07.02.2014 7:50

2014: Year of open world – Witcher 3, Watch Dogs and Shadows of Mordor

At a time when online sandbox still have not found a successful concept, open worlds are increasingly popular in soloigrah. GTA 5, Skyrim, Far Cry 3, not to mention a string of Assassins, only the roaring successes of the last two years, and on the horizon loomed MMO hybrids Destiny and The Division. But for them it another time, at least three high-profile and very different project will be released this year with a solid bet on the Open World . Witcher 3 , Watch_Dogs and Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor . All three with huge differences in mechanics, but with the understanding that the open world – it is not just the freedom to choose the next quest. This whole sabzhanr with its terms, rules of entertaining player and difficulties in integrating the storyline changing world. So to say necessary tortovaya bun that just have to get lucky before you can set up on her zest. And in this aspect, we decided to compare these three very different game to look through the advertising space in the stuffing, to understand what we as players expect from open world in 2014 year? What standards are the sine qua non? And these games are going to revive the open world?

Game world

All three games, it seems not at all afraid of megalomania. Even the most difficult to estimate the dimensions Shadows of Mordor. Here we will explore the vastness of Mordor, in the 60 years before the events of the book, when Sauron just grabbed the Black Gate, and most of the land to the south of them still inhabited by people. This conflict and allows, on the one hand, to achieve the desired diversity, and on the other, leaves a lot of room for imagination developers. Capture Mordor – this fan and lore is unlikely to tell you much. And it is very important for developers. After push rules in a dynamic world famous frame story book would be incredibly difficult. World LotRO, seems to deal with it, but it’s just brighter shows what appear to be static framework of an open world eight years ago in 2014. In Watch_Dogs same playground – all modern Chicago, however, one can hardly expect an exact copy. Genre rules oblige offer constant variety, besides, there is already a fine example of the sight – Liberty City in GTA 4. In theory, our hero for cyber-hacker available to the entire city, in practice Ubisoft simply copies its usual scheme. We need, exactly like in Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry 3, first access to special communications nodes to open the information in each new quarter. Ubisoft there seems to be seriously stuck in the past: Open World v. 0.9.


Well, the prize in the category “not afraid of megalomania” certainly should give Witcher 3. Corridor locations predecessors in the past – and jump in the open world will radically. We promise free to explore the game world, twenty percent larger than size card Skyrim and thirty-five times more locations Witcher 2. Vast expanses of war-torn land with Nilfgaardom Redanii in the south to the north and the Nordic Skellig Islands in the west, should ensure adequate diversity. Overcome these distances can now be riding and sailing, to have visited the locations we get through the teleport – hello Skyrim. Developers are even thinking of unheard – Do not allow the player to continue to travel through the game world and then through the story? But all can be limited as in the past, before the final warning that the return to the gaming world, we no longer can. So that developers seem themselves have not yet realized that there is enough rich classes new open world to keep us in it and without rod scene. But the creators of the other two projects, there seems to be no reason for hesitation. Shadows of Mordor for a chance to play after the credits we already guaranteed, Watch_Dogs we also count on it. And Monolith and Ubisoft realize that despite the importance of the story, Open World – is primarily a sandbox.

Things living world

And not just a sandbox, but rather, a boundless playground. And for all the success it should be covered with toys, and at each corner should stand ready rides, just waiting to distract us from the current case. In short, you need to have an open world to revive. Most in this area we know about Watch_Dogs. Chicago populated by a huge number of people, going about their business – an order of magnitude more realistic than in GTA 4 and certainly more plausible than the endless crowds flowing around in Assassin’s Creed. Our smart, our main weapon, should provide us with access to the personal life of each, allowing to extract information for jobs, help the police to prevent crime or to engage in banal robbery. In practice, it works through a big bet on the ability of the generator. We can find the criminals, following them, and then to prevent crimes. We can break into public vayfay and get access to other apartments. The problem is how quickly these mini-events will be repeated. Not that as soon as in the first Assassin’s Creed? How quickly we are breaking into someone else’s apartment laptop camera, will fall on the same mummy with a crying baby (there is, of course, do not touch it), or drug dealers, suiting arrow (grab and bring down a bank account)? However, the ability to run this game world sandbox, not abut it. Indeed, in all parts of the GTA interoperability with the world even smaller, that does not make it any less addictive. But doubts remain in force generator.

