We know that video games have gotten bigger and bigger over time, in a bit of every sense. If there was a time when experiences were very linear and guided, recently we have seen more and more titles focus on a more open approach, which has often been combined with sandbox and real life dynamics just open world.
In some cases, this has led to the opposite extreme: we have seen many games focus on the open world, while perhaps they would have been more enjoyable (and better told) if they had kept to a linear model.
To give a further perspective on the debate, there is also the intervention of Bruce Straley, an industry veteran who in the past has worked above all with Naughty Dog, as co-author of the saga of The Last of Us and that of Uncharted (which you can find on Amazon).
In fact, with a concise message on his Twitter profile, Straley tackled the matter from the point of view of difficulty of realization, writing:
«Linear games are simply easier to play.
Here. I said so”.
Following the message of today’s leader of Wildflower Interactive is also that of Alex Hutchinson, industry veteran (he was creative director of Assassin’s Creed III and of Far Cry 4), who expressed a probably unpopular opinion.
According to Hutchinson, in fact, what Straley said are «facts», opinion to which he follows that “and they are also less interesting games, in general”, referring precisely to linear experiences compared to more open ones.
Facts. And also less interesting as games in general.
— Alex Hutchinson (@BangBangClick) March 2, 2023
Several players said they were quite perplexed by Hutchinson’s idea, pointing out that it is a generalization and that the fact that they are linear does not mean that they are less interesting – especially if we think that sometimes open worlds are so large to be sadly empty (and we know something about it).
In the past, Hutchinson had also caused discussions among fans for his opinion on video game streaming, expressed while working for Stadia Games and Entertainment.
Several years ago, Straley also made some interesting statements about ludonarrative dissonance and the need of AAA video games to involve from the first seconds – which prompted the authors to have scenes focused on adrenaline and to start often things in medias res, regardless of the story you wanted to tell.
Today the author has founded his own team and we are waiting to discover the next experiences that his talent will offer to gamers.