Restricted Exploration in Open World Games?
Moonface Offline
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With the drop of the GTA VI trailer yesterday the Internet is naturally going into overdrive with breakdowns and speculations about what was shown in the trailer and promotional artwork, and I just saw someone pointing out that the female playable character is wearing a tracking bracelet on her ankle and that perhaps Rockstar will use that as a way to impose a limit on what the player can explore of the world in the early game. GTA V is apparently one of the rare cases where Rockstar didn't restrict the player at any point, and a decent number of people replying to the bracelet speculation are hoping Rockstar will be restricting players again in a GTA game.

So I have a couple of questions off the back of all of this:
  1. Do you like when open world games prevent you from exploring everything right away?
  2. What games have done this where you liked the way they implemented the restriction?
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Moonface Offline
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With the drop of the GTA VI trailer yesterday the Internet is naturally going into overdrive with breakdowns and speculations about what was shown in the trailer and promotional artwork, and I just saw someone pointing out that the female playable character is wearing a tracking bracelet on her ankle and that perhaps Rockstar will use that as a way to impose a limit on what the player can explore of the world in the early game. GTA V is apparently one of the rare cases where Rockstar didn't restrict the player at any point, and a decent number of people replying to the bracelet speculation are hoping Rockstar will be restricting players again in a GTA game.

So I have a couple of questions off the back of all of this:
  1. Do you like when open world games prevent you from exploring everything right away?
  2. What games have done this where you liked the way they implemented the restriction?
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Mr EliteL Offline
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I don't mind being restricted if there's something physically blocking my way that isn't an invisible wall, although if it is the latter then I won't be too annoyed just why make it look accessible to begin with? If you're not in the correct campaign/story progression then the game should make sure to block off a mid-game or late-game area to early playthroughs unless perhaps it's NG+. If it's an overall map restriction like you reach the end of a map but there's just a wasteland beyond that "edge" an invisible wall is feasible. However I do like being unrestricted and if I stumble into an area that's far higher level than I currently am, a warning appears similar to what Octopath does with a recommended level so I can decide whether or not I chance a battle to earn some big EXP/explore for a higher level item then run back. XD
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I don't mind being restricted if there's something physically blocking my way that isn't an invisible wall, although if it is the latter then I won't be too annoyed just why make it look accessible to begin with? If you're not in the correct campaign/story progression then the game should make sure to block off a mid-game or late-game area to early playthroughs unless perhaps it's NG+. If it's an overall map restriction like you reach the end of a map but there's just a wasteland beyond that "edge" an invisible wall is feasible. However I do like being unrestricted and if I stumble into an area that's far higher level than I currently am, a warning appears similar to what Octopath does with a recommended level so I can decide whether or not I chance a battle to earn some big EXP/explore for a higher level item then run back. XD
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Moonface Offline
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(Dec 6th, 2023, 12:02 PM)Mr EliteL Wrote:
If it's an overall map restriction like you reach the end of a map but there's just a wasteland beyond that "edge" an invisible wall is feasible.
Most newer open world games I've played tend to just let you actually walk into the area that goes beyond the edge of the game world and just throw up a warning message that you're leaving the play area and will be teleported out of it in some fashion if you don't stop, rather than using an invisible wall. I don't really mind either approach but the warning message at least helps in cases where you might get out of the map boundaries by mistake where if a wall was being used to keep you in you might bypass it and end up unable to get back to the regular world.
I definitely prefer either of those to older games making the map edge something that isolates the playable world from the rest of the game world, whether it be the whole map conveniently being surrounded by tall cliffs or other forms of wall, or having the playable world be this weird standalone entity. For example, GTA V's map is surrounded entirely by water, and I'm sure some older GTA games did the same thing where the playable world is just an island.


Restricting the world by level but letting the player learn the hard way about it if they choose to push into it is probably one of my favorite styles of doing it, just because like you said it offers a fun risk/reward scenario for going into it sooner than you should.

Horizon Forbidden West combined that with a couple of other methods which overall worked out well I think, with the other methods being walling off the map into three sections to keep the player contained to where the story and other events are taking place in the early game as well as preventing them from seeing things that would be spoilers for later in the game, and it also locks areas off with progression based items so you might find something early but can't fully complete it until later, which gives a good reason to return to earlier sections of the game world.

The only thing it did that wasn't perfect was the edge of the world restrictions, because the map would show roads that look like they lead somewhere and they wouldn't even be close to the edge of the map, but going to them would throw up a warning that you're leaving the play area. It got annoying following a marked path only to get a warning, and I wish those paths weren't present. You're also able to actually go over the top of a mountain into the third area instead of through the mountain, and the game will complain about you doing it and block you until you progress the correct way, after which you're free to go over the top of the mountain. Not a fan of the world being designed to allow multiple travel options that are all available to traverse but you're forbidden from using all of those options until you use a particular one first.
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Moonface Offline
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(Dec 6th, 2023, 12:02 PM)Mr EliteL Wrote:
If it's an overall map restriction like you reach the end of a map but there's just a wasteland beyond that "edge" an invisible wall is feasible.
Most newer open world games I've played tend to just let you actually walk into the area that goes beyond the edge of the game world and just throw up a warning message that you're leaving the play area and will be teleported out of it in some fashion if you don't stop, rather than using an invisible wall. I don't really mind either approach but the warning message at least helps in cases where you might get out of the map boundaries by mistake where if a wall was being used to keep you in you might bypass it and end up unable to get back to the regular world.
I definitely prefer either of those to older games making the map edge something that isolates the playable world from the rest of the game world, whether it be the whole map conveniently being surrounded by tall cliffs or other forms of wall, or having the playable world be this weird standalone entity. For example, GTA V's map is surrounded entirely by water, and I'm sure some older GTA games did the same thing where the playable world is just an island.


Restricting the world by level but letting the player learn the hard way about it if they choose to push into it is probably one of my favorite styles of doing it, just because like you said it offers a fun risk/reward scenario for going into it sooner than you should.

Horizon Forbidden West combined that with a couple of other methods which overall worked out well I think, with the other methods being walling off the map into three sections to keep the player contained to where the story and other events are taking place in the early game as well as preventing them from seeing things that would be spoilers for later in the game, and it also locks areas off with progression based items so you might find something early but can't fully complete it until later, which gives a good reason to return to earlier sections of the game world.

The only thing it did that wasn't perfect was the edge of the world restrictions, because the map would show roads that look like they lead somewhere and they wouldn't even be close to the edge of the map, but going to them would throw up a warning that you're leaving the play area. It got annoying following a marked path only to get a warning, and I wish those paths weren't present. You're also able to actually go over the top of a mountain into the third area instead of through the mountain, and the game will complain about you doing it and block you until you progress the correct way, after which you're free to go over the top of the mountain. Not a fan of the world being designed to allow multiple travel options that are all available to traverse but you're forbidden from using all of those options until you use a particular one first.
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