No other genre has been as popular this generation as open world games, to the extent that most developers seem to feel like if they’re making a AAA game, it has to be open world, to at least some extent. Naturally, how open world design evolves with the coming generation is something many are curious about. With the greater power that developers will be afforded by next gen hardware, many will probably want to make even larger game worlds.
But according to Tymon Smektala, the creative director of Dying Light 2, open worlds don’t need to get bigger, since developers are already capable of making massive worlds. Smektala feels open worlds need to become better and more immersive, and cites things such as the number of on-screen NPCs and how they behave as areas that can be improved.
“I’m not sure they will get bigger,” Smektala said in an interview with the Official Xbox Magazine in their January 2020 issue (issue 185). “I think what will change is the fidelity of everything. I don’t think people really need bigger worlds, they need worlds that are of better quality and that they feel more immersed in what surrounds them. It’s not that difficult for the current generation to create huge worlds by streaming as you play. So you go somewhere and it loads a little chunk around you and another chunk and so on. So you can create extremely big worlds that don’t really impact the performance.”
“What impacts performance is the number of NPCs you see around you, the variety of them and how they behave, and the number of animations,” he continued. “The improvements in the next generation will allow us to go further in that direction. This is basically our mission as a studio, we want to create first-person open-world games with high-fidelity graphics and with high-fidelity immersion, where you feel like you are really there.”
It’s hard to disagree with that sentiment. We’ve already seen some absolutely massive open worlds, including the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2, Grand Theft Auto 5, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. What open worlds need to do with greater hardware power is make these large worlds even more immersive. That’s why people are so excited about a game like Cyberpunk 2077, which is promising a much denser and more immersive open world than we’re used to seeing.
Dying Light 2, too, is being developed as a cross-gen game, so we’ll see if Techland can deliver that quality of world design with their game. It’s also a game that they plan on supporting for years after its release, so at least we know it’s going to be around for a while.
It’s out some time in 2020, but a specific release date hasn’t yet been confirmed. Check out its surprisingly meaty demo from a few months back through here.