Opinion | The Art of Simplicity: Why Linear Games Still Matter in the Open World Era

    In the contemporary gaming landscape, there’s a prevalent belief that more content equates to a superior gaming experience. This often manifests in the form of expansive open-world games, brimming with numerous side quests, collectibles, and seemingly endless areas to explore. However, this is not always the case. The truth is, simpler, linear games can offer a more focused and immersive gaming experience, especially for those with limited gaming time.

    Linear games, like Mafia 1 and 2, are prime examples of how a well-told story, direct missions with clear purposes, and a meticulous attention to detail can create a memorable gaming experience. Each mission in these games is a work of art, building on the previous one, keeping the player immersed and the story’s intensity high. This game design approach ensures that players do not lose the feeling of intensity of the story and stay immersed with every mission building on the previous one.

    In contrast, many modern games are stacked with side quests that often feel unrelated to the main storyline. While this approach can add to the game’s longevity, it can also detract from the core narrative. In some cases, these side quests are so far removed from the main story that they feel more like an advertising point than a substantial addition to the game.

    The gaming industry seems to be moving towards a “more is better” approach, prioritizing quantity over quality. This trend is evident in games like Destiny, where much of the original story was scrapped in favor of a focus on the “grind”. But is this what gamers truly want?

    Many players, myself included, would prefer a well-crafted chapter of a compelling story in a specific setting over an open world filled with trivial tasks. The characters, the significant events, the dramatic endings – these are the elements that stick with us long after we’ve put the controller down.

    The gaming industry needs to remember that quality trumps quantity. A game doesn’t need to be filled with endless content to be enjoyable. A well-told story that resonates with players, like Niko’s fight in the warehouse in GTA 4, can create a far more memorable experience than completing the same combo 40 times for a piece of loot.

    In conclusion, the art of simplicity in game design should not be overlooked. Linear games, with their focused narratives and carefully crafted missions, can offer a gaming experience that resonates on a deeper level. It’s time for the gaming industry to shift its focus from creating vast, open worlds to telling compelling, immersive stories that truly engage players. After all, it’s these experiences that we remember, not the 100 extra side quests for trivial gains.

    The gaming industry needs to focus on developing those factors that make a game memorable. The characters, the significant events of doing that big heist, the betrayal from who you thought was your friend, and the dramatic ending is what really sticks with the player. Developing those factors seems to be hard for the modern game industry and they rather throw in a bunch of plain content and call it a day. This seems to make money, but does it truly satisfy the player?

    Gaming needs quality, well-told stories that resonate, not things you pick up to kill time. It’s not fun to do the same combo 40 times to get one piece of loot, give me a development, like Niko’s fight in the warehouse in GTA 4. The yelling, the bullets, the intensity can all be felt. This is the experience most of us will remember, not the 100 extra side quests for trivial gains.

    So, let’s celebrate the art of simplicity in game design and remember that a well-told story in a specific setting can be just as, if not more, engaging than an open world filled with endless tasks. After all, it’s the quality of the experience that truly matters in the end.

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