Open-ended games like Fallout or Baldurs Gate. That feature, to me, has defined the greatest RPGs of all time. How do you make game like Fallout in episodic format? The greatness of open-ended RPG's goes back a long ways. Is this game format basically dead now? Are expansion packs dead now? It sure seems like we're going that way.
I'd argue that BG, at least, is still pretty hub-and-spoke-ish. You can go off to do a few minor encounters in the wilderness areas, but you're not getting into Baldur's Gate until you've solved the ore-plague problem, and you're not doing THAT until you head down to the mines in Nashkel. And I at least (mileage may vary) remember going back to one of a few specific places to sell my loot. The hub is still there. It was just disguised better because art was so much cheaper, and you could have a whole lot of relatively large minor-encounter areas.
Now, if those games gave you the EXPERIENCE of being free-exploration, despite the number of things locked off, then that's good game design. I hope that some of our upcoming titles can recapture some of that.
- Dec 6, 2006