Naughty Dog has never been one for open-world exploration. That was cemented today when The Last of Us co-creator Bruce Straley said on Twitter that the reason Naughty Dog only makes linear games is because they’re easier to make. As an end-user’s perspective however, if those linear games are as good as The Last of Us, they should keep coming.
Open world games have become a very prominent fixture of video games, with seemingly every major release coming out being open in some form, whether it’s entirely open world or only semi-open world, and linear games are seeming more and more like a rarity.
This is likely mostly due to trend chasing, as companies get better returns on investment if they can keep their players playing on a single game for dozens of hours instead of only roughly ten or twelve. However, open-world games also require a much larger time commitment and a great many other factors to figure out than a linear game.
Straley did attract a number of other developers’ opinions with his post. Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed 3 developer Alex Hutchinson, said that while linear games were easier to develop, they were also less interesting than open-world games, likely due to open-world games having more vistas and points of interest that players can see.
Of course, The Outsiders studio head David Goldfarb agreed, but had another reason for why so many games are open world these days: quality targets. Likely intended to, as said above, be able to keep players occupied for longer than a normal amount of time to help the number of hours worked on be useful.
Various publishers, such as EA, have previously asserted that open-world service games were the way of the future, only to be proven wrong by linear story games. Considering how many linear games have gotten critical acclaim recently over open-world titles, hopefully this trend of proving publishers wrong continues.