GWJ Conference Call Episode 543

Horizon: Zero Dawn, Zelda: Breath of The Wild, Nintendo Switch, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Open World Games, Your Emails and More!

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This week Shawn, Julian, Elysium and David Heron go deep on a ton of cool games and talk about open world game design.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind.

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Aristophan wrote:

I love it when Sean gets hyperbolic:

The Game King wrote:

I'm a selfish gamer ... I want all the moments aimed at me....[In open world games] it's on you to get the game to care about you. ... [I want to feel like] me and the game are on the same team.

By that definition, it really seems that EU4 is an open world game. From my limited experience it is on you to get the game to care about you. I never felt that EU4 and I were on the same team. It was a game where you had to make your own fun.

Yeah, I thought that was quite funny. EUIV is one of the least directed experiences I've ever found. Not only are you thrown in the deep end, but an opaque pool cover is rolled over the surface until you find your way in the dark.

As for me. My first real open world experiences were Oblivion and GTA 4. Oblivion is the definition of Shaun's 'stale breadsticks' metaphor. When it was new and fresh it was quite exciting, then reality set in after 30 some hours and I realized I was gorging myself on pure boredom.

GTA 4 had a more interesting world, but it was full of annoying side content and that f*cking cellphone. "Hey cousin, let's do something aggravating that gets in the way of what you actually want to do."

That one-two punch put me off open worlds for the longest time.

I think it was with Saints Row 3 that I began to turn around. While it's full of repetitive side quests, they are mostly optional, but still varied and enjoyable to take part in. There's also quite a strong narrative pull.

I'm a huge Witcher fan, but when I heard that Witcher 3 was open world, and reports of the massive size of the world, I was very pensive. But CDPR did an amazing job of keeping the side stuff interesting, and making sure that the open-worldedness didn't get in the way of the story.

An open-world is no longer an instant 'no buy' for me when it was for a long time.

Austin Walker over at Waypoint has proposed that the term 'open-world' get retired, because it is far too broad for how it gets used. I think it's a useful term, but it needs to be qualified. There's a world of difference between an open world game that leans on the player making their own fun and one where the open-world is just a setting for a more directed experience.

Unrelated to this episode at all, but related to the podcast - I switched (or am in the process of switching) podcast apps to Pocket Casts this week, and in trying to add the GWJ Conference Call, it seems that their back episodes only go back through January? In Overcast and Downcast, I've been able to get to episodes going back way further, and I've had spoilercasts for games I didn't play yet earmarked for later listening, but Pocket Casts doesn't seem to be able to see them. Any idea what's going on or if there's anything I can do? I'd like to just have the one app, rather than keep old apps around just as archival list repositories.