Source: THQ Nordic On top of that, as a player, I interact with the world to an extent that puts a grin on my face every time. I watch the goings-on from a bench, I fry meat in the pan, I move the rotisserie over the fire or I craft a new sword in the forge. This is then even carried to excess, because I first have to heat my iron in the forge, then forge on the anvil, then let the iron cool in the water bucket and finally sharpen the thing on the grindstone.
< Any game designer at Ubisoft would break into screaming fits with such a cumbersome gameplay mechanism, but I think it's great! On top of that I would like to emphasize again that this game is already 20 years old.

Interactive perfection in Red Dead Redemption 2

The world in Red Dead Redemption 2 is not coming either without sleight of hand, but it lets the player interact with it massively. Source: PC Games So that I don't keep hymns of praise to Gothic forever, a more recent example called Red Dead Redemption 2! In Rockstar's western epic, I interact with every NPC to greet them or to talk silly from the side. When I go to the bartender in the saloon, not only does a flat menu pop up, but I choose my drink, then get it in my hand and drink it casually at the counter. But the climax is waiting in the camp of the Dutch van der Linde gang. In the run-up to the game, Rockstar placed great emphasis on this part of the game and advertised it, and I think they outdid themselves. It's a feast of interactions that aren't important to the gameplay itself. But the atmosphere shoots to unbelievable heights.

I'll outline my normal daily routine in Red Dead 2. First I get up from my bed in which I spent the night. Then I look in the mirror to see if I need to shave again. Then off to Pearson's car and first pour a cup of coffee. I chat with a few people, like Karen or Miss Grimshaw.

I continue with a few small tasks like chopping wood, carrying sacks of flour or feeding the horses. Everyone in the camp has to lend a hand, and Arthur Morgan is no exception.

In Red Dead Redemption 2, you can just have a nice cup of hot coffee. Source: Rockstar

After the morning program, I go on missions from which I return exhausted in the evening. The stew is already simmering over the fire, so quickly take care of the horse and have a bite to eat, maybe a beer with it. I end the day by the fire with the others who are sitting there with me. Maybe someone tells a little story or someone else just plucks a little melody on the guitar. It's great and really immerses me in the world and I can't praise Rockstar enough for going so many extra miles. With the Elder Scrolls or Yakuza series there are definitely other representatives of this guild, but this is more the minority in single player games.

Against all odds!

Nevertheless, I have to face reality, because of course I understand why things like this are of no relevance to developers. Like me, probably only a tiny part of the players play and then it becomes a simple cost / benefit calculation. Incorporating such mechanics costs resources that you might prefer to throw on more important elements of the game. Most of the animations already exist in the big open worlds, only they are reserved for NPCs. Why don't you just unlock the NPC's repertoire of movement for the hero? I am not a game developer, so I can well imagine that there are 1000 reasons that speak against it.

But if one or the other game designer actually gets lost on this article, I just freely argue:

"Dear Open World game designers. Make your game worlds more interactive for us players! They deserve to be more than just a rigid backdrop!"

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