Hey, do you like open world games? You’d better, because going forward it seems like it’ll be hard to find a next-gen game that isn’t open world. In addition to your Assassin’s Creeds and GTAs that have been open world since day one, this generation will see series like Metal Gear Solid, Mirror’s Edge and Tomb Raider (amongst many others) embracing open world gameplay.
Who knows, some of these series may adapt to the open world thing well, but taking a more traditionally structured series and plopping it in an open world setting isn’t without its risks. Here’s a few video game series that didn’t take so well to the freedom…
Hey Ubisoft, re-use this art style any time.
Prince of Persia
The Prince of Persia series has always been based on precisely designed platforming challenges, or at least it was until 2008 when Ubisoft attempted an open world reboot of the series. The game certainly looked fantastic, but it’s teeth were gone, and the lack of discreet stages meant the traditional platforming “fall in the pit, die, start back at the beginning of the stage” structure wouldn’t work. Ubisoft’s solution — a magical girl that caught you every time you fell — just came off as patronizing. With the exception of a cheap Prince of Persia movie tie-in, PoP has been on ice since this misstep.
The fantasy skateparks of the Tony Hawk series were always large and varied, but during the series’ glory days they were still broken up into discreet stages. The series started to go wrong when they tried to do the open world thing — the world got bigger, but it also got blander, with the tightly packed playgrounds of earlier games going the way of Tony Hawk’s cultural relevance. It was Tony Hawk Ride that put the series down, but the horse was already sick before it was beaten to death with a skateboard-shaped controller.