Six Open World Games That Allow You To Explore Your Creativity

Open-World games can be used to fuel your creativity just as much as sandbox games can. This article lists six possible ones that can do just that.

In video games, an open-world designed game is a type of game mechanic that is using a virtual world that a player can explore and approach objectives much more freely, as opposed to a world with more linear and structured gameplay. These games do differ from sandbox games, which are more build-styled games such as Cities: Skylines and Minecraft.

While the openness of the game world is an important facet to games featuring open worlds, the main draw of open-world games is about providing the player with autonomy - not so much the freedom to do anything they want in the game, but the ability to choose how to approach the game and its challenges in the order and manner as the player desires while still constrained by gameplay rules.

Here are some open-world games to try out and fuel your creative minds:

1. No Man's Sky

This game is described as being about exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated universe. In No Man's Sky, you can fly from deep space to planetary surfaces, with no loading screens, and no limits. In this infinite procedurally generated universe, you'll discover places and creatures that no other players have seen before - and perhaps never will again.

It is considered a survival game, as well as a building game. You have choices in what you build, how you survive and you chose to leave the planet you start on to explore space or to settle somewhere else. 

Creative Commns
No Man's Sky - Image Credit: Creative Commons

2. Fallout 4

Many games came before Fallout 4 in the same universe that explored the apocalypse in a world that diverged from our own in the 1950s. This game actually starts right before the world is turned into a nuclear wasteland before fast-forwarding through two-hundred years. The game setting takes place within an open world post-apocalyptic environment that covers the city of Boston and the surrounding Massachusetts region known as "The Commonwealth".

The main story takes place in the year 2287, ten years after the events of Fallout 3 and 210 years after "The Great War", which caused catastrophic nuclear devastation across the United States. The player assumes control of a character referred to as the "Sole Survivor", who emerges from a long-term cryogenic stasis in Vault 111, an underground nuclear fallout shelter. 

You can choose your gender and make the choices to progress the main story, as well as the side stories. You can choose where to explore, how much of the story to take in, to chose what to focus on. In Fallout 4, a settlement building system was put in, a way to rebuild the world to bring back some form of societal norm. You can do nothing with the settlement building or you can build up a vast society with these settlements. In fact, some players focus only on building and do nothing with the storyline at all. 

Fallout 4
Fallout 4 - Image Credit: Creative Commons

3. Grand Theft Auto 5

Another game in a huge series of games. The game uses an enormous map. Los Santos: a sprawling sun-soaked metropolis full of self-help gurus, starlets, and fading celebrities, once the envy of the Western world, now struggling to stay afloat in an era of economic uncertainty and cheap reality TV. 

You can play as three different characters to further the story but you can choose where to go, what to do, how to do it. The open-world design allows players to freely roam San Andrea's open countryside and the fictional city of Los Santos, based on Los Angeles. It can also be played in multiplayer mode with your own character and do a number of player-created quests. The ability to create races and heists is a huge part of the online community. It is challenging and fun. 

GTA V - Image Credit: Creative Commons

4. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

A game that is almost a decade old and still a fun game to play again and again. The ancient home of the Nords, Skyrim, teeters at the brink of destruction. With the death of High King Torygg, a civil war breaks out, with brothers slaying brothers across the province's frozen tundras and rocky crags. Many, especially Nords, wish to secede from the Empire, which has been in decline since the Oblivion Crisis. Many loyalists, on the other hand, prefer the unity and security provided by the Empire. The Elder Scrolls foretell the return of Tamriel's primeval darkness, the Dragons, and the coming of a mortal born with the soul of a dragon, the Dovahkiin or "Dragonborn"—one who will have the power to permanently defeat his greatest foe and end the dark reign of the consumer of worlds: Alduin.

The addition of DLCS added to the story and adds the ability to construct your own homes. Skyrim retains the traditional open-world gameplay found in The Elder Scrolls series. The landscape can be freely roamed either in first person or third person point of view. Skyrim gives the choice of traveling on horseback, running, or walking. The story can be focused on, or set aside completely. You can choose your race and which side of the civil war to side on. There are just so many choices to make.

TES: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Image Credit: Creative Commons

5. Stardew Valley

A pixel-style game that found huge success with its story and ability to make choices in the valley as a farmer character. Stardew Valley is an open-ended country-life RPG! The game is open-ended, allowing players to take on activities such as growing crops, raising livestock, crafting goods, mining for ores, selling produce, and socializing with the townspeople, including marriage and having children. It also allows up to three other players to play together online.

Players are able to select from several different farm map types, each having its benefits and drawbacks. The farm plot is initially overrun with boulders, trees, stumps, and weeds, and players must work to clear them in order to restart the farm, tending to crops and livestock so as to generate revenue and further expand the farm's buildings and facilities. Relationships can be developed, and eventually, even marriage can happen. Designing the farm can be enormously creative and intensive.

Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley - Image Credit: Wallpapercave

6. Black & White 2

A game released way back in 2005. While not exactly open-world it does have a lot of freedom of choices. It is a bit more limited than the choices presented previously in this article. In this game, you play as a Greek God prophesized to take down the Aztecs, the main antagonist. The only way the player can directly interact with this world is through the player's hand, which can be used to pick up people, trees, food, and influence from the ground. The player can also cast miracles for a certain amount of "Prayer Power" (which is essential, "Mana"), which comes from the player's believers.

You can choose to win several lands through the force of your army or through building up a beautiful city with high levels of impressiveness. There are quests separate from the main storyline that can be done. You can choose how good or evil you are, and how your god creature is good or evil as well. 

Black and white 2
image source: mos

There are so many games to play where creativity can be fueled. Creativity allows us to view and solve problems more openly and with innovation. Creativity opens the mind. A society that has lost touch with its creative side is an imprisoned society, in that generations of people may be closed-minded. It broadens our perspectives and can help us overcome prejudices. It is another positive of video games that fuel imagination and expands creativity.

An avid writer, who likes to write in many different styles. Right now Ronnie goes by they/them pronouns and identify as Two-Spirit.

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