The Last of Us co-creator and long-time Naughty Dog game director Bruce Straley has sparked a developer debate on social media, after declaring that linear games are easier to make. The insinuation here is that titles which have a set path, like perhaps Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, take less of a toll on teams than giant open world releases, such as Horizon Forbidden West.
Several developers agree with the point, and many fans are also pointing out that they prefer more guided experiences overall. “Easier to make, more creatively interesting, and not a time suck to play,” one fan said. “Sounds like a win-win to me!”
We’re obviously no where near as informed as a veteran like Straley, but we can certainly see how a more linear title would be easier to develop than an open world one, as there are obviously fewer things that could potentially go wrong when you generally know the path the player is going to follow. Sandbox releases also have to populate their worlds with content, otherwise they feel empty and bland.
Personally, we don’t have a horse in either race: we like linear games and we like open world games, too. But we’ve always been big proponents of the hybrid approach: titles like Hitman, with their vast levels, give you plenty of opportunity to explore, without forcing you to trudge through hundreds of kilometres of terrain. We also like the way God of War Ragnarok handles this, by offering plenty of opportunity to venture from the critical path, while still retaining the high production values of a more guided campaign.
But when push comes to shove, do you prefer linear games or open world games? Let us know in the poll and comments section below.
Do you personally prefer linear games or open world games? (1,605 votes)
- Linear games78%
- Open world games22%