Volition Gives Away Secret To Open World Games

Volition Gives Away Secret To Open World Games

When asked to name the most important ingredient in an open world game, Red Faction developer Volition took a sly dig at certain rival developers.

You recently had the chance to ask some questions of Volition’s Sean Kennedy. Reader “Mike720” asked: What’s the most important part of an open world game to get right?

Kennedy says the secret is “making it fun”, something he’s not sure other developers truly understand.

“Honestly, I would say the most important part of an open world game is to make sure you create a world where anywhere the player turns there will always be something to do, something to engage the player. Sure you can create a city that is beautiful, that looks like a real world place, one that has a gritty life like look to it, but if that city doesn’t constantly provide the player with things to do, give them engaging content and a reason to be there, what’s the point Very quickly gamers will see past all that flash and glitz and realize promises were not fulfilled and they will leave you for something that will provide them with the fun they were seeking.

That right there is the single most important thing when building an open world to me: making it fun.

It can be easy to get caught up in the creation of a world and overlook making sure you are giving the player things to do everywhere that are fun. You can give the player all the freedom they could want in your world, but what’s the good of that freedom if that world is not brimming with things to do. Things that keep the player coming back to your game over and over again.”

Beautiful, real world, gritty and without things to do? I wonder what he could possibly be talking about…


  • i found if you deviated from the main missions in Fallour 3 it got boring very quickly.

    He is onto something though, i dont need a huge world, i just need a place i can have fun in 🙂

  • The secret is MINE! Mwahaha!

    I agree to some extent, fun is a big factor, but it isn’t always what makes a open world game enjoyable. Having a seamless experience whilst in the open world is very important to me, a glitchy game, no matter how fun, will always turn me away really fast.

  • I couldn’t disagree more. Gta4 was the most immersive game I have ever played. Every player action created an effect that was expected and therefore extremely immersive. I compare it to playing with toys as a kid, I have lost countless hours in Gta4’s sandbox world, pretending to play all these different scenarios. Which are only possible because the world is so real. Saints Row 2 would burst that bubble on so many occassions, rendering that game as a fun collection of mini games and not a cohesive immersive experience. To each their own I guess, but I’m Gta4 all the way.

  • “the most important part of an open world game is to make sure you create a world where anywhere the player turns there will always be something to do…”

    The funny thing is, in my experience once you “liberate” a sector in Red Faction: Guerrilla there is really NOTHING to do in that sector (assuming you completed the Transport and Demolishion challenges before hand). Still a fun game, but once you liberate a few sectors you end up with this huge section of the map and absolutely no reason to go there unless you want to collect all the ore/crates/radio tags.

    Disclaimer: I haven’t actually completed the game yet, so maybe there’s a twist coming to prove me wrong, but I won’t hold my breath.

  • Well too bad his game wasnt that much fun.
    I liked the game for the first few sections, blowing stuff up was awsome. After you get bored it becomes a generic open world game.

  • I found the opposite with Fallout 3. As with most open world games I tend to abandon the main plot and explore until very late in the first 20 levels. I’ve done this on several play-throughs. I play Saint’s Row 2 similarly though there’s less to do there, on a recent replay of Bioshock I felt so limited.

  • I gotta say, if they put the destructive abilities of Red Faction: Guerrilla into a Saints Row game, that would be the perfect open world game. A massive city, able to be completely levelled building by building.

  • That’s all well and good, but where’s the rest of the interview Goosey-Goosey-Gander? We need to know about Freespace!

    • He may speak the truth but In my opinion his game doesnt take his own premise into account.
      His graphical “power” is in the destructibilty in the world. And that just isnt fun after a while

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