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Games are either linear or open world. Playing a game with the goal of becoming level 10, winning 3 stars on every level, and getting all 4 trophies is one thing. But what about people who just want to wander around? What if they can’t leave their couch? How do developers design games for both types of players in mind while still making them fun?
Some games are trying to appeal to both linear and open world fans at the same time, but that can often mean bad things for either group. Using one creates a lack of identity and makes it difficult to meet certain expectations from gamers. By using another, the game becomes too different than its original concept and loses players quickly because they’re bored by how little it resembles what they were playing before. The challenge is finding a way for each type of fan in your audience to be satisfied without alienating those who don’t like their idea as much as those who do.,The “linear games” is a question that has been asked many times. It is hard to create a game that appeals to both linear game fans and open world fans in a good way, but it is possible.
While it is possible to be a fan of both at the same time, my experience has shown that linear game lovers and open world game fans have quite different preferences depending on where they lean. Linear game players seem to like their games to be fast-paced and constant, with minimal “filler” and just a smidgeon of leisure to breathe following intense action. Open world players appear to desire their games to be big and long, with plenty of stuff to do and tiny things to discover in every nook and corner at their leisure; they’re also more tolerant of long periods of idleness. You’re welcome to correct me if I’m wrong.
Despite their contrasting interests, both largely linear and predominantly open world games aim to appeal to the “other” audience. When such games attempt to do so, though, I usually notice a lot of pushback. For example, Red Dead Redemption II is an open world game with rather linear story missions that seemed to appeal to the linear game crowd, but it not only received criticism for not gelling well with the game world, but it also prompted some scrutiny of much of Rockstar Games’ output for having linear stories in open worlds. Similarly, Zelda: Skyward Sword features a linear game with a sky portion where you may freely fly about to cater to previous games’ (semi)open overworlds, but even among those who didn’t like the linearity, the sky was considered as an impediment to getting to the parts they genuinely loved.
I’m not one to toss away the baby with the bathwater, so I have to wonder how a linear game can appeal to open world aficionados. How can a linear game fan enjoy an open world game? Neither can be said to be impossible, therefore how can either be accomplished?
My second issue is whether catering to fans of both linear and open world games is really a sensible concept in the first place. Most video games, like any media that aims to generate money in part, need a target audience.
All media has a challenge with appealing to numerous audiences indecisively. And, as a result, appealing to conflicting audiences is a challenging task at best. So, would it be more convenient for a game to focus on one side of the spectrum? Would it be better for a game’s success if it tried to appeal to both the linear and open world demographics?
Appealing to both the linear and open world crowds is, of course, a spectrum in and of itself. Could the optimum situation be somewhere in the middle of “appeal to one audience exclusively” and “appeal to both crowds equally”? Is it better for a linear game to have just a few components to appeal to the open world population, while an open world game has only a few elements to appeal to the linear crowd? If this is the case, how much of those “some aspects” are required to effectively appeal to the “other” audience?
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The “linear gameplay” is a type of game that has a single story and one set path to follow. The “open world” is a type of game where the player can choose their own path and do things in any order they want, as long as it’s completed before the end of the game. It’s not always easy to please both types of players, but there are ways to appeal to both.
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