And Shadows of Mordor, and then go on Witcher more traditional path, the path, promoschennoy Skyrim. Especially Witcher, for which an open world game in a novelty. The whole department is creating content for researchers without reference to the assignments. Marsh nest monsters. Cave of bandits. Abandoned ruins. All of this should, as in Watch_Dogs Shadows of Mordor and distract the player on the scene, forcing him to explore here that turret here that cave and see where that river flows here. And everywhere it should wait reward. Side jobs should also make us use the opportunities of an open world. We promise to relieve Geralt from standard mandates kill ten utpotsev who met both the first and second parts. Now to kill the monster, we are in the books, we should say, first examine the scene of the attack and study traces, and then go to the library and subtract details the weaknesses we have defined objectives and relevant elixirs, and then to choose the right time to attack and then, using the new ability “scent witch” as the trail, go in search of the lair. Ideally, we should feel almost professional detective how Geralt and appears in the novel, and at the same time an order of magnitude more time to travel on the open world. But the question here is not whether the investigation will be a boring chore, because exactly this burned another large open world game-LA Noire. Shadows of Mordor face the same danger, and the risk may be even higher, as the developers of the Monolith, as Ubisoft, are going to make the most of the random generator. Normal monsters, which we somewhere beaten should “last effort” to escape and become our personal enemies with random characteristics. Uruk, which we threw into the fire, so after a while back with a burn and overflowing with hatred as a boss, with his own name, his subordinates, and special abilities. So the game should generate all the new and different targets for revenge that will distract us from the main plot. In practice, however, there awaits the same risk as the other two games – research can quickly become boring routine. The risk that the filling of the open world will not give life, but boring generator. Again, the best example of such a mistake – Assassin’s Creed 1.

How to write the story and character in an open world?

In theory, all three games developers know that addictive sandbox does not negate the need for a good story. In theory, all three studios realize that option Skyrim / Oblivion, with the plot for the show, it’s bad, that we should be on Red Dead Redemption and GTA, that need exciting plot twists, professional actors for Motion Capturing and thoroughly expensive mounted rollers. In theory. In practice, it is interesting how differently all three studios are suitable for this aspect and how many are willing to tell us. This is primarily due to the fact that the need to introduce a subject with a certain directing the player’s actions in the world in which the same player is given complete freedom, is considered among one of the main developers nightmares open worlds. Therefore, priority is given quite a different story. In The Witcher storyline, it can be seen, still occupies a central place. Developers are not ashamed to delve into the details of the inner feelings of the character in fatigue Geralt of political intrigue in the conflict between the feelings and passions Yennifer with Triss in scores with Wild Hunt … In this case we understand that it will not deprive us of the epic story of the all-powerful attack Nilfgaardskoy fragmented empire on the northern kingdoms. In short, many months before the release, we know about the structure of the story is no less than about the game mechanics. Especially because the developers do not get tired and describe your plan as master the balancing act between freedom of travel and the need to direct plot twists. CD Project is here beaten track, sending us to explore the world and gather information before you feed the next plot twist. At the same time to get to this turn (and this is also new to the Poles) can be in many ways – we get a “hum” to continue the story in a variety of side quests and activities. So, we are at the beginning of the game go on a journey in search of information about the attacks of the Wild Hunt, collecting information from local residents. This is nothing new, but the developers do not get tired to pronounce these details, so as not to frighten those who are afraid of losing the plot in the open world. It says something about something.

Moreover, that case is quite a contrast – Watch_Dogs. What we know about Aiden Pier for a couple of months / weeks before release. Well, besides the fact that it pro-hacker, storm and security services in general – a stern man seeking revenge? Yes essentially nothing. Even perhaps rather flat Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag we a couple months before release saw a decent amount of story clips and well imagined character and his opponents. Immediately – frames with shady characters in dark rooms with black smartphones. Neglect of the plot in the previews and marketing, of course, does not mean that it will be of little interest in the game, but past experience makes it plausible. Compare efforts CD Project RED and Ubisoft in this matter.

