It's the obvious trend these days: Open-world sandbox structure.
Every time you turn around, you see another new game or established franchise leaning more in the direction of open-world formats. The question is, for which genre does this work best? At first glance, one might assume role-playing games.
They were always supposed to be the deepest, most involving virtual experiences on the planet. These have always been the cerebral video games. Those who played them often had little interest in games that required fast reflexes and endless, repetitive practice. They wanted to use their brains more than their fingers and thankfully for the industry, this allowed a lot more individuals (such as myself) to become gamers. I think I would've played games but I never would've gotten into them to the same extent had RPGs not existed.
Given the kind of complexity that could arise from immensely detailed and populated worlds, it would stand to reason that RPGs could benefit most from the sandbox style. Look at The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt , for instance. It could break down all sorts of barriers in the genre, provided CD Projekt Red doesn't hold back (and delivers on their lofty promises). The opportunities are obvious and perhaps endless. It's the kind of world I suppose all RPG fans loved to envision over the years.
However, there's still an old-school RPG contingent that believes story is critical in the genre but the thing is, story always takes a backseat in the sandbox structure. Because we spend the overwhelming majority of our time playing and not following a script, and because the more freedom we have the more it means a cohesive storyline melts away, story can't continue to be a primary staple of the genre. I'm sorry, but I just don't see how it's possible. I guess it just depends on what you value most in the world of role-playing games.
What do you think?