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From Tears of the Kingdom to Grand Theft Auto: How Open Worlds Set Us Free

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Since their inception, video games have acted as portals to other worlds. Unlike books and films, they allow us to not just be immersed in another land but to truly explore one. It’s that core fantasy that has seen the concept of the open world flourish; what better way is there to create a sense of discovering a new world than to build one with as much depth and as few borders as possible? That goal has seen the open world advance from a form of environment design to a whole diverse genre in its own right.

Where linear game design delivers slices of another reality, the open world aims to simulate on a grander level. It combines geography, architecture, populations, and events to create a living city, region, or kingdom.

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