Shadows of Mordor, also seems to want to find a niche in the middle. On the subject says a lot, but perhaps also because puzzled fans still need to explain how this can be entered into the world of Lord of the Rings – gondorets Talion already died in the struggle for Black Enemy, but was resurrected by an angry spirit of revenge, which moved into a hero and now not only gives him more and more new resurrection, but also pushes the path of bloody avenger supplies brutal combos and magical abilities on the way to total annihilation of orcs. Lord have mercy on us, as well as it is possible to push the world in a license? The only rational response – all these ingredients developers believe that the key to crossing the story and open world. Revenge – cheap but great motive for quickly creating mass side objectives and key points on the big map. Surprisingly, all this vindictive brutalschina written Kantamessa Christian author brilliant Red Dead Redemption, so that put an end to the story until we are. But aback sneaks.


As for the mechanics, the most difficult game here compared. They do not compete with each other. Watch_Dogs must prove that the action in the urban open world can be more interesting than the dull shooting GTA4 / 5. And it seems to cope with it successfully, which is using two loans: Focus, local analog Bullet Time and manipulation of the environment, a la Deus Ex and Dishonored. Shadows of Mordor actively adopts the fighting game series of Arkham with a clear rhythm of combat strikes and blocks, but not above using the combo a la Darksiders. Witcher also competes primarily with himself, promising a faster and less significant battle skating circles around enemies. Even the fights have become more difficult because of the promised improvements are a new generation of AI and bosses that will have more personality and require special tactics – as, again, in the Shadows of Mordor. Game, with switches to slow mode, allowing us to attack on the most vulnerable parts of the body, of course, if we prepare in advance and learned about the enemy enough detail during our studies of the open world. Open World so permeates the combat system itself.


Stop. Here it is again, very interesting for our analysis and allows us to again compare all three games – as they use the possibility of an open world in their mechanics in the combat system, character development? Shadows of Mordor, for example, wants to allow us to penetrate the brains of any creature of the open world. So not only do we like The Witcher, collect useful information about our goals, but also brainwashed and release to our brethren in anticipation of orders. Closer to the second half of the game so we collect a whole army of our agents of Uruk and orcs. At the right moment they can be set on their relatives, arrange chaos and penetrate deep into the orc fortress next to the desired boss us. With proper preparation, even minions can cope with the problem independently. Watch_Dogs, by the way, it would fit something like that, but there seem to be our ability to use the environment in battle limited narrowly circumscribed quasilevels example, stations that we break open to gain access to the opportunities of the city. And, of course, all three games anyway trying to build opportunities open world in its development system. In Witcher do not need to invent anything, RPG-pumping and kraft fit perfectly in a huge world, Shadows of Mordor promises to throw things around the world to improve the performance and side quests, opening slots for enhancing weapons. Yes, and produced “inforamtsiya” in Watch_Dogs, it seems, serves the same purpose – if not “swinging” character, then certainly opening up new opportunities for him.

As you can see, all three projects, with all the differences, combined just the basics. Open World is now incredibly fashionable, but to create something based on its own and can only be unique, having all the modern Check List and successfully reviving world peopled it, providing entertainment and player motivation is the main track. Skyrim and GTA 5 is able to fully. Assassin’s Creed 3/4, Far Cry 3 and Saints Row 4 – partially. But LA Noire, Mafia 2, and the original Fallout 3 players disappointed, largely because of disregard for the open world. If the living world is not made alive – any of these games in 2014 will end in failure. Even if, say, the plot of The Witcher in the new environment will slack, it’s just the game, rather than if the new open world will dull, empty and joyless. Will each of the three projects, this database, or some of them will collapse under the weight of its own megalomania? Learn this year. But attempts to create a very-very lively and open world clearly will be less. Recipe found. At least for single player.